Last Updated on July 29, 2023
Dreaming of becoming a counselor with a bachelor’s degree in psychology? Or you might be researching counseling psychology careers and wondering what is the use of a bachelor’s degree in psychology and what jobs can I hold with such degrees. Well, if any of these questions sound familiar, then this article is for you. Here we try to give you all the answers to your questions about the career prospects and field of work for those who have psychology bachelors degree.
Are you interested in becoming a counselor but you are wondering if that is possible with just your bachelor’s degree in psychology? You are about to get the information you need to take you out of wonderland. Here, we at college learners will give you the necessary information needed about how to become a counselling psychologist, entry level jobs for psychology bachelors, what you can do with a psychology bachelor’s degree.
Can I Be A Counselor With A Bachelors Degree In Psychology?
While it makes sense that you major in psychology if you want to become a therapist, it actually isn’t necessary.
In fact, you don’t even need a master’s degree or a doctorate in psychology to become a therapist. Though degrees in psychology can certainly lead to a career as a therapist, there are many other master’s degrees and doctorates that can prepare you to be an effective therapist.
So, the short answer is no, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree in psychology to become a therapist. What degrees might you pursue for this career track instead?
First Things First – Get a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step in the process of becoming a therapist is to get your undergraduate degree.
As was just noted, you don’t have to get your degree in psychology (although it is an excellent option). Instead, you can pursue related disciplines like social work, which will still give you a solid foundation for continuing your studies in graduate school.
A bachelor’s degree is usually about 120 semester credits, which takes four years of study if you go to school full-time. If you go to school part-time, it could take you additional several semesters to complete your degree.
Usually, about half of the credits required to graduate are general education courses, like math, science, and language arts. The other half of the required credits are in the major area. So, if you major in social work, you can anticipate about 60 hours of general credits and about 60 hours of social work credits.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field, you can find work in entry-level positions at mental health clinics, hospitals, and the like. But you’ll need to continue your education if you want to become a therapist.
But a Bachelor’s Degree is Not Enough
Before we discuss the different degree paths you might take to become a therapist, it’s important to note that you cannot be a licensed therapist with just a bachelor’s degree.
While your education will begin with a bachelor’s degree, it isn’t enough to qualify for licensure as a therapist. As discussed later in this guide, licensure is overseen by individual states, so the requirements for becoming a licensed therapist might be a little different from one state to the next.
However, what is common between all states is that a licensed therapist must have at least a master’s degree in a related field, like psychology, counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy, to name a few.
Furthermore, certain titles are often bestowed only upon people with the proper credentials. For example, if you want to be a psychologist, you will have to get a master’s degree or a doctorate in psychology in order to call yourself a psychologist. Getting a master’s degree in counseling, for example, does not give you the right to call yourself a psychologist, even though psychology and counseling are very closely related.
One commonality among the possible advanced degrees you can pursue to become a therapist is that they all require that you have completed a bachelor’s degree.
In some cases, master’s programs are combined with bachelor’s degrees, so you get your undergraduate degree on your way to a master’s degree. This is fairly rare, though.
Instead, it’s more typical to complete a bachelor’s degree program and then complete a separate master’s degree. Typically, master’s programs have fairly similar admissions requirements, like:
- Completion of an accredited undergraduate program
- GPA requirements, like a minimum of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Letters of recommendation from undergraduate faculty
- A statement of purpose that explains why you want to pursue the degree
- An interview with an admissions committee
Not all master’s programs have all of these requirements, so you might not have to conduct an interview, for example, or you might not have to supply a statement of purpose. It just depends on the individual program.
Usually, graduate programs that prepare students for careers in counseling require that the undergraduate degree is in a related field, like psychology or social work. This is not always the case, though. For example, if your undergraduate degree is in education, you might have to take some prerequisite courses to gain the knowledge and skills associated with undergraduate courses like history and systems of psychology, the psychology of learning, biological psychology, and social work, as just a few examples.
how to become a counselling psychologist
A Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is required to work as a Counseling Psychologist. Advanced degrees are also required, thus a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology is required. Psychology is available as an undergraduate degree at a variety of colleges.
