Studies in general psychology can be a foundation for a variety of different careers. For those with a bachelor's degree in general psychology, a career as a survey researcher or a probation officer is possible. With additional graduate studies, it's possible to become a clinical psychologist.
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General psychology programs typically are found at the undergraduate level, although some are available at the master's level as well. In general, associate's programs in general psychology prepare students for transfer to bachelor's degree programs. Master's programs in general psychology often prepare students for more specialized study in a doctoral program. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) is required to meet state licensing or certification requirements to practice as a clinical or counseling psychologist.
|Career||Survey Researcher||Probation Officer|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Other Requirements||Internships are helpful; voluntary certification is available||Completion of state-mandated training program|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12%||4%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$53,920||$49,360|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bachelor's programs can prepare students for employment in fields like business or public service, or for work as survey researchers or probation officers. Entry-level survey researcher jobs often require a bachelor's degree, while a master's degree in psychology or a similar field may be required for advanced positions. Probation officers usually hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field before entering an agency-sponsored training program, which may require a certification exam at its conclusion, according to the BLS.
Survey researchers conduct scientific, marketing and public opinion surveys that cover subjects like health, government, social issues or education. Responsibilities generally include collecting data, determining appropriate survey methods (such as focus groups, questionnaires or interviews), designing and creating surveys, conducting surveys, analyzing results and preparing survey findings. Prospective employers might include nonprofit organizations, businesses, colleges or universities, research firms or polling companies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that prospective survey researchers with statistical and analytical skills and experience might have better job prospects than those without. Survey researchers with sufficient work experience can apply for voluntary Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) through the Marketing Research Association.
In 2015, the BLS reported that survey researchers earned a median salary of $53,920 per year. The BLS also predicted that employment of survey researchers would increase 12% between 2014 and 2024, with most jobs in the areas of public opinion research and market research.
Probation officers work with people who have been assigned probation, a specialized kind of supervision within the field of criminal justice, instead of prison time or who have served a sentence, been released from prison and are transitioning into a full return to their community. They meet with clients at probation offices or in the clients' homes, therapy settings or places of employment. Probation officers monitor former inmates' progress toward rehabilitation through in-person and telephone communications with clients and their families. Probation officers may also receive clients' drug testing and electronic monitoring results.
If an offender has broken the terms of probation, the probation officer may have to remand him or her to the court for further sentencing. Some agencies hire new probation officers as trainees or as probationary employees for a certain period of time before making them permanent hires.
Probation officers earned a median annual salary of $49,360 in 2015, according to the BLS. Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was predicted to increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024.
A degree in psychology can lead to a career as a survey researcher or probation officer. Completing an internship may help increase job prospects for those planning to work as a survey researchers, while probation officers are required to complete state-mandated training. A degree in general psychology can also be the stepping stone to graduate studies in psychology.