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Pursuing a Career in Psychology

Psychologist with patient


The field of psychology is extremely broad, providing graduates with several pathways to becoming a psychologist and a wide range of psychology career options to choose from. 

 The day-to-day role of a psychologist can vary depending on the area they specialise in. On a typical day, a psychologist may be tasked with the following responsibilities: 

  • Counselling patients 
  • Diagnosing and recommending treatments for mental health conditions 
  • Administering tests 
  • Reviewing psychology literature 
  • Case management 
  • Utilising research methods
  • Providing referrals for other health services.

The type of personality traits and ‘human skills’ needed to thrive as a psychologist include empathy, a desire to learn, advanced communication skills and problem-solving abilities.
 

Traditional Psychology Specialisations

From helping people manage mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, to researching behavioural concepts, psychology jobs can vary greatly between specialisations. 

These are some of the traditional job opportunities and career paths in psychology available to graduates: 

  • Clinical psychologist – Providing a range of psychological services, clinical psychologists are primarily involved in the diagnosis, treatment and research of mental health conditions. 
  • Organisational psychologist – Organisational psychologists apply the principles of psychology to resolve conflict in the workplace and shape corporate culture. 
  • School psychologist – Tasked with supporting the mental health of young people to help them get the most out of their education, school psychologists focus much of their work on developmental psychology. 
  • Mental health counsellor – Working with patients on an ongoing basis, mental health counsellors provide counselling services to individuals, families and communities. 
  • Sport psychologist – By applying the principles of psychology to sporting codes, sport psychologists help athletes improve their mental strength for the purpose of achieving better results. 
  • Forensic psychologist – Forensic psychology involves the interaction of psychology and the law. Psychologists who choose this specialisation often work for police departments, corrective services, law firms or in private practice. 
  • Cognitive psychologist – Cognitive psychology involves the scientific study of how the mind processes information. 

While this is only an initial list, psychology job opportunities stretch even further into roles such as:

  • Education psychologists
  • Health psychologists
  • Counselling psychologists
  • Developmental psychologist
  • Experimental psychologists
  • Human resource managers, and more. 

Although job market conditions can vary between psychology specialisations, Australian government Job Outlook data shows that generally the field of psychology is expected to experience strong growth over the next five years. Wages for registered psychologists tend to increase as graduates gain more experience. According to PayScale, the average salary for psychologists in Australia ranges from $55,000 – $126,000. 

A degree in psychology opens doors to the psychology field so you can find a specialisation that caters to your strengths. If you’re not sure which subject to focus on, get inspired by learning more about traditional psychology specialisations or discover why aspiring psychologists should consider an online 4th-year program. Want to know more about what it’s like studying psychology online? Meet Amanda, one of our Monash Online psychology students.

 

Related Industries/Non-Traditional Outcomes

Psychology graduates have many options beyond traditional psychology specialisations, including: 

  • Marketing and Advertising – The principles of marketing psychology are relied on by marketing and advertising professionals to sell products, making the skills of a registered psychologist highly sought after in this industry. 
  • Human Resources - HR professionals with a background in psychology are better equipped to develop productive and healthy workplace cultures. 
  • Social Work and Community Services – Many registered psychologists use their skills and knowledge in social work and community services, providing valuable mental health support to vulnerable groups.  
  • Teaching – Knowledge of psychology principles allows for a better understanding of mental health conditions that can impact young people, making it a highly valuable area of study for teachers. 
  • Health Care – From doctors and nurses to physiotherapists and aged care workers, all health care professionals can provide a higher standard of patient support by learning about human behaviour. 

Not sure if you want to work in a traditional psychology field or a related industry? Discover where a psychology degree could take you, the kinds of psychology courses available and career opportunities open to psychology graduates. Uncover the four important skills you will learn studying psychology.

 

How will this career path relate to my personal fulfilment? 

Psychology careers can be challenging but also extremely rewarding. If you’re looking for a profession where you’re able to do meaningful work while continually developing skills and knowledge that can be applied in a wide range of industries, psychology could be the career path you’ve been searching for. 

Offering high levels of job satisfaction and a diverse choice of specialisations, psychology provides a pathway to achieving your professional ambitions and can be a rewarding career change.

Considering a career in psychology? Find out more about the benefits of online study for aspiring psychologists.

If you’re still weighing up your postgraduate study options, visit our student resources page or speak to an expert advisor today to discuss your career goals.