What You Can Do With a PhD in Psychology

If you are interested in possibly pursuing a PhD in psychology, you should know that there are many career paths you can take following your studies. We can help you decide which path to follow to achieve your educational and career goals. Read on to learn just some of what you can do after getting an advanced psychology degree.

Mental Health Careers for the PhD in Psychology

Many people who seek a PhD degree in psychology desire to work with people to help them overcome mental illness or other issues associated with the mind. The PhD degree qualifies graduates to work in the mental health field and the social services field; in these fields, individuals work directly or indirectly with patients or clients to help them deal with mental health issues. Here are a few examples of psychology careers in these fields:

  • Social workers: While some social work jobs only require a master’s degree, many require a PhD in psychology. Social workers often work for social welfare agencies and diagnose and treat mental illness. Once licensed, social workers can practice in all 50 states in the U.S.
  • Clinical psychologists: To become a clinical psychologist, a PhD or Psy.D is required. Clinical psychologists work in private practice or with other agencies, and they spend their time assessing, diagnosing and treating individuals who suffer from emotional or mental illnesses.
  • Counselors: There is no hard and fast degree requirement for counselors, but many hold a psychology PhD. They perform many of the same job duties as clinical psychologists, but generally work on less serious conditions, focusing on the day-to-day aspects of the lives of those who suffer from mental or emotional illness.

Careers in Education

In addition to the mental health and social services fields, educational and research settings employ many PhDs in psychology. In educational institutions, psychologists primarily work as faculty members, and they are usually expected to teach graduate or undergraduate courses (or both) while also conducting independent research and publishing in psychological journals. Beyond faculty positions, here are some others jobs for PhDs in psychology within the educational field:

  • Educational psychologists: These psychologists do research in, and help to organize, schools. Educational psychologists study learning and help to design curriculum while working directly with students, parents and educators to improve educational outcomes.
  • School counselors: These individuals work with those students (and parents) who are having difficulty in school or at home and assist students with academic choices. School counselors often assist in the college application process in high schools.
  • School psychologists: It is the job of these psychologists to diagnose and assess children experiencing emotional, academic and behavioral problems in schools.

Other Careers

There are many careers beyond the aforementioned options for PhD graduates in psychology. Local, state and federal governments employ psychologists for a number of purposes. And applied psychologists work in a number of important fields, including forensics and business. In business especially, new innovations in hiring and workplace management have led to psychologists occupying a key role for many large organizations. There are clearly a plethora of career options available to you if you possess a PhD in psychology, and if one or several of them sound attractive to you, then you should definitely start researching these options further.