The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is a three-year full-time (four-year part-time) taught doctoral program that combines advanced CBT skills, strong humanistic principles, and psychodynamic awareness.
Though students can earn a bachelor’s in counseling psychology, they need a master’s degree to become a licensed counselor. Requirements for licensure vary by state, but they generally include holding a graduate degree, continued education, and proof of several thousand hours working under a licensed counselor.
Psychology is a highly rewarding and lucrative field of study. A psychologist salary depends on many factors like his/her qualification, area of specialization, and experience in the profession.
entry level jobs for psychology bachelors
If you have an interest in psychology, but no experience in the field, consider one of these 17 potential jobs to get you started in your psychology focused career:
1. Camp counselor
National average salary: $22,578 per year
Primary duties: A camp counselor is responsible for providing supervision and education to campers. In most cases, camp counselors perform job duties like overseeing camper activities, planning lessons and events and facilitating recreational activities. They may also need to help resolve conflicts and clean common areas.
2. Parole officer
National average salary: $35,020 per year
Primary duties: A parole officer is responsible for assisting parolees with the transition from prison to the civilian world. Most parole officers handle tasks like helping parolees find jobs, meeting regularly with parolees to provide guidance and oversight and ensuring parolees meet the stipulations of their parole.
3. Preschool teacher
National average salary: $38,313 per year
Primary duties: A preschool teacher is responsible for providing education for preschool students. Many preschool teachers handle job duties like creating lesson plans for students, providing education and activities and observing students to ensure they’re meeting age-appropriate goals. They also meet with parents and guardians to provide regular updates on the student’s progress and behavior in school.
4. Research assistant
National average salary: $38,727 per year
Primary duties: A research assistant is responsible for conducting research to gather data for use in studies. They may use surveys, focus groups or previous research to form reports and share pertinent information for the study they’re assisting with. Research assistants analyze their data, find interview subjects to speak with, maintain complete records of data collection attempts and conduct reviews on previously published literature.
5. Occupational therapy aide
National average salary: $39,871 per year
Primary duties: An occupational therapy aide is responsible for preparing equipment for an occupational therapist for use with patients. They may also assist with scheduling appointments, filing claims with insurance companies and providing educational resources for patients so they can continue to strive.
6. Career counselor
National average salary: $40,379 per year
Primary duties: A career counselor is responsible for working with individuals to determine their career goals and advise them on how to succeed in their field. They may offer research writing services, practice interviews with clients, teach people how to search for open job positions on various websites and prepare them for other aspects of earning a new job, like how to dress for an interview. Career counselors may work with individuals who are newly unemployed, entering the job market for the first time or are students who aren’t sure what career path they want to pursue.
7. Rehabilitation specialist
National average salary: $41,467 per year
Primary duties: A rehabilitation specialist is responsible for providing guidance to patients on how they can improve after an injury or illness that has affected their lives. They monitor patients to ensure they remain mobile and prevent further injury, help patients with daily exercises and research programs that support the patient’s reentrance into their normal day-to-day lives.
8. Sales associate
National average salary: $45,481 per year
Primary duties: A sales associate is responsible for selling certain products or services to a targeted group of customers. They provide customer service to their client base and have to be highly knowledgeable about the offerings they’re selling. Sales associates also produce sales reports, use specific strategies to meet sales quotas, answer customer questions, develop sales presentations and conduct product demonstrations.
Related: Learn About Being a Sales Associate
National average salary: $45,655 per year
Primary duties: A caseworker is responsible for assisting individuals and families who are disadvantaged, ill or injured so they can benefit from the assistance of government agencies and other programs. They frequently connect with other professional groups to provide social services, respond to emergency needs and give referrals to their patients for community services they’d benefit from.
10. Curriculum leader
Primary duties: A curriculum leader is responsible for helping a school or individual teacher develop a curriculum for a class or course. They also implement educational programs into schools and provide training to teachers and other educators on how to support students. A curriculum leader may also produce reports that show the effectiveness of the curriculum on students learning the material.
