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What Can I Do With a Psychology Degree?


No matter what kind of field you’re in, employers are looking for staff who have an in-depth knowledge of human behaviour.

If you are asking, “What can I do with a psychology degree?” you may be surprised to learn that just as there are many types of psychologists, there are also many other psychology career paths available.

Psychology is all about understanding people, and studying a Graduate Diploma of Psychology or Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) equips graduates with valuable transferable skills they can apply to multiple industries.

Here is our guide on what you can do with a psychology degree.

Why psychology is so valuable across fields and sectors

With both practical and academic experience, ECU’s Senior Lecturer Dr Cindy Branch-Smith has seen many students through the Graduate Diploma of Psychology at ECU Online.

“Psychology is a fascinating area of study,” she says. “It is about human behaviour in all its forms and so it’s about all of us.”

Dr Branch-Smith notes that students graduate with a deep understanding of human behaviour and acquire advanced critical thinking skills that can be applied to a variety of roles.

Some of the unique offerings that psychology graduates can bring to an industry include:

  • designing human-centred products and services
  • understanding and advocating for vulnerable members of the community
  • building healthier physical workspaces
  • improving workplace culture
  • delivering a higher level of client care 
  • developing strategies to increase productivity
  • leading training and development
  • assisting with forming policies
  • improving recruitment processes
  • offering advice to help make technology more user-friendly
  • helping employers improve retention

5 career options for psychology graduates

So, what can you do with a psychology degree? And, more specifically, what jobs can you get with a psychology degree? Dr Branch-Smith gives us some insight into the potential job prospects.

“Some people who have studied psychology will go on to train and work as a psychologist, where they might be involved in providing assessment and treatment to clients. Other people might use their psychology training in areas that do not involve client work, including research, policy, education and human resources.”

Some of these roles may require graduates to undertake further study to meet the selection criteria. Other roles welcome psychology graduates into entry-level positions and provide on-the-job training to help them grow their careers.

Here are some other options for careers with a psychology degree.

1. Education

As an educator, understanding human behaviour is essential. Educators work primarily with children, teenagers and young adults who are undergoing important cognitive development over their schooling years. For this reason, educators who already have a teaching degree may be interested in building their understanding of educational psychology. A psychology degree can help educators ensure their students’ wellbeing over this crucial period and open up new opportunities in the field.

Working in the education sector could involve stepping into a number of different roles, including:

  • Student support officer
    • Median salary: $75,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $64,000 to $94,000 per annum
  • Psychology teacher
    • Median salary: $95,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $90,000 to $100,000 per annum
  • School counsellor
    • Median salary: $67,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $50,000 to $90,000 per annum
  • School social worker
    • Median salary: $79,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $53,000 to $105,000 per annum

These positions may require specific qualifications, such as a teaching degree, however a psychology degree can be beneficial to teachers who want to take on these sorts of roles. 

How psychology helps educators succeed

While education degrees cover some elements of psychology, they do not delve as deeply into it, or cover the breadth of areas that psychology courses do.

Having a background in psychology helps teachers understand learning on a deeper level.

This includes advanced knowledge of:

  • how students learn and what motivates them
  • how to promote a productive learning environments in the classroom
  • the best ways to assess students
  • how schooling affects self-esteem
  • the importance of these key years on cognitive and social development

2. Marketing

Marketing draws on human psychology to create targeted advertising that reaches the right people at the right time and in the right places. People who work in marketing may be involved in market research, coordinating the production and delivery of materials and creating high-level strategies.

It’s possible to gain entry-level marketing and market research positions without a relevant qualification. A psychology graduate may be able to start their marketing career as an assistant or complete a short course to get their foot in the door.

Salary expectations for marketing careers include:

  • Marketing assistant
    • Median salary: $49,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $40,000 to $60,000 per annum
  • Marketing coordinator
    • Median salary: $57,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $47,000 to $70,000 per annum
  • Marketing manager
    • Median salary: $81,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $59,000 to $119,000 per annum

How psychology helps marketing professionals succeed

Consumers are demanding personalisation in their marketing. According to McKinsey, 71 per cent of consumers anticipate personalised interactions from companies. Conversely, 76 per cent express frustration when this expectation remains unmet. In another study by Smart Insights, 63 per cent of consumers said they would stop buying from brands that offer poor personalisation.

Marketing psychology helps businesses see their consumers as people rather than a number, which 84 per cent of consumers report being important to them, according to Salesforce.

By understanding the psychology behind consumer behaviour, marketers can make sense of their target audience and offer a more personalised experience, ultimately achieving better results.

3. Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management (HRM) is all about people, so it makes sense to have employees who understand psychology within these roles.

Employees working in human resources are responsible for recruitment, internal communications, employee wellbeing, payroll, training and professional development.

It is possible to start a career in HRM with an entry-level role and learn on the job.

