What Types of Careers in Healthcare are Available with a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

The burgeoning healthcare system has led to the field becoming truly interdisciplinary, including many new healthcare psychology careers. Of course, the direction graduates take their degrees depends upon what their degree concentrations were, or what minors they pursued. Even if the student does not have a specialty in a desired career area, there are schools that offer certificates and minor programs to supplement a psychology major. Not all careers require extra certification, however. There are many professional tracks open to people with master’s degrees in psychology.

Geriatric Care

This career has many possibilities, according to the website healthcareers.org. Because of the aging “Baby Boomers,” there is a high demand for people who can work with seniors on the many issues they face. Psychology majors might work in residential care facilities counseling residents and their families about issues like dementia and other age-related diseases, and recommending programs that will benefit the individual such as occupational therapy and outings. A major in psychology and a minor in business, or in accounting, would enable someone to become a nursing home or retirement complex administrator. In addition, because seniors are retiring later, independent counselors who specialize in geriatrics might counsel individuals who are dealing with health-related issues such as arthritis while still working at a profession, and advocate for them at the workplace. 

Health Educator

These professionals counsel individuals who are dealing with health issues, or they may work with schools or other institutions to educate them about health issues. In schools, health educators teach students about the dangers of substance abuse and sexual promiscuity. Some health educators work as liaisons between public health organizations and communities. 

Mental Health Counselor

Mental Health Counselors work in rehab centers, in clinics and hospitals and in private practice. They help people deal with issues such as depression and anger, and assist addicts in overcoming destructive behaviors. Often these professionals work as a team member with addiction sponsors, corrections officials, physicians and social workers to address the mental health needs of an individual who is in a rehab or corrections facility.

Health Psychologist

This is a relatively new field and, according to About.com, the duties of the professionals depend upon their work settings. They may conduct behavioral assessments and personality tests to people admitted to residential programs. Some health psychologists are involved in research on health topics and may work in governmental or in private organizations. 

Occupational Health Psychologist

An Occupational health psychologist works, either in private practice or with an organization, to address health and wellness issues. This is a blossoming new frontier in corporations and many large businesses sponsor huge proactive health programs for their employees. Occupational health psychologists act as consultants on issues such as exercise programs, on-the-job injuries and absenteeism causes. They also work with human resources departments to address risk management.

The field of healthcare-related careers available to graduates with master’s degrees in psychology is diverse. It runs the gamut from healthcare administration to patient-centered individualized counseling. The key to any specialization is adequate preparation through carefully-selected minors and concentrations. In the BLS statistics, psychologists are ranked together in one group, and the average salary is $80,000. Governmental positions pay even more. The job outlook Is bright for healthcare psychology careers.

Related Resource: How Do I Determine Which Specialty in Psychology is Right for Me?