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Unless I have noted otherwise, most of the following professions require a doctoral degree (i.e., a PhD, PsyD, or for psychiatry, an MD). Also keep in mind that almost all of the following professions could be acadmic positions as well. That is, a sports psychologist might be a professor at a university, or she might be a full-time consultant for the Buffalo Bills.
Clinical Psychologists work in hospitals, treatment centers, clinics, private practice, and schools; they treat people with mental illnesses or adjustment problems. Most psych majors think of this as their idealized profession, and assume that some day they will be making a lot of money with a private practice of their own. This image may have been relatively true about 30 years ago, but times have changed substantially with managed care. If you're dreaming of private practice and a high salary, I strongly suggest you talk to a few practicing clinical psychologists so that you can get the "real picture" of what the field is like today. Salary range: Medium to High
Counseling psychologists do many of the same things clinical psychologists do, but they are often employed in school counseling centers and might do academic advising, study skill training, etc. Salary range: Medium to High
In a nutshell, corrections officers supervise convicted criminals. As far as I know, corrections officers rarely hold graduate degrees. Salary range: Medium to High
High school psychology teachers typically have either a BS or MS degree. However, it is farely rare for a school to employ a teacher that teaches just psychology--typically psychology teachers teach other social science classes as well. Salary range: Medium
Human factors psychologists work and conduct research in industrial settings, focusing on the interaction between human beings and technology. Salary range: High
Marriage and Family Therapists may pracice with only an MS degree; they treat couples and families experiencing problems. Salary range: medium to high
Psychiatrists must attend medical school and earn an MD. They counsel and treat people with mental illnesses, but also have the advantage of being able to prescribe medications. Students who wish to become psychiatrists must take all the typical pre-med classes: organic chemistry, anatomy, physics, etc. (And not surprisingly, this is the reason that so few psych majors actually go into psychiatry.) Salary range: Very high
Human service work typically requires just a couple of college classes--not even an actual degree. These workers typically work in psychiatric settings as an assistant to social workers, psychiatrists, etc. This type of job provides excellent part-time employment/experience for students who want to move on to other careers in mental health after they graduate from college. Salary range: Low
School psychologists often have only an MS degree, and they are employed in elementary, junior high, and high schools, as well as colleges. They sometimes treat kids with problems, but tend to do alot of academic counseling as well. Salary range: Medium
Social Workers might have either a BS in social work or an MS in social work. Many psychology majors get their MS in social work, and practice in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, child protection services, welfare services, homeless services, etc. This is a very versatile degree which qualifies you to do counseling, referral work, etc. Salary range: Medium to High
Sport psychologists often do not have doctoral degrees. If they do not conduct research, than they are typically employed as consultants for professional or college sport teams. Salary range: High
Because psychology graduate students (either MS or PhD) have so much training in statistics and research, many find employment in survey research, health care, or governement settings which require them to apply their statistical knowledge to practical problems. Salary range: High
Organizational Psychologists apply their knowledge of group psychology to help businesses become more productive, have more satisfied employees, etc. Salary range: High to very High
Academics might be any of the following: clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, educational psychologist, comparative (animal behavior) psychologist, cognitive psychologist, developmental psychologist, environmental psychologist, general psycholgist, health psychologist, industrial psychologist, organizational psychologist, personality psychologist, quantitative psychologist, social psychologist, sport psychologist, etc. Obviously, these people conduct research and/or teach. Salary range: Medium to High
The American Psychological Association recently conducted a survey to measure the average salaries of psycholgists in a variety of positions. Click here to see those survey results.
A degree in psychology is also excellent preparation for a career in medicine, law, business, public relations, advertising, etc., so consider all your options! I also highly recommend the following site for all psychology majors:
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