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Career Information for a Degree in Psychology and Human Behavior

Psychology and human behavior is a versatile program of study offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Continue reading for an overview of the major, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Degrees in psychology and human behavior typically begin at the undergraduate level with a bachelor's in psychology. Students wanting to pursue graduate school will obtain either a master's or a doctorate degree. Master's degree graduates are prepared to work in business, research or as assistants to psychologists. Psychologists work in clinical settings, have either a PsyD or Ph D and are licensed by the state.

Career TitleCase ManagerProbation OfficerInsight ManagerClinical Psychologist
Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree preferredDoctoral Degree
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*22%no change32%11%
Median Salary (2013)*$29,230$48,440$60,800$67,760

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Degrees in psychology are versatile and mainly study how humans interact with their environment. As a result, students of psychology have been prepared to work in various different careers. Jobs such as case manager, probation officer, insight manager and clinical psychologist are examples of the flexibility of this degree.

Case Manager

Case managers typically meet with clients and their families for assessment purposes and to coordinate the provision of necessary social services care, making referrals to other care providers as needed. Case managers' responsibilities are usually focused on serving a specific population, such as adolescents or adults, or clients suffering from mental health challenges or substance abuse.

They may help clients identify areas where assistance is needed, develop a plan for obtaining that help, offer skills training and be available to help on an on-call or emergency basis. Case managers also maintain client files and write reports as required. Case managers can be employed by individual and family services agencies, as well as local community rehabilitation centers or state and local government agencies.

Career Preparation

In many cases, employers seek candidates with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a closely related field. On-the-job training is common. Desired skills may include the ability to drive, strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills and familiarity with using computers.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that social and human service assistants, including those in case management, would see a 22% employment growth between 2012 and 2022, due in part to an increasing segment of the population that's aged and an increasing demand for services to care for them. In 2013, the BLS reported that social and human service assistants earned a median salary of $29,230 per year.

Probation Officer

Probation officers supervise offenders who have been convicted of a crime and served their time, making the transition back to living in their home community, or who have been assigned probation instead of a jail sentence. They meet with offenders and their families, help them develop a plan for adjusting back to civilian life and refer them to social services for additional help as needed. Keeping track of offenders' electronic monitoring and drug test results is also part of a probation officer's role, as well as preparing reports on client progress.

Career Preparation

A bachelor's degree is a common requirement for employment as a probation officer and some have their degree in psychology. State and federal probation officer training is often conducted through specialized training academies. Upon completion of the program, prospective probation officers may have to complete a certification exam. In addition, they are generally hired with a probationary or trainee status. On-the-job experience and continuing education training may allow for a limited degree of specialization, such as in working with clients affected by substance abuse.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS reported that large numbers of probation officers are expected to retire soon, although public funding may be an issue and have an impact on the number of new hires. Therefore, BLS predicted little or no change in employment for this occupation between 2012 and 2022. In 2013, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned a median salary of $48,440 per year, according to the BLS.

Insight Manager

Insight managers develop methodologies and tools for the purpose of collecting and analyzing data about human behavior for companies or organizations that would like to know more about their customers. They may also use established, syndicated research tools. This information is used to develop marketing, competitive intelligence and branding activities and build customer relationships.

Career Preparation

Employers generally prefer to hire candidates with a master's degree in psychology or a related field. Previous related experience is also important to attaining a job in this field, as is experience using statistical or market research software packages.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS reported that market research analysts, a career with job responsibilities, duties and qualifications that align very closely with insight managers, could see 32% growth in employment between 2012 and 2022. The availability of consumer information and related data and the ability of companies to use it for measuring customer care, product development and marketing effectiveness may influence this growth. In 2013, the BLS indicated that market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $60,800.

Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work with patients to address behavioral, emotional and mental health care needs. Responsibilities may include screening patients, identifying conditions that warrant treatment, developing appropriate treatment plans and providing psychological care using techniques like psychotherapy, according to job postings from USAjobs.gov. They may also work with related professionals like psychiatrists, medical support staff or social workers to coordinate care.

Career Preparation

Psychologists are required to hold a doctoral degree, either a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and have completed an American Psychological Association-accredited professional internship. State licensing is also typically required, which generally includes work experience and a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Some employers may require specialty certification through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Career Outlook and Salary

In 2012, the BLS predicted that psychologists would see employment growth of 12% between 2012 and 2022 due to an expected increase in demand for services through mental health centers, hospitals and agencies that provide social services. The BLS indicated that this demand might come from a variety of populations, such as the aged or veterans. In 2013, the BLS reported that the median salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $67,760 per year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics