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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • A degree in psy­chol­o­gy opens paths in many fields includ­ing clin­i­cal roles, busi­ness, mar­ket­ing, and edu­ca­tion due to its deep under­stand­ing of human behavior.
  • The bach­e­lor’s degree pro­vides a strong foun­da­tion in psy­cho­log­i­cal the­o­ries and prac­tices, which is essen­tial for any fur­ther spe­cial­iza­tion or advanced stud­ies in psychology.
  • Post-grad­u­a­tion, there are numer­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties for spe­cial­iza­tion in areas like coun­sel­ing, child psy­chol­o­gy, or orga­ni­za­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy, often requir­ing fur­ther cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or studies.

Peo­ple who are drawn to psy­chol­o­gy as a field of study, to be com­plete­ly frank, aren’t usu­al­ly mon­ey or career-moti­vat­ed. What first draws a stu­dent to a bachelor’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy, for the most part, is a fas­ci­na­tion with the human mind and its work­ings, and usu­al­ly a desire to do some good in the world. The fas­ci­na­tion real­ly starts – and needs to start – before any con­cern with career tra­jec­to­ry. Psy­chol­o­gy is a com­plex and demand­ing sci­en­tif­ic health­care field, filled with con­flict­ing the­o­ries, open-end­ed ques­tions, and plain mys­ter­ies. If, in the immor­tal words of Ulysses Everett McGill, “It’s a fool that looks for log­ic in the cham­bers of the human heart,” then psy­chol­o­gists are those fools, seek­ing out the pat­terns of moti­va­tion that account for human behavior.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s in Psychology?

That doesn’t mean that psy­chol­o­gy isn’t a good career choice – it’s that psy­chol­o­gy isn’t the kind of career where your path is eas­i­ly laid out for you. There are many things to do with a bach­e­lor’s in psy­chol­o­gy. Build­ing a suc­cess­ful career in psy­chol­o­gy requires not just a com­mand of the knowl­edge and skills of a psy­chol­o­gist, but mak­ing the most of oppor­tu­ni­ties laid out for you: in-demand spe­cial­iza­tions, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion, pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions, and build­ing a network.


The good news for psy­chol­o­gy stu­dents is that psy­chol­o­gy is so much big­ger than most stu­dents real­ize when they begin their pro­gram. Grad­u­ates with a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy have a range of fields avail­able to them, from the con­ven­tion­al clin­i­cal roles that prob­a­bly first come to mind – the school psy­chol­o­gists, the sub­stance abuse coun­selors, the men­tal health coun­selors, the mar­riage and fam­i­ly coun­selors – to areas that may be sur­pris­ing. You may choose career in human ser­vices or social work as a social work­er or case man­ag­er, career oppor­tu­ni­ties in child­care and edu­ca­tion. Psy­chol­o­gy grad­u­ates may work in the jus­tice sys­tem as pro­ba­tion offi­cers, or as a cor­rec­tion­al treat­ment spe­cial­ist or parole officer.

Psy­chol­o­gy grad­u­ates are also in demand in busi­ness, in mar­ket­ing, in sports, in real estate, in enter­tain­ment – pret­ty much any area where an under­stand­ing of human emo­tions, moti­va­tion, and behav­ior is useful.

With an advanced degree career options increase even more over an under­grad­u­ate degree. A grad­u­ate degree from a psy­chol­o­gy grad­u­ate school can lead to law school, job oppor­tu­ni­ties in gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and more.

So is psy­chol­o­gy a good career choice for you? Read on, and make up your own mind.

Psychology Education, Licensure, and Certifications

Obvi­ous­ly, the first step to a career in psy­chol­o­gy is an edu­ca­tion in psy­chol­o­gy. Psy­chol­o­gy isn’t a pro­fes­sion you learn on the job, after all (you can’t get a job in psy­chol­o­gy in the first place with­out at least a bachelor’s degree). The good news for aspir­ing psy­chol­o­gists is that psy­chol­o­gy is one of the most com­mon bachelor’s degree pro­grams; vir­tu­al­ly every col­lege and uni­ver­si­ty in the coun­try is going to have a psy­chol­o­gy pro­gram. If you can’t get into your first choice, there’s no rea­son to fret.

