The field of psychology has contributed valuable information and services to  our society, with the ultimate goal of promoting human welfare. As we come to understand more about the way people think, feel, and behave, we are able to apply that knowledge to various aspects of everyday living. Your decision to enter any given applied psychology setting will depend on your own interests, skills, and education choices. Below is an overview of general applications of psychology, along with a few popular job titles (select job titles are linked to outside resources for more detailed information); the true number of careers related to or influenced by psychology is limitless.

As you consider how you will use your education, be sure to research your jobs of interest. Helpful, reliable information on careers within the US can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (available online at BLS.gov/ooh/ ). The Occupational Information Network (commonly referred to as O*Net) allows users to assess their interests and browse detailed job descriptions.  Other information also can be found on the websites of regional and national professional organizations.

Psychology in Education

With the introduction of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and later amendments, professionals in elementary and secondary education are required to attend to the needs of students with learning and behavioral difficulties (IDEA, 2013). As we gain new insights into how learning, memory, and language develop and function, we are better able to assist individuals of varied capacities.

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Salary* Professional Association

School Psychologist

Assessment and interventions for students and school staff

Master’s degree Ed.D., Psy. D. or Ph.D. licensure required in all states

$67,000

National Association of School Psychologists

www.NASPonline.org

 

School/Career Counselor

Guide students and community members in exploring and obtaining careers

Master’s degree

licensure requirements vary

$53,380

American School Counselor Association

www.schoolcounselor.org

 

Speech Pathologist

Assess and treat speech delays in children and adults

Master’s degree

licensure required in all states

$66,900

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

www.asha.org

Rutgers courses related or beneficial to the field:

  • Cognitive Processes 50:830:360
  • Educational Psychology 50:830:301
  • Ethics in Psychology 50:830:318
  • Psychology of Adolescence 50:830:326
  • Psychology of Childhood 50:830:226
  • Education Program Courses
  • Linguistics Courses through the Department of English

Psychology in Social Services & Special Populations

The knowledge gained from a background in psychology provides understanding of human needs and abilities. This understanding can be a valuable tool in helping individuals to live healthy, fulfilled lives. Even outside of traditional counseling roles, many people with an education in psychology will go on to pursue careers in social service settings. Special populations may include children, those with developmental disabilities, and low income populations.

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Annual Salary* Professional Association

Assistant Behavioral Analyst

Assess client functioning and implement behavioral interventions for children, adults, and disabled populations.

BA with additional credentialing or higher;

licensure varies by state

$52,000

(indeed.com)

 

Behavioral Analysis Certification Board

www.bacb.com

 

Social Worker

Assist individuals in improving their overall functioning; may work with any number of populations

BA or above

Some positions may require additional education or LCSW licensure

$41,530

National Association of Social Workers

www.socialworkers.org

 

Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Counsel and implement interventions for those with substance abuse disorders

Master’s degree or above;

CADC requirements vary

 

$39,980

The Association for Addiction Professionals

www.naadac.org

 

Rutgers classes related or beneficial to the field:

  • Abnormal Psychology 50:830:340
  • Health Psychology 50:830:348
  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology 50:830:345
  • Psychology of Aging 50:830:328
  • Psychology of Marriage and the Family (50:830:206)
  • Psychology of Minority Groups (501:830:203)
  • Social Psychology 50:830:335
  • Courses in School of Social Work

Psychology in Business

Understanding people is an important aspect of business, from employee selection and productivity issues to finding the best ways to attract and keep customers. Industrial/Organizational Psychologists were the largest group of research-oriented APA Member respondents in 2011 (APA, 2012). The ability to understand this growing body of research and implement empirically-based interventions is invaluable to the success of businesses.

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Annual Salary* Professional Association

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Assess organizational function and implement empirical interventions

Master’s degree or higher

$83,580

 

Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology

www.siop.org

Human Resources Specialist

Recruitment, training, and retention of employees

Bachelor’s degree

$55,800

National Human Resources Association

www.humanresources.org

Human Factors Engineer

Apply principles of psychology to the development

of consumer products

Master’s degree or Ph.D.

$78,860

 

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society

www.hfes.org

Administrative Assistant

Assist in essential support tasks of an organization

Bachelor’s degree or less

$32,000

 

The Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals

www.theaeap.com

 

Rutgers courses related or beneficial to the field:

  • Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology 50:830:219
  • Personality Psychology 50:830:231
  • Social Psychology 50:830:335
  • Courses in the School of Business

Psychology in the Justice System

Psychological science plays a large role in many areas of the justice system. From crime prevention and investigation to victim services, there are very practical applications of behavioral psychology. Especially important is an understanding of the psychological influences on criminal behavior and the effects of victimhood.  

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Salary* Professional Association

Probation Officer

Assist criminal offenders in their effort to rejoin society or prevent future transgressions

Bachelor’s degree

$48,190

American Probation and Parole Association

www.appa-net.org

 

Forensic/ Criminal

Psychologist

Provide insights to law enforcement; Testify in judicial proceedings; implement treatment and community interventions

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well as a background in criminal justice or law

$61,750

(payscale.com)

International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology

www.aa4cfp.org

 

Rutgers courses related or beneficial to the field:

  • Abnormal Psychology 50:830:340
  • Human Development 50:830:222
  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology 50:830:345
  • Social Psychology 50:830:335
  • Psychology and the Law 50:830:316
  • Courses in Criminal Justice or Social Work Programs

Psychology in Medicine

The relationship between the mind and body is well documented in research. Lifestyle interventions can be utilized to improve the outcomes of patients with various backgrounds and ailments. In addition to applied psychology settings, those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology may consider other more traditional medical careers such as nursing or graduate education in medicine.

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Salary* Professional Association

Occupational Therapist

Assess the needs of those with impairments and plan interventions to improve functioning

Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy

Licensure required in all 50 states

$75,400

The American Occupational Therapy Association
www.aota.org

 

Therapeutic Recreation

Implement leisure activity interventions for those with disabilities, disease, or injury

Specialized Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

$42,280

www.atra-online.com

 

Rutgers courses related or beneficial to the field:

  • Abnormal Psychology 50:830:340
  • Health Psychology 50:830:348
  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology 50:830:345
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychology of Aging 50:830:328

Psychology & Special Interests

It cannot be stressed enough that psychological principles can be applied to all aspects of human behavior. To demonstrate this, listed below are career paths that, while unique, are gaining greater interest and value.

Job Title Description Degrees & Licensure* Median Salary* Professional Association

Sports Psychologist

Assist athletes in developing coping strategies and motivation

Master’s  or Ph. D.

 

State licensure varies

$105,000

(indeed.com)

Association for Applied Sport Psychology

www.appliedsportpsych.org

 

Art Therapist

Lead therapy in which art is used as a means to self-expression and mental health

Master’s or Ph.D.

Special Certification

State licensure

$45,000

(indeed.com)

American Art Therapy Association

arttherapy.org

 

Music Therapist

Utilizing music as a means of communication and coping

Specialized Bachelor’s or Master’s and Board Certification

$51,000

(indeed.com)

American Music Therapy Association

www.Musictherapy.org

Rutgers courses related or beneficial to the field:

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology 50:830:345
  • Abnormal Psychology 50:830:340
  • Health Psychology 50:830:348
  • Courses related to the specific interventions used (ie. Art, Music, Sports medicine)

*The information contained in tables above is current as of 2012. Figures were compiled from either O*Net or the Bureau of Labor Statistics unless otherwise noted. The medians presented include information from professionals at various stages of their careers from across the United States. Please note that starting salaries will likely be much lower than the figures presented, and will vary based on factors related to the geographic area and economic conditions.