11. Social services assistant
National average salary: $47,631 per year
Primary duties: A social services assistant is responsible for working alongside social workers and professionals in the mental health field to provide support to them and their patients. They identify a patient’s needs, provide advice and guidance to patients so they can take advantage of the services available to them and consistently monitor a patient and their wellbeing.
12. Human resources specialist
National average salary: $48,303 per year
Primary duties: A human resources specialist is responsible for recruiting and hiring employees for an organization. They may search for candidates in their applicant pool, conduct initial interviews, consult with the hiring manager to determine their hiring needs, write job descriptions and post them online for candidates to view and negotiate compensation packages. Human resources specialists also help current employees with conflict management and understanding their benefits and write corporate policies.
National average salary: $57,610 per year
Primary duties: A marketer is responsible for developing strategies to enhance a brand’s reputation or increase sales. They create advertisements, identify target audiences, research pricing for a product or service the company offers, develops sales strategies and produces reports that showcase the results of their efforts. A marketer may also write communications for customers, form focus groups, conduct research and make campaigns.
National average salary: $61,050 per year
Primary duties: A writer is responsible for creating content for a particular audience. They may write blog posts, website content, books, articles, product descriptions and more depending on their client’s needs. Writers also write their content in a way that their intended audience can understand and submit their content to an editor for proofreading.
15. Psychiatric technician
National average salary: $75,880 per year
Primary duties: A psychiatric technician is responsible for assisting psychiatrists with caring for patients who have a mental health diagnosis. They observe behavior, create reports on what they’ve noticed about a patient, take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse and help establish a patient’s schedule to include bathing, eating, errands and medications.
16. Program manager
Primary duties: A program manager is responsible for overseeing multiple projects within an organization. They work within a budget and established a timeline to delegate responsibilities, communicate with project stakeholders and employees with project responsibilities and help a project meet its goals.
17. Real estate agent
National average salary: $88,042 per year
Primary duties: A real estate agent is responsible for assisting a buyer or seller with securing a new home or selling their current one. They speak with clients to understand their needs and home goals, find listings that match their requests, negotiate pricing and help write contracts and other legal documents that facilitate the buying or selling of a home or commercial building. Real estate agents also assess current market conditions, schedule walk-throughs of the home and provide guidance on selling or buying a piece of property.
types of counseling degrees
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the gold standard accrediting body for counseling degree programs, accredits programs in the following areas:2
Clients: Individuals and families affected by alcohol, drugs, food-related, gambling, sexual and other addictive disorders
Work settings: Community agencies offering substance abuse counseling services; private practice
Clients: Individuals who need guidance making career decisions
Work settings: Career resource centers; in-house within private or public organizations; private practice; schools; universities
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Clients: Individuals, couples and families affected by a range of mental and emotional disorders
Work settings: Community-based mental health centers; hospitals; private practice
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling
Clients: Individuals with cognitive, physical, psychiatric and sensory disabilities
Work settings: Community-based mental health facilities; hospitals; private practice; schools; substance treatment facilities
Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
Clients: Individuals, couples and families with relationship and communication issues related to a family system
Work settings: Community-based mental health centers; inpatient facilities; private practice; social service agencies
Clients: Individuals with disabilities (and their support systems) who are trying to reach personal, psychological, social and occupational goals
Work settings: Hospitals; government agencies; rehabilitation facilities; schools; universities
Clients: Students from kindergarten through high school
Work settings: Private and public school systems at the elementary, middle and high school levels
Take the first step toward becoming a school counselor with William & Mary’s online program in School Counseling.
Student Affairs and College Counseling
Clients: College and university students
Work settings: Higher education: Counseling offices; housing and residential life; student affairs offices
While not exhaustive of all types of counseling degrees, this list reflects many of the most common paths for counselors.
Specialized programs may fall under a particular counseling degree area, so make sure to research programs thoroughly and clarify any questions with faculty and admissions advisors. For instance, the Military and Veterans Counseling specialization in the Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling from William & Mary is offered within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentration, and both are accredited by CACREP.