Is a Psychology Degree Worth It? [2024 Guide]

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on January 1, 2024
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Is a psychology degree worth it? Many students discover that a psychology degree is a strategic degree choice that helps them either start intriguing careers or prepare for success in grad school.

Is a Psychology Degree Worth It

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Psychology is a diverse field with wide-ranging applications, so majoring in psychology has the potential to take you far in life.

Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

psychologist listening to her patient

Yes, a psychology degree is worth it for many professionals. Once you earn a psychology degree, you may find that there are many career options in front of you. Some psychology majors pursue business management jobs, which you can often get with only a bachelor’s degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management jobs are growing faster than the national average. For example, jobs for public relations managers and training and development managers are predicted to grow at a 6% rate over the next decade.

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Also, if you plan to go to grad school, then the answer to “Is a degree in psychology worth it?” may be “yes.” A psychology bachelor’s degree can help set you up for many graduate fields, such as:

  • Psychology
  • Criminal justice
  • Family therapy
  • Social work

You could even choose to enter medical school to become a psychiatrist. You could also go to law school to become a lawyer.

It’s necessary to hold at least a master’s degree—and, in many cases, a doctorate—to become a professional psychologist. Jobs for psychologists are projected to grow at a 6% rate over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that there will be a 7% increase in social work jobs available over the next ten years.

How to Decide Whether a Psychology Major Is Right for You

psychologist thinking

Have you ever wondered, “Is a psychology major worth it?” The answer to that question depends on whether this degree is the right fit for you and what you want to do with your life.

If a psychology major can help you accomplish your goals, then you are likely to find the effort worthwhile—especially with flexible online courses that make education accessible.

Check out whether the following descriptions strike a chord with you.

1. You want to work with people.

psychologist counseling a group of men

The field of psychology is all about the ways that humans think and behave. It makes sense, then, that most psychology majors end up doing some sort of job that involves working with people.

Some become counselors or run human services organizations. Others lead people in management roles. The setting and responsibilities can vary greatly from one psychology graduate to the next, but there’s a common thread among them.

2. You enjoy searching for solutions.

Psychology professionals are often creative problem solvers. In some settings, that means helping a patient identify a solution to a personal crisis or a relationship struggle.

In other cases, it could mean connecting a human services client to the right support service or identifying a shift that could increase a company’s productivity.

3. You pay attention.

psychologist observing her young patient

In psychology classes and careers, you’ll learn to observe details and work with data. For example, careful reading of people’s body language can help you succeed.

It’s also necessary to keep accurate records of experiments, assessments, and interactions with clients.

5 Things You Can Do with a Degree in Psychology

One of the great things about majoring in psychology is that you won’t be locked into any one career path. You can find many different opportunities for which your degree will be relevant, including the five options listed below.

1. Psychologist

psychologist with a patient

It probably comes as no surprise that a psychology major would want to work as a psychologist. In that role, you could counsel clients, advise businesses on employee retention practices, or connect special education students to support services.

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After your bachelor’s program, you would be required to earn a graduate degree for this job.

2. Human Resources Manager

human resources manager talking to employees

Success in the HR field requires understanding how to resolve conflicts, motivate employees, and build strong teams—all things for which a psychology degree could be useful.

You may start as an assistant or a specialist, but you might work your way toward management positions.

3. Correctional Treatment Specialist

correctional treatment specialist checking with an old man

For a career that links criminal justice and psychology, you could work as a correctional treatment specialist.

You could be a case manager for people on probation or parole. Through your work, you could help criminal offenders reintegrate into society and become contributing members of their communities.

4. Social Service Manager

social service manager comforting a teen

If your goal is to help the people in your community, then you might want to look for a job in a social service agency.

You could work with children, the elderly, immigrants, or people with disabilities. After starting as a case worker or an intake specialist, you might move toward management roles.

5. Fundraising Manager

fundraising manager meeting with her team

For organizations that depend on donations, it’s critical to have an effective fundraising team in place.