The bad news? It’s going to take a lot of effort on your part to find the right psy­chol­o­gy bachelor’s degree for you, and it’s going to take even more effort to put that degree to use in a pro­fes­sion­al job. Even after find­ing an accred­it­ed psy­chol­o­gy degree pro­gram and get­ting through your bachelor’s, there is the issue of spe­cial­ized cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and licen­sure to prac­tice. But it all starts with an accred­it­ed program.

Psychology Accreditation

The first essen­tial ele­ment in get­ting a psy­chol­o­gy degree is mak­ing sure that it’s com­ing from an accred­it­ed degree pro­gram. There are plen­ty of dis­rep­utable diplo­ma mills churn­ing out com­plete­ly worth­less psy­chol­o­gy degrees, because it’s a field with a fair­ly low bar­ri­er for entry; there are no lab­o­ra­to­ries or clin­i­cals nec­es­sary. But if you want a real psy­chol­o­gy degree – and licen­sure or cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to prac­tice – it has to come from an accred­it­ed school.

The bare min­i­mum is region­al accred­i­ta­tion: recog­ni­tion from one of the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion-rec­og­nized region­al accred­i­ta­tion agen­cies. These sev­en agen­cies cov­er non-prof­it and for-prof­it com­mu­ni­ty col­leges, junior col­leges, col­leges, and uni­ver­si­ties in the var­i­ous regions of the US: New Eng­land, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, the Mid­west, the North­west, and the West.

To put it sim­ply, if your bachelor’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy isn’t from a region­al­ly-accred­it­ed col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty, you’re shut­ting your­self out of any real careers in psychology.

In addi­tion, with­in many col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, psy­chol­o­gy pro­grams have their own accred­i­ta­tion. Psy­chol­o­gy accred­i­ta­tion isn’t nec­es­sary for a school to issue a psy­chol­o­gy degree, but accred­it­ed psy­chol­o­gy pro­grams are much more trust­wor­thy. APA accred­i­ta­tion from the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion tells stu­dents that the pro­gram has proven its qual­i­ty, but it also tells employ­ees that you had to work for your degree.

Oth­er spe­cial­ized pro­grams may have accred­i­ta­tion from orga­ni­za­tions including:

  • Asso­ci­a­tion of State and Provin­cial Psy­chol­o­gy Boards (ASPPB)
  • Coun­cil on Accred­i­ta­tion of Coun­sel­ing & Relat­ed Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­grams (CACREP)
  • Coun­cil on Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Edu­ca­tion (CORE)
  • Com­mis­sion on Accred­i­ta­tion for Mar­riage and Fam­i­ly Ther­a­py Edu­ca­tion (COAMFTE)
  • Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of School Psy­chol­o­gists (NASP)

Again, these accred­i­ta­tions aren’t essen­tial – you can still get a good degree in coun­sel­ing from a school that isn’t CACREP accred­it­ed, for instance – but these spe­cial­ized accred­i­ta­tions show that the schools are rep­utable in that par­tic­u­lar area. More impor­tant­ly, it often means the pro­gram has con­nec­tions in the job mar­ket that can help you start your psy­chol­o­gy career.

How Many Psychology Degrees are There?

Psy­chol­o­gy is a very broad field, so there are as many types of psy­chol­o­gy degrees are there are types of psy­chol­o­gists. Obvi­ous­ly, there are the dif­fer­ent lev­els of psy­chol­o­gy degree: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doc­tor­ate. But even if we only focus on a Bach­e­lor of Psy­chol­o­gy degree, there are a dizzy­ing num­ber of spe­cial­iza­tions in the psy­chol­o­gy field that you will have to choose from:

  • Clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gy – direct­ly treat­ing the men­tal­ly ill
  • Cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gy – study­ing how humans think
  • Coun­sel­ing psy­chol­o­gy – pro­vid­ing guid­ance for clients
  • Devel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gy – study­ing how human minds grow through­out life
  • Edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy – study­ing the inter­sec­tion of thought and learning
  • Industrial/organizational psy­chol­o­gy – apply­ing psy­chol­o­gy to busi­ness and groups
  • Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy – study­ing how the brain pro­duces emo­tion and thought

That list only scratch­es the sur­face. Between research, clin­i­cal prac­tice, and appli­ca­tion, there are more spe­cial­iza­tions in psy­chol­o­gy than even a long-time psy­chol­o­gist could prob­a­bly name.

