The strong interpersonal skills that a psychology major innately owns or has developed through training open paths to a variety of careers. Coupled with a desire to provide help to others, the ability to work with people is one of the most marketable skills of a psychology graduate. The power of persuasion is a tool that psychologists use to encourage people to change behaviors that limit accomplishment.
• school, community or counseling psychology
• clinical or private practice
• industrial and organizational psychology
• military or academic practice
• human factors or health psychology
Choosing an Alternative Career Path
Traditional jobs offered by private companies may not pose the challenge for something new and different that today’s graduates prefer. The APA site suggests career paths that offer new opportunities to contribute in diverse areas.
• Interior Design
Offices often put workers in cubicles to save money on floor space and to maximize profits, but research shows that employees are less productive when the work environment is repressive. Understanding human behavior allows design psychologists to work with interior decorators to create work spaces that meet the psychological needs of workers and encourage productivity.
• Animal Protection
Academic training in psychology enables a graduate to understand the complexities of animal behavior, including non-humans. Working with public zoos or private animal parks provides the opportunity to ensure the proper treatment of animals and to conduct programs on science and education.
• Criminal Justice
Psychologists provide support for police departments through counseling services for officers whose work requires them to experience high levels of stress. Services may include evaluating officers for duty fitness, team building, crisis intervention and training. With additional education, psychology graduates often serve as trial consultants or forensic psychologists.
As the population ages, a greater need emerges to serve people who are older than age 65. APA projects that people in this age group can make up more than 20 percent of the population by 2050. Older adults are often more receptive to counseling for mental health issues than other age groups, making the field an expanding area for innovative graduates.
Recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have created a great need for psychologists to provide mental health services to veterans who suffered mental as well as physical damage. Psychologists are key members of mental health teams at Veterans’ Affairs nursing homes, hospitals and detox centers.
Contributing in a Meaningful Way
Knowledge of human behavior and psychology is a valuable skill that allows trained graduates to make life easier for others. Assuring proper treatment of animals, supporting military veterans, improving office workplaces, assisting police departments and working with older adults give psychology graduates a way to make meaningful contributions to the lives of others.