Psychology Careers Outside of Mental Health

5 career paths for a Psy.D. in clinical psychology

Psychology Careers Outside of Mental Health

Clinical psychology is one of the most in-demand areas of study, with jobs growing quickly according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re interested in studying clinical psychology or searching for careers available in this field, you may be asking:

  • What is clinical psychology?
  • What degrees are available in clinical psychology?
  • What do clinical psychologists do?
  • What job opportunities are available to clinical psychologists?
  • What advantages are there for psychologists with a doctorate in clinical psychology?

Below we answer these questions and explore a variety of career paths available to those with a degree in clinical psychology.

What is clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology is a specific field in psychology that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases having to do with the brain, behavioral problems, and emotional instability.

Clinical psychologists deal with the assessment, diagnosis, and management of a specific individual’s mental illnesses and diseases. A clinical psychologist will also work with clients to provide a range of services and therapy sessions.

What do clinical psychologists do?

A clinical psychologist is a professional qualified to diagnose and treat a range of mental illnesses. Clinical psychologists have a wide array of responsibilities. Tasks can range from doing research, assessing behavior, and performing consultations.

Clinical psychologists meet with clients individually and cater to their specific needs. Many clinical psychologists work with patients in a one-on-one setting. In these sessions, clinical psychologists speak with clients and help identify mental health issues, diagnose mental health illnesses, provide treatment options, monitor progress, and refer them to other resources.

The role of a clinical psychologist differs from a standard psychologist because the field of clinical psychology specifically focuses on abnormal behavioral patterns and emotions.

Some responsibilities and duties of a clinical psychologist include:

  • Identifying mental, behavioral, or emotional abnormalities in clients
  • Assessing the abilities, attitudes, and behaviors of a client with the aid of psychological tests
  • Diagnosing disorders
  • Teaching classes and holding seminars
  • Talking to and educating the loved ones of clients
  • Developing and implementing solutions for clients’ mental and emotional challenges
  • Referring clients to medical personnel
  • Guiding caregivers of clients through the recovery process

Clinical psychologists will typically work together with a health care team of nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and doctors to provide holistic care to their patients. Therefore, clinical psychologists can work in several different professional settings, such as:

  • Private practices
  • Schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Universities

About Psy.D. in clinical psychology programs

A Psy.D. in clinical psychology is an applied doctorate that prepares graduates to offer the best clinical psychology services to clients and patients who are battling emotional, psychological, and behavioral needs.

When applying to a Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program, students should ensure that the school is accredited and approved by the American Psychological Association. Other factors to consider are:

  • Internship matching
  • Cost of schooling
  • Class size
  • Licensing exam pass rate
  • Graduation rate

Many times a Psy.D. program will enable future clinical psychologists to gain research experience and undergo training to practice their skills outside of the classroom in a wide range of settings.

This doctoral program also equips clinical psychologists with the knowledge to assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent further mental and psychological diseases, as well as pursue a wide range of careers.

5 clinical psychology jobs and career paths

Clinical psychologists can work in various sectors, including:

  • Clinics
  • Mental health treatment facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Private practices
  • Court systems
  • Schools
  • Business organizations

After the completion of a degree program in clinical psychology, you may be equipped to pursue any of the following career paths:

1. Organizational psychologist

In this role, a clinical psychologist conducts screening tests, performance reviews, and training sessions to help an organization’s employees work effectively to achieve common company goals and increase overall production.

2. Marriage and family therapist

A clinical psychologist may work directly with couples and families to ensure that its members are communicating effectively and addressing any negative habits in the home. Clinical psychologists working as a marriage and family therapist may help facilitate problem solving and care plans to address varying mental health needs.

3. Researcher

As a researcher, clinical psychologists can develop studies on the influence of habits and thought patterns on an individual, family, and society. This research work may lead to important discoveries in the field and add depth to current practices.

4. Clinical psychology professor

If you enjoy teaching and working with the next generation of mental health professionals, consider a career as a clinical psychology professor. This role entails assisting students with basic and complex psychological concepts and practices, as well as leading research initiatives through your institution.

5. Psychotherapist

Within the field of clinical psychology, you may choose to concentrate in psychotherapy specifically. As a psychotherapist, you meet with clients in one-on-one clinical settings and develop care plans together that will bring about positive change. Often, psychotherapists specialize in one counseling method such as cognitive behavioral therapy or hypnotherapy.

How to become a licensed clinical psychologist

To become a practicing clinical psychologist, you need to obtain licensure. Licensure requirements differ by your location; each state has specific steps you need to take to obtain a license.

If you’re interested in becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, be sure to take your time and look into your state’s requirements.

Learn more about Clinical Psy.D. Programs and Careers

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology programs prepare students for careers in a wide range of settings, including nonprofit, health care, community, and the government.

Building upon a strong base of coursework, theory, science, and practice, and guided by our practitioner-scholar faculty, our graduates are well prepared to provide assessment, intervention, and consultation to meet the needs of diverse populations.

Learn more by visiting our clinical psychology program pages or complete the form below to request more information.


What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?

Psychology Careers Outside of Mental Health

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, offering the chance to explore unanswered questions about the brain, such as how it functions under stress, how it learns language, how it remembers facts or how mental illness can affect the way it works. During your psychology degree you can choose to specialize in specific areas of psychology such as health, clinical, educational, research, occupational, counseling, neuro, sport and exercise, and forensic.

For advice on finding a graduate job, download our free guide on how to find a job after university. 

So, what can you do with a psychology degree?

