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

What can I do with a major in Psychology?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists analyze cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people interact with each other and their environments. Some psychologists may work independently while conducting research, consulting with clients, or treating patients. Others  become a part of a healthcare team collaborating with physicians and social workers.  And the third group of psychologists works with students, teachers, and parents in school settings.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook (2018, June 20). Psychologists.

What Can I do with Degree in Psychology?






  • Counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Mental Health Services

Federal government

Department of Justice

Veterans Health 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 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 governments

National headquarters and local branches of nonprofit organizations

Consider business minor or double major.

Get experience in counseling or advocacy.

Need a related master’s degree for advancement.


Federal, state and local governments

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 governments

National headquarters and local branches on nonprofit organizations

Acquire experience in counseling, advocacy, or administration.

Obtain a graduate degree for advancement.


Federal government

Department of Health and Human Services

National Institute of Education

Office of Naval Research

National headquarters of nonprofit organizations

Universities and colleges

Work with a professor on his/her research project.

Develop strong quantitative and statistical skills.

Obtain a 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 a 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 an admissions office tour guide.

Serve as a 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 a 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 a 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 Pages).
    Obtain business research practicum experience.
  • Become a reporter for campus newspaper.
    Serve as a canvasser/phone interviewer for charity or political campaign.


Public and private schools

Colleges and universities

Obtain a teaching certificate for public school positions; a dual certification will increase marketability.
Seek a guidance from the 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 a leadership position in a campus organization.

Find internship with an 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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