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PSYC U300 - Careers in Psychology - section 10 - Beth Freeman: Home

What can I do with a major in Psychology?

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments. Some work independently, conducting research, consulting with clients, or working with patients while others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and social workers or in school settings, working with students, teachers, and parents.

What Can I do with Degree in Psychology?







  • Counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Mental Health Services

Federal government, Departments of Justice

Veterans Administration

State government, Departments of Human Services

Mental Health & Mental Retardation

  • Community mental health centers
  • State psychiatric hospitals
  • Facilities for mentally impaired


  • Probation and parole

Local government

Senior citizen’s centers

United Way agencies/local branches of national nonprofit organizations including:

  • Goodwill Industries
  • Boys and Girls Clubs

Religiously-affiliated service organizations



Obtain essential practical experience:
Find part-time or summer jobs, e.g. camp counselor, resident hall advisor.

Plan internship or practicum placements for academic credit.

Get volunteer experiences. e.g. hotline, Big Brother/ Sister, Special Olympics, psychiatric hospital, service fraternity/sorority.

Pursue excellent academic record.

Become fluent in foreign language spoken by multi-cultural clients.

Be willing to relocate.

Obtain graduate degree for substantive counseling work.
Become familiar with government hiring procedures.


Federal, state and local government

National headquarters and local branches of non-profit organizations

Consider business minor or double major.

Get experience in counseling or advocacy.

Need related master’s degree for advancement.


Federal, state and local government

Local branches of national nonprofit organizations

Obtain experience in counseling, advocacy, or administration.

Acquire knowledge of community problems and government resources.


Federal, state and local government

National headquarters and local branches on nonprofit organizations

Acquire experience in counseling, advocacy or administration.

Obtain graduate degree for advancement.


Federal government

Dept. of Health and Human Services

National Institute of Education

Office of Naval Research

National headquarters of non-profit organizations

Universities and colleges

Work with a professor on his or her research project.

Develop strong quantitative and statistical skills.

Obtain graduate degree for advancement.


  • Employment and Recruitment
  • Labor Relations
  • Compensation and Benefits

Human Resources (Personnel) departments of companies

Government personnel agencies and departments

Employment agencies

Acquire related experiences as Resident Hall advisor, New Student Orientation Advisor, Admissions office tour guide or recruiter.

Find committee work in policy making or settling disputes.
Supplement curriculum with business courses.


  • Research
  • Programming
  • Writing and editing
  • Special events
  • Media placement
  • Public speaking
  • Fund-raising

Public relations and advertising firms

Companies with in-house public relations departments

Trade associations

Federal, state and local government

College and universities

Nonprofit organizations

Develop strong writing and speaking skills.

Obtain related experience with campus newspaper, TV, or radio.

Serve as admissions office tour guide.

Serve as fund-raiser or political canvasser.

Find internship through campus chapter of Public Relations Society of America.


  • Creative
  • Media
  • Account Services
  • Research

Advertising agencies

Companies with in-house advertising

Agencies or departments

Obtain relevant experience with campus newspaper, TV, or radio.

Work with student-run business.
Find internship with market research or advertising firm.

Develop portfolio for creative positions.

Plan business minor or double major for account services positions.


Market research firms

Market research departments of consumer goods manufacturing firms

Develop strong background in math/statistics.

Become involved in American Marketing Association.

Obtain related experience:

  • Get part-time or summer field service experience with market research firm (see “Marketing Services” in Yellow Page).
    Obtain business research practicum experience.
  • Become reporter for campus newspaper.
    Serve as canvasser/phone interviewer for charity or political campaign.


Public and private schools

College and universities

Obtain teaching certificate for public school positions; dual certification will increase marketability.
Seek guidance form educational department of your school.

Secure strong personal recommendations.

Volunteer as a tutor.

PhD required for post-secondary teaching.


  • Management
  • Buying

All major retail firms including:

  • Drug
  • Specialty
  • Variety
  • Department store chains

Obtain related sales experience.

Secure leadership position in campus organization.

Find internship with individual or chain store.





Insurance companies

Real estate companies

Obtain sales experience.

Take business courses.



Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer


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