Salary expectations for HRM careers include:

  • Human resources administrator
    • Median salary: $56,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $49,000 to $70,000 per annum
  • Human resources coordinator
    • Median salary: $62,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $53,000 to $75,000 per annum
  • Human resources manager
    • Median salary: $93,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $66,000 to $136,000 per annum

How psychology helps HRM professionals succeed

HRM and psychology are inextricably linked. Studies have shown that mental health in the workforce directly contributes to engagement, productivity and better results for the business.

Glassdoor reported that 87 per cent of employees expect their workplaces to support them in balancing work and personal commitments. A study by Gallup found that engaged and happy employees show 21 per cent greater profitability. 

Good employee health can also improve a company’s reputation, attracting highly skilled candidates and improving the business long-term. The American Psychological Association found that 89 per cent of people working for companies with wellbeing initiatives would recommend their company as a good place to work.

Businesses are seeking out employees with a background in psychology for HRM roles, given their profound knowledge of mental health. By having a psychological perspective in HRM, companies can reduce burnout, improve morale and drive greater business performance.

4. Human Services

The term ‘human services’ describes careers that work directly with the community. Common human services jobs include: 

  • social work
  • community relations 
  • community health

These roles involve working with vulnerable people, advocating for policy improvements and developing programs. 

Depending on the role, psychology graduates may need to complete further education to work in this field.

Salary expectations for human services careers include:

  • Community support worker
    • Median salary: $27.34 per hour
    • Salary range: $22.76 to $33.52 per hour
  • Social worker
    • Median salary: $69,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $51,000 to $89,000 per annum
  • Community relations manager
    • Median salary: $93,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $52,000 to $183,000 per annum

How psychology helps human services professionals succeed

Both psychology and human services acknowledge and treat mental ill-health in the community. A thorough understanding of human services psychology helps employees understand the unique circumstances of the people they work with. This understanding is essential to providing the high-quality care community members need to improve their health and wellbeing.

5. Healthcare

Healthcare workers play a valuable role in improving people’s lives every day. They work face-to-face with patients to provide diagnostic support and care.

Healthcare is a large industry with many roles available depending on individual interests and skills. It is a great area for anyone investigating alternate psychology career paths, as while some roles require additional qualifications, others may accept psychology graduates without further training.

A psychology background is helpful in jobs including:

  • healthcare consultant
  • health manager
  • nurse
  • occupational therapist

Salary expectations for healthcare careers include:

  • Healthcare consultant
    • Median salary: $72,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $55,000 to $129,000 per annum
  • Health manager
    • Median salary: $107,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $49,000 to $138,000 per annum
  • Nurse
    • Median salary: $34.37 per hour
    • Salary range: $28.21 to $44.40 per hour
  • Occupational therapist
    • Median salary: $69,000 per annum
    • Salary range: $58,000 to $85,000 per annum

How psychology helps healthcare professionals succeed

One of the core skills for anyone in healthcare is emotional intelligence. Having self and social awareness is essential when dealing with members of the public, who are often in high-stress situations. Psychology graduates who understand and embody these traits are likely to do well in healthcare roles.

How studying a psychology course can help you thrive in your career

Whether you want to become a registered psychologist or simply learn more about human behaviour, studying for a postgraduate qualification in psychology is a great way to grow your skill set and stand out to employers.

“The psychological literacy and critical thinking that you will learn from studying the Graduate Diploma of Psychology will give you the ability to analyse and evaluate everyday information about human behaviour, including information reported in the media and what you see in the world around you.”

Which psychology degree is right for me?

Students who have never studied psychology can start with the Graduate Diploma of Psychology at ECU Online. This course will teach you the fundamentals of psychological science and is equivalent to completing an undergraduate psychology degree. The skills learnt through the Graduate Diploma of Psychology can be applied to other professional roles.

Students who wish to work towards becoming a registered psychologist can then go on to complete the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced)

Alternatively, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) is the next step towards a career as a registered psychologist. This course will teach you advanced research and practical skills to allow you to apply for provisional registration to become a psychologist in Australia.

From here, students can apply to a Master of Psychology with ECU to complete training and apply for general registration, or go on to do other further study, says Dr Branch-Smith.

Please note, students must be enrolled into a Higher degree pathway or 5+1 pathway course before applying for provisional registration.

“If students are not interested in undertaking the full series of training to become a psychologist, they could use the skills and knowledge obtained in our degrees to work in other roles within the mental health workforce, or work as part of a research team, or even go on to an honours degree and a PhD in research.”

Benefits of studying psychology online

Why study psychology online? Studying an online qualification gives you the flexibility to complete your degree while working and balancing personal commitments. You can study at your own pace, such as accelerating your degree or studying part-time.

Additionally, studying online teaches you valuable skills that employers look for. These include time management, communication and the ability to work independently.

Explore psychology career paths with ECU Online

So, what can you do with a psychology degree? From marketing to healthcare to becoming a registered psychologist, there are many options. At ECU Online, we equip students with the skills and knowledge that will help them thrive in their careers, no matter what path they choose.

Discover more about the Graduate Diploma of Psychology or Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) and grow your career today.