After completing your coursework and proudly crossing that stage with your new psychology bachelor’s degree, you’re likely eager to enter the workforce and put all your knowledge to good use. Yet with so many jobs in the psychology field only open to those with an advanced degree, it’s common to wonder, “What jobs can I get with a BA in psychology?”
Most careers in psychology require continued education in the form of a master’s or doctorate, but there are still plenty of opportunities for those just jumping into the field. In fact, the job prospects for psych major jobs are so broad, it’s hard to give a succinct answer to the question of what you can do with a bachelor’s in psychology because the answer is virtually anything! The demand is only growing for qualified graduates in several psychology-related careers, which is very exciting for those interested in this field.
We’ll walk you through which jobs to get with a bachelor’s in psychology, as well as how to get started down the path toward earning your degree.
- Career Counselor
- Social Service
- Marketing Agent
- Probation Officer
- Psychiatric Aide or Technician
- Mental Health or Substance Abuse Counselor
Potential Psychology Major Jobs
Many students worry that there aren’t any jobs to get with a bachelor’s in psychology. A bachelor’s degree is usually your first step on the psychology job ladder, with students usually needing to obtain a graduate degree and a doctoral degree before working in the field. But some jobs don’t require those advanced degrees. You can go right to work in several positions right out of college, including:
- Career counselor
- Rehab specialist
- Advertising agent
- Psychiatric technician/aide
- Social services caseworker
- Loan officer
- Child development specialist
- Marketing agent
- Corrections officer/probation officer
- Real estate agent
- Veterans’ counselor
- Research assistant
- Human resources advisor
This list is by no means comprehensive—there are dozens of jobs to get with a bachelor’s in psychology that are sure to fall within your area of interest. Best of all, these psych major jobs will give you hands-on experience that will prove invaluable as you progress in your career and work toward becoming a licensed psychologist (if that’s your goal!).
Let’s take an in-depth look at a few of these exciting opportunities below to give a full picture of what you can do with a bachelor’s in psychology.
Do you love the idea of helping others come to grips with what they want to do in life and what they want to get out of it? Then you may be a perfect fit as a career counselor, an excellent way to put your BA in psychology to good use.
Career counselors, sometimes called vocational counselors, specialize in helping students determine what they want to do in the future. They can work in both high schools and colleges, and their job is to make students feel more comfortable choosing the right classes in college and choosing the right career—in fact, a career counselor can help answer the question “What jobs can I get with a BA in psychology?” Counselors may administer some simple vocational tests that ask students a series of questions designed to test their aptitude for different job types.
Social Service Jobs
Social work is one of the most unappreciated jobs in America. They are the ones who investigate claims of child abuse and work with parents to keep families together. Because of its close ties to assessing mental health and examining family dynamics, social service jobs are some of the first jobs to get with a bachelor’s in psychology that man graduates fall into. Most social workers have a bachelor’s degree in the field or a graduate degree in social work and a license to practice. Though a bachelor’s degree in psychology won’t qualify you to work as a social worker, you can work as a social work assistant or in other social service jobs. These jobs ask you to gather research and investigate claims. You can then pass that information on to the agency and those working on the case.
While contemplating “What jobs can I get with a BA in psychology?” we’ll bet “business marketing” didn’t immediately spring to mind. But marketing is actually a great psych major job to jump into right after college, particularly if you also have a penchant for exercising your creative muscles.
Psychology is the study of human behavior, which is precisely what you need to successfully analyze and appeal to customers’ purchasing habits and drivers. The education you receive during your psychology coursework can qualify you to work as a marketing agent. Marketing agents must understand how people think and what types of marketing appeal best to those of different ages and backgrounds.
You don’t need a post-graduate degree to be a savvy marketing agent, making it an excellent option for anyone wondering what jobs you can get with a bachelor’s in psychology. You can use your knowledge of human development to help a company better market its products to children, teens, or adults of different age ranges. Those skills will also do you well when marketing your services to your clients.
There are several types of psychology jobs with a bachelor’s degree that apply to the corrections field, including probation officers and parole officers. A probation officer is someone who works with criminals given probation insteadof jail time and those on probation after serving a minimal jail sentence, while a parole officer monitors individuals that are now exiting prison after serving a substantially longer sentence.
These occupations are often chosen as psych major jobs since they are closely tied to understanding someone’s criminal motivations as well as their frame of mind after experiencing the trauma of jail or prison, often making recommendations to the court and other mental health professionals as to the best path forward for their charge. They check the details on file to ensure that the criminals live at the address recorded, follow any restrictions put in place by the court, and that they work if they’re required to be employed.
The court may implement a curfew on some convicts, require that they attend therapy, or ask that they pay any court-ordered fines. Probation officers often keep track of convicts for years after leaving jail or prison, making it a stable career with built-in longevity.
Psychiatric Aide or Technician
One of the most obvious ways to use your BA in psychology is to get in with a practice or a hospital as a psychiatric technician or aide. Both occupations help you gain invaluable experience if your ultimate goal is to work directly within the mental health field. A psychiatric aide or technician often works on-site within a hospital or mental health clinic, operating under the supervision of a licensed physician or psychologist/psychiatrist.
