A guide to what you can do with a psychology degree

Updated 6 September 2023

As the study of human behaviour, psychology has many unique applications and functionalities in different workplace settings. Psychology is one of the most popular choices for degree-level education, providing opportunities for graduates to further their learning or pursue various career paths. As a qualification with either a scientific or social focus, it can be helpful to know what jobs you could aim for after you graduate if you are thinking about studying psychology at university. In this article, we explore what you can do with a psychology degree, including a list of potential career options.

What you can do with a psychology degree

As a flexible degree with avenues to different careers, psychology covers a wide range of human-centred roles and career paths. For example, a psychology graduate may choose to become a psychology researcher focusing on the scientific side of behaviour, or a social worker supporting vulnerable people in their everyday lives.

Psychology degrees are available as bachelor of science and bachelor of arts and follow different curricula. Some focus on the academic side of psychology such as research and testing hypotheses while those such as joint psychology and counselling emphasise the person-centred aspects.

Related: Your guide to psychology jobs and common careers

6 careers that directly relate to a psychology degree

Below we list six careers that utilise a psychology degree:

1. Clinical psychologist

National average salary: £48,525 per year

Primary duties: Clinical psychologists work in the mental health field with patients of all ages. This role involves assessing and identifying patients' mental health conditions and advising on their professional intervention, treatment and care. To become a clinical psychologist, you would complete a doctorate programme following your bachelor's degree.

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

2. Education mental health practitioner

National average salary: £35,325 per year

Primary duties: Education mental health practitioners work with schools, colleges and other educational facilities to provide mental health support for schoolchildren and students. EMHPs are typically trained in cognitive behavioural therapy and use their expertise to intervene with children showing signs of anxiety, depression or behavioural issues. While a degree in psychology isn't necessary to become an educational mental health practitioner, this can support further training in specific educational mental health training programmes.

3. Forensic psychologist

National average salary: £44,891 per year

Primary duties: Forensic psychologists directly assess and treat individuals with criminal behaviour issues. Forensic psychologists work in prisons and the court system supporting victims of crime. A master's degree in forensic psychology is required for this role plus additional supervised practice and qualifications to become a trainee.

Related: Forensic psychologist job profile

4. Psychology teacher

National average salary: £33,600 per year

Primary duties: A psychology teacher or lecturer is a specialist educator who teaches in schools, colleges or universities at GCSE, A-Level or degree level. You would also complete a PGCE or similar course to achieve qualified teacher status and become a psychology teacher.

5. Psychology researcher

National average salary: £42,267 per year

Primary duties: A research psychologist covers a wide range of roles and positions running experiments and case studies. Researchers may work in academics, for large corporations or even the government or military. Many psychology researchers hold master's or PhDs in their subject area although some entry roles may require degree-level knowledge with in-house apprenticeships or training.

6. Occupational psychologist

National average salary: £42,267 per year

Primary duties: Occupational psychologists apply theory and practice in psychology to the workplace. This role may involve looking at team structures, culture and business change to create a healthier work environment. Occupational psychologist roles require a master's in occupational psychology and a doctorate-level qualification called The British Psychological Society (BPS) Qualification in Occupational Psychology (QOP) Stage 2.

9 other careers you can pursue with a psychology degree

Many of the direct career paths you can take in psychology involve additional training and years of experience to achieve. But, as a diverse qualification, there are other careers you can pursue with your psychology degree if you're less interested in attaining doctorates and qualifications. These include:

1. Human resources specialist

National average salary: £29,669 per year

Primary duties: A career in human resources involves working in organisations to support staff, overseeing recruiting and, in some cases, running health and wellness initiatives. Depending on the level at which you enter this field, a psychology degree may be all that's necessary to start an apprenticeship or trainee job. Manager and director roles in human resources require specialised training and development.

2. Careers advisor

National average salary: £24,098 per year

Primary duties: A careers advisor supports people in finding jobs by providing professional advice and guidance. Careers advisors work in schools, unemployment centres and through council schemes and charities.

3. Counsellor

National average salary: £30,711 per year

Primary duties: A counsellor is a trained professional who supports clients in dealing with different psychological and emotional issues in their lives. Counsellors work with children, people with learning disabilities or individuals with specific mental health issues. To be a counsellor, a degree in psychology is the foundation to continue onto an accredited qualification under the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Related: 8 psychology counselling careers (and how to start yours)

4. Market researcher

National average salary: £27,650 per year

Primary duties: A market researcher typically works in large-scale organisations or agencies to conduct research and analysis on the audience of a particular product or service. For example, a market researcher may use surveys to analyse which packaging their target audience prefers. A psychology degree is a strong start for a market research career, with the opportunity to progress with further training and qualifications.

5. Mediator

National average salary: £34,022 per year

Primary duties: Mediators work in various settings to facilitate resolution for disputes. Common career paths for mediators involve working in the legal profession such as child custody arrangements or within the workplace for mediation between staff members. The qualifications you require for mediation varies depending on your choice of industry but in almost all cases a psychology degree offers a good foundation for further mediation training and on-the-job learning.

6. Social Worker

National average salary: £26.50 per hour

Primary duties: Social workers support vulnerable individuals and families by protecting them, offering services and helping them find solutions to their problems. Social workers work with older adults, children with disabilities and people within the foster care system. A degree in psychology provides the basis to complete a social work qualification at master's level followed by training and on-the-job learning in your chosen sector.

7. Prison officer

National average salary: £22,914 per year

Primary duties: Prison offers work in prisons and young offenders' institutions in a supervisory capacity. Responsibilities include supporting vulnerable prisoners, carrying out security checks and ensuring the prison environment is secure. A degree in psychology isn't necessary for this role but may be beneficial if you'd like to achieve a senior position within the prison environment.

Related: How to become a prison officer in 5 steps

8. Recovery coach

National average salary: £21,594 per year

Primary duties: Recovery coaches work with people in vulnerable circumstances such as addiction rehabilitation or homelessness. A recovery coach supports the individual through recovery including risk management, working on self-esteem and motivation. While a psychology degree isn't essential for this role, it can be beneficial for understanding the behaviour of the people you support.

9. Police officer

National average salary: £29,334 per year

Primary duties: Police officers support the public and keep them safe from criminal activity. One of the main routes to becoming a police officer since January 2020 has been through completing a degree. A psychology degree is a relevant qualification for working within the police force.

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

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


  • Careers in forensic psychology (with duties and salary)

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