Careers in Psychology

  • Do you find psychology interesting? 
    What kind of careers could psychology courses and degrees lead to?

    Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate programs and majors. At Capilano University, Psychology courses are required for an Associate of Arts degree in Psychology, and are excellent electives for any degree program. Psychology courses are also required or may be electives in many other degree programs such as Music Therapy, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Communication, Film, or Global Studies programs.

    If your goal is an Associate of Arts degree in Psychology, or an eventual Bachelor degree in Psychology, you can use your knowledge of psychology in many different careers, including child-care, community workers, youth workers, education, business (particularly in human resources), health care and rehabilitation, in caring for the elderly, in police work, in service industries, and many more. Whatever work you do will almost always be working with other people. A study of business executives found that more fail because of a lack of people skills and emotional intelligence than because of a lack of technical skills.

    The Carleton University website details the invaluable skills developed by psychology majors. The core competencies and learning outcomes of any B.A. degree include:

    • critical and analytical thinking and reasoned argument;
    • problem solving and decision making skills;
    • communication skills in writing and presentations;
    • academic research skills
    • ability to read and analyze complex materials;
    • accomplish their tasks and goals to completion;

    And in particular, Psychology students also gain:

    • an understanding of the fundamental bases of human cognition and behaviour, learning, development, emotions, motivations and individual differences;
    • a critical understanding of research methodologies and ethics and statistical analysis of data and are able to conduct research;
    • understand group dynamics; social and cultural diversities; and relationship variables;
    • learn about conflict resolution and have "concern for and sensitivity to others".·

    What psychology majors learn about themselves and others is fundamental for their mindful personal and professional development and wellness, and empathy and care for others.

    Of course, psychology can not magically make you better at getting along with others, but it can teach you about people and the reasons for their behaviour, and that can help you understand yourself and others. And that is useful in any career.

    Careers as a Psychologist 

    After your Bachelor degree, you might go on to other professional training, such as medicine, education, law, or management. Or you can become a psychologist if you go on to graduate school in psychology for a M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D or Psy.D. degree. Psychologists often specialize in a specific area of applied psychology. The American Psychological Association website describes many of these applied specialties in detail:

    • Clinical psychologists are trained to assess and treat a variety of mental and emotional disorders.
    • Counseling psychologists counsel individuals, couples and families who are having difficulties, or help people deal with "problems in living", challenging life events and change.
    • Industrial/ organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace, to improve the management of human resources, productivity and job satisfaction and help reduce workplace stress and conflict.
    • Neuropsychologists study the relationship between the brain and human behaviour and cognition, and can assess and treat people with concussions and traumatic brain injury.
    • Developmental psychologists specialize in human cognitive, emotional, and psychological development across the lifespan, particularly in childhood, or in aging.
    • Other applied psychologists specialize in topics like sports psychology, health psychology (health, stress, and illness), forensic psychology (legal and criminal issues), educational or school psychology, and social psychology .

    The web sites listed below have more information and suggestions about careers in psychology,


    Organizations and Societies

    Canadian Psychological Association: for those interested in links to psychology department web sites at Canadian universities.
    American Psychological Association: this major association provides a range of information and services.
    American Psychological Society: their psychology links can take you to any of the many organizations and societies in the profession of psychology.
    Professional Associations and Societies: an exhaustive list.