Jobs for a Master's Degree in Psychology

Masters degree in psychology

Verywell / Emily Mendoza

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A master's in psychology is a great option for some students, but that does not mean it is right for everyone. Before you decide if you should pursue a master's degree, there are some factors you should consider.

Psychology students typically hear less about master's programs than they do doctoral programs. However, around 28,000 students earn master's degrees in psychology each year. compared to the approximately 6,000 earning doctorate degrees in psychology.

The master's in psychology degree has become a popular option, particularly with the increased number of students earning their degrees online. However, students are often unaware of what they can do with their degrees post-graduation.

A master's degree can sometimes be a stepping stone toward a doctorate. However, many people enter the workforce directly after earning their masters.

This article explores some of the job options that are available with a masters-level degree in psychology.

Job Options

While your career path may not be as obvious, there are still plenty of different job opportunities to consider. As you begin your career search, think about the skills and knowledge you acquired during your education and consider different ways you could apply those abilities in the workforce.

The following are just a few key areas you might want to focus on in your job search.

Jobs at Colleges and Universities

While the competition for teaching positions can be fierce, some graduates with a master's degree in psychology find teaching positions at junior colleges and universities. Alternative careers in higher education that graduates from a master's psychology program may want to consider include:

  • Academic advising
  • Academic recruiting
  • Career counseling

Jobs in Local, State, and Federal Government

Another option is to look for a job with the local, state, or federal government. Government offices frequently hire individuals with a master's degree in psychology to perform research or provide psychological services.

Some different government positions that you might qualify for include:

  • Developmental specialist
  • Drug and alcohol specialist
  • Employment counselor
  • Human resources analyst
  • Parole officers
  • Psychology program manager
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Self-reliance specialist
  • Social service manager
  • Vocational rehabilitation provider

How do you find out about these job opportunities? One way to look for such jobs is to go to your state's Department of Labor website and search the available job listings.

Jobs in Health Care and Mental Health Services

Even if your degree was not practice-focused, you might still be able to find employment in the mental health field. Many of these positions are entry-level, but they can be a great way to gain experience and determine if you might be interested in pursuing a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology.

Some possible job titles in this area include:

  • Behavioral counselor or therapist
  • Board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA)
  • Childcare supervisor
  • Child protection worker
  • Family services worker
  • Group home coordinator
  • Health project coordinator
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Rehabilitation specialist

Jobs in Business, Sales, Marketing, and Advertising

A master's degree in psychology also serves as excellent preparation for careers outside of psychology. A solid background in research and statistics might also qualify you to work in areas such as market research.

  • Advertising agent
  • Employee trainer
  • Human factors psychologist
  • Human resources manager
  • Market researcher
  • Project manager
  • Public relations representative
  • Sales representative
  • Store manager

Employers often seek psychology graduates because they have strong interpersonal and written communication skills.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Psychology?

The job opportunities available to you after earning your master's degree in psychology can depend on a number of factors. In addition to the overall job outlook in your geographic area, the focus of your master's degree can play an important role in determining your employment prospects.

For example, people who earn a master's in clinical psychology will likely have a different career trajectory than those who earn a master's in experimental psychology. Those with a clinical focus will be more likely to work directly in the field of mental health while those with an experimental focus may be more likely to teach or conduct research.

Common Master's in Psychology Options

There is tremendous variability in subject focus and career options with different types of master's in psychology degrees. In some states, for example, those with a master's degree in clinical psychology can practice psychotherapy in limited situations. Those with a degree in an experimental psychology area can instead opt to focus on a research-oriented career.

Master's in Clinical Psychology

This is often a terminal degree, meaning that further graduate study is unnecessary. In some states, graduates of these practice-based programs are allowed to provide psychotherapy and psychological assessment under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist.

Master's in Experimental Psychology

This option can serve as a terminal degree or preparation for further graduate study. These research-based degrees are focused on preparing students for careers in research.

often focus on a specialty area such as cognitive psychologyhuman factors, developmental psychology, or social psychology. This type of degree would prepare students for jobs as research assistants, lab managers, and market researchers.

Master's in an Applied Psychology Area

The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that job opportunities are strongest for students with a graduate degree in an applied psychology area such as industrial-organizational psychology or forensic psychology. A degree in an applied field prepares students to work directly in their specialty area, but some graduates may also find teaching positions at the college or university level.


The type of master's degree you earn can significantly impact your employment options once you graduate. Before you choose a master's program, spend some time carefully considering where you would like to work.

Job Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is expected to grow at a rate of 6% through the year 2031, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.

The need for clinical and counseling psychologists is expected to grow by around 10% over the next decade. However, candidates who have a master’s degree may face competition for most positions. Many will find jobs without the title 'psychologist', as nearly all states restrict that title to PhD or PsyD degree holders.

The need for trained professionals to help boost worker productivity and retention is expected to help drive the increased demand for industrial-organizational psychologists. However, because of the number of people seeking these positions, the competition for such jobs is expected to be quite high.

A Word From Verywell

You can do plenty of things with a master's degree in psychology, but it is also important to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. While some states allow master's degree-holders to practice psychotherapy and assessment under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, the use of the title of 'psychologist' is usually restricted only to those with a doctorate-level degree.

The master's option can be a stepping stone to a doctorate, but it offers many job options as a terminal degree. By understanding what is available with your degree, you will stand a greater chance of gaining employment in your specialty area.

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Michalski DS. Master’s careers in psychology. Psychology Student Network.

  2. American Psychology Association. How many psychology doctorates are awarded by U.S. institutions? Monitor on Psychology. 2014;45(7):13.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Psychologists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Additional Reading
  • Kuther, TL, & Morgan, RD. Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a Changing World. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2013.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."