It can be a challenge breaking into psychology. Many positions within the field require terminal degrees, like a Ph.D. or Psy.D. If you’re looking for entry-level positions with a bachelor’s degree in psychology online or need work experience in the field while continuing your education, there are some psychology jobs out there for you. The following four psychology careers can be obtained without a Ph.D.
Mental Health Counselor
Mental health counselors assist clients in dealing with their emotions and experiences. They may work with children, teenagers, adults, individuals or families.
Mental health counselors diagnose and treat mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies. However, they are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication to patients. Instead, they use other tools, such as talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and visualization. They help patients institute strategies in their lives to achieve their goals. With the help of a counselor, patients can replace self-destructive or negative patterns of behavior with more positive methods and thoughts.
To become a mental health counselor, you must have a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or a related field, as well as a state license. Requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but most require a master’s degree, supervised clinical experience and a passing score on a state recognized exam. To remain licensed, you will be required to complete continuing education credits each year.
Mental health counselors can expect to make between $30,000 and $47,000 a year depending on the setting in which they work.
Marriage and Family Therapist
A marriage and family therapist councils people who are facing issues in their family lives, such as the death of a loved one, divorce or addiction. Unlike other counselors, they bring a family centered, holistic approach to healing.
In most states, marriage and family therapists are not permitted to prescribe medications to patients. They do, however, coordinate care between other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers. Marriage and family therapists evaluate family roles and analyze how family dynamics affect the mental health of each individual within the group.
Marriage and family therapists must hold a master’s degree in psychology, marriage and family therapy or a related field. They must also be licensed by the state in which they practice. To obtain a license, marriage and family therapists need supervised clinical experience and a passing score on a state-recognized exam in addition to their degree. These therapists must also meet continuing education requirements each year to keep their license current.
Marriage and family therapists make between $42,000 and $56,000. Those working in government or private practice fall along the higher end of the wage spectrum.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors work with clients who suffer from alcoholism, addiction, eating disorders and other behavioral problems. Sometimes called addiction counselors, substance abuse counselors are responsible for helping clients to modify their behavior to overcome their affliction.
Substance abuse counselors cannot legally prescribe medication to patients. Instead, they use other tactics to help patients, such as 12-step programs, coping strategies and interventions. They often reach out to friends and families to help clients see how their actions are affecting those they love.
Some counselors may work with patients who are ordered by the court to undergo counseling for addiction. Others work with specific subpopulations, such as teenagers, veterans or the homeless. Still, others may work in private practice where they see a range of patients and ailments.
To become a substance abuse counselor, you must have a minimum of a high school diploma. However, preference is given to applicants with some college or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Counselors with more education, like a master’s degree, are able to provide more advanced services to clients, including private counseling. Substance abuse counselors in private practice must be licensed. Requirements vary from state to state, but all require a master’s degree and supervised clinical experience passing an exam.
Substance abuse counselors typically work full time and earn between $33,570 and $45,160 depending on where they work. Those in private practice typically earn the most.
Career counselors help clients plot their career paths through all stages of life. They may work with college students to help them pick the correct major for a given position or help graduates identify jobs that are attainable with the degree they have earned. In working with those who have already entered the workforce, career counselors may provide advice about switching careers or earning promotions. Some work in job placement firms and help unemployed or laid-off workers find new employment.
Most employers prefer that career counselors have a degree in psychology or counseling with a focus on career development, as well as licensure or certification. However, it is not a legal requirement that career counselors be licensed, though those in private practice generally must be licensed. Licensure requirements vary from state to state, but typically require a master’s degree, supervised clinical experience and a passing score on a state exam.
Career counselors can expect to make between $32,000 and $60,000 depending on their specialty.