Knowing what motivates people and inspires loyalty could help you be quite successful as a fundraiser. Through your work, you could build meaningful relationships and contribute to the mission of an organization.

Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree Alternatives

psychologist conducting online consultation

While a psychology bachelor’s degree can be a strategic choice for many people, here are some alternative degrees to consider:

  • Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Many psychology students launch management careers. If that’s appealing, then you might appreciate the finance and HR skills offered by business programs.
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. In either psychology or criminal justice, you’d study why people do the things they do. Criminal justice programs can teach you to use that knowledge for community protection.
  • Bachelor’s in Social Work. Most social workers need social work degrees. Undergrad psych studies could be a springboard for a Master of Social Work, but a social work bachelor’s could be a more direct route to this people-focused career.

For those who stick with psychology, consider whether to get a BA vs. BS in Psychology. Would you prefer a BA’s emphasis on liberal arts or a BS’s focus on statistics?

Psychology Careers and Salaries

Psychology Majors Careers and Salaries

Majoring in psychology can be useful for a wide variety of careers that involve working with others or understanding how people think and act.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the life, physical, and social sciences have a median annual salary of $74,330.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Human Resources Managers $130,000
Public Relations Managers $129,430
Training and Development Managers $120,000
Fundraising Managers $107,390
Psychologists $85,330
Social and Community Service Managers $74,240
Market Research Analysts $68,230
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $59,860
Social Workers $55,350
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $49,710

For some of these jobs, such as psychologist, it’s necessary to continue your psychology education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Pros and Cons of a Psych Major

Pros and Cons of a Psych Major

A psychology degree offers the potential for career success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything about psychology studies is smooth sailing.

Before selecting psychology as your major, you may want to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of this field so that you can be prepared for what’s to come. The below job growth and salary data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pros Cons
  • You can develop transferrable skills that are useful in a variety of people-focused careers.
  • Strong job growth in psychology is expected over the next decade.
  • Psychologists earn a median annual salary of $85,330.
  • Many colleges offer online psychology programs for added flexibility and convenience.
  • You can learn more about yourself in the process.
  • To become a licensed psychologist, more schooling is required.
  • A psychology bachelor degree doesn’t set you up for an exact career track in a specific field.
  • Entry-level salaries can be low. For example, some beginning human service assistants make $28,610.
  • Staying relevant in psychology requires keeping up with the latest research.
  • Between completing paperwork and dealing with clients’ struggles, the psychology field can be stressful.

If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then this might be the right major for you.

Is Psychology a STEM Major?

In general, psychology is not seen as a STEM major. That’s primarily because it’s not one of the hard sciences. Rather than outwardly observable processes, psychology deals with the processes that go on inside people’s minds.

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The American Psychological Association (APA) would like to change how psychology is classified. Although different from the hard sciences, psychology is a science that relies on data and testing. Plus, new scientific developments and advancements often come about through the application of psychological findings.

Do Psychologists Make Good Money?

psychologist listening to her teen patient

The median annual salary for a psychologist is $85,330. Your personal income will depend on a variety of factors, including which branch of psychology you choose.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that some of the highest salaries go to industrial-organizational psychologists. They earn a median of $139,280 each year. The median salary for clinical and counseling psychologists is $90,130, and school psychologists’ median income is $81,500 per year.

Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, earn a median of $226,880. Psychiatric technicians and aides make a median of $37,330.

Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Online

student Getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Online

So, what can you do with a psychology degree? Plenty of things! You could launch a career in business or social services. Alternatively, you could continue your education and work toward a career as a licensed psychologist or a survey researcher.

When you’re ready to get started on your psychology schooling, you can explore your options for an online degree. Accredited online colleges offer rigorous training in psychology, and an online degree can thoroughly prepare you for the workforce or a graduate program.

Online college is flexible and convenient, which is ideal for busy adult learners. You can start exploring accredited psychology programs today to find the one that’s right for you!

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WRITTEN BY
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy at Liberty University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Columbia College. With over 20 years of experience navigating online degrees and courses, Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.