A key concern of any aspiring psychologist in today’s economy is simply whether or not a bachelor’s in psychology is worth their time and financial investment. This is a logical concern: The cost of tuition continues to rise, and today’s students smartly want to make sure that they pick a major that is worth the price and a career that will serve them well over the long course of their professional careers. The good news for psychology students is that their pursuit is still a worthy one in today’s world. Psychologists make a healthy salary at all experience levels, and the profession itself is growing at a stable rate that matches the overall growth rate of the economy. These metrics, combined with a few other considerations, ensure that a psychology degree will be a valuable investment for many years to come.
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A Valuable Resource: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics
One of the best ways to evaluate if a given college major or professional career is worthwhile is to consider the data offered by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This agency is the “census of jobs” in the United States, taking careful measurements of occupational growth, salary information, and other criteria that help show which professions are growing and which ones have started to contract over the past several years. For those students who are considering work as a psychologist, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics has nothing but good news. First and foremost, the agency estimates that the profession will grow in size by about 12 percent over the next 7 years. This rate of growth is considered to be “about average,” which means a large number of job opportunities should be available at all levels for the foreseeable future.
Another piece of good news for psychology students is that the average salary in this profession is considerably higher than the average salary nationwide. It is estimated that the typical psychologist in the United States earns about $69,280 per year. This is more than $20,000 higher than the average American salary and it bodes well for students who will be working hard to pay off their student loans and make other big moves after they graduate from college.
One Catch: A Master’s Degree is Typically Required
One thing to consider about becoming a psychologist is the overall educational investment required to land even an entry-level job. Unlike many other positions in the modern economy, psychology requires most of its practitioners to receive both an undergraduate and graduate degree in psychology in order to become fully independent, certified psychologists that can serve the public. While this might be discouraging, students should keep in mind that their above-average educational investment is countered by an above-average salary and strong occupational growth throughout the United States.
Furthermore, a master’s degree in this field will give graduates a greater number of psychology-related career paths to pursue. It could even prepare them for work in academia, combining their practice in psychology with leading an undergraduate classroom full of aspiring professionals. With so many options, this graduate degree requirement should be considered more of a benefit than a disadvantage.
A Great Investment for Today’s Students
It’s natural to want to research the value of a given college degree before making the steep investment required to graduate. Thanks to positive trends in the American economy, psychologists enjoy a relatively stable career path that will pay them back at higher-than-average rates over time. This makes a bachelor’s in psychology definitely worth the cost of tuition, textbooks and college fees.