Careers in Psychology
The Meandering Path
In April 2013, Prof. Rebecca Fraser-Thill organized a panel comprised of department members to help our majors understand that one of the challenges of any career is the often non-linear trajectory a successful career path can take.
Each of the seven panelists describes his or her own career path and offers insight into how that experience might help someone at the beginning of a career.
Video 1: Intro & Brian Pfohl (6min 35sec)
Video 2: Su Langdon (10min 55sec)
Video 3: Jill Reich, Rebecca Fraser-Thill, & Kathy Low (14min 12sec)
Video 4: Amy Douglass & Michael Sargent (14min 15sec)
Video 5: Director of the Bates College Career Development Center, David McDonough (8min 43sec)
(Career development and its myriad challenges is topic that Prof. Fraser-Thill addresses regularly on her blog, Career Avoidance 101.)
Specific Career Possibilities
The following list of psychology-related career possibilities has been compiled by the department faculty. Some of these follow the traditional career path of psychology, including graduate school in the field. Others are jobs that are indirectly related, but where a background in psychology is advantageous.
Clicking on the link for a given career leads to the US government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics site. This site includes a wealth of information, including a detailed job description, type of education/certification necessary, employment trends in the US, expected salary ranges, and related professional organizations. (For careers where there is no related BLS entry, a link is provided to Wikipedia. Those links are marked with a *.)
No graduate school required
Abused women’s advocate
Day care worker
Graphic designer/ User-interface designer
High school teacher
Human resources specialist
Life coach *
Some graduate training necessary
Epidemiologist/ Public health consultant
Marriage and family counselor
Mediator/ Conflict resolution specialist
Speech and language therapist
Statistical consultant *
Trial consultant *
Ph.D. or equivalent degree required
Types of Applied Psychology
Completing a terminal degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology can lead to a number of different specializations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics site gives a good overview of the profession in general. Furthermore, here is a sample of some applied psychology specialties. For each subfield, we are providing links to Wikipedia (marked with the icon), which offers accurate and concise summaries of the subfields along with educational requirements. We are also providing links to professional organizations associated with these specialties.
Psychologists who choose from these applied specialties may work in an academic setting, combining teaching with their research and applied work. However, many choose to work outside of academia as full-time research psychologists for corporations, consulting firms, independently funded labs, or government agencies.
Note: Click on the icon to link to the appropriate Wikipedia article for each topic.
- Clinical neuropsychologist
- Clinical psychologist
- Counseling psychologist
- Crisis intervention specialist
- National Organization for Victim Assistance Crisis Response Team
- NASP’s National Emergency Assistance Team, specializing in school crises
- Forensic psychologist
- American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS)
- Industrial/Organizational psychologist
- School psychologist
- Sports psychologist
Other Career Resources Online
The American Psychological Association (APA) provides information about careers on their website. For example, they have testimonials and descriptions from dozens of professionals in non-academic careers that are related to psychology (e.g., Human Factors Expert, Market Research Consultant, Highway Safety Research Analyst).
The APA also has a great online resource about finding, applying to, and getting funding for psychology graduate programs.
Interested in reading more about psychology careers? Check out these books on the topic! (Link goes to Amazon.com, but many of them are available for free in libraries or the career center.)
Be sure to check out Bates Career Services page for information about how they can help you start your post-Bates career!