Pro­fes­sion­als choose their spe­cial­iza­tion for a num­ber of rea­sons. Some­times it’s because they find it nat­u­ral­ly fit­ting right away; some­times it’s because they’re chal­lenged by it, and over­com­ing the chal­lenge makes them love it. Some­times it’s because a spe­cial­iza­tion has a per­son­al sig­nif­i­cance (some­one who was adopt­ed or lived in fos­ter care may spe­cial­ize in fam­i­ly coun­sel­ing, for instance), or because there is a crit­i­cal need in a com­mu­ni­ty they care about (coun­selors spe­cial­iz­ing in trans­gen­der youth and adults, for instance).

You don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to choose right away; part of the fun of tak­ing cours­es in your psy­chol­o­gy bachelor’s pro­gram is try­ing out dif­fer­ent spe­cial­iza­tions, dif­fer­ent the­o­ries, and dif­fer­ent meth­ods to see what fits your per­son­al­i­ty and way of work­ing. Many bachelor’s degree pro­grams will only be gen­er­al­ist psy­chol­o­gy degrees any­way. The in-depth spe­cial­iza­tions usu­al­ly come with master’s programs.

But if you plan to go for­ward with a career in psy­chol­o­gy, at some point you will have to spe­cial­ize. With that in mind, it’s impor­tant to real­ly give every course your all when you’re work­ing on your bachelor’s in psychology.

Getting a Psychology Degree Online

The ques­tion of accred­i­ta­tion isn’t even a ques­tion with the best online psy­chol­o­gy degree pro­grams – it’s easy to find an online psy­chol­o­gy degree accred­it­ed by the APA. Because psy­chol­o­gy edu­ca­tion is so heav­i­ly focused on the­o­ry and research, online pro­grams in psy­chol­o­gy have become quite com­mon – it’s a field that trans­lates eas­i­ly to online learning.

A psy­chol­o­gy degree online pro­gram is a good choice for the work­ing adult who wants to fin­ish their bachelor’s degree and move into one of the many careers in psy­chol­o­gy. Even the cheap­est online psy­chol­o­gy degree can be accred­it­ed, and the best online psy­chol­o­gy degree pro­grams are as rep­utable as any on-cam­pus pro­gram. With a wealth of APA accred­it­ed online pro­grams, there’s always a psy­chol­o­gy degree near me.

Psychology Certifications and Licensure

The Amer­i­can Board of Pro­fes­sion­al Psy­chol­o­gy (ABPP) is America’s lead­ing agency that over­sees spe­cial­iza­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in psy­chol­o­gy. The ABPP orga­nized in 1947, with the guid­ance of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion, to cre­ate a cen­tral­ized, uni­form code for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion exams in var­i­ous psy­chol­o­gy specializations.

SO what cer­ti­fi­ca­tions can I get with a bach­e­lor’s in psy­chol­o­gy? The process for earn­ing an ABPP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is rig­or­ous. Each spe­cial­iza­tion has its own inde­pen­dent board, which sets the stan­dards for prac­tice in their indi­vid­ual areas. There are 16 spe­cial­iza­tions rec­og­nized by the ABPP for certification:

  • Clin­i­cal Child and Ado­les­cent Psychology
  • Clin­i­cal Health Psychology
  • Clin­i­cal Neuropsychology
  • Clin­i­cal Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy Pedi­atric Subspecialty
  • Clin­i­cal Psychology
  • Cog­ni­tive and Behav­ioral Psychology
  • Coun­sel­ing Psychology
  • Cou­ple and Fam­i­ly Psychology
  • Foren­sic Psychology
  • Geropsy­chol­o­gy
  • Group Psy­chol­o­gy
  • Orga­ni­za­tion­al and Busi­ness Con­sult­ing Psychology
  • Police & Pub­lic Safe­ty Psychology
  • Psy­cho­analy­sis in Psychology
  • Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Psychology
  • School Psy­chol­o­gy

It’s worth not­ing that these are not all of the spe­cial­ties and sub­spe­cial­ties in psy­chol­o­gy – they’re just the ones that the ABPP offers cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for. And the ABPP is not the the only agency or orga­ni­za­tion offer­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions – they’re just the biggest.

