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Alternative careers you can pursue with a psychology degree

There are numerous career alternatives you can pursue with a psychology degree. Source: Pexels

Psychology students and graduates are often a misunderstood lot – the degree frequently gets mislabelled as “useless”, largely due to ignorance on what the course entails and what the qualification has to offer.

However, the degree opens doors to many careers, in fields that are both directly and indirectly related to psychology.

A psychology degree can equip students with a range of transferable skills, including research and communication skills, both of which can be applied across numerous occupations.

Here are six career options not directly related to psychology that you can consider pursuing.

Teaching

If you enjoy imparting knowledge to others, you can consider becoming a teacher in primary or secondary schools.

Many of the subjects you were likely exposed to during your undergraduate studies, such as Human Motivation, Human Personality, and Developmental Psychology, can be applied to the profession to help you facilitate the development of your students.

Human resources (HR)

A psychology degree can serve as a good foundation for HR-related careers. Source: Shutterstock

As psychology involves the study of the human mind and behaviour, a career in human resources will prove to be a viable career for psychology graduates.

There are many specialties within the HR spectrum, including training, recruitment, compensation and benefits, among others, depending on your area of interest.

Many of these roles require good people skills and an understanding of human behaviour, which can be useful for psychology graduates.  

Career advisor

Career advisors or counsellors help students and job seekers discover careers that may be a good fit for them.

This involves providing information on education and career options, conducting assessments and tests to identify an individual’s interests and values which can affect their education and career choices, and coming up with plans on how they can achieve their goals.  

Your psychology degree can act as a good foundation for this career but do note that depending on where you work, you may be required to have a master’s degree in counselling as well as additional certifications in a related field.

Market research

Depending on your course requirements, you may have had exposure to quantitative and qualitative coursework that can prove useful in a market research career.

Additionally, exposure to subjects such as research methods and statistics will also be beneficial as market researchers deal with data.

While the type of work you will do depend on factors such as where you work (e.g. client-side or agency) and the type of research you conduct, you can typically expect to use statistical software to analyse data and conduct qualitative or quantitative surveys.

Journalism and communication careers

Psychology graduates can apply their skills in communication-related careers. Source: Pexels

Journalism is a career that attracts people from all disciplines. This field can be useful for psychology graduates who can apply the skills they have gained from their studies, such as communication and research, into the profession.

Depending on your role, you may be required to do research and write articles, conduct interviews and network with potential newsmakers.

Apart from the media line, other communication roles psychology graduates can consider pursuing include public relations and advertising. Both roles, which require positioning a client or a particular brand in a certain way, can be done successfully with an understanding of psychology.  

For example, in advertising, using specific colours can evoke certain emotions in people. With this knowledge, advertisers can tailor their ads accordingly to appeal their product or brand to consumers, like avoiding red for brands that want to evoke trust, as the colour is typically associated with anger.

Academia

If you have a passion for research, an academic career could be for you.

However, depending on where you are employed, your role may include both research and teaching, purely research or purely teaching.

To become an academic, you will need to further your studies and obtain a masters and doctoral degree in your field of interest.

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