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What can I do with a bachelor's degree in psychology?

January 20, 2021 · 7 min read · By ASU Online

Wondering “what can I do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?” Well, there are many different outcomes for graduates with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in psychology, including positions in policy development, public administration and social work.

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To better understand an undergraduate degree in psychology though, there are some basic considerations you may want to take into account before making a decision on the program. Read on to understand the difference between career outcomes for a Bachelor of Arts versus a Bachelor of Science and delve into the skills you can earn in both.

Why should you earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology builds deep insight into human behavior. Such knowledge can help you work with colleagues, clients, vendors and similar groups through a better understanding of their actions and goals. This understanding is central to the psychology field, but useful in other professions as well.

When earning a bachelor’s in psychology, you can often choose a specialization that aligns with your interests. Learners can develop competencies in many different areas, which can include:

  • Child development.
  • Memory and decision-making.
  • Neuroscience and brain function.

You can use a bachelor’s degree in psychology to pursue careers inside and outside of the field. Social services, management and careers focused on relationships are all common for graduates. Degree holders can also engage in advanced studies, such as a Master of Science in psychology, that can open up new career opportunities in counseling and research.

At Arizona State University and other schools, there are options to earn both a BA or a BS in psychology. While the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in psychology have many similarities, there are several key differences between the psychology BA vs BS.

BA vs BS in psychology

The Bachelor of Arts in psychology

A Bachelor of Arts in psychology is commonly associated with practitioner roles and similar positions. Those interested in working as counselors or mental health advocates may follow this path.

This degree can offer more opportunities to explore the field. An emphasis on electives allows you to focus on specific areas of psychology that interest you the most. The foundational curriculum of the program supports this individualized learning. Students build a deep and valuable background in the basic elements of psychology.

The Bachelor of Science in psychology

A Bachelor of Science in psychology is traditionally connected to research-focused roles. Yet, graduates may seek out many other career paths. Securing a psychology practitioner position is a possibility. Students may also work outside the field of psychology. Their knowledge and abilities are useful in a variety of public and private sector jobs.

This degree places an emphasis on math, science and statistics in its coursework. Such an approach to learning can offer valuable preparation for research-focused career paths. Some students choose the Bachelor of Science in psychology degree knowing that it’s the most common path to doctoral programs in the field.

A psychology student works on a laptop.

What will you learn when earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology

Students in both BA and BS programs focus on psychology theory and practice. Shared courses include Research Methods and Introduction to Statistics. Additionally, both degree paths also offer a Careers in Psychology course.

Learners build skills in critical thinking and qualitative research while accessing opportunities to explore their own interests in this field. The ASU Online programs offer a professional field placement experience where students can complete professionally-focused volunteer work for course credit.

Students in both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in psychology degree paths can expect a well-rounded undergraduate education. The curriculum prepares students for professional and academic opportunities.

Bachelor of Arts in psychology curriculum

Students who choose the Bachelor of Arts in psychology degree build basic abilities in fields like English, statistics, natural science and the humanities. At the same time, they complete multiple psychology-specific courses. Psychology studies cover areas like neuroscience and research methods.

A broad range of electives allows for a high degree of customization. You may choose from topics like personality theory and social psychology. The BA program allows you to align educational interests and career goals with your studies, due to a flexible curriculum.

Bachelor of Science in psychology curriculum

Learners who select a Bachelor of Science in psychology degree will engage in lab science, math and statistics courses. They also build their expertise in psychology with classes focused on statistical analysis and research methods. More experience with science and math can help prepare students for technical positions and research opportunities inside and outside of the psychology field.

Electives also play an important role, despite this degree having more required courses. A reputable psychology program will offer you the opportunity to delve deeper into areas where you have a personal interest. There are more standard requirements to meet in this program, however, there are still plenty of chances to explore specific psychology topics.

What jobs can I get with a bachelor’s in psychology?

Career fields to consider with strong ties to psychology include:

  • Education.
  • Policy.
  • Public administration.
  • Social work.

An undergraduate degree in psychology can lead to opportunities across the modern economy. There are many roles to explore in the discipline of psychology. Additionally, the knowledge and abilities students develop can help them in a variety of public and private sector positions.

The American Psychological Association said there is no single job outcome from a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Instead, a degree qualifies graduates for many roles. The association offered a list of 70 potential careers to illustrate the wide range of opportunities. These options cover many professional areas including admissions evaluator, department manager, polygraph examiner and social worker are just a few examples.

The American Psychological Association recommends students take an active role in their education to better establish opportunities for professional success. Undergraduate programs that offer a large number of electives can help learners build more relevant knowledge for a specific career path.

A psychology professional works with her patient.

What is the highest-paying job with a bachelor’s in psychology?

In terms of opportunities available to Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in psychology graduates, there are some positions with notable earning potential. All salary figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and were calculated in 2019:

While the management analyst role often requires related work experience, psychology graduates can find opportunities to work in similar roles. Service managers and HR specialists may find relevant job listings directly after graduation.

Finances aren’t the only motivating factor when seeking out a career, but salary comparisons are an important and practical step that becomes especially important when a degree offers many potential career opportunities. Considering that both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in psychology students have many options for customizing their learning experience, understanding salaries is important for selecting the right path forward. The many potential career paths for undergraduate degree holders make it difficult to pinpoint the single highest-paying job for graduates.

Bachelor of Arts in psychology.

 

Still undecided about whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in this field? Read our in-depth guide, which covers key similarities and differences between the two. ASU Online will be here when you’re ready to move forward with your education.

 

Sources:

ASU Online — Online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
ASU Online — Online Bachelor of Science in Psychology
ASU Online — Online Psychology Degree: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?
What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology? Like This Title, the Actual Answer is Complicated by the American Psychological Association
Psychologists by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Management Analysts by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Human Resources Specialists by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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