Careers for Bachelors Degrees in Psychology

Careers for Bachelors Degrees in Psychology

What to Do With a Psychology Degree

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, colleges and higher education institutions awarded 94,271 bachelor’s degrees in psychology during the 2008-2009 school year, rendering it a rather ubiquitous field of study. Students are obviously interested in pursuing careers in psychology, but before deciding to do so, it is important that they be aware of potential career paths available to those who earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology. The following options are realistic for psychology graduates.

Lower-Paying Options in the Field

Psychology degrees teach students to understand human behaviors and motivations, in addition to providing them with the knowledge to identify psychological disorders and other mental health issues. Though these skills are important in modern society, there are very few entry-level positions in which they are directly involved. Unfortunately, most jobs that make use of psychology degrees are relatively low-paying, and bachelor’s degree holders may be overqualified for such positions.

If not concerned about earning high salaries, psychology students may be satisfied in a number of jobs available to those with bachelor’s degrees. They may, for example work as teaching assistants at preschools or after school programs. A psychology degree is beneficial in such jobs, as most psychology graduates have taken courses in childhood development and behavioral psychology. Those interested in pursuing teaching assistant positions can expect to earn $22,200 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Psychology graduates with bachelor’s degrees may also enjoy working as assistants/caregivers at social services agencies or residential treatment centers, where their education will be useful when working with individuals who have mental health issues or developmental disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries in this field average $27,280 a year.

If not interested in working in working as teaching assistants or caregivers, psychology graduates may pursue employment as receptionists at mental health clinics, counseling centers, or social service agencies. Median earnings for receptionists are $11.80 an hour, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pursuing More Lucrative Alternatives

Students may be discouraged by low-paying jobs in the field of psychology, but they can find higher-paying opportunities if they are willing to extend their job searches to other areas. Psychology degrees teach students to effectively work with and communicate with diverse groups of people; therefore, they provide the skills necessary to be successful in management and sales positions.

Psychology degrees are useful in sales positions, as they require employees to effectively communicate with and influence customers while providing them with quality service. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that sales representatives can expect to earn $70,200 a year, on average.

Because psychology graduates are often skilled in working with people, they may also be interested in working as mangers of restaurants or retail stores. Salaries in this field average $46,320, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If careers in management and sales do not appeal to students, they may find success elsewhere. A psychology education is helpful in any position that requires working with people; jobs in human resources, marketing, and communication may be viable options.

Obtaining Advanced Degrees

If low-paying jobs and alternative options do not satisfy psychology students, obtaining an advanced degree is perhaps the best decision. Not only do master’s and doctoral degrees present graduates with the opportunity to earn more money; they also allow them to pursue careers more directly related to psychology.

Those who want to work as clinical or counseling psychologists must obtain doctoral degrees in psychology. After completing their graduate education, psychologists enjoy median annual salaries of $64,140. If graduates are uninterested in counseling, they can also find employment in research and teaching positions at colleges and universities.

If students want to spend less time in graduate school, they may also be interested in pursuing a master’s degree in social work, which will prepare them to work in counseling, case management, and crisis response positions in mental health clinics, social service agencies, hospitals, and non-profit organizations. Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that social workers can expect to earn $46,220.

While graduate degrees offer students the option to earn more money and pursue their specific interests, they are not the only path available to those interested in psychology. Those with bachelor’s degrees in psychology may be satisfied working with people in sales and managerial positions, or, if they’re open to earning lower wages, they may find success working in entry-level positions more closely related to their degrees.

Will Your Good Looks Help You Advance?

Will Your Good Looks Help You Advance?

There is a long-standing belief that better-looking employees get better treatment in most work environments, from the hiring process to employee evaluations and promotions. This article from author K. Ong examines some of the research into this subject.


Beating the Stereotype That Links Physical
Attractiveness to Corporate Success

The strong dynamics between an employee’s physical attractiveness and his success in the workplace is observable in many companies.

There’s a lot of research confirming this widespread social phenomenon. From the authoritative 1970 article in Psychonomic Science entitled “Role of physical attractiveness in impression formation” to the compelling Journal of Educational Psychology article, “Effects of children’s physical attractiveness on teachers’ evaluations”—the high premium placed on physical beauty lives and breathes not just in the workplace but in many social settings. It is seen in different cultures, as well.

For all job types, male attractiveness works its magic to a tee. For neutral and female-oriented jobs, female employees have an edge based solely on their looks.

Here are three remarkable examples culled from various journal articles that support the stereotype of physical attractiveness as a powerful career advantage:

  1. A large majority of voters vote for politicians based on the candidate’s looks alone.
  2. In a simulated trial, the judgment of a jury can be influenced by the physical attractiveness of the trial participants.
  3. Even if an applicant is being evaluated for a position that does not include exposure to other people, like a desk job that confines an employee to work alone inside a room, physical attractiveness still factors heavily in hiring decisions.

