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In order to practice psychology, you must have a doctorate and be licensed. However, you can work in the field of psychology with a bachelor's and master's degree, for example, as a case manager, but you will not be able to perform psychological services without supervision. Of course, your earning potential is much less without a doctorate.

Given that psychology is so popular, and obviously most graduates do not go to graduate school to become professional psychologists, you might ask "What do people do with a bachelor's degree in psychology?"

  • A bachelor's degree in psychology is a wonderful way to gget into all kinds of different graduate schools ( i.e. medicine, law, psychology, chiropractic medicine, social work, business, and others.)
  • most students end up working with only a bachelor's degree
  • knowing how people think and act, and what sorts of environments enhance people's motivation are great ski8lls to have in any job setting

Psychology is rated 3rd in terms of growing professions (through 2005). Examples of possible income levels:

Professor of psychology
low to mid $40s (starting)

Private practice

Community mental health

Industrial organizational
$60k +

Human Service (Helping People)
  • Clinical Psychologist - help clients with mental or emotional problems.  They administer tests, interview, and assess patients; conduct individual and group psychotherapy; and may do research in clinically related areas.
  • Counseling Psychologist - typically, see less disturbed patients than clinical psychologists.  (Today, the two sub-areas appear to be converging.)  May do career planning, marital and family conflicts, growth issues.
  • Community Psychologist - work for mental health agencies, state governments, and private organizations.  Goal is to help individuals, their neighborhoods, and communities grow, develop, and plan for the future.  Usually are active helping communities develop social support groups and strengthening social support networks for clients.
  • School Psychologist - Help students, teachers, and parents deal with academic or learning related problems.
Applied Psychology (Solving Problems)

In general, applied psychologists do research or use research to solve everyday practical problems.

  • Engineering Psychologist - How to use machines more efficiently (e.g., what is the most pleasing ATM screen?)
  • Educational Psychologist - How learning proceeds in the classroom; relations between intelligence or personality and academic performance.
  • Forensic Psychologist - Legal issues, the courts, rehabilitation and parole concerns.
  • Sports Psychologist - Focus on brain-behavior relationships, the motivation and preparation of athletes.
  • Industrial Psychologist - how employers evaluate employees, personnel selection, work appraisals, productivity.
Experimental Psychology (Gaining Knowledge)

Focuses on identifying and understanding the basic processes involved in behavior and thought.  May be involved in interests such as visual perception, problem solving, learning, or hormonal influences on behavior.  Experimental psychology seeks to understand basic processes versus trying to help people or solve everyday problems.

  • Developmental Psychologist - Emotional, physical, and intellectual changes that take place over the lifespan of organisms.
  • Social Psychologist - How people interact with one another; how another person affects behavior in a person; how and when do people form intimate relationships?
  • Cognitive Psychologist - Concerned with thought processes; the relations between learning, memory, and perception.
  • Physiological Psychologist (Neuropsychologist) - Looks at the brain and its relation to behavior.  Drugs, hormones, even brain transplants are examined.