Studying a degree in psychology could lead you down a number of different paths, each interesting and appealing in its own way. Here are just four careers you can start to consider if you’re on your way to completing a psychology degree.
If you’re a true people person and want to make a career out of helping others, psychotherapy could be just for you. A psychotherapist will work with people on a day-to-day basis, helping individuals, couples or families to overcome any psychological or emotional issues that are causing them difficulty.
Through frequent meetings, psychotherapists will assess the needs of their clients and explore any underlying causes. They will then help their clients to understand their situation and suggest appropriate ways to deal with any problems they have.
A clinical psychologist is a type of psychotherapist who will often be employed by a hospital or through social services. They work closely in multidisciplinary teams and are often specialised, working with a particular group, such as children or people with learning disabilities. There are many other branches of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy and psychoanalytic therapy.
A social worker works with individuals and families to offer support and guidance, particularly in instances where someone has been deemed vulnerable, including young offenders, people with disabilities and the elderly. Social workers can work in a variety of different settings, including schools, clients’ homes and hospitals.
There are two types of social worker: statutory and non-statutory. A statutory social worker must use the law to make decisions in terms of the best outcome for their clients. They have the right to enforce the law, and generally work with regional hospitals, local authorities, and other large institutions. Non-statutory social workers, on the other hand, are not responsible for enforcing the law – they often work for charities.
A social worker must be confident enough to stand by the decisions they make, as these decisions may not always be seen in a favourable light by their clients.
Advertising and market research
Advertising doesn’t sound like the typical career you’d pursue after studying psychology, but psychology is actually a crucial part of many non-traditional business roles, and advertising is one of these.
A market researcher is essentially responsible for putting themselves in the customers’ shoes and coming up with strategies to make adverts and marketing strategies more effective for target audiences. If you study psychology at degree level, you will learn many theories and skills that directly apply to this role, including research methodology, handling statistics and survey design, as well as the ability to understand the way peoples’ minds work.
A forensic psychologist works closely with prisoners and offenders to establish what might be causing their criminal behaviour. Aside from working with offenders, forensic psychologists may work with victims of crime, and other professionals involved in the judiciary.
Typical responsibilities include developing and implementing offender rehabilitation programmes, running research projects with the aim of evaluating different aspects of prison life and providing expert witness testimonies in court cases and at mental health tribunals.
While the majority of forensic psychologists will work for prison services, they may also work for higher education institutions, social services, hospitals or the police.