This section describes a number of psychology and psychology-related career options that require graduate degrees. If you want to help people with problems (do "counseling"), you are not limited to the field of psychology. You should definitely consider careers in education and social work.



The field of education offers a number of counseling-related career options at the master's and doctoral level. If you're like most people, you probably assume that careers in the field of education require one to work in a school setting. While it is true that most individuals with education degrees (in fields such as school counseling, school psychology, and educational psychology--see below) work in school settings, individuals with education degrees in agency counseling or community counseling do not. Thus, if you want to "do counseling," do not want to work in a school setting, and do not want to get a degree in psychology, you should definitely consider this career/degree option.

If you do want to work in a school setting, consider these career options (all of which require at least a master's degree): Note: If you plan to work in a public school setting, you must have a degree in the field of education; any kind of degree taken in a psychology department will be useless here. (An exception to this rule would be those few programs in school psychology that are offered in psychology departments vs. education departments.)

For information about master's (M.Ed.) and doctoral (Ed.D) degrees that will prepare you for counseling jobs, see the section, "Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors."

Social Work

Another career option to consider if you're interested in counseling is social work. As is true with other disciplines, there are a variety of subfields in social work. Social workers who practice psychotherapy are usually called either clinical social workers or psychiatric social workers.

Clinical social workers are trained to diagnose and treat psychological problems. Note that they do not do psychological testing, so you should consider careers in psychology or education if this is of interest to you. Psychiatric social workers provide services to individuals, families, and small groups. They work in mental health centers, counseling centers, sheltered workshops, hospitals, and schools. They may also have their own private practice--even with only a master's degree. This is because clinical social workers are eligible for licensing in all 50 states with only a master's degree. (See "What Are Licenses and Certificates?" in "Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors" for more information about this.)

To obtain more information about social work, visit the Student Center at the Web site of the National Association of Social Workers or write to:

National Association of Social Workers

750 First Street, NE
Suite #700
Washington, DC 20002-4241
(202) 408-8600

Art Therapy

For more information about this area and a complete list of art therapy programs approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), visit the web site of the American Art Therapy Association.

I believe that the AATA recommends that a number of courses be taken at the undergraduate level for admission to graduate programs in art therapy. These include the following psychology courses: general, abnormal, developmental, personality, statistics, and research methods. Recommended non-psychology courses include fine art materials, processes, and procedures, cultural diversity courses, and --if avialable--introduction to the history of art therapy and professional/ethical issues.

Music Therapy

To qualify as a "registered music therapist" by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), one needs a bachelor's degree in music therapy or a master's degree in it along with making up the required undergraduare hours. For more information about this area and a list of programs in music therapy (at the bachelor's and master's level), visit the AMTA web site.

APA-style reference for this page:

Lloyd, M.A. (2002, November 1). Master's- and doctoral-level careers in psychology and related areas. [Online]. Available:

Back to Careers in Psychology Page ...or.... Top of this File ...or... Send Feedback