There are many different options available to psychology degree holders, depending on your specializations and interests, such as:

Although many roles will be available to you with an undergraduate degree, some more highly specialized roles may require further study. Of the psychology careers which don’t require further study, training is usually available on the job to ensure you continue moving forward in your career.

Read on for some insight into the types of careers open to you with an undergraduate psychology degree (BA or BSc).

Typical psychology careers

With a psychology degree, you’re well placed to pursue careers in both arts and scientific fields, depending on your personal interests. There are many options within public and private healthcare, education, mental health support, social work, therapy and counseling. These roles may be advisory, research-led, treatment-led or therapeutic.

There are also a number of less typical roles for psychology graduates, including jobs in media and other creative industries. Overviews of these typical and not-so-typical careers with a psychology degree are outlined below.

Psychology careers in healthcare and therapy

Chartered psychologist

With further study and training you’ll be able to gain qualification as a chartered psychologist. Within this highly specialized role, you’ll work with people of all backgrounds, both patients and clients.

You’ll analyze behaviors, thoughts and emotions in order to better understand and advise on certain actions and/or psychological issues.

As a chartered psychologist, you’ll have the option to specialize in a number of areas, including occupational psychology, educational psychology, sport and mental health.

(Note: If you wish to become a psychiatrist – a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders – you will need to gain a medical degree.)


A psychotherapist will work with individuals, couples, groups or families, to help their clients overcome psychological issues, including emotional and relationship-related issues, stress and even addiction.

Depending on what you choose to specialize in during your degree, as well as your personal interests, you can choose to act as a psychotherapist using a number of approaches. These include cognitive behavioral methods, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies, as well as art therapy, drama therapy, humanistic and integrative psychotherapy, hypno-psychotherapy and experiential therapy.

Social worker

A social worker is someone who works with people who are going through difficult periods in their lives; including groups such as children or the elderly, people with disabilities and victims of crime and abuse.

The role of a social worker is to safeguard these people from harm and provide support in order to allow people to improve their situations.

Social workers may work within schools, homes, hospitals or other public agencies and will tend to specialize in working with children and families or vulnerable adults.


As a counselor you’ll be involved in helping people come to better terms with their lives and experiences through exploration of feelings and emotions. You’ll work within a confidential setting and be expected to listen attentively to your clients.

Key traits of a counselor include the ability to listen, empathize, offer respect and patience, as well as to analyze the issues at play in order to enable the client to better cope with their situation and help support them in making choices.

psychotherapy, counseling is often a form of talking therapy and can encompass areas including marriage and family, health, abuse, rehabilitation, education, grief, mental health, career guidance and pediatrics.

Psychology careers in education

 Psychology graduates interested in the education sector have a number of different options.

As well as educational therapy, educational psychology and social work within education, psychology graduates may qualify as teachers, working in primary, secondary or tertiary level education.

They may instead work within social services to help support learning in the community at all ages, or within the prison sector to provide support for young offenders.

To become an educational psychologist, you will need the same qualifications as any psychologist (a master’s degree and further training). This is a role concerned with the development of young people in educational settings, with the aim of enhancing learning and dealing with social and emotional issues or learning difficulties.

To teach psychology, depending on the level you choose, you’ll need an additional teaching qualification. To enter careers in tertiary education (colleges and universities) you will ly need a further qualification, such as a master’s and/or PhD. Roles in higher education are ly to encompass both teaching and research (see below).

Psychology careers in research

Psychology careers in research may be based within research agencies, public and private organizations or in universities. University-based careers vary but tend to combine research and teaching.

Research careers within other sectors are even more wide-ranging but could mean contributing to governmental policy development or issues of importance for industry.

You could also work for a charity or other non-profit organization, perhaps conducting research to help resolve challenges such as speech impediments, brain damage, child development or the impact of legal and illegal drugs on psychological health.

Less typical careers with a psychology degree

As a psychology graduate at bachelor level, there are thousands of opportunities for you outside healthcare and educational roles if you know where to look.

This is due to the varied transferable skills you gain from your degree, as well as widespread recognition of the advantages of having psychological and analytical expertise.

In broad terms, psychology graduates can be found working in all sectors of society, including media, criminal justice and rehabilitation, advertising, business and management, sports, public agencies and the legal sector. Some less typical careers with a psychology degree are outlined below…

Media and advertising careers

It might not be an obvious choice for psychology graduates, but media careers are varied, with ample opportunities to apply the skills a psychology degree will hone.

Psychology graduates can impart valuable insights into human behavior, as well as offering the ability to analyze problems, listen attentively, give considered responses and act with empathy and reason.

Because of this, media roles within all departments including management, production, scheduling and writing are well within reach for psychology graduates.

Human resources and communications careers

Psychology is all about understanding people and how they think, making human resources and communications careers another good match. These roles, available in both the public and private sectors, encompass areas such as employee satisfaction, professional development, training, recruitment, PR, payroll and internal communications.

Business and management careers

Thanks to a keen sense of how to handle both data and people, business and management careers are another good option for psychology graduates.

Although further training and work experience are ly to be required before entering managerial roles, you could start out by pursuing careers within business consultancy, marketing, sales, advertising or business development, before working your way up the ladder.

A psychology degree may also provide a good basis for careers in IT, finance, the legal sector, government administration and market research.

‘What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?’ is part of our ‘What Can You Do With…’ series. 

We have also covered art, biology, business, communications, computer science, English, engineering, fashion, history, geography, law, marketing, mathematics, performing arts, philosophy, politics, sociology, chemistry, economics and physics.

This article was originally published in January 2015. It was last updated in October 2019.

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