Psychology is a thrilling subject. If you love it, you love it. You’ll love it in every way you can get your hands on, from interesting research to great, compelling fictional stories to even studying it. The good news is that psychology is by far one of the best and most universal topics that you can dedicate your studies to.
Choose psychology for your undergraduate degree, and you can use that in so many different applications. You can, of course, work directly in various mental health career options, but you can also work in marketing, research, consulting, HR, and so much more. Understanding the human mind and knowing how to study it and test different behaviors is a universal skill that can be used in numerous career paths throughout your career.
You have a lot of options when it comes to your future when you start with one of the top Christian psychology programs, even if you don’t continue with a Master’s or Ph.D. or PsyD in psychology. Knowing where you can go with it can help you stay passionate and help you find the right path forward where you can combine your interests into a thriving, fulfilling career.
Careers within Mental Health
One of the most obvious directions you can take your career with a background in psychology is, of course, mental health. A good way to get started is by looking into undergraduate Christian psychology programs. These programs typically focus on a more holistic rather than clinical approach, though they are also a great launching point for furthering your formal qualifications.
Life coaches inspire their clients and can even help them achieve certain goals. They work with a holistic focus and may offer guidance or mentorship as well. For example, you can take on clients and help them with their career search. What you will do entails encouraging them, helping them clean up their resume, and even helping them network. Life coaches don’t require formal training, though you will need to build up a list of happy clients and reviews to really grow in this career.
Therapists provide holistic care and guidance for their clients. They typically have at least a Master’s in psychology and will often work alongside others in a clinic. They cannot diagnose, nor can they help guide their clients through a treatment plan, but they can help people discover new things about themselves and can help them process information in a healthy way. A therapist, for example, can be a key tool in helping someone who is grieving the death of a loved one.
Psychologists are at the top of their field in mental health. In order to become a psychologist, you will need to earn either a Ph.D. or a PsyD and then complete between 2000 to 4000 clinical hours before you can start practicing independently. Psychologists offer some of the best mental health services and typically specialize in a few areas. For example, one psychologist may specialize in helping sexual assault and rape survivors, while another might focus on helping those with substance abuse disorders.
In order to become a psychiatrist, you are going to have to take a slightly different route. After your psychology undergraduate, you will then want to move on to a medical degree. After that, you will then need to apply and complete a psychiatric residency. The reason why there is this additional step is simple: psychiatrists work to diagnose mental illnesses and are also licensed to write prescriptions and guide more clinical treatments. They are medical professionals first, mental health professionals second.
Specializations within These Roles
These are general types of roles you can work in; where you work and specialize are so vast that the sky is the limit. You can work as a forensic psychologist and work to evaluate criminals to understand their motivation. As a forensic psychologist, you can help either catch at-large criminals or can work to understand them after their sentencing.
You can work as a grief counselor, a marriage counselor, a family therapist, and so on. All of these roles are important, so focus on the areas you are most interested in and explore your options that way.
Careers Outside Mental Health
If you are creative, you can apply your background in mental health to almost any career. At the end of the day, there are very few roles that don’t involve humans. Even those who work in tech can benefit from a greater understanding of psychology. Today, it is those who can communicate the best and have the most advanced people skills who earn the highest salaries and hold the highest positions. This is because there is a bridge between doing the technical work and communicating to board members and other departments.
That being said, most looking for career options aren’t going to be specialized elsewhere, so you’ll want to look into these top career options outside of mental health.
Social workers help at-need people navigate the social system. They work to get people into emergency housing, help them apply for support, and can even help them find work. There are so many ways you can help, and once again there many ways you can specialize, so you can work where you feel most needed.
Human Resource Manager
Working in HR might not seem like a demanding role, but once you consider the sheer number of people working in large companies, the importance becomes clear. A big part of your job is managing interpersonal relationships, and having a background in psychology can help massively with this task.
To market successfully you need to understand your target audience, and a background in psychology is the perfect fit.
You can work as a professor, a researcher, a policymaker, and so much more. Wherever there are people, you can work with a background in psychology. The world is your limit, just remember you may need to diversify your skillset to add on to your background in psychology for the best results.