Career Paths for Psych Majors

What are the most common career paths for psychology majors?

An undergraduate major in psychology prepares you for multiple different career paths.  At times the choice of career path may feel overwhelming, particularly if you have friends who have very clear career paths or have known what they want to do for a long time. However, for most students the reality is more complex - alumni with psychology degrees go into an extremely wide variety of careers - so wide that there isn’t an easy way to summarize the top couple of career paths!

Recently we analyzed the jobs that psychology majors from Pitt go into. This report looks at alumni who graduated from Pitt with bachelor's degrees in psychology between 1992-2010; this was done so that it captures people who aren’t just a few years into their careers. This analysis is done by EMSI, a labor market analytics company. It is not perfect because it aggregates data based on social and professional profiles from many different online sources. But still, it gives a decent picture from the table below.


Social and Human Service Assistants (21-1093)


Postsecondary Teachers (25-1099) (i.e., college professors)


Physical Therapists (29-1123)


General and Operations Managers (11-1021)


Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education (25-2021)


Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (21-1023)


Registered Nurses (29-1141)


Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (21-1012)


Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists (19-3031)


All other jobs



Key findings:

      Psychology students go into such a wide variety of jobs, that 76% are lumped into ‘all other jobs’ - because most of these categories have less than 2% of psychology majors.

      There definitely are a number of students who go into mental health broadly, as well as physical health. There are also some who become teachers. But collectively, these numbers are fairly small - less than 20%.

      Only about 3% of alumni go on to become college professors. We do not say this to discourage you. If this is your dream, go for it! But we do want to dispel the view that this is a common path. In reality, psychology majors go into a wide set of careers!

      Because we have limited data about Pitt alumni, here are some details about psychology majors nationally.

      Nationally, psychology majors go into a very wide set of careers. As you can see, it is so wide that many categories are very broad, like “sales” or “management”. Another common path is careers in business.

      About 4% of psychology majors earn a PhD in psychology or a professional degree in psychology or another field (e.g., PsyD, MD, JD).

      Roughly 13% get a master’s degree in psychology.

      About 30% get some sort of graduate degree in fields such as education, health, and social services.

In summary, majoring in psychology can open many different doors for you rather than limit you to a specific set of paths. So if you feel somewhat worried that you haven’t figured out your path yet and feel like so many others have, know that you are not alone and in reality your peers will go on to a wide variety of careers that they likely never expected.