5 Career Settings for Psy.D. Degree Graduates

Career Options with a Psychology Doctoral Degree

  • Hospitals and Medical Facilities
  • Correctional Institutes
  • Private Practice
  • Military
  • Counseling Centers

A Psy.D. program can prepare any student for working in a professional psychology setting, but most students will want to know some of the career settings that they can work in before they finish a program. Doctor of Psychology programs include both classes and fieldwork and help students prepare to work in a number of different fields. The organizations and settings that hire graduates of these programs include both private and public options.

Related resource: Ranking Top 50 Best Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology

1. Hospitals and Medical Facilities

The top employers who hire psychology doctoral graduates include both hospitals and medical facilities. Hospitals need professionals who can work with patients in the emergency room and decide what to do with them next. Graduates may start out in lower level positions and slowly work their way up to jobs as mental health managers. They manage the work that others do when working with psychiatric patients.

2. Correctional Institutes

Many career settings open to doctorate holders include government agencies and departments. The Department of Corrections is just one. This is the branch of the government concerned with the needs of inmates. Professionals with psychology degrees may work with other government agencies to determine if they should move inmates to other prisons. They can also work in forensic psychology and offer counseling to inmates. Correctional institutes need psychologists who can handle working long hours and with different types of people.

3. Private Practice

Students enrolled in a Psy.D. program may want to work in private practice later. This gives them the chance to be their own bosses and to work on their own rather than for a specific employer. Those working in private practice are responsible for keeping their licenses up to date and with the daily operations of that office. This may include hiring workers to handle calls and clients, finding ways to advertise and reach new clients and following up with anyone who decided to stop seeking therapy. They can work in any area of psychology and counseling, including marriage and family counseling or substance abuse counseling.

4. Military

There are also military jobs open to psychologists today. Those with a Psy.D. degree can work for the military without enlisting. The military needs trained and qualified professionals who can help soldiers struggling with mental health issues. They might work overseas on bases and offer counseling to those who saw action and combat in the field. The military also needs psychologists who can screen candidates and decide who should not enlist. They may also diagnose those who want to leave the military and those who have mental health issues that will keep them from doing their daily duties.

5. Counseling Centers

One career setting for Psy.D. graduates that students may consider is a counseling center. These centers often offer mental health counseling for those who cannot afford to see a psychologist such as a community health center. They are the ones who diagnose affected people and decide on the best course of treatment for them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, the top 10% of mental health counselors working in the United States earn more than $70,000 a year. This figure is less than what those working in private practice make.

Doctor of Psychology programs can help prepare students for working in any type of field because it allows them to change the program based on their career goals. Some of the career settings for Psy.D. graduates include the military, correctional institutes, counseling centers, hospitals and similar facilities and private practice.