What makes a psychology degree so attractive to employers? Perhaps it’s because the degree instills in students the ability to engage in critical thinking, act independently, and facilitate communication with a diverse array of people — qualities that are highly valued by employers.
Why Is Psychology a Good Major?
Whether you are pursuing your bachelor’s degree, your Master of Arts in Psychology, or your Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), you are building a foundation for a versatile career in a number of industries.
Your degree will not only immerse you in the theories and functions of psychology, but your success will give you the confidence and capabilities needed to compete in today’s workforce. From the fast-growing health care industry to all levels of education, psychology graduates are using their skills to influence decision making at the highest levels, analyze performance and processes, create or refine company cultures, and develop advanced research.
What You Will Learn in a Psychology Degree Program
Many psychology students enter school with a desire to better understand human behavior and the reasons why people act certain ways. A bachelor’s degree in psychology will give you that fundamental knowledge but also show you how to apply psychological principles to day-to-day operations in a business environment. With a bachelor of arts in psychology, you are able to:
- Demonstrate breadth of psychological knowledge
- Analyze information and data with scientific thinking
- Defend ethics, social justice, and diversity
- Illustrate professional communication skills
- Apply professional skills to career planning and success
At the master’s degree level, you will become familiar with the generalist model, a conceptual framework that emphasizes an understanding of the processes that underlie human experience and behavior, as well as core knowledge, theories, and research methods in the field of psychology. With a master of arts in psychology, you will be able to:
- Apply ethical principles and standards of psychology to academic and professional activities
- Explain psychological concepts effectively using the professional standards of the discipline
- Analyze the major concepts, theories, methodologies, and historical trends in psychology
- Evaluate the scientific merit of the professional literature in psychology
- Integrate psychological theory and research
The Value of a Psychology Degree
Those asking “Is a psychology degree worth it?” need only look at the statistics to see the value of a psychology education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency that tracks labor market conditions, lists psychologists among the country’s growing occupations, and with your doctoral degree, your options extend far beyond private practice. Even before reaching the highest pinnacle of your education, a BA in psychology or an MA in psychology can open a number of career opportunities*.
Here are 10 valuable, transferable skills that you can gain from a psychology degree at the University of Arizona Global Campus:
- Research skills
- Critical thinking
- Time management and organization
- Emotional intelligence
- Problem-solving skills
- Deductive and quantitative reasoning
- Writing skills
- Computer literacy
What You Can Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Psychology graduates can be found in nearly every industry, for-profit and non-profit, and in all levels of government, including some that you might have overlooked. Here are four career areas to consider with a bachelor’s degree in psychology:
1. Human Resources
Another career option is human resources, where you can play a major role in a company’s recruiting, conflict resolution, and team-building strategies. Psychology majors need excellent verbal and written skills and need to be able to work well in this type of environment.
2. Public Administration
Knowing how humans operate and behave can be an advantageous skill when creating and implementing public policy. Additionally, knowing how to analyze information such as relevant political and legal factors are key skills you can learn with a BA in psychology. Your online degree can prepare you to enter a career in the public sector, either in a non-profit or for-profit, or at a federal, state, or local government level.
With your bachelor’s degree, you will learn how to predict and understand the behavior of individuals and groups. This knowledge can be vital when trying to market and sell goods and services. With a career in sales, you will be developing relationships with customers and partners in order to negotiate items such as prices and terms. Having a background in how humans behave and knowing what motivates people can be key strengths within sales.
Whether you decide to work for a business or start your own, a bachelor’s degree in psychology can teach you how human behavior impacts the dynamics of a business or organization. Knowing how to communicate, negotiate, lead, analyze data, and solve problems are all business-related skills that can be achieved with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Professional and Personal Benefits of a Psychology Degree
For many students, a psychology degree is valuable on both a professional and personal level. Cristi Hall, a mother of children with special needs — including a son with autism — views her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as a means of securing her career and becoming a more understanding and capable parent.
“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in developmental delays, helping to improve the delays in my son, and I have worked closely with my daughter who also struggles with mental illness,” Hall says.
“I tend to have very good patience and the ability to really be calm under pressure,” she says. “I decided psychology was a great field for me, with everything I’ve been through.”
Hall now says she’ll apply her education toward a career that will allow her to work with children or adults with disabilities.
Her story is similar to that of Monica Hubert, a mother of two children with autism. Hubert earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ashford University* in 2014, and returned for her Master of Arts in Psychology in 2017. As she gained a greater understanding of psychological principles, obtaining her degree in psychology offered additional benefits.
“It changed how I view struggles I have in my life,” Hubert says, adding that she was able to use her education to secure a career working as a youth and family counselor for at-risk children.
What You Can Do with a Master’s Degree in Psychology
The next level of your psychology education will allow you to cast a wider net during your career search. A master’s degree in psychology can advance your prospects in a number of fields, including:
This wide-ranging sector includes child welfare services, health care, housing, food assistance, and much more. Psychology graduates working in social services possess the skills needed to assist in a variety of areas.
Your psychology education will be put to good use if you’re considering opportunities in public service. With your advanced degree, you can apply your skills at the local, state, or federal level in fields that include law enforcement and public and behavioral health, among others.
Today’s organizations are driven by data. Psychology graduates gain statistical analysis skills and the ability to understand the human mind — both highly valued in market research. It’s a growing field, as well, with the BLS projecting 18% growth — much faster than average — through 2029. The demand is rising due to increased use of data and market research across many industries, according to the agency.
Psychology graduates will be among the most desirable for health care employers. As many as 2.4 million new health care jobs are expected to be created before the end of the decade, according to the BLS. Many of these employers are looking for professionals with an advanced understanding of mental health, psychopathology, developmental psychology, and clinical and counseling psychology.
“Educating individuals at work or being a subject matter expert on the philosophies of how people learn has already come in very useful, and I find myself already using it daily during my interactions at work,” explains UAGC doctoral student General Irvin Barrett, II, who earned his master’s degree in psychology in 2018.
Barrett, who works for a North Carolina-based government health resource agency, applies his education toward assisting people with mental health conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance abuse disorders.
Is a Psychology Career Right for You?
The job market for today’s emerging psychology student is ripe with many, varied opportunities in numerous fields. Most importantly, you must also consider what kinds of work you are interested in and comfortable with, as well as your preferred environment. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel like this job is a good fit for me?
- Is this job something I can see myself doing for a long period of time?
- What opportunities are currently open and available to me?
- Where would I like to work?
- With whom would I like to work?
- What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?
Once you’ve answered these questions, what next? You can go to the UAGC Career Services Center to discover additional careers, or take advantage of resources like eCareerfit.com, where you can take a diagnostic test to see what careers may be suitable for your personality and skills. You can talk to people who have psychology-related careers that interest you and ask them how they got their job, what education was required, and if they have advice for you and your future career.
So many opportunities are available — more than you might think. And you can follow many different avenues to reach them. There are many great psychology careers waiting for a motivated person with a quality education.
Visit the sites listed below for further information on psychology job prospects.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.
*The Doctor of Psychology program is not a licensure program. The University of Arizona Global Campus cannot confirm whether its courses or programs meet requirements for professional licensure in your state. For information regarding professional licensure requirements in your state, you should contact the applicable licensing board or agency in your state and determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure in the state where you reside."
**Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus.