A psychology degree is very versatile and prepares students to go into diverse career fields and excel in them. Not every psychology student aims to be a clinical psychologist or hold a routine “desk job” in private practice somewhere. Psychologists are in high demand in most areas since the science of psychology applies to almost all businesses. Along with the usual psychology-related careers, there are quite a few unusual psychology major jobs that a graduate can pursue.
The outside-the-box career choices are especially attractive to graduates who do not want to be a psychologist. Instead, they want to use their knowledge to explore other career options. They know how humans think, behave and how the surrounding environment affects their behavior. They build critical thinking and analytical skills that, along with the above skills, helps them analyze and address various issues.
A psychology degree program provides foundational knowledge in psychology theories and human behavior. In addition, students undertake projects covering research methods and data analysis that prepare them for many different careers. Whether it is a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and in some cases, a doctoral degree, the study of psychology unlocks a wide array of career options.
In this article, we have researched and reviewed the top unusual psychology jobs for graduates to choose from, other than the usual career choices. These fields may not seem connected to the subject but rely heavily on the science of psychology. We have ranked them according to the annual average salary, low to high.
#20 Legal research assistants
Legal research assistants help lawyers and legal firms prepare for court cases. Using what they learned while getting their psychology degree, students use their analytical and research skills to conduct relevant research for each case. In conducting research, they use library and Internet resources to prepare for trials, hearings, and corporate meetings. Legal research assistants maintain and organize case files in relevant order using their computer and organizational skills. Law firms are a top employer of legal research assistants, but they can also be hired by organizations that do law-related work.
Average annual salary: $46,007
#19 Legal analyst
Legal analysts work in law firms and law-related businesses. They typically assist attorneys in reviewing and drafting various legal documents. These may include contracts, discovery material, litigation filings, legal memos related to diverse legal transactions, or court cases. They use their research and analytical skills to prepare these documents and create a strong foundation for argument. Psychology graduates can also use their knowledge of human behavior to anticipate counterarguments of the cases.
Average annual salary: $55,689
#18 Human resource specialist
Human resource specialists work across almost all industries to manage organizational teams and ensure employees are treated fairly. They help executive teams plan, direct, and coordinate administrative functions. Psychology training is beneficial for their jobs since they employ various psych-based skills in their day-to-day work, including understanding diversity, mediation, and empathy. They are focused on helping each employee thrive and grow in the work environment, help create a positive work culture, and help the organization become a preferred workplace.
Average annual salary: $59,060
#17 Human Performance Investigator
Human performance investigators research and study various situations to explain human error and anticipate human behavior. They work for diverse industries where they perform routine tasks in human resource programs and also help in ensuring compliance with labor regulations. They use the training that they receive from their psychology studies to describe behavior and human performance from different perspectives. They also work as investigators to document and assess the human performance concerns raised during an accident.
Average annual salary: $63,085
#16 Digital marketing analysts
Digital marketing analysts play an important role in marketing campaign design and running them. First, they monitor online marketing trends, study and analyze the data and statistics to help the team understand the markets better. Then they help develop strategies for digital marketing campaigns and track campaign performance. In addition, a large part of psychology training focuses on analyzing and interpreting data to derive human-response-based results. That is why psychology graduates make great marketing analysts.
Average annual salary: $63,275
#15 Associate Pastor
An Associate Pastor is a church employee, often considered the person second in command to the senior pastor. They work part- or full-time and perform various tasks, including counseling church members, supervising church volunteers, and assisting with all church services and ceremonies, like weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Psychology graduates passionate about working in a church setting and helping others make good candidates for this job. Since counseling, empathy and communication, and assessment of mental health are big for this role, a background in psychology is more than helpful, it is absolutely necessary.
Average annual salary: $64,535
Perhaps the most unusual psychology major jobs, parapsychologists study paranormal or “psychic” phenomena, which is still considered a controversial field but is closely related to regular psychology. It examines the normal behavioral response of people and the existence of experiences and abilities in the paranormal realm. The various mental abilities they study include ESP or mind-reading, telepathy, telekinesis, psychokinesis. Other areas of study include cognitive functions like mind over matter, precognition, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, apparitions, and hauntings. While these involve advanced level studies, students of psychology programs find their foundational knowledge of human behavior beneficial.
Average annual salary: $69,224
#13 Policy analyst
Policy analysts work to raise awareness of various social issues like access to healthcare, crime prevention, education & testing standards, and protection of the environment. Often called researchers, scholars, and fellows, they require strong analytical, communication, critical thinking, negotiating creativity skills. They also need empathy, knowledge of how humans respond to their environments to influence government action. The skills they acquire in a psychology program, both at the bachelor’s and master’s degree level can help in this role.
Average annual salary: $70,522
#12 Health science administrator
Health science administrators work behind the scenes in healthcare facilities or organizations to make large-scale decisions. Health psychologists’ research and analytical skills help create policy and budgets to create better patient experiences and ensure the safety of patients, guests and staff. With their knowledge of how humans behave and analytical skills training, psychology graduates make great candidates for this job, though they have to undergo specific training to grow in their careers. Their research focuses on areas that could guide departmental and national policy-making efforts.
Average annual salary: $72,398
#11 Circus Psychologist
While being a circus psychologist seems like a very unusual and exotic profession, the reality is that it is fast becoming one of the top preferred psychology major jobs for many graduates. Leading circus companies like the Cirque du Soleil hire professionals like sports psychologists who can integrate performance psychology into their training programs. These professionals help performers overcome fear and stage fright, adjust to their new job, and recover from injuries and fatigue. In addition, they counsel artists and help them perform incredible feats at different shows around the world.
Average annual salary: $76,223
#10 Law enforcement officer
Psychology graduates make great law enforcement officers and workers. A psychology bachelor’s degree can significantly benefit them in their work as it can be sensitive. Most grads work as detectives, analysts, or behavioral specialists in a task force to research, analyze and anticipate criminal mindset. Being able to assess the mental health of those they interact with can help in disrupting criminal behavior before it escalates beyond control. They help their teams in solving specific types of crimes as well as in pursuing and apprehending criminals. They are often part of special task forces that investigate grave offenses, such as sex crimes or homicides.
Average annual salary: $76,987
According to the American Psychological Association, a significant number of psychology graduates go on to become lawyers. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is a great first step in pursuing a career in law. While law and psychology appear to be very different professions, training in the latter comes in handy for those who wish to succeed as lawyers. Understanding how humans act and react can be very beneficial since lawyers deal with the effects of criminal activity and human actions in various crime situations. Both disciplines share an interest in people’s actions, so studying and analyzing human behavior and other related skills like mediation are helpful.
Average annual salary: $79,779
#8 Market research analyst
Market research analysts help businesses assess market conditions, how products or services will perform, and evaluate risks. They help companies understand their audience. how to attract them and how products can do better. They try to understand what products people want, who are the target consumers, and at what price. Psychology graduates are trained to gather and analyze data on consumers and competitors. They have the ability to cope with fast-paced and pressured work which comes in handy for high-performing jobs like these.
Average annual salary: $81,272
#7 Violent crime resource specialist
Psychology graduates make great violent crime resource specialists. They use their knowledge of human behavior combined with forensic psychology to understand how criminals think and act. They also research to understand and predict victim behavior. Along with their communication skills, they have an immense capacity for empathy and patience, which make them very good at what they do. They also help in grief counseling practices, legal services and assist the trauma cleanup specialists to help families cope with difficult times.
Average annual salary: $88,000
#6 Senior business analyst
The Senior Business Analyst works as an advisor for cross-functional teams and provides strategic business analysis services to business partners. They supervise technical, marketing, and business teams in tracking project milestones, managing project scope, maintaining client correspondences, leading process design improvements, undertaking project analysis, and conducting system integration. They focus on reviewing assigned business processes from end to end. Along with their teams, they help identify and address operational, technological, and financial risks.
Average annual salary: $103,073
#5 Disaster Mental Health Consultants
Disaster Mental Health Consultants assist survivors of traumatic events and help them cope by providing support and guidance. One of the more challenging psychology major jobs, they also provide psychosocial support for first responders and other multidisciplinary emergency response teams along with disaster survivors. They use their research and analytical skills to understand the impact of disasters on survivors, communities, affected individuals, and responders. They foster a positive culture in such situations, look for signs of traumatic stress and apply supportive interventions.
Average annual salary: $110,000
#4 Business Consultant
Business consultants help other companies optimize, change and improve their overall business model. They provide management consulting so that organizations can apply practical ways to improve their performance and efficiency. A big part of their job is to use research and study market trends to create their reports. They utilize the information available and merge with new data to offer optimization solutions. They analyze businesses and create solutions, and, over time, help companies meet their business and profit goals.
Average annual salary: $114,000
#3 Research scientist, Educational Testing Service
Educational Testing Service or ETS is a field that focuses on educational measurement and standards. Psychology graduates are trained in research and analytical skills, which is useful in this job. They use their research to develop various national standardized tests for K–12 and higher education. They work with their teams to develop strategies for language learners and accountability testing. They also work with international agencies to administer tests, including the TOEIC, TOEFL, HiSET, GRE, and The Praxis test Series.
Average annual salary: $114,366.
#2 Threat assessment consultant
Threat assessment consultants work with government and security agencies to help keep communities safe. Training in psychology trains students to analyze and evaluate data and communicate results effectively. A knowledge of forensic psychology can enhance their abilities as they focus on preventing vulnerabilities, impending threats, and application security defects. They keep schools safe and work with school professionals by providing them with helpful information about every student’s risks. Practical threat assessment provides companies with possible risk scenarios and helps them make security control implementation decisions.
Average annual salary: $117,699
#1 Marketing Manager
Though not the most obvious of the psychology major jobs, many graduates find a career in marketing. The knowledge and training that they get provide the solid foundational training to work in diverse fields. Marketing is a good choice because it involves organizational, analytical, communication, and writing skills, all of which they master during their psychology programs. As marketing managers, they establish and direct marketing policies for their organizations. They run campaigns to create demand for their company’s product or service and maximize profit or market share.
Average annual salary: $169,000
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
American Psychological Association (APA)
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