There are a variety of options available to those looking for careers with a master's in psychology. For example, with appropriate licensure and certification, you could work as a behavioral counselor, family services worker, advocate, or psychiatric technician. And this list is just the beginning.
Continue reading to learn about these common fields in psychology with available careers to those with a master’s degree and to find schools from partner institutions.
Careers with a Master's in Psychology
While there are many subfields in psychology, there are three main fields that require master’s degrees:
- School psychology: by applying expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, school psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and others to create a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment.
- Industrial and organizational psychology (I/O Psychology): focuses on individual and group behavior in organizations, such as workplaces and government.
- Forensic psychology: involves serving people and entities involved in civil and criminal matters.
Each of these fields draw from psychology’s key principles and theories and applies them to specific populations and situations.
written by Annie Rose Stathes
List of 3 Careers with a Master's in Psychology
To work in the field of psychology, typically professionals must have at least a PhD. However, there are many careers in psychology that only require a master’s. Check out the three careers below and the colleges and universities that offer that particular concentration in psychology.
#1: School and Career Counselors
Median Annual Salary (2017): $55,410i
Projected Job Growth: 13%ii
- Evaluate students’ abilities and interests through aptitude assessments, interviews, and individual planning
- Work with students to develop skills such as time management and effective study habits
- Collaborate with teachers, administrators, and parents to help students succeed
Common Courses for Developmental Psychology Master’s Programs
Some of the common courses in school and developmental psychology master’s programs include:
- Human Growth and Development
- Developmental Disabilities
- Career Development and Counseling
- Diagnostics, Assessment, and Treatment
- Development Through Childhood and Adolescence
List of 3 Developmental Psychology Master’s Programs from Partnered Institutions
For more than 65 years Grand Canyon University has been Arizona’s premier Christian university and the gateway to success for countless scholars and industry leaders.
Designed for students pursuing a career as a professional counselor, the M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders teaches how to identify and assess childhood and adolescence disorders, such as:
- Development delays
- Child-parent relationships
- School and family life
- Disorders specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
A nonprofit, regionally accredited university that has more than 90,000 online students and an alumni network of over 84,000, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation.
As you pursue the MS Psychology with Concentration in Child and Developmental Psychology, you’ll examine current research and theories about assessment, intervention, and consultation strategies that address the individual, cultural, and psychological needs of children and families.
3. Capella University
Capella University is dedicated to providing an exceptional, professionally-aligned education to help you succeed in your field. Offering a challenging curriculum, unparalleled support, and a faculty of experienced and engaging instructors, Capella is specifically designed for professionals who want the most efficient way to jumpstart their career.
The MS – Child and Adolescent Development teaches how to address mental health, social, and educational issues so that you can make a positive impact on the lives of children and adolescents as a professional.
#2: Industrial / Organizational Psychologists
Median Annual Salary (2017): $87,100i
Projected Job Growth: 8%ii
- Formulate and implement training programs, applying principles of learning and individual differences
- Conduct individual assessments and employee performance
- Identify training and development needs
- Coach senior executives and managers on leadership and performance
Common Courses in I/O Psychology
Some of the common courses while earning a master’s degrees in industrial/ organizational psychology include:
- Organizational Behavior
- Employee Training and Development
- Ethics and Standards of Industrial Organizational Psychology
- Strategic Thinking for Effective Human Resource Management
- Development of Human Capital Within Organizations
List of 3 I/O Psychology Programs from Partnered Institutions
As the second-largest Catholic university in New England, Sacred Heart University has more than 8,500 total students, including 2,940 graduate students. At SHU, they challenge you to be fearless in your curiosity and courageous in your service to others.
The curriculum while earning a Master of Science in Applied Psychology – Industrial-Organizational Psychology covers topics such as:
- Human Resource Management
- Workforce Performance Management
- Organizational Development
- Assessment, Leaderships, and Training and Development
Other psychology master’s degrees at Sacred Heart include:
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology entirely online or on campus. For those passionate about helping businesses, non-profits, governments, and other organizations succeed, the I/O psychology program teaches how to identify the motives of individuals and teams and assess whether they’re helping an organization fulfill its mission or hindering its success.
You can also learn how to use psychology to select personnel, appraise performance, and enhance training, leadership, and employee motivation.
For 45 years Walden University has been serving adult learners through programs that reflect current market trends and promote positive social change to help you achieve your goals and enabling you to make a difference in your career and in your community.
Through a curriculum focused on deepening your understanding of employee behavior and attitudes and discovering techniques for improving individual and organizational performance, the M.S. in Psychology – Organizational Development is designed to meet the growing demand for I/O practitioners.
