15 applied psychology jobs (plus duties and salaries)

Updated 21 February 2023

Applied psychology is the study of human behaviour, including health issues, educational issues and workplace issues, alongside the use of counselling methods to help people manage their mental health struggles. A career in applied psychology is suitable for those interested in emotional health and those wanting to help people lead better lives. Determining which career paths you want to pursue can help you make crucial decisions about your education and career goals. In this article, we provide a list of applied psychology jobs with their average salary information and descriptions of their primary duties.

Related: How to write a psychology CV: a step-by-step guide

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15 applied psychology jobs

Here are 15 applied psychology jobs to consider:

1. Recreational therapist

National average salary: £13,608 per year

Primary duties: Recreational therapists work closely with patients with disabilities, injuries or illnesses by regularly assessing and developing treatment plans revolving around activities like music, swimming and crafts. They personalise treatment plans to match the patient's abilities and interests while also setting goals and planning therapy sessions. In some cases, recreational therapists work closely with those struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues to help them become more self-confident and able to effectively and positively socialise.

Related: How to become a child psychologist (plus specialisations)

2. Behavioural technician

National average salary: £22,149 per year

Primary duties: A behaviour technician supports a behaviour analyst when developing treatment plans. They monitor the behaviour of a patient during rehabilitation therapy. In this role, behaviour technicians may also perform administrative duties, including handling correspondence between a patient's family and the patient or regularly maintaining patient records. It's the responsibility of behaviour technicians to maintain strict confidentiality and provide a safe and supportive environment for patients and their family members.

Related: Children's psychology jobs (with primary duties and salaries)

3. Research assistant

National average salary: £27,523 per year

Primary duties: Research assistants work closely with researchers to conduct a range of experiments and analyse data. Research assistants also prepare labs for research, prepare equipment for use, document the results of any experiments and present the data findings. They also conduct and gather research and data themselves. In psychological research, assistants often provide debriefings to participants and address any ethical concerns.

Related: 14 potential career paths for a clinical psychologist

4. Probation officer

National average salary: £28,332 per year

Primary duties: Probation officers help those released from prison re-acclimate to society. This includes the supervision of on-parole prisoners and helping them meet their release conditions. It's their responsibility to report their clients' attendance to mandatory meetings and to provide counselling where necessary. Other duties include conducting drug tests for on-parole prisoners and monitoring their location to ensure they're within their release conditions at all times. In some cases, probation officers may suggest rehabilitation programmes for on-parole prisoners to consider.

5. Human resources specialist

National average salary: £29,842 per year

Primary duties: A human resources specialist works to find applicants for available job positions through employee recruitment. This includes conducting interviews and reviewing applicant CVs. They may also help the new hires by conducting orientation. It's also sometimes their responsibility to create office policies and ensure that a safe, comfortable and healthy working environment is present at all times. This requires them to implement positive practices across various departments, which often has a strong psychological component.

6. Counsellor

National average salary: £31,073 per year

Primary duties: A counsellor works to help people handle and better manage their emotional issues and problems. Counsellors regularly speak with patients and establish treatment plans and strategies with these patients to help them overcome their mental health issues. Counsellors may work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals and schools, and may specialise in either group or individual counselling sessions.

Related: How to become a counselling psychologist

7. Disability specialist

National average salary: £32,885 per year

Primary duties: A disability specialist determines a person's eligibility for disability benefits and disability-related help. They do this by consulting and reviewing medical records while also providing advice and education surrounding available disability assistance. People in this position work to aid those throughout the disability benefits application process, sometimes even recommending medical tests that may help qualify their disability status.

8. Applied behaviour analyst

National average salary: £33,246 per year

Primary duties: Applied behaviour analysts support those with developmental disabilities by providing therapy that may help them change their behaviours. They work closely with autistic people, in particular, to help them to develop their social skills, yet they regularly assess and design personalised treatment plans for a range of patients. By regularly monitoring their clients' progress, applied behaviour analysts help them work towards their goals. They also offer parental and caregiver training to enable at-home behavioural therapy.

9. Occupational therapist

National average salary: £34,750 per year

Primary duties: Occupational therapists treat people with injuries or physical illnesses to help them perform everyday activities via rehabilitation. For example, they may work closely with a patient who recently suffered a stroke to help them redevelop their motor skills. Occupational therapists also educate individuals on how to accommodate a patient. Their duties include planning sessions, collaborating with medical professionals to establish treatment plans and documenting the patient's recovery. Other duties include assisting individuals with basic tasks to encourage their confidence and refamiliarising them with tasks so they may complete them themselves.

10. Psychologist

National average salary: £35,028 per year

Primary duties: Psychologists work to diagnose mental health conditions and other disorders via patient assessments. Once the diagnosis has taken place, psychologists plan treatment using a range of different therapy methods to help patients handle their diagnosis. Psychologists also conduct studies on psychological behaviour and identify research patterns before publishing their works and findings. Another duty of psychologists is to provide support and advice to carers who work with and look after patients.

Related: How to become a psychologist in the UK

11. Speech pathologist

National average salary: £36,308 per year

Primary duties: Speech pathologists assess patients and diagnose any language disorders they may have. This role also includes educating caregivers and other family members on the most suitable treatment plans. Speech pathologists also help those wanting to improve their communication or those with disabilities that may impact their speaking ability. Some speech pathologists work with many other patients, including those who struggle to swallow, eat and drink.

Related: What does a cognitive psychologist do? A complete guide

12. Child protection practitioner

National average salary: £36,601 per year

Primary duties: Child protection practitioners manage cases of child abuse. This includes investigating abuse reports, interviewing children and family members and placing children in protective custody if necessary. This role demands the maintenance of records and in-depth research. They work closely with the larger community throughout their investigations, including schools and law enforcement staff. A primary duty of child protection practitioners is to promote the safeguarding and welfare of vulnerable children.

Related: How much does a child psychologist make? (Plus duties)

13. Career counsellor

National average salary: £38,931 per year

Primary duties: Career counsellors work with both students and adults to help them determine their career paths. Career counsellors help people choose their career paths by teaching job searching methods, providing tips for writing CVs and interview training and performing aptitude tests. Many career counsellors hold positions in schools and colleges to help students prepare for jobs before they graduate.

14. Social worker

National average salary: £41,967 per year

Primary duties: A social worker provides individuals or family groups with counselling to work towards resolving emotional and behavioural issues. They determine suitable methods of approaching a situation and managing emotions by regularly assessing and meeting with individuals. It's in the power of social workers to refer their patients to treatment centres for additional help if needed, and they also provide a range of resources for patient treatment. Other primary duties include writing extensive reports and working towards establishing positive relationships between individuals and family groups through the planning of activities and encouragement of meaningful communication.

Related: What's the difference between clinical and counselling psychology?

15. Forensic psychologist

National average salary: £44,891 per year

Primary duties: Forensic psychologists work to create and implement a range of treatment plans for prisoners. It's a major responsibility of forensic psychologists to reduce the stress levels of offenders and the surrounding staff in secure settings. Forensic psychologists are typically expected to provide research evidence to support their suggestions of psychological practice based on their experiences and interactions with offenders. Another duty is to undertake statistical analysis to be put towards prisoner profiling and perhaps even provide evidence in a court setting.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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