A bachelor’s degree in psychology is one of the most popular college majors, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Since the early 1970s, the number of psychology degrees conferred each year in the United States has almost tripled, outpacing the overall growth rate for all fields of study.
Why do so many students choose psychology?
Among other benefits, they can “develop research and writing skills that will serve them well in any profession,” the American Psychological Association (APA) notes. Students can also learn problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that allow them to evaluate and synthesize data, statistics and other information.
Other skills associated with a course of study in psychology include: communication and interpersonal; creativity; ethics and values.
Psychology majors are often motivated by a “desire to understand what makes people ‘tick’ and to make a positive difference in the world,” according to Florida Institute of Technology’s School of Psychology.
A career as a psychologist typically requires at least a master’s degree and, in many cases, a state license or certification. Attaining a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology or a related field is a common first step to a career as a practicing psychologist, and can also prepare students for employment opportunities in marketing, human resources, administrative management, public relations and other disciplines.
As the APA notes, “Psychology is an extraordinarily diverse field with hundreds of career paths.” Among the potential career options with a BA in Psychology:
Behavior analysts help individuals with mental and emotional issues through behavior modification. After conducting a baseline assessment, they create a personalized treatment plan for their patients. These psychology professionals can specialize in areas such as autism, addiction and stress management.
Working in hospitals, schools, religious organizations and social services, youth counselors assist children and teens in resolving problems in areas such as childhood depression, abuse and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Assessing the availability of social services, organizing after-school activities, coordinating counseling and communicating with teachers, law enforcement officials and child services administrators are a few of the responsibilities of youth caseworkers.
Case managers assist clients in finding the help they need to cope with mental health problems and other life challenges. These professionals interview children, parents, family members, caregivers, healthcare providers and other stakeholders to evaluate the best therapy options and create a treatment plan.
Working with licensed practitioners, staff assistant psychologists may assist in creating assessments, evaluating clients, maintaining accurate treatment records and consulting with other providers.
Occupational therapy assistants provide rehabilitation services designed to help patients cope with the temporary or permanent loss of motor or learning skills. Typically working under the supervision of an occupational therapist, these professionals provide clients with tools and techniques for performing activities of daily living.
Working in homes, schools and day care centers, child care providers supervise and nurture children through activities and exercises. They seek to support intellectual, social and emotional growth, and foster independence and self-esteem.
Child development specialists monitor and assess children for physical and mental development, create and manage health education programs, and assist teachers and parents in administering therapy and behavior modification techniques to youngsters.
Working for government agencies, social services providers and healthcare organizations, community and social service specialists coordinate and facilitate the delivery of social services and outreach programs to children and adults.
Also known as child welfare workers or child protective services specialists, child welfare specialists visit homes and consult with teachers, doctors and other professionals to evaluate the living conditions of children and teens to ensure they are safe and nurturing.
Addiction rehabilitation assistants support patients in addiction recovery and substance abuse treatment programs, providing assistance with education, outreach, mentoring and advocacy.
Residential assistants are employed in substance abuse treatment centers, group homes and mental health facilities, where they work with clients to improve their quality of life, including help with daily living tasks.
Labor relations specialists seek to resolve conflicts and disputes in the workplace, including acting as a liaison between management and employees in negotiations related to salaries, pensions, healthcare plans and other labor issues.
Psychiatric technicians work in hospitals, mental health clinics and nursing facilities, providing care to patients dealing with mental illness, developmental disabilities or other conditions. The daily duties of psychiatric technicians can include assisting with therapeutic, educational and recreational activities.
Vocational specialists, or vocational counselors, are employed in a variety of settings, including government agencies, social services providers and private consulting firms. They assess clients’ educational qualifications, employment history, physical capabilities and personality characteristics in order to match their abilities and passions to career goals.