Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

How To Choose a Career in Psychology

5 Steps to Chart a Course as a Psychology Professional


Psychology degrees aren’t just for psychologists. To become a practicing psychologist or psychiatrist, most states require you to earn a master’s degree or doctorate and complete licensing requirements. But if clinical work isn’t in your plans, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology can still open up a variety of career possibilities. So many, in fact, that choosing a career path might prove challenging. Follow the steps below to learn how to choose a career in psychology.

Step 1. Understand that a psychology degree can prepare you for many careers.
When you pursue a degree in psychology, you’ll study the workings of the human mind and relationships. That knowledge is applicable in a wide variety of fields. For example, marketers consider human motivation when they promote new products. Career counselors can use psychology to better understand the students they serve and help them think through their options. And human resource professionals might use psychology to understand human behavior in the workplace.

Step 2. Consider what aspect of psychology interests you.
If you’re interested in all aspects of the human mind and relationships, earning a degree in general psychology might be best for you. Are you fascinated by criminal justice? Then studying forensic psychology might be your best bet. If you think you’d like to work with children, teens, or seniors, developmental psychology could be your choice. Are workplace dynamics your focus? Then industrial psychology might be for you.  

Step 3. Think about how far you might want to take your education.
Education is an investment of both time and money. A bachelor’s degree typically takes at least four years to complete. A master’s degree usually requires two or more additional years of schooling. A doctoral degree will take another four years or longer to complete. However, if you are able to determine your educational path from the start, you may be able to save yourself both time and money. For instance, Walden’s BS in Psychology program has an accelerated option that allows you to take up to five master’s-level courses at the undergraduate rate. These courses will apply toward your master’s degree, if you decide to continue.

Step 4. Determine the requirements for your future career.
If you have your mind set on a particular career, the requirements for that position can help guide your degree decision-making. Take forensic psychology, for example. With a BS in Psychology, you could pursue a career as a victim advocate, court liaison, or police officer. With an MS in Forensic Psychology, you could become a jury consultant, law enforcement advocate, or expert witness. A PhD in Forensic Psychology can prepare you to become a consultant, teacher, or researcher.1

Step 5. Select a degree.
Once you know what aspect of psychology interests you and what your long-term educational journey might look like, you can choose the type of degree you plan to earn. A BS in Psychology is a great start, and from there, you can continue your educational path with a master’s and maybe even a doctorate.

All psychology degrees can provide you with insight into the human mind while also opening up an array of career possibilities as a psychology professional. No matter what specific degree you decide to pursue, consider earning it online. You can complete your coursework in a location and at a time that works for you, adding a great deal of flexibility to your educational experience.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online psychology degree programs, including a BS in Psychology, an MS in Psychology, an MS in Developmental Psychology, an MS in Forensic Psychology, and an MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Expand your career options and earn your psychology degree online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

1Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of these degree programs.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,