Career Paths For Psychology Students When You Don’t Want To Be a Psychologist

career paths for psychologists

Career Paths For Psychology Students When You Don’t Want To Be a Psychologist

It’s not uncommon to study one thing and end up working in a completely different field. When most of us begin university, we are fresh out of high school, contemplating a huge life decision with very little life experience. With that in mind it’s no wonder so many people wind up on a very different career path to the one they mapped out between booking their schoolies trip and planning which end of year party they would attend.

But deviating from the original plan can be a stressful endeavor. After all you’ve often invested four years of your life in studying a specific field and when it doesn’t work out it can be a bit depressing to say the least.

Thankfully there are so many careers adjacent to your degree that you can pursue with just a little extra study.

In this series of blogs we’re going to look at some of the most popular degrees with the highest underemployment rates and what side steps you can take to find something relevant to your field of study.

Psychology degrees

Psychology is a very popular degree. Every year thousands of students enrol to study a degree in psychology. But many of these students will not end up being psychologists. In Australia the path to becoming a psychologist is much longer than simply completing the degree. It requires 6 years of study including post graduate study and an internship to be able to work in the field.

Understandably, a lot of people decide that the ongoing study and internship requirements make it a difficult path to continue. After all 6 years is a long time to work towards a career.

But thankfully, a psychology degree provides so many wonderful opportunities in other fields. Let’s take a detailed look at the transferable skills a psychology student has cultivated in their degree and the alternative career paths they can take.


A psychology student gains valuable communication skills above and beyond what most people will develop in their working lives. Understanding not just how to effectively listen but how to communicate in a constructive way that will achieve their desired goals.

These superior communication skills will help them embark on a multitude of career paths.


Psychology students are taught empathy on a university level. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and understand their struggles, their position and their reasoning is very helpful. Empathy as a skill can come in handy in so many industries.

Research and Data Analysis

In a psychology degree, students develop extensive research and data analysis skills. Being able to research and collate information as well as interpret data is a very transferable skill, applicable to many other industries.

What other career paths can they take?

People who have received a psychology degree and don’t want to work in psychology have so many career opportunities they can take. Let’s look here at the three top fields where a psychology graduate can excel.

Human Resources

In human resources psychology plays an important role. Being able to empathise with the staff and effectively communicate comes in very handy. The HR department are responsible for the most important aspect of any business; the people.

Working in human resources, means being the touchpoint for communication and conflict solutions in the company as well as handling recruitment and the maintenance of a healthy company culture.

HR suits psychology graduates perfectly. It gives them a chance to flex all the skills they’ve gained in their degree and help people without having the emotional weight of treating psychology patients.

If you’re a psychology graduate considering the jump into human resources, then the best path forward would be to complete a Certificate IV in Human Resource Management. This course can be completed entirely online and can take anywhere from six to twelve months depending on the delivery option. In the course you’ll gain the additional skills needed to jump start a career in HR. You’ll learn how to:

  • Administer performance development processes
  • Support employee and industrial relations
  • Support the learning and development of teams and individuals
  • Coordinate recruitment and onboarding
  • Support human resource functions and processes
  • Implement and monitor WHS policies, procedures and programs
  • Coordinate health and wellness programs
  • Organise business meetings
  • Undertake project work
  • Apply communication strategies in the workplace
  • Coordinate separation and termination processes

You can learn more about this course here.


Psychology graduates excel in marketing because the goal of most marketing is to manipulate people’s emotions. Psychology graduates bring a detailed understanding of the psychology of language and behavioral psychology to marketing.

Psychology graduates can work in branding, market research and advertising campaigns. If you’re a psychology graduate wanting to make the leap to marketing then you should complete the Certificate IV Marketing and Communication. This course is an online, self-paced course, meaning you don’t need to attend any specific zoom classes and you can fit it around your day job. The course takes six to twelve months to complete depending on which delivery option you choose. This course covers everything you’ll need to know to get started in marketing. You’ll learn how to:

  • Make presentations
  • Articulate, present and debate ideas
  • Undertake marketing activities
  • Analyse consumer behaviour
  • Develop and apply knowledge of communications industry
  • Write complex documents
  • Assess marketing opportunities
  • Apply business risk management processes
  • Implement customer service strategies
  • Develop personal work priorities
  • Build and maintain business relationships
  • Promote products and services

You can learn more about this course here.

Career Counselling

Career Counselling is a perfect field for psychology students wanting to put their psychology degree to work in their career without becoming a psychologist.

Careers counsellors can work for schools assisting students to find the right pathway to their career goals or for private companies. They get to counsel people through their passions and skills, administering questionnaires and aptitude tests to help them find the best career path for them.

With a degree in psychology, you’ll have a perfect background to excel in this role, but an additional course specifically in career development will help to fill in gaps in your knowledge. You can check out the course here.

Final Thoughts

Psychology is a valuable degree and there are many career paths outside of clinical psychology for a psychology graduate.

If you’re thinking about career alternatives and you’d like some advice, you can check out our courses here, or get in touch with our course advisors. We’d be happy to help you find the right course for you!

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