Human Services Guide

Where Can I Work With a Psychology Degree?

Often those who are in Psychology programs will wonder about their post education work opportunities and ask “Where can I work with a degree in Psychology?” Some students know they want to continue until they have an advanced degree and go through the steps to becoming licensed. However, many students do not want to act in a counseling capacity or do not wish to have the additional responsibilities that are required to open their own practice. A number of students have financial considerations that warrant them looking to start seeking employment as soon as they have earned their Bachelor of Psychology. There are a variety of private institutions that will want to employ Psychologists for a variety of reasons. For example, many corporations hire Psychologists in order to study consumer behavior and for their input in advertising and marketing campaigns. There are a wide variety of opportunities in the private sector and they are too numerous to cover in this article.

Some are drawn towards working for a cause and for those who are driven by a desire to achieve societal change, finding work in a Non-profit it is simply a matter of finding a Non-profit that is hiring Psychologists and whose agenda is one that is a good match for the Psychologist’s own desires to enact change. While the opportunities for Psychologists within the Non-profit sector are not as numerous as in the private sector, there are still a great variety of opportunities and it is best to find Non-profits whose mission statement resonates and to contact them directly to see if they have need for the skills of a trained Psychologist.

If the idea of working within the structure and well-funded apparatus of a government agency at either the state or federal level is appealing, then you will find that the remained of this article is quite enlightening. The critical question for Psychologists interested in working for the government is one of finding an agency whose agenda and mission is one that you feel you can work well within. By far the biggest employer at the government level of Psychologists is the Federal government which has a great diversity of agencies that are pursuing many different policy objectives and outcomes. We have included a brief description of those agencies which operate under the auspices of the department of Health and Human Services for you to consider and see if their mission is one that resonates with you. Each department is described below along with a few job titles you will be eligible to apply for with a Bachelor of Psychology or a Master of Psychology or higher.

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Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services works in a variety of capacities for each state, one of its primary mission objectives is to correctly administer a variety of state as well as federally funded programs such as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP formerly Food Stamps), Medicare, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF formerly Welfare).

The Department of Human Services also provides a number of important services such as protecting children through its department of Child Welfare, helping the elderly and disabled to have access to services through the Aging and Disability Services department, granting access to unemployment benefits through the Employment office as well as other duties that fall under the umbrella of Human Services. Most states have very large Departments of Human Services often acting as one of the largest employers of Human Services professionals in the state if not the largest. As such there are always many opportunities at the Department of Human Services.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Eligibility Worker, Application Screener, Call Center Specialist

Potential jobs if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Child Welfare Case Manager, Social Services Manager

Administration on Aging

The Administration on Aging is a Federal organization that researches the various issues around aging and the state of elder care in America in order to improve services and standards for elder care. The Administration on Aging has a number of smaller sub-departments within the agency including departments that focus on: research around issues related to the elderly, a regulatory branch that works to ensure proper care of the elderly, a policy department and also a small direct care department to test and implement improvements to elder care. The Administration on Aging is physically located in Washington D.C., however, it also has a number of regional branch offices that work to help bring its mission to fruition. As a large agency with a presence in much of the US, the Administration on Aging has a variety of job opportunities.

Potential Jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Elder Care Information Specialist, Policy Analyst.

Potential jobs if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Geriatric Psychology Specialist

Administration for Children and Families

The heart of the mission of the Administration for Children and Families is to help advocate and cultivate the empowerment of children and families economically, while simultaneously working in partnership with communities in order to engender an increased sense of inclusiveness and focus on family and children in society. The Administration for Children and Families works tirelessly to create lasting cooperative efforts with tribal, state and local leaders to create overcome challenges in the system that act as obstacles to families who are attempting to achieve economic independence. Working with these same groups the Administration for Children and Families helps to increase the sense of community and empowerment of families and children in local communities. A major focus of the Administration for Children and Families it to increase the ease of receiving services that help children and family through researching policy changes that can reform inefficiencies in delivery systems. The Administration for Children and Families also works to help various vulnerable communities with a focus on children and families this can include the homeless as well as migrant workers and their families. As a Federal agency that is based in Washington D.C. with regional offices the Administration for Children and Families has many job opportunities.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Program Analyst, Field Researcher

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Head Start Program Specialist, Management Analyst

Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

By using a two pronged approach of in-house and grant driven research, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) is able to discover new ways to increase safety, reduce inefficiency, promote effectiveness, and improve the overall quality of Healthcare in the US. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s primary responsibility is to conduct or promote via grants, research in medicine that it in turn disseminates to the government and the country as a whole with the goal of helping citizens make educated choices that promote the betterment of healthcare throughout the nation. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is based in Rockville, Maryland.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Clinical Research Assistant

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Clinical Researcher in Psychological Applications, Head of Research in Psychology

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tasked with the study and prevention of outbreaks of both communicable diseases and also epidemics in the country that are not caused by pathogens such as obesity. This goal is achieved through the analysis and careful study of historical epidemics, current health trends in the United States, demographics, human behavior and the analysis and study of disease causing pathogens. With this data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then creates computer models and simulations to forecast how current health trends in the population as well as potential infectious disease outbreaks might spread through society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then has tools that help it to understand what is causing epidemics and also in the case of potential outbreaks of infectious disease what the likely channels might be that helps pathogens to spread. This knowledge then helps society to adequately prepare for and prevent large scale outbreaks from occurring or in the case of current epidemics unrelated to infectious disease, what can be done to reverse a negative health trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also studies ways in which to improve vaccines or create them for disease that are currently without a preventative vaccine. The fairly large $8.8 billion dollar budget gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the means with which to carry out cutting edge Public Health initiatives that are some of the most efficacious on Earth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employs a large number of behavioral scientists from various disciplines in order to have a better grasp on how human behavior impacts the spread of disease both via pathogens and health choices. They also use behavioral science to create models on how people might behave in the event of a large scale outbreak of a communicable epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based just outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Assistant Behavioral Researcher

