Human Services Guide

Opening The Doors With a Degree in Psychology

As the Human Services sector matures and the work force becomes better educated, the importance of obtaining an advanced degree increases. Due to the progressively competitive nature of the current economic environment an advanced education is becoming a necessity, especially within the field of Psychology.

While some jobs are available to those holding a Bachelor’s degree, many positions require a Master’s degree to meet the minimum qualifications of a job description and obtain an interview. In some cases, a doctorate in a field or even post-doctoral work is one of the few ways to make your resume truly stand out. Employers are able to be very discerning in the current economic environment. Many employers see an advanced degree as being more valuable than a few years of experience in a given field.

A great education can help you not only meet the requirements for a job, but also can give you the tools and knowledge to truly excel at the career you choose to pursue. Regardless of which sub-sector or specialty you want to focus on, getting a quality education from an excellent school is a critical first step.

Different levels of degree attainment confer different advantages and this should be carefully weighed when considering your educational future.

Bachelors in Psychology - Find a School

In these extremely competitive times even entry level positions are increasingly requiring a Bachelor’s degree. Gone are the days where a High School diploma could get you an interview with most Human Services agencies. With a Bachelor’s degree you can get your foot in the door and start a career at the entry level and use experience in the field to promote. A Bachelor’s in Psychology is a useful and flexible degree that is seen as a highly related field of study in most Human Services agencies.

If you really want your resume to stand out, it is wise to supplement your degree with fluency in a foreign language. Depending on the region you plan to work in, different languages are favored. However, learning Spanish is usually a safe bet due to the large Spanish language speaking population in the US. This is especially true for entry level Human Services careers as many agencies directly work with immigrant populations. Having fluency in a foreign language is extremely helpful if you plan on becoming an eligibility worker as you will have direct contact with non-native speakers. Many states offer a premium for bi-lingual workers. Other states are simply requiring that candidates be bi-lingual to even get an interview for a position.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology you can qualify for some of the following position titles:

  • Behavioral Management Aide
  • Case Management Aide
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Juvenile court Liaison
  • Probation officer
  • Rehabilitation Case Worker

These are considered entry level positions in the Human Services sector and are a good way to start on your career in the Human Services field. If you want to start at a more advanced job, you will need to either work your way up in the agency with experienced and your Bachelor’s degree or you will need to gain more education such as a Master of Psychology.

Masters of Psychology - Find a School

In today’s competitive economic environment it is often said that “A Master’s degree is the new Bachelors”. What is meant by this is that employers that used to require a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement have decided that they have the luxury to only seek the most qualified candidates. Not only will a Master’s degree open more doors than a Bachelor’s degree in terms of employment within agencies, but it is also a critical step towards opening one’s own practice in counseling.

Unlike some other fields, the focus of your Master’s degree in Psychology is actually very important in determining your career options after graduation. For instance a Master’s in Clinical Psychology would potentially allow one to practice psychological counseling in some states under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. A Master’s in Experimental Psychology on the other hand would gear one towards a more research based career track. A Master’s in Applied Psychology would allow one to work in sub-sectors of the field such as forensic psychology or industrial-organization psychology. The job outlook for industrial-organizational psychology is the best of any sub-sector of psychology.

The freedom of choice you gain from a Master’s degree is exponentially larger than what one gains from having simply a Bachelor’s degree. Having a Master’s degree also opens up the potential of joining management straight out of university. A Master’s degree tends to bring with it a significantly higher income as well. Psychology is a field where one can work in a variety of sub-sectors from Human Services to market research in advertising. There are tremendous opportunities in this field for those who have the appropriate training.

Here are some of the job titles you can hold with a Masters in Psychology:

  • Vocational rehabilitation case worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Human resources analyst
  • Behavioral counselor
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Market research
  • Public relations representative
  • Social services manager

Doctorate of Psychology

Obtaining your doctorate in psychology is by far the best educational choice you can make. From opening up the possibilities of a huge range of career paths, to being the most lucrative degree from a monetary standpoint, getting your doctorate will be a huge boon to your career. The Doctorate degree stands at the pinnacle of education and gives one expert status within their field. One can then go on to train new generations of Psychologists or move immediately into a high ranking management position. By obtaining a Doctorate you guarantee that you will have access to the highest paid positions with the greatest level of responsibility and prestige. The primary advantage to a Doctorate in Psychology is you will be able to obtain a license in most states to become an independent Psychological counselor and start your own practice. A Doctorate in Psychology gives you the flexibility to pursue the Psychology career of your dreams in a way no other degree does.

Here is a small list of potential job titles you can hold with a Doctorate in Psychology:

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Sports Psychologist
  • Neuropsychologist

Getting an advanced degree in Psychology is critical in today’s highly competitive marketplace. If you would like to know more about schools in your area with Psychology programs, you can browse our database of schools by clicking here. Now is a great time to get started on your career in psychology, get started today!