Psychology Careers Outside of Mental Health

A psychologist meets with a disabled man and the monkey who is trained to help him.
Jeffrey L. Rotman/Getty Images

What do you do if you love psychology but are not interested in working in a mental health profession? Fortunately, you still have plenty of great options.

People often think that becoming a psychologist is the only option open to people who earn a psychology degree, but there are actually lots of job opportunities outside of the fields of therapy and mental health. Some psychologists work exclusively as researchers and investigate different aspects of human behavior. Others work in legal settings to assess and evaluate people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Still other professionals work with professional and amateur athletes to improve motivation and performance.

Consider Experimental and Applied Psychology Careers

The field of psychology is very diverse and provides many other options that focus on aspects of the human mind and behavior other than mental health treatments. This is just a brief glimpse of all the different options you might encounter.

Experimental and applied fields are two areas that might appeal to those who are interested in psychology but do not want to work in mental health.

Experimental psychologists conduct research on a wide range of topics. In many cases, experimental psychologists might specialize in a particular area of psychology such as child development, the aging process, social behavior, or cognitive psychology. They often work at colleges and universities and conduct research in addition to teaching courses, or they might also work in settings such as private corporations, research centers, and government organizations.

Applied psychologists utilize their knowledge of psychology to solve real-world problems. Some examples of applied jobs include forensic psychologists, sports psychologists, consumer psychologists, and industrial-organizational psychologists. Applied psychologists work in a wide range of settings, including universities, private businesses, government offices, law enforcement agencies, and private consulting.

Careers Outside of Psychology

Another option is to utilize your knowledge of psychological principles in a career outside of psychology. According to one job survey, only 26.7% of people who recently graduated with undergraduate degree in psychology work in a field that is "closely related" to psychology. The rest worked in jobs they described as "somewhat related" or "unrelated" to psychology, such as marketing, advertising, sales, communications, and other areas.

If you enjoy statistics, then you might find the field of psychometrics appealing. Psychometricians specialize in studying and developing psychological assessments. They might develop tests to measure intelligence, aptitude, personality, or educational achievements, often through the use of surveys and questionnaires.

Browse through this list for more information on different careers that might appeal to you:

Before you make a decision, spend some time exploring some different psychology career options to learn more about which areas are best aligned with your interests.

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  1. American Psychological Association. By the numbers: How do undergraduate psychology majors fare? Monitor on Psychology. 2016;47(2):11.