What Can I Do With My Psychology Degree?


You're reading an article that's part of the What can I do with my degree? series.

As a psychology major, you can analyze the heck out of anything – and back it up with evidence, to boot – but let us take the helm on this one.

The What can I do with my degree? series brings career testimony and suggestions to you.

When we hear “psych major,” we often think “psychologist.”

“My degree has definitely prepared me for my role as a special education teacher as I understand the difference in cognitive abilities of the students and how a learning disability does not affect the person’s intelligence.” —Teresa Siraco Vago, teacher, Peel District School Board

But psychology opens the doors to a wide range of jobs, especially considering that psychology can be applied to, well, nearly everything.

Hopefully the experiences of these psychology students (past and present) will give you a few creative ideas.

Related jobs: Case worker, clinical psychologist, counsellor, immigration officer, industrial-organizational psychologist, manager, psychiatrist, rehabilitation specialist, researcher, school psychologist, social worker

Related fields: Administration, education, health services, psychology, social services

Note: A psychologist’s position requires a master’s degree.

María López

Masters of Clinical Science (M.Cl.Sc.) student in Speech-Language Pathology, The University of Western Ontario
Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics and Language Sciences, York University, Glendon College

When I started at Glendon, I thought I wanted to be a language teacher. However, I got interested in communication disorders thanks to my classes in developmental psychology and my summer job at a camp with kids with autism.

The answer to my interest was a career in speech-language pathology! I love working with kids but I want to experience working with adults, which I’ll be able to do through my placements this year.

My background in psychology and linguistics has given me a good background in child development, how language works in the brain and which sounds we produce in speech.

In my first year in the masters program, I really saw how my undergrad knowledge was useful in understanding more specific concepts related to speech-language pathology.

Nicole Windsor

Program support for Ontario Works
Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in business, McMaster University

Since I was a young child, I have always had a great interest in helping people. I knew quite young that I wanted to grow up and do this for a living, whether it be directly or indirectly. There in turn I decided to complete my university degree in psychology as a starting point to reach this goal.

Currently, I work at the municipal level of government supporting functions of the provincially funded social assistance program, Ontario Works. We help people in temporary financial need find sustainable employment and achieve self-reliance through our employment services and financial assistance programming.

It is because of my boyfriend, who had found the job ad in his local newspaper, that I applied for the contract position and was hired, which has now lead to a permanent position. If it were not for the combination of my education and work experience, I probably would have not even gotten past the screening phase of the hiring process.

My current job is related to my field of study in a way. It has prepared me with knowledge applicable to customer service and knowledge of group dynamics applicable to the daily business.

Teresa Siraco Vago

Teacher with Peel District School Board
Bachelor of Science, University of Toronto

I majored in psychology, but I also studied computer science as I enjoyed math and logic courses, and I loved programming.

Teaching is my second career. I was initially hired to a management training program with a chartered bank because of my degree in psychology and computers.  In 1980, computers were slowly taking over many repetitive clerical jobs, so to understand programming and computers was an asset for a manager; furthermore, I was seen as a “people person” with my background in psychology. I am now a business and mathematics teacher, but with my psychology background I am also able to teach special education.

My degree has definitely prepared me for my role as a special education teacher as I understand the difference in cognitive abilities of the students and how a learning disability does not affect the person’s intelligence.

In my business courses, I teach the students to use computers, and expect them to use software in preparing projects and reports. My knowledge also helps me troubleshoot on my own without relying on a technician to come and fix every little problem that may come up in a lab of 26 computers.

Click here to find out what you can do with your degree.Photo credit: I used to have Super Human Powers by Esparta Palma on Flickr
About the author

Marisa Baratta loves writing, especially about topics pertaining to environmental change, animal issues, human rights and health. She loves helping others and wants to make a positive difference in the world. She is always working on publishing her books, which seek to inspire and incite laughter. She has been published in the National Post, t.o. night newspaper and on several online magazines. She completed a BA with a specialization in English and a bilingual certificate before studying Book and Magazine Publishing at Centennial College. She lives with her family and two cats (can you spot one of them in the picture?).