Other psychology master’s degrees from Walden include:
- MS in Psychology – Terrorism and Security
- MS in Psychology – Crisis Management and Response
- MS in Psychology – Educational Psychology
- MS in Psychology – Psychology of Culture
#3: Forensic Psychologists
Median Annual Salary: $97,740 (Psychologists, all other)i
Projected Job Growth: 11% (Psychologists, all other)ii
- Use psychological principles to analyze aspects of a particular case
- Testify in court as an expert witness
- Specialize in family, civil, or criminal casework
Common Courses in Forensic Psychology Master’s Programs
While pursuing a master’s in forensic psychology, some of the common courses you may take include:
- Current Issues and Trends in Forensic Practice
- Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology
- Psychological Aspects of Violent Crime
- Criminal Investigative and Profiling
- Understanding Violence, Risk, and Threat Assessment
List of 3 Forensic Psychology Master’s Programs from Sponsored Schools
Liberty University offers a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, which is one of the reasons why the school has more than 250,000 alumni. Plus, Liberty has been a pioneer in distance education since 1985 and offers knowledgeable and accessible academic advisors.
Designed to equip you with the tools you need to successfully understand the law and legal practice of the criminal justice system while applying your knowledge of social-cognitive psychology, while pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology from Liberty you’ll study topics such as trends in criminal justice and rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.
Named after the 17th century leader devoted to freedom of conscience and social justice, Roger Williams University continues to pursue excellence in education, academic accomplishment, and community service rooted in critical thinking and inclusiveness.
While earning the M.A. Forensic and Legal Psychology you’ll work with faculty to design and implement studies addressing empirical questions in clinical and forensic or legal psychology. Some of the key topics include:
- Research design
- Statistical analysis
- Clinical assessment
- Psychological testing
Marymount University offers an M.A. in Forensic and Legal Psychology strives to teach how to apply psychology to areas such as probation and parole, victim assistance, law enforcement, intelligence, trial consultation, policy, and advocacy. Through programs like these, students often learn the legal system and how to apply psychology to various components of it.
List of 5 Other Psychology Master’s Degrees
As a blossoming psychologist, you might also be interested in studying other areas of psychology such as social, clinical, cognitive, counseling, or applied behavioral analysis. Check out each of these concentrations and colleges that offer that degree below.
1. Social Psychology
Social psychology master’s degrees teach how individuals think about, influence, and relate to one another. Therefore, similar to other psychology degrees, courses focus on research methods and statistical analysis, but also include topics such as:
- Human attitudes
- Small group interaction
- Cultural psychology
- Social judgement
- Personality assessment
Social Psychology Master’s Programs
Purdue University offers an M.S. in social psychology that focuses predominately on research in social psychology. Designed to help students prepare for doctoral programs, it immerses students in the key theories, principles, and research that shapes social psychology and its historical and contemporary application.
In this program and similar ones, students analyze the various social psychology topics, such as gender, sexuality, aging, dying, and numerous others.
Other partner programs include:
- Northcentral University offers an M.A. in psychology with an emphasis on gender diversity studies, a key component of social psychology.
- Colorado State University offers an M.S. in applied social psychology. This program enables student to focus on an area of social psychology of their choice and to learn how to apply methodology and research in the field.
- Hood College offers an M.A. in thanatology, a subfield of social psychology that addresses grief, this program focuses on developing the skills and knowledge to help those who are terminally ill or bereaved.
2. Clinical Psychology
When pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology your curriculum and coursework focuses on examining human behavior through competency-based and scientific study of topics such as:
- Mental disorders
- Various assessments
- Theories of psychotherapy
Typically, programs also strive to develop a foundation in research design, analytics, and ethics to provide educational and research exposure to the main areas of the field. Many programs also offer concentrations in areas such as:
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- Clinical Counseling
- Applied Research
- Child Psychology
This may provide you with more options when pursuing your degree and the ability to tailor your curriculum to meet your future career goals.
Clinical Psychology Master’s Programs
Vanguard University offers an M.S. in clinical psychology that helps students pursue careers as Christian mental health specialists. Through earning this type of degree, students typically pursue work as counselors and therapists who support people through a variety of issues and experiences. This particular program presents students with opportunities to pursue licensure to practice in the state of California.
These partner schools also offer master’s degrees in clinical psychology:
- Marymount University: Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Wheaton College: M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy
- Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis Inc.: Master’s Degree in Psychoanalysis
3. Cognitive Psychology
Modern cognitive psychology master’s degrees examine how people perceive, think, and act by combining aspects of different fields, such as neuroscience and cognitive science. Typically, programs and curriculum analyze topics and fields such as:
- Cognition and perception
- Examining mental processes
- Control of attention and motor responses
- Formation of mental representations
- Dynamics of mental retrieval
- Cognitive development and breakdown
In addition, programs are designed to teach you a foundational knowledge in the field through analyzing current research and providing access to all research tools necessary. This includes research design, theory formulation, and experimental and computational methods.