To earn an ABPP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, psy­chol­o­gists must go through three steps:

  1. Cre­den­tials Review
  2. Peer-Reviewed Prac­tice Samples
  3. Oral Exam­i­na­tion

While the process is fair­ly straight­for­ward, not many psy­chol­o­gists actu­al­ly get a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion; no more than 5%, in fact, accord­ing to the APA. Many psy­chol­o­gists decide that the time and expense are not worth their while, but that is begin­ning to change as the field becomes more com­pet­i­tive. With only 5% of psy­chol­o­gists earn­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, going through the process helps new psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sion­als stand out.

ABPP cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are nation­al. Get­ting a license to actu­al­ly prac­tice as a psy­chol­o­gy, coun­selor, or some oth­er form of direct clin­i­cal prac­tice, how­ev­er, is a state-by-state process. For most states, to prac­tice as a licensed psy­chol­o­gist requires a doc­tor­al degree, so that’s out of the scope of Bachelor’s Degree Center.

Careers in Psychology

Psy­chol­o­gy is one of those dis­ci­plines that peo­ple often study out of a desire to do good in the world, or out of fas­ci­na­tion – not nec­es­sar­i­ly because they believe it will be lucra­tive. But the fact remains, if you did the work to get a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy, you’d prob­a­bly like to get a job out of it. And you’d prob­a­bly like for that job to make you a liv­ing wage, and maybe a lit­tle bet­ter; it is a high­ly skilled pro­fes­sion, after all.

What jobs require a psy­chol­o­gy degree? Can you find high-pay­ing jobs with a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy? And are the things you can do with a degree in psy­chol­o­gy the kinds of things that pay a pro­fes­sion­al salary? What jobs can you get with a psy­chol­o­gy degree bachelor?

So You Have a BA in Psychology – Now What?

I have a BA in psy­chol­o­gy — now what? What jobs can you get with a bach­e­lor’s in psy­chol­o­gy? This is where a lot of pro­grams, whether tra­di­tion­al or online, miss the mark. They’re so busy with all the the­o­ry and read­ing and writ­ing and assess­ment that they don’t incor­po­rate a lot of use­ful career or pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment advice. But there are many careers in psy­chol­o­gy with a bach­e­lor’s degree if you know where to look.

Bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy entry-lev­el jobs aren’t hard to find, but it may take some time to find some­thing pre­cise­ly in your wheel­house. So what jobs require a psy­chol­o­gy degree? Careers in psy­chol­o­gy take a lot of forms, but the most com­mon are areas relat­ed to pub­lic ser­vice and clin­i­cal care. If you’re won­der­ing what to do with a bach­e­lor’s in psy­chol­o­gy, here’s the place to start.

Bachelor’s in Psychology Entry-Level Jobs

Career Coun­sel­ing – If you’ve tak­en per­son­al­i­ty tests like the Myers-Brig­gs, you have a taste of what a career coun­selor does. Career coun­selor jobs have actu­al­ly increased, as the job mar­ket has become more com­pet­i­tive and pro­fes­sion­als look every­where for an advan­tage. While we typ­i­cal­ly think of career coun­selor as work­ing in a high school or col­lege, demand has made it pos­si­ble to find career coun­selor jobs in social ser­vices, indus­try, and pri­vate practice.

Coun­sel­ing – Of course, coun­sel­ing the first career path that comes to mind for psy­chol­o­gy majors. Many psy­chol­o­gists will become licensed coun­selors in a vari­ety of set­tings, includ­ing hos­pi­tals and pri­vate prac­tice. Look for CACREP-accred­it­ed pro­grams if you’re plan­ning a career in counseling.

Edu­ca­tion­al Psy­chol­o­gist – The impor­tance of edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy can’t be under­stat­ed – the appli­ca­tion of edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy in teach­ing and learn­ing is an essen­tial part of mod­ern teach­ing. Edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy jobs are gen­er­al­ly with­in schools, or at the dis­trict lev­el. The Edu­ca­tion­al Psy­chol­o­gist helps schools and school sys­tems design and imple­ment poli­cies to improve teach­ing and learn­ing, apply­ing edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy research to real situations.

