Careers in Psychology

Psychology is a fascinating field of study that allows for a wide variety of careers, following various educational pathways. There are many career options available for psychology graduates with an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science), as well as for those who pursue complimentary and post-graduate diplomas and degrees.

Working with an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology

A BA, BSc, HBA, or HBSc in psychology can provide the educational foundation needed to gain employment in several different fields.  Many transferable skills are learned throughout your studies.  These include:

  • Writing and presentation skills
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Abstract thinking
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of and hands’ on experience with research methods and statistical data analysis 
  • Comprehensive and foundational knowledge of Psychology and its core areas of biological, cognitive, social, developmental, and individual psychology.

These skills and knowledge aid in finding employment in psychology environments, as well as social services, education, law, business, and communications.  Some examples of jobs that can be found with an undergraduate degree are listed below.  For more, use the reference links at the bottom of the page.

Psychology

  • Clinical Research Coordinator / Associate
  • Assistant to Psychologists, Laboratories, or Researchers

Social Services

  • Individual / Group Support Worker
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • At Risk Youth (detention centre or group home)

Education

  • Academic Student Mentor
  • College/University Registrar, Admissions, Financial Aid

Law

  • Border Officer or Customs Agent
  • Corrections Officer
  • Police Officer

Business

  • Business Administration
  • Marketing and Brand Engagement
  • Data Collection and Analysis

Communications

  • Technical Writer, Copywriter
  • Proofreading and Editing

Psychology as a First Step to Further Education

Just as a psychology degree provides a foundation of skills and knowledge useful for the workforce, it can also serve as the first step towards attaining other educational and occupational goals.  Psychology works well as an undergraduate degree for students planning on applying to law school, medical school, or health professional graduate programs (e.g., public health, occupational therapy, etc.), and there are a number of complimentary graduate certificates and accelerated programs to further build on an area of interest.  Some examples are: 

  • Social Work (e.g., 1-year HBSW from Lakehead University)
  • Social Service Worker (e.g., 1-year post degree program from Confederation College)
  • Teaching (e.g., 2-year Education degree from Lakehead University)
  • Early Childhood Educator (e.g., 2-year diploma from Confederation College)
  • Human Resources Management (e.g., 1-year post degree program from Confederation College)
  • Public Relations (e.g., Graduate certificate from Cambrian College)
  • Journalist (e.g., college diploma from Humber College or Fanshawe College)
  • Security or Police Officer (e.g., college diploma from Confederation College)

Continuing Towards a MA and Ph.D. in Psychology

Psychology is a highly diverse field with a several different career paths.  Psychologists conduct basic and applied research, they serve as consultants to business, government, and community organizations, they assess, diagnose and treat people, they promote individual and community health and well-being, and they teach students in college and university. 

Psychologists receive training in a wide variety of subfields.  It is important to choose and create experiences in your graduate education that will prepare you for the work that you find most engaging and fulfilling.  

Below is a list of career examples that a Master’s and/or PhD in psychology can help you obtain.

Applied

  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Medicine and Health Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Sports Psychology

Clinical - Scientist Practitioner

In a clinical setting the term Psychologist refers to someone who has obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is registered (with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, for example).  In Ontario, people with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology can be registered with the provincial college as a Psychological Associate.  Psychological Associates do not have a Ph.D. and require more supervised hours before being allowed to practice independently.  

Research - Scientist 

  • Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology
  • Developmental and Life Span Psychology
  • Learning and Memory
  • Human Systems Engineering
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Social and Personality Psychology

What should I do if I want to become a Psychologist?

Get an undergraduate Honours BA or Honours B.Sc. degree in Psychology with an Honours Thesis, then get a MA and, usually, PhD in Psychology.

For more information on the different career paths you can take with a degree in psychology, check out the following websites: