14 Highest Paying Jobs with a Bachelor's in Psychology (No PhD or Master's Required) [2020]

With the average cost of a psychology degree being in the $136,000 range, a student or career professional may start to consider their career path in accordance with continued education. The question becomes, what job opportunities are available for those with a psychology bachelor’s degree? And can those career professionals decide not to pursue their master’s degree or doctoral degree?

The average cost of receiving a Master’s degree and doctoral degree in psychology averages at an additional $60,000 to $68,000 per additional academic merit. Meaning, in total, a career professional pursuing a career in psychology could see costs of more than $250,000 in total for receiving a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and/or doctorate.

Many popular positions, like a clinical therapist, psychologist (social psychologist and clinical psychologist) require a master’s degree in psychology in order to pursue those positions. Without that, a career professional will only be qualified to work in non-clinical assistant or administrative positions that are similar to those job titles—none of which are likely to have significant compensation benefits associated with them.

Highest Paying Jobs with a Bachelors in Psychology

What Kind of Degree is Required for a Career in Psychology?

In the United States, pursuing a career in psychology without a doctorate or master’s degree means that popular positions like these may be off the table:

An assistant applied behavior analyst is an example of an assistant psychologist position that requires only a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Though, these positions, as mentioned above, don’t compensate “highly” as it pertains to the psychological industry. The assistant applied behavior analyst position compensates roughly $44,000 per year.

What is clinical psychology? Often, a psychology program (or psychology major) offered by a four-year academic program and institution is going to be classified as a clinical psychology program with a focus on behavioral health or mental health (receiving a psychology degree without a master’s degree, graduate degree, or doctorate degree). Clinical psychology is a psychological specialty that provides continuing and comprehensive mental and behavioral health care for individuals and families. Within the specialty a student will learn:

  • Understanding of psychopathology and diagnostic/intervention considerations across age groups, genders, and more.
  • Mental health issues across the lifespan based on a solid understanding of psychopathology.
  • Assessment of the patient. The ability to integrate and synthesize personality test data with additional standardized assessment measures.
  • Consultation of the patient. The ability to consult with other health and behavioral health care professionals and organizations regarding severe psychopathology, suicide, and violence.

What is abnormal psychology? Abnormal psychology is the study of psychology that examines the unusual patterns of behavior, emotion, and thought, which may or may not be understood as precipitating a mental disorder. Psychology students have the option of choosing a primary major or minor in abnormal psychology.

Students who are pursuing sociology majors have similar accompanying job titles for those who seek to only obtain an undergraduate degree. Job titles that sociology major should look into would include:

  • Guidance Counselor.
  • Lawyer.
  • Management Consultant.
  • Market Research Analyst.
  • Policy Analyst.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 25% of students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology go on to pursue a graduate degree in the field, while about 18% decide to pursue additional education in other subject areas. The question for those with a general psychology degree is, what high paying jobs with a bachelors in psychology are available?

Highest Paying Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

The highest-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Some of these roles have psychology or mental health focus on them. While other positions have human resources, marketing, and public relations specialties associated with them. All of these positions only require a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, not a Ph.D. or master’s degree.

Recreational Therapist - $48,220

A recreational therapist is a professional that uses a variety of therapeutic techniques and activities to address multiple modalities. The recreational therapist may use physical activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, theater, music, dance, sports, games, and other community activities or activities to maintain or improve a patient’s social and emotional well-being.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

The NTRC offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential which is required for positions in this career. Once the bachelor’s degree is obtained, at least 560 hours of supervised internship hours are required, as well as passing a required examination in order to obtain proper certification and licensure.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors - $46,240

Sometimes referred to as a substance abuse counselor. A mental health counselor assists patients with emotional wellness. The mental health counselor is a professional who works with individuals or groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. They may address trauma, addiction, or other youth issues as part of youth services.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

According to the National Board for Certified Counselors, states require certain licensures for private mental health counselors. Additional information regarding the certifications and licensures that vary by the state can be found on the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Psychiatric Technician - $32,020

A psychiatric technician is a professional who works under psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses. This professional is sometimes referred to as a mental health technician. They typically observe a patient's behavior, listen to patient concerns, and monitor or record the patient’s conditions and vital signs (like blood pressure, eating, bathing, and other activities).

