career alternative for degree in psychology graduates
24 Nov 2016

What Can You Do with a Degree in Psychology Besides Being a Psychologist?

Psychology is an immensely popular degree field and it’s not without gratifying reasons. Aside from its famed conception of mind reading prowess and captivating syllabus, psychology majors are uniquely poised and armed to enter a wide variety of professions due to the fundamental and flexible skill set acquired.

While some have an unwavering goal to be a psychologist (note that a career in the realm of psychology would require a master’s or doctoral degree), what if you’re one of the many souls who genuinely love psychology but bear no intention to work in a mental health profession?

Not surprisingly, your parents and peers might think of clinical work and psychotherapy when they contemplate psychology but fortunately (for you!), the field is actually very diverse and provides a slew of great options that focus on aspects of the human mind and behaviour other than mental health treatments.

So if you’ve been brooding over the intention to pick up Psychology as a major but are flustered by your career prospects away from the typical paths, here are 10 promising non-psych careers that you can venture with a Psychology degree in hand!

#1. Human resources executive

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - human resource

If interviewing, reviewing resumes and selecting suitable candidates tickle your fancy, you may very well be on your way to succeed in the role of a human resources executive. At its core, human resource management is a realm of the business world where trained professionals are at the helm of the hiring process and management of employees.

A coveted role in both the public and private sectors, you will essentially dabble with employee satisfaction, professional development, recruitment, public relations, payroll as well as internal communications.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

For starters, the element of “people focus” makes psychology an ideal degree for meeting the demands of a career in human resources. Psychology graduates delve into personality theories, reward and motivation theories, psychological assessments, social bases of human behaviour and not forgetting multicultural psychology.

#2. Recruitment consultant

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - recruiter

In the world of recruitment, you are effectively the real life version of Tinder or Match.com, only for jobs and not for love. A recruitment consultant’s main goal is to match prospective candidates with client’s requirements, and in essence is very similar to playing cupid.

Killing two birds with one stone, you’ll have to assist employers to identify, select and recruit staff for their vacancies while concurrently, help individuals find and gain appropriate employment. For enthusiastic individuals, the arena of recruitment can be a very rewarding employment with a direct link between efforts poured in and financial bonuses (read: if you work hard, you’ll see a steady bump in your bank account).

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

Skills like training, customer service, talent management, employee relations, sales and persuasion are all boxed under the cornerstone of the human mind and behaviour. Not to mention, psychology-infused skills like empathy and perception can lend a hand in reassuring apprehensive recruits that a particular job is a good choice for them.

#3. Market research analyst

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - market research analyst

Have you ever pondered why a certain product is sitting on the shelf of your favourite retailer? Who decided that anyone would want to purchase it? The culprit behind this is none other than the role of a market research analyst who helps companies figure out consumer preferences (read: what to sell, who will buy their products or services and how to promote them).

From monitoring trends, churning out methods for collecting data, analysing data and preparing written reports, charts and graphs to presenting the findings, these thrilling tasks will fuel your daily drill as an analyst. For instance? Think about dissecting how different types of packaging or slogans could impact consumer behaviour.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

The art of consumer psychology. Yes, a market research analyst will strive to understand why consumers make the choices they do and what organisations can do to influence those choices. Not to mention the skills of statistical analysis, scientific methodologies and research designs, all of which come in handy in developing effective research studies to answer an employer’s market questions.

#4.  Public relations specialist

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - public relation executive

Most Malaysians will be familiar with the infamous Kiki-on-rage video clip that broke the internet. As much as it was disheartening for us to witness a fiery meltdown over a minor car dent and the near physical assault of an elderly man, many opportunistic companies hopped on the hype for publicity.

Remember Peugeot offering to pay for Uncle Sim’s car repair and anger management classes for Kiki? And then there was DiGi who also came forward to fork out for Uncle Sim’s car repair and some other companies who gave privileges for Peugeot’s car owners.

These persuasive souls uphold the chief focus of creating and maintaining a positive public image for the client. A day of your life as a PR specialist would include working with advertisers and the media to write press releases, arrange media appearances, respond to media inquiries, develop marketing strategies as well as coach clients on public communication tactics.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

The study of human behaviour from social psychology is directly involved whether you are planning a campaign for behaviour change or managing a company’s image after a crisis. Psychological studies are always whipped out to observe how people react to different stimuli. What words can you use for a sense of sentimentality? What images evoke the emotion you’re looking for? All these insights are crucial for a PR specialist to build a positive image.

#5.  Social work assistant

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - social worker

If you have deep compassion and immense patience, the realm of social work might ring a bell with you. Social work assistants generally assist clients in coping with challenges and crises (read: illnesses, divorce or unemployment) in their life while cultivating professional relationships with the client. Think of a social work assistant as the mishmash of a friend and counsellor!

