College Advice Blog

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Jul 7, 2012

A Master's Degree in Psychology: An Universal Option for All Industry Paths


A Master’s in Psychology is a remarkably versatile degree. There is a broad range of career fields and industries a psychology degree holder can enter, depending on the specific type of psychology degree you have. The field of professional psychology is just the tip of the iceberg. The following is a sampling of the various types of psychology degrees available and the career paths they can eventually lead to.

Psych Specialization and Job Opportunities
  • Clinical psychology
  • . This is often a terminal degree, meaning no further formal academic study is required. This degree serves as preparation for professional practice, which a clinical psychology graduate can perform under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. While a doctorate is required to become a clinical psychologist, career paths open to a graduate with a master’s degree in clinical psychology include marriage and family therapist, school counselor, social science research assistant and mental health counselor.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • . Considered to be an area of applied psychology, industrial-organizational psychology seeks to increase worker productivity and retention in the workforce. This is one of the fastest growing psychology specialties. Graduates with an I/O concentration can work in a wide variety of settings ranging from academic to government to the private sector. I/O psychologists also often have the option of self-employment, working as an independent contractor.
  • Forensic Psychology
  • . Also an area of applied psychology, this type of psychology is practiced in the criminal justice system and in civil courts. Career options include work as an expert witness, jury consultant and in victim advocacy. In the area of law enforcement, forensic psychologists can provide post-trauma counseling, stress management, suicide intervention, or counseling for officers and their families. Forensic psychologists also may work with juvenile offenders offering life skills training, substance abuse treatment, anger management and conflict resolution training. Find out more about forensic psychology masters programs
  • Experimental Psychology
  • . This specialization can be either terminal or a stepping stone to further study and research. Experimental psychology has areas of focus including developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, human factors and social psychology. Jobs in the field of experimental psychology include school and sport psychologist, experimental and licensed clinical psychologist, and counseling psychologist.
  • Social Psychology
  • . Considered an area of focus of experimental psychology, social psychology studies social influence, social interaction and social perception. This is an extremely broad field and is often narrowed down into areas of concentrations such as social cognition, drug abuse, gender and sexuality, culture and prejudice. Career options for social psychology degree holders include medical and public health social worker, mental health practitioner, school psychologist, and market and survey researchers.
  • Child Development
  • . This popular specialization studies mental, emotional and social development and behavior of children through adolescence. Career paths include but are certainly not limited to child life specialist, child daycare director, education administrator and special education teacher.
Career Fields and Industries
  • Mental health and health care
  • : Family services worker, group home coordinator, child care supervisor, child protection worker, behavioral counselor, rehabilitation specialist, health project coordinator, psychiatric technician.
  • Academic
  • : Of course a psychology graduate can seek a career as a teacher, but there are also career options in academic recruiting, career counseling and academic advising at colleges and universities.
  • Government
  • : Developmental specialist, vocational rehabilitation provider, drug and alcohol specialist, self-reliance specialist, social service manager, human resource analyst, employment counselor, psychology program manager, rehabilitation counselor, parole officer.
  • Private sector
  • : While these jobs aren’t necessarily in the field of psychology, job seekers with a background in psychology are often qualified for positions such as public relations representative, market researcher, advertising agent, sales representative, project manager, human resources manager, employee trainer and store manager.
There are generally six different areas of specialization at the master’s level in psychology. Each specialization can be obtained as a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) depending on the program’s focus. These areas of specialization include:


As you can see from the above areas of specialization, mental health is definitely not the only career field or industry a psychology degree holder can enter. The academic, government, and private sectors are all options as well. The following is a listing of just a few of the varied options in these particular sectors.

With such a wide variety of career options available, it’s easy to see why a Masters in Psychology is an extremely popular option.
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This article was written by Justin Davis, who over 5 years ago decided to further his career by taking RN to MSN courses.  He expects to finish his degree next year.
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