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

Some employers require certification as a nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse. Though, more commonly, an employer only looks for a postsecondary certificate, which is obtained through vocational school and vocational training. On-the-job training is the only requirement for this position.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social Worker - $50,470

A social worker uses the applied science of social work. This is the discipline of helping individuals, families, and groups of people cope with the problems they’re facing in life. This could be learning disabilities, psychical disabilities, or other developmental disabilities.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

Licensing requirements vary by state, those career professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in social work beyond the bachelor’s degree should contact their state licensure board. Information about the requirements by state can be found on the Association of Social Work Board website.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

School Psychologist - $87,450

A school psychologist applies the principles of educational psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and community psychology. They used applied behavioral analysis to meet children’s and adolescents’ behavioral health and learning needs. School psychology refers to the field that applies to educational psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology to children and adolescents.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

In order to pursue a career in school psychology, a credential must be obtained through the National Association of School Psychologists. Licensing requirements vary by state and by jurisdiction. For more information about licensing, visit the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board (ASPPB) website.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Organizational Psychology - $111,150

An industrial-organizational psychologist is a professional who uses psychological principles and research to solve problems in the workplace. This psychologist practices the field of organizational psychology. The objective of this profession is to improve the quality of life of the workers. They study workplace management, productivity, and efficiency. And how that is interconnected with employee working styles.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

The licensure and certification requirements for an organizational psychologist can vary by state and jurisdiction. For more information on the states required licensure, visit the SIOP licensure board website. An examination will need to be passed and completed in order to work in this field. The examination is provided by the Association of State and Provincial Licensing Board.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Marketing Specialist - $65,834

A marketing specialist is a professional who is part of the marketing team. A marketing specialist assists in developing and executing marketing campaigns to gain exposure to a brand, market to prospective customers, and increase sales. Psychological behaviors and habits play a key role in the success of marketing campaigns. And can be a great option for those with a psychology degree.

Training and Certifications Requirements

No certifications or prior education requirements are necessary for this position. Though, prior working experience in a marketing position or internship is preferred amongst employers.

Salary information sources: Glassdoor

Community Services Manager - $65,320

A community services manager is a professional who helps to coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations. These professionals assist with implementing and improving social services programs. In addition, these professionals assist with the management of the social services staff.

Training and Certifications Requirements

No certifications or prior education requirements are necessary for this position. Though, prior working experience in a previous social services internship or another type of professional position is preferred.

Salary information sources: U.S. News

Human Resources Specialist - $61,920

A human resources specialist is a human resource professional who assists with employment, recruitment, labor and employee relations, training, job analysis, and other benefits or compensation analysis. This includes working with hiring managers to develop ideal candidate criteria, collaborate with private headhunters, and pursue job boards to find employees and candidates.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Public Relations Specialist - $60,000

A public relations specialist is a professional who creates and maintains a favorable public image of a brand, organization, business, or product/service. This professional assists with writing press releases, responding to information requests from media departments, assisting clients with efficiently communicating the organizations’ corporate image and identity, and more.

Training and Certifications Requirements

No certifications or prior education requirements are necessary for this position. Though, prior working experience in a previous marketing position or having prior internship experience in a public relations position is preferred.

Salary information sources: U.S. News and The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Counselor - $37,736

A career counselor works with clients at varying levels of their careers. Career counselors help people find and get jobs by teaching them methods of the job search, resume writing, and interviewing process. A career counselor primarily focuses on assisting clients and professionals who are out of work or looking to advance their lives through work changes.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

Some states require applicants to have classroom teaching experience or hold a teaching license prior to being certified. Information about requirements for each state can be found on the American School Counselor Association website.

Salary information sources: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor

Victim Advocate - $42,530

A victim advocate is a professional who is trained in supporting victims of crime. The advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help to find resources or fill out paperwork. The emotional support is extended to families and the other victims of a criminal act. These professionals may support the families and victims during criminal justice proceedings.

Training and Certifications Requirements

A psychology graduate may need to complete the following training courses and certifications before being able to apply for this position.

A certification from the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) may be required for this position, depending on the employer.

Salary information sources: ZipRecruiter

Engineering Psychologist - $107,314

An engineering psychologist is a research professional who consults in the field of engineering, product design, and software development. An engineering psychologist tries to understand what consumers want and need when it comes to products or services. The engineering psychologist will use a variety of clinical research methods to determine the appropriate business direction, including the use of focus groups, test panels, consumer surveys, and more.

Training and Certifications Requirements

No certifications or prior education requirements are necessary for this position. Though, prior working experience in a previous marketing position or having prior internship experience in a product development role is preferred.

Salary information sources: apa.org

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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