Five Unique and Interesting Careers in Psychology

Because it covers many subjects, a psychology degree prepares students for careers in a number of fields. The job landscape for psychology professionals is promising in terms of employment and salary. According to the BLS, from 2016-2026, mental health counselors can anticipate a 23% employment growth rate, with an entry-level average salary of $40,701. Our guide below discusses five jobs you can pursue in psychology.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors treat and diagnose mental health and addiction problems and illnesses. Work in this field generally requires a master's degree in counseling or psychology, along with state licensure (requirements vary by). Mental health counselors may counsel patients individually or in group settings. Among other locales, they are employed in private practices, prisons, hospitals, and assisted living centers.


Average Salary: $40,701

 

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists help athletes deal with mental health issues like performance anxiety. They may also work as trainers, helping athletes to maximize their performance by conducting research to create a psychological profile of strengths and weaknesses. Though all psychologists need a doctoral degree in psychology to obtain licensure, sports psychologists usually also need to attain a graduate degree in kinesiology to show their in-depth knowledge of body mechanics. They should also possess a strong interest in and understanding of sports.


Average Salary: $71,100

 

Consulting Psychologist

Consulting psychologists provide psychological consultation and intervention services to business and nonprofit organizations. A consulting psychologist assesses, counsels, and re-trains employees to benefit a company's mission and goals. They may also evaluate the materials put out by the management team of an organization, helping them design beneficial policy that ensures the organization runs healthily. Consulting psychologists need a Psy.D. and state licensure to practice; they may also take coursework in topics related to business and organizational psychology or hold a second degree in business. This career often appeals to learners with a background in quantitative research methods.


Average Salary: $75,115

 

Pain Psychologist

Pain psychologists help patients suffering from chronic pain deal with and recover from mental health issues that stem from their condition (e.g., insomnia, anxiety, depression). Through psychotherapy and counseling, these psychologists can teach patients coping strategies to minimize their need for medication and improve their quality of life. Pain psychologists earn a Psy.D. in order to secure licensure to practice, and then they usually complete a postdoctoral fellowship or residency related to pain psychology. They may work in private practice or as a member of a team of pain psychologists in a specialized outpatient clinic or hospital.


Average Salary: $75,828

 

Pediatric Psychologist

Through psychotherapy and counseling, pediatric psychologists help assess and treat children with mental, emotional, and developmental problems. Issues range from autism to violent behavior. Pediatric psychologists typically earn a Psy.D. or Ph.D. in psychology to secure licensure to practice, and they may complete special coursework in child development or a residency relating to pediatric psychology. They may work in outpatient and inpatient clinics, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations related to child welfare.


Average Salary: $81,753

The first step towards securing a psychology career that works for your needs is earning your bachelor's degree. Though psychology licensure requires a doctoral degree, several jobs exist for graduates who hold a bachelor's in psychology, and depending on where you live, you may fulfill your state's requirements for counselor certification with only a bachelor's in psychology.

A bachelor's in psychology does not require a thesis or residency and costs less money than a graduate degree. It also gives you the opportunity to pursue a concentration of your choice and tentatively explore your interests.

To earn licensure to practice psychology, you need to start working on your doctoral degree. A Ph.D. or Psy.D. satisfies the American Psychological Association (APA) standards for practice nationwide. Consider this degree if you want to excel in this field and benefit people's lives as a psychologist.