From identifying people who need help, assessing clients’ needs, situations and support networks, crafting plans to improve clients’ well-being to researching and referring clients to community resources, these are merely some of the job scopes that you can expect.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

Thanks to the exposure in child psychology and human development, your education in Psychology will help you assist children and families, the elderly and even those who are mentally ill. From clinical, school and health care to mental health and substance abuse, these are some of the settings that you could venture in.

#6. Advertising and media executive

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - advertising executive

Advertisements are everywhere, trying to convince you to buy anything from gadgets to bananas. The folks behind those emotional ads tapping into your soft spot? They have jobs in advertising.

Flaunting their people skills in a range of industries (read: advertising agencies, radio, television and internet publishing), advertising agents specialise in selling advertising space to business and individuals. With the vigour of creativity, innovation and persuasion, an advertising executive’s mission is to conceptualise an ad that will appeal to the client as well as captivate the consumer.  

Generally, media roles within all departments including management, production, scheduling and writing are well within reach for a psychology major.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

For starters, the science of persuasion and research is at the core of this major, making it an added bonus since advertising entails researching a target audience to create product messaging. Specifically, psychology graduates can impart valuable insights into human behaviour, as well as offer the flair to analyse complex problems, listen attentively, communicate with empathy and reason.

#7.  Careers advisor

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - career advisor

If you relish in working with people and helping them fathom their ambitions, being a careers advisor might just fit you like a glove. Taking into consideration factors like needs, abilities, relevant qualifications and salary, a careers advisor basically lends a hand to people in hunting for jobs that are cut out for them.

Dealing with a range of people from high schoolers and the unemployed to adults who may want a career change, your job as a careers advisor is to provide information, advice and guidance to help people make informed choices about their education, training and work.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

Certainly, a background in psychology and career guidance comes in handy when it comes to assessing personal characteristics, skills and interests through individual interviews or group work. Excellent listening, verbal communication skills, confidentiality and a non-prejudicial manner are amongst the qualities that can be exploited employed to your advantage.

#8. Sales professional

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - sales executive

If you have a penchant for sales, then you can utilise your degree in psychology to plunge into the business arena of sales and marketing. Generally, a sales representative sells retail products, goods and services to customers. As powerful persuaders, you will also work with customers to identify their demands, create solutions, ensure a smooth sales process as well as hawk on find new sales leads.

From reaching out to current and prospective customers and rolling out products to negotiating prices and service agreements, your role as a sales professional will require the knack of fathoming how people think and behave in order to close the deal.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

Those scrolls of texts that you grind from social psychology, personality theories and interpersonal communications will allow you to better grasp human behaviour, effectively reach your customers and work out strategies for growing a company’s client base as well as sales figures.

#9. User Experience (UX) analyst

career alternative for degree in psychology graduates - user experience analyst

Beyond cognitive dissonance and anorexia nervosa, there is so much more to psychology than the hefty tomes of mental health diagnosis list. Let us introduce you to a realm which you might want to consider as your future working field: User Experience Research. On the whole, User Experience (UX) strives to deliver the best possible experience for the user of an application or website.

Meanwhile, the term UX analyst arises as the role comprises a lot of analysis of a user’s behaviour and preferences in order to create the finest experience for the user. Sounds familiar yet?

From helping designers to make decisions, interviewing groups of people regarding usability of features as well as testing concrete aspects of a product, your knack in psychology will enhance the process of UX research.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

The exposure from advanced research methods, statistics as well personality theories reap a barrage of knowledge on standardised testing, hypothesis testing, interpersonal communication skills and data analysis, all of which are very valuable in the field of UX.

#10. Special education therapist

career alternative for psychology graduates - special education therapist

If you’re naturally drawn towards children, especially our angels who have emotional and physical disabilities or learning problems, then becoming a special education teacher might be your calling. A special education teacher primarily teaches course curriculum at each student’s pace and helps students develop basic life skills so they can function independently beyond the classroom.

By utilising the right tools and developing as well as adapting teaching methods that are specially catered to the needs of every child, you’ll also flourish your compassion by making it possible for special needs children to hit their highest potential.

What Does a Psychology Degree Have to Offer?

For starters, courses such as child development and child psychology provide an exposure into the developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia and Down Syndrome. To top that, abnormal psychology also pans out necessary information on assessment, treatment and interventions.

Ultimately, bagging a degree in psychology is a versatile asset to have in your corner in nearly any career. With the ability to understand the diversity in people’s behaviour, attitudes and feelings as well as to apply scientific approaches to deal with problems, these transferable skills will pave a long way in your career path.

Have your eyes set on a career path as a psychologist? Here are 10 Branches of Psychology that You Should Know!

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