10 Alternative Careers For Psychology Majors

    10 Alternative Careers For Psychology Majors

    To help psychology majors with finding their best fit career, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best advice. From career counseling to consumer and UX research, there are several possible options that may help you find your best-fit career for life.

    Here are ten alternative careers for psychology majors:

    • Career Counselor
    • Adoption Field
    • Educational Psychologist
    • SEO Marketing
    • Recruiter or Interviewer
    • Marketing Consultant or Coach
    • CEO
    • Consumer and UX Research
    • Talent Acquisition
    • Social Workers and Child Advocates

    Career Counselor

    Any type of counseling position would be great for a psychology major. A possible option would be to start as a career counselor. You could begin your career counseling at any college or university. Schools are always looking for candidates with a psychology background and a desire to help students find their dream job.

    Craig Rosen
    Craig Rosen, InterviewFocus

    Adoption Field

    Working with pregnant mothers, who are considering adoption, can be a heavy task. They are making such a brave decision, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times of frustration, uncertainty, and heartache. We always welcome those to our team with backgrounds in psychology, as I think it helps with the mental aspect of a job working for an adoption agency. There is always room for psychology majors in the adoption field!

    Kenna Hamm
    Kenna HammAssistant Director, Texas Adoption Center

    Educational Psychologist

    If you love children and have a degree in psychology, I would highly recommend looking into becoming a school counselor or educational psychologist. These careers allow you to use all the skills you’ve collected throughout your education and use them in a meaningful way. In these positions, you will get the opportunity to change the lives of children, and I think that is the most rewarding work you can do.

    Jeanne Kolpek
    Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education

    SEO Marketing

    Psychology majors would geek out thinking all day about the psychology of a customer. In SEO, psychology is everything. It’s the difference between web traffic and web traffic the converts to a lead or sale for a business. By understanding the psychology of a searcher, a marketer can be successful with their campaign.

    Brett Farmiloe
    Brett FarmiloeCEO, Featured

    Recruiter or Interviewer

    A lot of psychology majors who decide not to go the route of becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist will end up working in human resources doing recruiting or interviewing. The reason is because of their trained ability to “read people.” So with a better understanding of the human psyche, they can get to the “real person” underneath any facade. Another avenue is working for businesses that are doing research that involves how people think, behave, and/or react. So psych majors have more insight and training with regards to these areas.

    Ronald Auerbach, Job Search Author and Career Coach

    Marketing Consultant or Coach

    I originally started as a psychology/economics double major and then changed it to psychology and advertising because I realized I was interested in how psychology applied to marketing. You’d be amazed at how much our buying behaviors are rooted in our lizard brains. Big brands like Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo spend millions of dollars per year on smart psychology majors who know how to get people to pay attention to their messages. Plus, if you get really good at your craft, you can apply your skills to your own business. That’s what I did. Having a background in psychology gives me an advantage that not many other people have. It allows me to see things other people don’t see, which puts me in high demand.

    James Pollard
    James PollardFounder, The Advisor Coach LLC


    I have a psychology background myself and I have taken on several roles outside the traditional psychology path. After I graduated, I started my career in advertising. There I was on the Client and Project management sides. My psychology background gave me good listening and mediation skills to be able to collaborate with others. From there, I made a move to User Experience design (UX Design.) I attribute so much of my success in this field to psychology. So much of design is about how we perceive the objects around us. Psychology teaches us this through the study of perception and mental models. Now, I’m the CEO of my company, With Pulp. Having a good grasp of psychology is essential to being an executive. Listening to others, motivating others and leading others are central to a CEO’s role. I attribute much of what I know in this regard to psychology as well.

    Husam Machlovi
    Husam MachloviFounder, With Pulp

    Consumer and UX Research

    I would encourage you to explore a role in consumer or user experience research. Understanding consumer or user behavior is key in any successful marketing campaign. Marketing is fundamentally about changing behavior. To change behavior, you need to understand the motivation. What is a strong enough motivator to move a person to action? The company that has the best grasp on the strongest motivator will have the best marketing campaign.

    Brian Cairns
    Brian CairnsCEO, ProStrategix Consulting

    Talent Acquisition

    Having walked this path myself with a graduate degree in psychology I would make the argument that the Talent Acquisition [TA] side of HR is a great career path. I have found that I use different parts of my education every day. Whether I’m using probing questions to better understand a candidate, or working on a TA Marketing campaign and working to better understand my target market, there is a lot of opportunities for psychology majors to thrive in this field.

    Steven Brown
    Steven BrownRecruiting Manager, Pivot Workforce

    Social Workers and Child Advocates

    There are many careers in the public sector working with people that might be very rewarding, such as social workers and child advocates. I have seen individuals with psychology degrees be very successful in more stressful settings, such as working with inmates in correctional environments and working in facilities that serve the mentally ill or those with addiction. Their unique training and level of understanding make them well suited to sharing their skills and abilities with these more vulnerable and often underserved populations.

    Colleen McManus, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
    Colleen McManus, SPHR, SHRM-SCPSenior HR Executive & Consultant