Psy­chol­o­gy Researcher – Psy­chol­o­gy is a social sci­ence, and one of the most impor­tant aspects of the field is research. There are many oppor­tu­ni­ties for research in high­er edu­ca­tion set­tings and pri­vate research orga­ni­za­tions. While col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties may require a master’s degree for researchers, a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy could get you an entry-lev­el job work­ing for a non­prof­it or pri­vate firm as a researcher.

School Coun­selor – While the jobs are often con­fused, grad­u­ates with an edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy degree may also find jobs as School Coun­selors. Rather than work­ing with schools on a pol­i­cy lev­el, a school coun­selor applies their psy­cho­log­i­cal knowl­edge to work­ing direct­ly with stu­dents in a vari­ety of cir­cum­stances, includ­ing learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, emo­tion­al or psy­cho­log­i­cal ill­ness, grief coun­sel­ing, and more.

Social Ser­vices and Crim­i­nal Jus­tice: In the social ser­vices field, wide­ly con­sid­ered, there are many places for some­one with a bachelor’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy. With a degree spe­cial­iz­ing in children’s coun­sel­ing or men­tal health, for instance, you may become a child pro­tec­tion agent; with a spe­cial­iza­tion in crim­i­nal psy­chol­o­gy, you may become a behav­ioral ana­lyst or foren­sic psy­chol­o­gist. Many psy­chol­o­gists spe­cial­ize in reha­bil­i­ta­tion coun­sel­ing, help­ing reha­bil­i­tate peo­ple who are incar­cer­at­ed or who have been released from prison.

Alternative Careers for Psychology Majors

Maybe you’re look­ing for things you can do with a degree in psy­chol­o­gy that aren’t direct­ly work­ing with patients, or doing aca­d­e­m­ic or sci­en­tif­ic research. You’re def­i­nite­ly not alone – only around a quar­ter of pro­fes­sion­als with a psy­chol­o­gy degree actu­al­ly work in clin­i­cal or aca­d­e­m­ic set­tings. What jobs require a psy­chol­o­gy degree that aren’t clin­i­cal? There are a sur­pris­ing num­ber of alter­na­tive careers for psy­chol­o­gy majors.

Busi­ness is the place you want to look for high-pay­ing jobs with a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy – in many cas­es, with much high­er pay than clin­i­cal bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy entry-lev­el jobs. There are sev­er­al busi­ness-relat­ed things you can do with a degree in psy­chol­o­gy. An under­stand­ing of the human mind is very valu­able in areas like:

  • Mar­ket­ing
  • Con­sumer Research
  • Orga­ni­za­tion­al psychology
  • Human Resources

All of these areas with­in busi­ness ben­e­fit from psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­tise, and busi­ness-relat­ed careers in psy­chol­o­gy are grow­ing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics sees a 26% growth rate for indus­tri­al-orga­ni­za­tion­al psy­chol­o­gists over the next decade.

Bachelors in Psychology Salary

If you’re expect­ing to walk out of your grad­u­a­tion to a raft of high-pay­ing jobs with a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy, try not to be too dis­ap­point­ed. Bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy entry-lev­el jobs don’t pay any more than entry-lev­el jobs in most pro­fes­sions. Now, it’s still far bet­ter than pret­ty much any job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, but a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy salary is respectable – not a fortune.

So what is the aver­age psy­chol­o­gist salary? That’s rather dif­fi­cult to say; the BLS says that psy­chol­o­gists make an aver­age of $77,000 annu­al­ly, but that’s a mis­lead­ing sta­tis­tic. There is tru­ly no such thing as an aver­age psy­chol­o­gist, because there are so many spe­cial­iza­tions. With no end of spe­cial­iza­tions in psy­chol­o­gy careers and salaries, it’s impor­tant to break down what to expect from a bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy salary.

Psy­chol­o­gists who work in a social ser­vices con­text will have to expect to make less than a psy­chol­o­gist in a pri­vate prac­tice, clin­i­cal, or indus­try set­ting. It’s a sad but true fact that our social ser­vices pro­fes­sion­als work long hours, endure a lot of stress, and make a fair­ly low pay for their lev­el of edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence. What keeps them going is not pay­day, but mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in lives and communities.

