5 Most Common Careers for Professionals with a Doctorate in Psychology

Ph.D. in Psychology Careers

  • Psychotherapist
  • Professor
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Researcher
  • Life Coach

Psychology in and of itself is one of the most versatile fields to enter. A visit to any job search site will reveal that a higher education degree in psychology qualifies individuals to apply for a wide range of positions. Earning a Doctorate in Psychology broadens the realm of possibilities even further, and it also increases both earning potential and professional freedom. Here are five of the most common careers for professionals who possess this prestigious degree.

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1. Psychotherapist

When most people think about studying psychology, they think of psychotherapists. These are professionals who treat clients or patience for mental distress or illness. This sector of the field alone holds infinite possibilities. Those with a doctorate degree in psychology can practice individual, couple, group, and family therapy. They can provide general therapy, or specialize in certain populations and issues. They can open private practices, or work for a wide range of private, public, and government organizations.

2. Professor

Many psychologists at the doctoral level become college or university professors. Most start as part-time adjunct instructors. Through perseverance, some go on to achieve tenure-track full-time positions. Most start out teaching introduction to psychology at the undergraduate level. Many progress to teaching in-depth courses in special topics, advanced level undergraduate courses, and eventual graduate level courses. They can teach at community colleges, universities, and adult schools. They can teach traditional face-to-face courses, enter the rapidly expanding arena of online education, or pursue a combination of both.

3. Researcher

Some psychologists conduct research at colleges and universities where they teach. Others who do not wish to teach build careers researching for public, private, and government research agencies. Psychological research can be either academic or clinical. Academic research involves gathering new information to expand the collective body of knowledge about the many different subfields of psychology; human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and social problems and phenomena. Clinical researchers conduct research testing the effectiveness of psychological treatments, both behavioral and medicinal.

4. Higher Education Administrator

Some professors and researchers desire to influence and manage the educational system. They go on to become chairs, deans, and presidents of collegiate departments and even entire institutions. Usually, this comprises a temporary portion of the middle and later stages of a person’s career, and many return to teaching full time after a few years. This is a good goal for someone with strong leadership skills, a desire to tackle logistical issues, and a willingness to engage in student disciplinary actions.

5. Life Coach

Life coaching is growing in popularity as society necessitates people to seek help achieving work-life balance. As CBS News explains, anybody can market themselves as a Life Coach. It does not require any formal license or educational training, so it is easy for consumers to fall victim to life coaching myths. Someone with a doctorate degree in psychology carries the credibility to form a successful career. It provides direction for those who are passionate about psychology and helping people, but do not wish to practice therapy, teach, or research.

Many students of psychology go on to pursue doctorate degrees simply because there is so much to learn. When it comes time to decide on a career path, they are often overwhelmed by the diversity of options. These five common careers offer something for scholars of every professional personality and interest.