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Behavioral Scientist, Public Health Advisor

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration is appointed with the task of regulating the food supply as well as pharmaceuticals and a variety of other medical systems and devices. Through the review of industry research and clinical testing as well as third party and in-house clinical research, the Food and Drug Administration evaluates the safety, efficacy and long term effects of food products, medical devices and pharmaceuticals to protect the public health. Interestingly the Food and Drug Administration also oversees and regulates a number of items that might not be readily apparent such as veterinary products, sanitations systems and reproductive materials such as donor sperm. The Food and Drug Administration is an extremely large and powerful agency that has a great diversity of occupations it needs to have for the smooth functioning of the organization. The Food and Drug Administration is based in White Oak, Maryland, but has regional offices throughout the country as part of its oversight duties.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Policy Analyst

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Head of Clinical Research for Psychological Pharmaceuticals

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

The Health Resources and Services Administration is tasked with the improvement of access to healthcare for vulnerable populations who are at the fringes of society and are most at risk. Through the provision of grants to various non-profits and private organizations, the Health Resources and Services Administration provide indirect support to the medically vulnerable and uninsured so they can begin to receive the benefits of adequate healthcare. The Health Resources and Services Administration provides grant money to organizations that help give access to healthcare and services to those who are deemed “medically vulnerable”, such as uninsured pregnant women and children along with groups such as the homeless and those who are living with HIV/AIDS. The Health Resources and Services Administration regulate the donation of several bio-materials such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and organs. A major part of the mission of the Health Resources and Services Administration is to increase access to adequate health care in the poorer parts of the rural United States. The Health Resources and Services Administration acts as the government’s processor of claims of harm by vaccination ordered by the government and provides compensation to victims. The Health Resources and Services Administration also oversees and complies a variety of databases created to discover healthcare malpractice, waste, fraud and abuse as well as act to prevent future cases of the same.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Claims Processor

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Public Health Program Specialist,

Indian Health Services (IHS)

The Indian Health Services division is tasked with the delivery of healthcare to members of federally recognized tribal groups including the Inuit people of Alaska. The Indian Health Services division works to form cooperative agreements with tribal governments with the goal of improving measurable health outcomes for Native American groups on reservation land. This is part of a broader effort by the Federal government to raise the overall standard of living in tribal lands primarily through an attempt to increase health and public health education. The Indian Health Services division works in many states as well as within tribal territories of federally recognized tribes. The Indian Health Services division has amongst its duties the formation of organizations that work with state and tribal governments to administer federally funded healthcare programs and benefits. The main office of the Indian Health Services division is located in Rockville, Maryland, but has many different branches and hospitals scattered across the nation that offer a wide diversity of employment opportunities within them all.
Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Licensed Tribal Psychologist

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The National Institutes of Health has as its stated goal to increase the efficacy, safety and improve the overall biomedical and health applications in the nation through research and development of novel methods, practices and treatments. The 30.9 Billion dollar budget allotted to the National Institutes of Health gives it the ability to hire a wide variety of professionals in many disciplines in order to fulfill this task. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Institutes of Health has a several different sub-departments with the two main departments being the NIH Extramural Research Program and the NIH Intramural Research Program. While they both are responsible for biomedical research, but the Intramural Research Program is known for working to create an interdisciplinary and synergistic approach to research that incorporates Psychology among its many disciplines to achieve its objectives. It is hard to overstate the impact of the National Institutes of Health on medical research as its massive budget accounts for over 30% of the spending in the field for the entire United States.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Administrative Assistant

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Health Science Administrator in Psychology, Head of Clinical Research in Psychological Applications

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The primary goal of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is to give increase access to preventative care, rehabilitative services and other health services to those who suffer from mental illness or have substance abuse problems. The goal of this increased access to care is to minimize additional medical issues, preventable disability and even death caused by inadequate treatment of these serious conditions. A secondary task of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is to provide a quantifiable reduction in incidental expenses for the country as a whole and at the community level due to untreated or inadequately treated mental ill and substance abusing persons. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has especially keyed in on prevention as a way of reducing the overall scope of mental illness and substance abuse in society. Working in tandem with their peers within the justice system, members of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration create novel solutions to the extraneous costs that society is saddled with due to trauma caused by untreated mental illness and substance abuse. Reform is another key part of the agenda of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as it works with the military and military families to deal with the problem of mental illness and drug abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also works to enact public health reforms around the issue of mental illness and drug abuse. They also endeavor to improve access to housing for homeless people who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse problems. The agency also endeavors to coordinate treatment and tracking of health information for health providers who assist people within these vulnerable parts of society. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also acts in a public education capacity to increase societal awareness and understanding of mental illness and substance abuse related topics. Based in Rockville, Maryland the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has offices in other regions.

Potential jobs if you have a Bachelor’s degree: Policy reviewer

Potential Job if you have a Master’s degree or higher: Licensed Psychologist