Psychology Careers and Salaries

To be quite hon­est, there’s not always a fair match between psy­chol­o­gy careers and salaries. Accord­ing to the BLM, sub­stance abuse coun­selors have an incred­i­bly stress­ful, high-respon­si­bil­i­ty job, but because they usu­al­ly work in a social ser­vices set­ting, salary is rather low: only $43,000 per year on aver­age. With sub­stance abuse at an epi­dem­ic lev­el, though, the field is grow­ing by 23%.

That’s con­sid­er­ably less than Mar­riage and Fam­i­ly Ther­a­pists, who make an aver­age of $48,000 with much less stress. To sweet­en the pot, most mar­riage and fam­i­ly coun­selors work in pri­vate prac­tice, giv­ing them con­sid­er­able con­trol over their work­day and respon­si­bil­i­ties. School and Career Coun­selors, on the oth­er hand, make an aver­age of $55,000, but again, that’s a some­what mis­lead­ing num­ber. No one work­ing in a pub­lic school, for instance, expects to make a for­tune, but a suc­cess­ful career coun­selor job in a pri­vate con­sult­ing prac­tice could make quite a bit more than $55,000 from clients look­ing for advice.

All of those alter­na­tive careers for psy­chol­o­gy majors have a skew­ing effect on the stats as well, because they offer a rather high bachelor’s in psy­chol­o­gy salary across the board. Indus­tri­al-Orga­ni­za­tion­al Psy­chol­o­gists, for exam­ple, make an aver­age of over $102,000 annu­al­ly, accord­ing to the BLS, while Mar­ket Research Ana­lysts make a sol­id $63,000 – and the field is grow­ing by 23% as mar­ket­ing takes over a big­ger and big­ger share of busi­ness. Train­ing and Devel­op­ment Spe­cial­ists, in turn, can count on some­where in the neigh­bor­hood of $60,000.

Psy­chol­o­gist careers and salaries require a master’s degree to reach the high­er reach­es of sta­tus, and pay with it. It’s worth men­tion­ing, though, that online master’s degree pro­grams in psy­chol­o­gy are extreme­ly com­mon, and make it quite con­ve­nient to earn the master’s degree while still work­ing. What is the aver­age psy­chol­o­gist salary with a master’s degree? That’s a top­ic for anoth­er time.

Professional Psychological Organizations You Should Join

To real­ly make the most of your career in psy­chol­o­gy, it’s essen­tial that you join the psy­cho­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions relat­ed to your spe­cial­ty or field. There are a lot of good reasons:

  • Make con­nec­tions with oth­er pro­fes­sion­als: Hav­ing a strong net­work of fel­low psy­chol­o­gists can be a life­saver if you find your­self in need of work, and con­ve­nient if you find you need a col­lab­o­ra­tor with exper­tise you don’t have.
  • Prove exper­tise to clients and employ­ers: Mem­ber­ship in pro­fes­sion­al psy­cho­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions shows that you are engaged and up-to-date with your profession.
  • Fringe ben­e­fits: Join­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions usu­al­ly includes a lot of fringe ben­e­fits, includ­ing sub­scrip­tions to pro­fes­sion­al jour­nals; region­al, nation­al, and inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences (for net­work­ing and social­iz­ing); and even unex­pect­ed ben­e­fits like dis­counts and insur­ance policies.

These orga­ni­za­tions pub­lish schol­ar­ly jour­nals and newslet­ters, fund schol­ar­ships for psy­chol­o­gy stu­dents, pro­vide research grants, offer con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cours­es, and, of course, hold con­fer­ences for psy­chol­o­gists to meet and present new research. They are the active cen­ters of the psy­cho­log­i­cal field, where psy­chol­o­gy grows and devel­ops in practice.

There are many, many psy­cho­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions, asso­ci­a­tions, and soci­eties nation­wide and world­wide; vir­tu­al­ly every spe­cial­iza­tion and sub­spe­cial­iza­tion is rep­re­sent­ed by one or more orga­ni­za­tions, from high­ly local and spe­cif­ic to inter­na­tion­al. Some of the largest include:

This is by no means an exhaus­tive list of pro­fes­sion­al psy­cho­log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions; there are a host of inter­dis­ci­pli­nary groups, region­al orga­ni­za­tions, and spe­cial inter­ests, some with thou­sands of mem­bers, some with few­er than 100.