What’s interesting is that the rampant beauty-bias occurs unconsciously for some who are guilty of prejudging based on looks.

Is there any hope for people who do not meet society’s standards of beauty? Is there any way for an average-looking person to stay motivated in a workplace where image is everything?

Well, there is a way--sort of.

In most cases, societal standards of beauty can spell corporate success for an attractive person. Being unattractive also has its advantages in the workplace.

In Professor Comila Shahai-Dennin’s “Physical Attractiveness Bias in Hiring: What Is Beautiful Is Good,” she writes that when an attractive and an unattractive employee are both evaluated for their job performances, the unattractive employee gets sympathy for his failings. He is seen as a victim of circumstance. The attractive employee is then viewed as someone who does not put on too much effort—which explains the failings—and who mainly relies on his looks to succeed. This is true for all employee evaluations—regardless of the employee’s gender.

So, come review time, if you are not attractive-looking, then you are given more leniency for your shortcomings compared to your physically attractive counterpart.

When employees need to be disciplined for misbehavior, the physically attractive employee is viewed more harshly than the less attractive one. A negative sense of entitlement is almost always heaped on the more physically attractive employee.

Legal recourse for an employee being hired, terminated, and penalized based on looks can be a murky one. This is proven by the 2003 lawsuit involving the upscale retailer Abercrombie & Fitch; the role of physical attractiveness as a factor in employer decisions is difficult to pinpoint when placed in the legal context.

The social problem that makes beauty a marker of corporate success exacerbates image issues for both men and women alike. But it is a reality. Almost everyone is aware of it. And being aware of the existence of beauty-bias is the first step towards addressing it.

One thing is for certain: it will not hurt for an average-looking employee to properly groom himself, to dress smartly, and to act professionally in the workplace.


What do you think? Have you witnessed or experienced any obvious bias (negative or positive) based upon someone's looks in the workplace or academic setting? Please leave your comments below.

Careers for Multilingual Professionals

Careers for Multilingual Professionals

Professionals who can speak, write and understand another language or several languages fluently, are more in demand today than ever before. The global economy and multiethnic populations in many countries are creating an increasing need for those who are able to communicate proficiently in other languages. The career outlook for people who are bilingual or multilingual is excellent.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook issued by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession of Interpreter was projected to grow by 42 percent between 2010 and 2020. Other occupations requiring the working knowledge of another language are expected to see future growth as well.

The Best Careers for Multilinguals

Individuals who are multilingual find that they are able to earn up to 20 percent more than those who speak one language, especially when language skills are used extensively in their occupation. People who earn professional certifications showing mastery of other languages can earn considerably more. Multilingual professionals work in a variety of interesting occupations. A small sampling of these are:

  • Bilingual Translators And Interpreters
  • Bilingual Human Resources Professionals
  • Marketing Directors
  • Medical Professionals – Including Nurses, Physicians, Physician Assistants and office staff
  • Journalists
  • Teachers and Language Teachers
  • Ambassadors, Diplomats and staff

Being Proficient in Other Languages Opens Career Doors

English is the primary language of many countries, but being bilingual in the world today opens up many new and exciting career opportunities. Those who can successfully use two or more languages find that interesting career opportunities are just the beginning. People who can communicate in other languages find that their potential to have a positive influence on companies and on people all over the world is the most rewarding aspect of being bilingual or multilingual.

Some of the most popular languages that people become proficient in include Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Burmese, Arabic and Afrikaans. Once a person is able to speak fluently, write fluently and completely understand another language, they also find that they have a valuable, additional skill that can give them a competitive edge over other job applicants.

Consider the Job Expectations

Those who speak other languages fluently need to think about whether the expectations of jobs that demand their unique skill fit their personality. People who love to be in groups, enjoy sharing knowledge and who are able to excel at public speaking tend do well as teachers or as language teachers. Those who excel in writing their chosen language and who love to work independently can do well in settings as a written translator.
Professionals who enjoy working in small groups and who love variety and challenges in their work surroundings may find they enjoy working as an interpreter. Government jobs as diplomats and as ambassadors are fascinating and offer excellent job satisfaction for those who thrive while working in challenging settings.

Many Careers to Choose From

Bilingual and multilingual professionals find that more careers are open to them today, due to the constantly changing global business atmosphere. Jobs can now be found in management, manufacturing, web design and web businesses, administrative positions, hospitality industry careers, legal professions non-profit agency careers and child care, along with more traditional multilingual careers in translating, interpretation and teaching.

With so many new and exciting opportunities for those who are fluent in other languages, many are finding that it pays to learn another language when possible. Being able to work in an exciting career field that is very much in demand is one of the best benefits of being bilingual in a global economy. Many countries today have populations that speak more than one language. Learning another language and becoming proficient in that language can pay off in many ways.