What Careers Are Available with a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

A master’s degree in psychology will open professional doors in a number of different industries. Though there are general master’s programs in psychology, many psychology degree programs focus more specifically on one of the discipline’s narrower sub-fields. The focus of your coursework will largely determine the professional opportunities that are available to you, so be sure to do adequate research and choose wisely. Once you have found a concentration or industry that piques your interest, you should begin to gather more information from those who work in that area via social media, telephone conversations and in-person informational interviews. Here is a list of potential employers and career paths for people who hold a master’s degree in psychology, though it is by no means completely exhaustive:


A master’s degree in psychology can serve as a stepping stone to a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. is a terminal, research-focused degree that emphasizes the production of scholarship. Most people who earn Ph.D.s in psychology become tenure-track faculty members at postsecondary institutions. A Psy.D. is a terminal doctoral degree that is intended to prepare graduates to practice psychology in a clinical setting. Although the Psy.D. is a practice-focused degree, graduates of Psy.D. programs can obtain employment teaching undergraduate-, master’s- or doctoral-level psychology courses about the practice of psychology in various medical and non-medical settings.


Government, from the federal level to its state and local counterparts, is another sector in which you can forge a career after having earned a master’s in psychology. Potential public sector positions include self-reliance specialist, employment counselor, drug and alcohol specialist, parole officer, rehabilitation counselor, developmental specialist, reentry facilitator, social service manager, human resources analyst and psychology program manager.


Most business-related psychology jobs will be available primarily to those who possess a background that includes some combination of business and industrial-organizational psychology. Industrial-organizational psychologists study organizational behavior and theory, often serving as consultants or even in-house employees at companies looking to improve employee efficiency and satisfaction while minimizing attrition and the costs of employee turnover. They can save their clients large sums of money and are appropriately compensated for doing so. Such jobs tend to be among the more lucrative jobs available to those whose most advanced degree is a master’s in psychology.


The pre-university education sector is another field in which master’s in psychology graduates often seek employment. You can teach psychology and other social studies classes in a middle school or high school if you have an undergraduate degree in education and have obtained the proper licensure in the state where you wish to teach. You could also become a school psychologist or guidance counselor if you are not interested in becoming a faculty member.


A master’s degree in psychology will qualify you for a wide variety of different careers. The opportunities available to you will vary depending on what your interests and strengths are but you will possess a background that a number of different industries and types of employers find desirable. From the business world to the public sector and academia, you will be prepared to add value to your employer’s operation from day one.