What Can You Do With a Masters in Psychology?

Types of Psychology Degrees

There are numerous types of psychology degrees for professionals desiring to pursue this rewarding, multidisciplinary field. Psychology degree requirements vary on the specific program and school. Most programs, however, tend to focus on core concepts related to understanding human behavior, research methods, and statistics.

Psychology degrees can prepare future professionals for an extensive variety of careers in humanities, business, medicine, and liberal arts.

Clinical Psychology

A masters in clinical psychology entails coursework related to psychological theory, research, and practice. This education focuses on providing students with an advanced understanding of evidence-based treatment related to psychopathology in various populations.

A degree in clinical psychology can be beneficial for students who wish to become a clinical psychologist. While clinical psychologists require doctoral degrees, many students pursue their masters in clinical psychology to start this path. Professionals with this degree may also work as counselors, therapists, or directors.

Organizational Psychology

A masters in organizational psychology provides professionals with an academic blend of both psychology and business. Organizational psychologists strive to maintain or boost corporate productivity in various organizations. They often work alongside other managers and leadership specialists to promote effective workplace environments.

Organizational psychologists may also work as consultants, human resource directors, or program managers.

Forensic Psychology

A masters in forensic psychology prepares professionals for employment in the criminal justice sector. The coursework focuses on criminal behavior analysis and applicable knowledge necessary for working in settings like the government, correctional facilities, and social services.

With a masters degree, professionals typically work as juvenile offenders counselors, jury consultants, or research assistants. Upon obtaining a doctorate degree, professionals can work as forensic psychologists, expert witnesses, and psychology researchers.

Child Psychology

A masters in child psychology provides professionals with advanced education on child and adolescent development, personality, and assessment. This degree enables individuals to work in a variety of sectors including schools, health clinics, hospitals, and daycare centers.

Many people who obtain their masters in clinical psychology pursue their doctoral degree to become eligible to work as a child psychologist. Others may take other courses or certifications in sectors like art therapy, social work, guidance counseling, and school psychology.  

Counseling Psychology

A masters in counseling psychology provides professionals with academic competency in counseling theories, individual, family, and group therapy, and lifespan human development.

At the master’s level, depending on the state, professionals can obtain the experience needed to become licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCCs) or licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs). To become a practicing counseling psychologist, one must complete a doctoral degree.

Educational Psychology

A masters in educational psychology prepares professionals for blending the principles of education and learning with cognitive development and psychological assessment. At the master’s level, professionals often pursue careers as postsecondary faculty, school or career counselors, social workers, and school psychologists.

An advanced clinical position as an educational psychologist typically requires a doctoral degree. However, at the master’s level,

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Careers with a Master’s in Psychology

There is no shortage of available careers with a masters in psychology. Professionals have many different paths they can pursue upon receiving their graduate degrees.

Masters-level graduates can work in a variety of sectors including:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Private practice
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Private healthcare clinics
  • Government/military

Securing a job after graduation may require additional internships, coursework, or licensure. Furthermore, some careers, as mentioned above, will require doctorate degrees.  Thus, it is vital that prospective students understand the limitations associated with masters-level psychology degrees.

Doctorate degrees are often required in both academia and research-based studies. Furthermore, many supervisory or director roles also need a doctorate.

Obtaining a doctorate requires significantly more time and money devoted to school. However, in some industries, the ROI of earning this degree is well worth the emotional and financial costs. Moreover, for individuals who value learning and mastery of a subject, the doctorate degree represents the pinnacle for academic knowledge in the field.

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Psychology Career Outlook

The psychology career outlook varies largely depending on the field and specific degree obtained. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job outlook for psychologists is expected to rise 14% between 2016-2026 (the average growth rate for all jobs is currently 7%).

The American Psychological Association predicts that subfields in industrial-organizational (I/O psychology, neuropsychology, and geropsychology will continue to be important in the coming years.  However, positions for clinical and counseling psychologists are also expected to grow- although competition may be fierce due to professionals with doctorate degrees competing with those who have masters degrees.

As the field continues to evolve, psychology careers are increasingly requiring flexibility and adaptability. Many professionals now work in multidisciplinary settings in conjunction with other service providers. Likewise, healthcare changes and insurance costs continue to make a significant difference in how professionals render their services.

Masters in Psychology Salary

When it comes to the average masters psychology salary, the range varies significantly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a psychologist earns an annual average of $77,030. However, as mentioned, many psychologist careers require a doctoral degree. The combination of clinical, counseling and school psychologists (which calculates professionals in all relevant industries and sectors) make an average salary of $81,330.

With respect to masters in psychology salary subgroups, each profession also varies. For instance, Marriage and Family Therapists earn an average of $48,790 per year. Industrial-organizational psychologists appear to have the highest pay scale, with the average wage currently at $102,530.

The field of psychology offers tremendous room for growth and opportunity. Graduating professionals have the invaluable ability to work in a variety of sectors serving diverse populations and giving back to their communities.

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