Salary and Career Info for a Bachelor of Psychology Degree
Possible careers for those with a bachelor's degree in psychology range from working as a social and human service assistant to teaching high school psychology. Careers in business and criminal justice are also open to those with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
Social and Human Service Assistant Career Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that careers in social and human services assistance will grow by 22% during 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Employees in this field work as assistants to professionals, such as social workers and psychologists, in a variety of jobs.
These assistants may work in positions such as case management aides, client advocates, youth workers, mental health aides, social worker assistants or community support workers. Social and human service workers provide emotional support while assisting clients in accessing services, gaining independence and improving their quality of life; but specific duties vary depending on the individual's role and amount of training.
Human service assistants work in mental hospitals, outpatient clinics, social service agencies, substance abuse facilities, group homes, half-way houses or rehabilitation facilities. They evaluate clients' needs, explore possible services, link them with appropriate programs and monitor their progress in achieving goals.
Possible responsibilities include supporting clients as they learn basic skills to live independently, including personal hygiene, cleaning and cooking. Assistants might organize group activities and assist in crisis intervention situations under the supervision of a counselor. Other tasks might include assisting clients in completing necessary forms for services, such as Medicaid and food pantry programs.
Salaries vary for social and human service assistants because of the variety of jobs within the human service sector. The BLS reported that in 2013 human service assistants in state government jobs made an annual mean wage of $36,990. The annual mean wage of those working in a residential facility for mental health, substance abuse or developmental disabilities was $26,460. Workers in individual and family services earned an annual mean wage of $30,140, while employees in vocational rehabilitation services made an annual mean wage of $27,650.
Probation or Parole Officer Career Information
Probation officers and parole officers perform many of the same duties; the difference is the population with which they work. Probation officers, sometimes referred to as community supervision officers, monitor people convicted of a crime who are sentenced to probation, rather than jail. Parole officers work with offenders once they are released from jail, trying to prevent them from committing additional crimes. Usually these officers work exclusively with either adults or juveniles, although some officers work with both age groups.
Probation and parole officers work with offenders, their families and community organizations in an attempt to prevent future offenses. Other responsibilities include linking offenders with needed services, such as substance abuse counseling, anger management programs and vocational rehabilitation services. The courts may ask officers to investigate backgrounds of people accused of a crime, recommend sentences, testify in court about their recommendations and update the court on the progress of offenders.
A similar job, related to probation and parole officers, is that of correctional treatment specialists. This job consists of evaluating inmates, developing treatment plans and monitoring inmates' progress. Inmate education is a focus for correctional treatment specialists. They plan individual and group counseling programs and provide training to inmates in employment skills.
The majority of people employed as probation officers, parole officers or correctional treatment specialists work for the state or local government. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists who worked for state governments made an annual mean wage of $52,970 in 2013, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported that the annual mean wage paid to local government officers and specialists that year was $53,870.
Secondary Psychology Teacher Career Information
A bachelor's degree in psychology, in conjunction with teacher certification, allows one to teach psychology at the high school level. Secondary teachers plan and implement lesson plans, taking into consideration the cultural backgrounds and educational capabilities of students. They use a range of instructional and evaluation techniques, including lectures, group work, exams, projects and laboratory experiments. Teachers collaborate with colleagues in school-wide committees and sometimes supervise students in extracurricular events.
The BLS reported that, in 2013, the annual mean wages paid to elementary and secondary school teachers were $56,320 and $58,260, respectively. High school teachers at religious institutions made an annual mean wage of $60,610 that same year. Most teachers receive regular salary increases based on their years of experience and number of college credits accrued.
Marketing Career Information
Although some employers prefer their marketing employees have degrees in business, some may hire graduates with a bachelor's degree in psychology, particularly if those graduates also have a minor in business. Training in psychology provides a person with an understanding of research skills and human behavior. Marketers with a psychology background can apply their knowledge by evaluating what customers want and determining how to best promote and sell products. The goal of the marketing department is to increase revenue by researching the market and developing plans for advertising, sales and product development.
Within the marketing field are positions in advertising, sales, marketing, public relations and promotions. In small companies, one person may do all of these jobs; in larger firms, tasks are divided among specialized employees. People in advertising promote products or businesses through such avenues as television commercials, Internet advertising or mailings. Sales representatives illustrate the benefits of their merchandise through discussions and demonstrations and then arrange the details of the purchase. Company public relations, which entail depicting a positive public image, are often a responsibility of the marketing department as well.
Salaries in marketing vary depending on the type of industry and assigned roles. In 2013, the BLS reported that marketing managers made an annual mean wage of $133,700. The annual mean wage was $139,020 for managers in advertising, public relations and related services. Sales representatives' wages differ based on the products they sell, their level of technical expertise and the amount of merchandise they sell. Sales reps who possessed expertise in management, technical and scientific products and consultations earned a mean annual wage of $74,780 in 2013, according to the BLS.
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