Cognitive Psychology Master’s Programs
The University of Oregon offers a master’s degree in cognitive psychology, which includes a study of neuroscience and the cognitive and neural bases of perception, cortical sensory information processing, molecular and cellular basis of memory, visual cognition, selective attention, and other topics.
Other partner schools including the ones above that offer master’s degrees in cognitive psychology include:
- University of California, Santa Barbara: Master’s Degree in Cognitive and Perceptual Studies
- Teachers College: Master’s Degree in Cognitive Studies in Education explores the cognitive mechanisms that underlie learning and thinking in educational settings.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa: Master’s Degree in Human and Animal Cognition
4. Professional Counseling
With a focus on diversity, many master’s in professional counseling programs analyze the various theoretical approaches to counseling a variety of patients. As a result, many programs examine issues such as:
- Marital problems
- Adjustment issues
In addition, many counseling programs teach the various subjects in the field, such as grief counseling, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, and positive psychology. In fact, some programs may offer concentrations in these fields to focus your curriculum even further.
Counseling Master’s Degree Programs
Grand Canyon University offers an M.S. in professional counseling with an emphasis in trauma. The program helps students understand how to assess and treat developmental, childhood, and adulthood trauma-related disorders. Students who complete these programs successfully may be able to test for counseling certification in Arizona.
Other partner schools that offer master’s degrees in community counseling include:
- The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a master’s degree in community and cultural psychology that leads to a PhD program in psychology.
- The Trinity College of Vermont offers a master’s degree specifically for staff, managers, and consumers who want to know more about health psychology in the field of public mental health.
5. Applied Behavior Analysis
While pursuing an applied behavior analysis master’s degree you’ll study how to identify and assess behavioral problems in children and adults, as well as various treatments and interventions.
These programs typically focus curriculum and coursework on experimental, theoretical, and methodological aspects of the analysis of behavior, and how to solve social/emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, such as developmental disabilities and autism-spectrum disorders.
ABA Master’s Programs
Nova Southeastern University offers an M.S. in developmental disabilities with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis, or ABA, which helps students learn how to address issues associated with developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan.
Other partner schools that offer master’s degrees in developmental psychology include:
- Regis College: MS in Applied Behavior Analysis designed for busy professionals.
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Dual Degree: MA Counseling Psychology and MS Applied Behavior Analysis that allows students to pursue multiple credentials.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Psychology?
No matter what topic you study, there are a variety of careers in psychology that become available once you’ve earned a master’s degree in psychology. Here are some common positions in the field:
- A behavioral counselor
- A rehabilitation specialist
- A family services worker
- A child protection services worker
- A psychiatric technician
- An advocate
- An administrator
- A policy-maker
Alternatively, and more broadly, you might work as a consultant, strategist, therapist, or program director. Keep in mind that man fields require a doctorate degree in psychology including management, research positions, or educators, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have plenty of career options with a master’s in psychology.
List of 5 Other Careers with a Master’s in Psychology
Depending on which of the other master’s degrees in psychology you decide to pursue, there are a variety of career options for you to pursue. Check out some of these careers below, the median annual salary, and projected job growth for the ten years from 2016 to 2026 according to the BLS.
#1: School Psychologists
- 2017 Median Annual Salary: $74,470 (for psychologists who work in elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private)vi
- Projected Job Growth: 7% (for psychologists who work in elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private)vii
#2: Rehabilitation Managers
- 2017 Median Annual Salary: $34,860viii
- Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 13%ix
#3: Marriage and Family Therapists
- 2017 Median Annual Salary: $48,790x
- Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 23%xi
#4: Training and Development Managers
- 2017 Median Annual Salary: $108,250xii
- Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 10%xiii
#5: Human Resources Managers
- 2017 Median Annual Salary: $110,120xiv
- Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 9%xv
In addition, those with a master’s in psychology can work as a psychologist assistant in the clinical, counseling, or research settings under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist.xvi
Common Places to Work with a Master’s in Psychology
In many of these positions, you could work in setting such as:
- Legal systems
- Private practices
Plus, if you decide to pursue a master’s in psychology with a concentration, you may focus your degree even more to fit a specific setting or career.
Find the Perfect Master’s in Psychology Program for You!
When looking for careers with a master’s in psychology, consider what aspect of the field you’re most passionate about and the various certifications and licensures in that area.
Once you’ve decided which career you want to pursue, check out any of the sponsored listings above or complete the form on this page to get matched to the perfect program for you!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-5 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-6 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-2 [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3032.00 [v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-2 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-5 [vii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-6 [viii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm#tab-5 [ix] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm#tab-6 [x] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/marriage-and-family-therapists.htm#tab-5 [xi] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/marriage-and-family-therapists.htm#tab-6 [xii] bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-5 [xiii] bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-6 [xiv] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-5 [xv] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-6 [xvi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-4