Interested in the human mind? If you’d like a career analysing human behaviour, a degree in psychology could be for you. Find out what jobs you can get with a psychology degree here.
Psychology is one of the most popular degree options, providing students with a range of skills and expertise to work across different sectors. With a scientific and social focus, a psychology degree could be the perfect stepping stone to achieving your professional ambitions.
If you’re wondering what jobs you can get with a psychology degree and whether it’s right for you, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the various careers in psychology and what your earning potential could be.
What is psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. It’s a varied discipline, including study areas such as human development, health, sports, clinical and social behaviour, and cognitive processes.
As many theories of psychology are based on observing human behaviour, you’ll learn how to understand thought processes and emotions. This can be complex, as the mind can be very difficult to read.
It’s the role of a psychologist to treat patients through psychotherapy, helping to relieve symptoms through behavioural change. A psychologist will meet with the patient, listen to what their concerns are, and look at how to provide advice and treatment. They may also conduct studies to advise health authorities and other bodies.
What types of psychologists are there?
There are over 50 divisions of psychology, but some of the main types of psychologists include:
- Addiction psychologist – working in hospitals and rehab centres to provide counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy to patients struggling with addiction.
- Behavioural neuroscience – focusing on human behaviour and how people interact with their environments and other species.
- Clinical psychologist – working with people to promote well-being and personal improvement. They’ll often treat patients suffering from insomnia, depression and anxiety.
- Cognitive psychologist – treating psychological problems using objective and measurable factors. Involves studying brain functions like memory and motor functions to understand human behaviours.
- Counselling psychologist – supporting patients by studying human functions and how people adapt to new situations. Counselling psychologists help with psychological issues, such as stress and grief.
- Educational psychologist – analysing how different people respond to education and different learning styles. Helping educators develop teaching techniques that accommodate people who learn differently.
- Forensic psychologist – applying theory to criminal investigations to help understand psychological problems associated with criminal behaviour.
- Organisational psychologist – working on relationships between employees and working environments. Creating strategies with businesses for increasing employee productivity and satisfaction.
What will you study as part of a psychology degree?
While studying for your psychology degree, you’ll cover a range of different modules. These include:
- Social psychology
- Research methods in psychology
- Developmental psychology
- Personality and individual differences
- Cognitive processes in psychology
- Evolutionary psychology
- Behavioural psychology
Coursework, essays, exams, presentations, projects, and a dissertation will be used to look at how well you’re performing.
Your psychology degree will allow you to develop key career-specific skills, whilst also helping you to develop a long list of transferable skills that you can apply to other industries.
Some of those soft skills include:
- Excellent written and verbal communication
- Good presentation skills
- Analytical research skills
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Problem-solving skills
- Strong project management credentials
What jobs can you get with a psychology degree?
With a psychology degree, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a huge amount of different careers. Some will be directly linked to the expertise you’ve gained as a psychologist, whereas others will require the transferable skills you’ve developed.
Jobs you can do with a psychology degree that are directly related to your studies include:
1. Clinical psychologist
You’ll assess and treat clients with a range of mental or physical health issues, conditions and disorders, to improve their wellbeing. Some of the mental health conditions you’ll help with include anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
2. Counselling psychologist
You’ll use psychological theory and research in therapeutic work with clients to help improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Some issues you’ll offer support with include bereavement, domestic violence, and relationship difficulties.
3. Education mental health practitioner
Offering help to young people with mental health concerns, you’ll give support to those who may not be eligible for a specialist mental health service. This role is part of a wider initiative to provide more mental health support in schools and colleges.
4. Educational psychologist
You’ll work with children, families and schools to help improve wellbeing, communication, and learning. Some issues you’ll support include helping children with learning difficulties, pupils who are being bullied, or those who struggle with managing their emotions.
5. Forensic psychologist
Your role involves helping and understanding offenders by assessing and treating criminal behaviour. You’ll also be tasked with providing research-based evidence to help develop policy as well as give as evidence in court.
6. Further education teacher
You’ll teach a range of subjects to students aged 16 and over, as well as teaching sessions on work-related topics to students aged 14 to 16. You’ll teach subjects in one of three main areas; vocational training, academic teaching, and English and maths.
7. Health psychologist
Managing the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness among patients, your aim is to understand an illness and how it can impact behaviour. You’ll promote general wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle, supporting issues like cardiac rehabilitation and pain management.
8. Occupational psychologist
You’ll assess how someone behaves at work, with the aim of increasing their productivity and job satisfaction to benefit both the individual and the business. You’ll focus on areas like employee performance, behaviour, and health and wellbeing.
9. Psychological wellbeing practitioner
Assessing and supporting clients who are experiencing common mental health difficulties, a psychological wellbeing practitioner will help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low mood. You’ll use a range of low-intensity, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
10. Sport and exercise psychologist
You’ll use your psychological skills and expertise to support individuals, teams, and organisations involved in sport with mental processes and general wellbeing. Your role is all about helping athletes deal with the psychological demands of the sport.
Other sectors and workplaces you can consider once you’ve got your psychology degree include:
- Careers and counselling services
- Financial organisations
- Human resources
- Legal firms
- Local and national government
- Media companies
- Police forces
- Schools and colleges
- Social services
How much do psychologists earn?
In the UK, the average salary for a psychologist is £39,302. However, this will depend on your experience, your psychology specialism, and the institution you work for.
For example, if you choose to work for the NHS, your earning potential will depend on the pay rates set using the Agenda for Change system.
The average salary of a psychology graduate
The average salary in the UK for a psychology graduate is £23,660. Some of the most common jobs for new psychology graduates are:
- Care workers
- Childcare support occupations
- Welfare and housing associate professionals
- Therapy professionals
- Teaching professionals
You’ll find that as you gain more experience your salary will start to rise significantly and you’ll soon progress into more senior roles.
Careers in psychology: additional learning
Take your first steps on this fascinating career path with the help of FutureLearn. From the inner workings of the mind to the importance of cognition at work, we have psychology courses, or psychology degrees to suit your needs.
Also, why not check out our full range of psychology and mental health courses to develop your skills and knowledge?
Online psychology courses at FutureLearn
- Behaviour Change Interventions: Introductory Principles and Practice by University College of London
- Emotional Intelligence at Work by Coventry University
- Psychological First Aid: Supporting Children and Young People by UK Health Security Agency
- Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture by University of Liverpool
- The Neurobiology of Addiction by American Society of Addiction Medicine
Are you looking to gain a psychology degree online? Check out our range of online psychology degrees and start your journey towards a new career from the comfort of your own home.