Becoming an aide is potentially the quickest answer to “What jobs can I get with a BA in psychology?” as you often only need a high school diploma to get started. An aide is responsible for assisting patients with basic care such as eating meals, dressing, and hygiene. There aren’t any direct medical or treatment responsibilities associated with this job, apart from helping your patient move about his or her daily activities.
A psychiatric technician has slightly heightened responsibilities, as they’re often qualified to assist with various therapies, administer medications, take a patient’s vital signs, admit and discharge patients, and even help with planning and executing a treatment plan.
If true crime podcasts were the soundtrack to your studying sessions, a career in criminology may be for you—and you can start with just a BA in psychology. As a criminologist, you’ll use data combined with your psychological expertise to identify and understand the causes of criminal behavior, as well as the societal response to crime and methods to prevent it. In addition to examining criminal evidence, you’ll often analyze aspects of crime such as criminal heredity, modes of investigation and conviction, and different prevention methods and their efficacy.
Though their jobs may seem similar at first glance, a criminologist is not to be confused with a forensic scientist. Criminology falls within the sociological discipline, which studies society or behavior as a whole. While you may use scientific data and methods in your work, you’re not attempting to solve a specific crime—rather, you’re attempting to understand crime as a global behavior using theories coupled with real-world cases. Forensic scientists, on the other hand, typically need a BS (rather than a BA) and are involved in physical evidence collection and analysis of specific crime scenes.
Mental Health or Substance Abuse Counselor
Like the psychiatric technician role, becoming a mental health counselor is another more obvious career choice when wondering, “What jobs can I get with a BA in psychology?” Mental health counseling encompasses a wide range of concentrations, including substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder specialists. For many of these positions, you can get started with just a bachelor’s in psychology before starting a post-graduate degree program to become licensed in these fields.
As a mental health counselor, you’ll work with patients that suffer from mental or emotional health issues, addiction, eating disorders, and other problems. This may be one-on-one or in group sessions, using treatment techniques such as talk therapy, 12-step programs, art therapy, and more. You will likely be part of a larger group coordinating a care and treatment plan, which can typically include licensed psychologists, physicians, nurses, social workers, and more.
What Is the Highest Paying Job With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?
Because the career opportunity field is so wide for graduates with a BA in psychology, the annual salary truly runs the gamut. According to 2020 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is the median annual salary for each of the bachelor’s in psychology jobs we highlighted above:
- Career counselor: $58,120
- Social worker: $51,760
- Marketing/advertising agent: $54,940
- Marketing/advertising manager: $141,490
- Probation officer: $55,690
- Psychiatric aide: $31,570
- Psychiatric technician: $35,030
- Criminologist: $86,110
- Mental health or substance abuse counselor: $47,600
As you can see, a position in marketing is one of the highest-paying jobs you can currently get with a bachelor’s in psychology—but keep in mind that your salary is highly dependent on the seniority of your position. A marketing or advertising manager makes nearly three times as much as an entry-level agent, which is likely the position you would first occupy straight out of college. A criminologist also makes significantly more than most of the psych major jobs on our list.
Conversely, a career as a psychiatric aide or technician will earn you a good deal less right off the bat than many of the other occupations listed, with both options netting a median salary of under $40,000 per year.
2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market forecasts and salary figures for the careers featured here represent national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2021.
Can You Be a Psychologist with a BA in Psychology?
There are a wide variety of psych major jobs that you can take right out of college—but unfortunately, becoming a full-fledged psychologist isn’t one of them. To be a psychologist you’ll need a master’s degree at minimum, and a doctorate if you wish to specialize in a specific field such as neuropsychology or organizational psychology.
While you can’t yet earn a practicing license with your bachelor’s in psychology, as evidenced above, there are still a plethora of careers you can step into while still putting all of your hard work and valuable knowledge to good use.
Is a BA in Psychology Worth It?
Absolutely! Whether you want to eventually become a licensed psychologist, or you’d rather jump into a career that utilizes your schooling differently, a bachelor’s in psychology is a major door-opener to dozens of fruitful careers. Not only are you setting yourself up for professional success (whether that’s immediately or down the road after graduate school), but you’re also equipping yourself with a deeper understanding of society at large and why people think and act in certain ways. This leads to more empathetic relationships with everyone from your family to your coworkers. You’ll also learn valuable analytical and critical thinking skills that you can apply to virtually every area of your life.
Finding a Psychology Degree Program
Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology gives you a better understanding of how people think and act, which can help you in a variety of fields. But before you can enjoy putting your passions into practice, you’ll first need to find a program to start you down the road to your new career.
Increasingly, many psychology programs offer the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s in psychology online, which is an excellent option for those looking for flexibility or those who already work full-time and are looking to change careers. Some also offer hybrid course roadmaps that include in-person labs and practicals, appealing to those who learn best from in-class interaction and discussion. Whatever you prefer, there’s a psychology degree program near you that fits your needs.