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Careers in psychology

Careers in psychology and beyond

Published 2 Apr, 2024  ·  6-minute read

Thinking about a career in psychology? You may have lots of questions. We're here to help you find answers.

Psychology goes beyond just helping people through life's challenges; it's a dynamic field that stretches far beyond therapy rooms and comfy couches.

Let's find out if psychology sounds like the study area for you.

Career possibilities with a bachelor’s degree in psychology

An undergraduate psychology degree opens doors to exciting career opportunities and diverse study pathways.

A deep understanding of human behaviour becomes a valuable asset in various professions. Equipped with transferable skills like effective communication, sound decision-making, and building meaningful connections, you become highly sought after by employers.

Upon graduation, some pursue roles such as social services case worker, counselling worker, or community health support worker. Others continue to postgraduate studies, aiming for registration as psychologists in specialised fields like clinical, counselling, sport, health, or organisational psychology.

Opting for an advanced degree in psychology (like a master's or doctoral degree) can broaden your career prospects even further. But more on this later.

Let's explore some potential careers with your undergrad psychology degree:

Psychology careers in social services

  • Project officer – Project officers bring expertise in understanding human behaviour and mental health to address community needs. They play a vital role in behaviour change, enhancing wellbeing and fostering supportive communities.
  • Youth mentor – Youth mentors are often employed by schools, youth centres, and non-profit organisations, guiding and inspiring young individuals to reach their full potential.
  • Community liaison officer – These professionals use their psychological expertise to enhance communication between communities and organisations. They help foster collaboration and advocate for the wellbeing of the communities they serve.
  • Child and youth worker – Child and youth workers can be found in schools, child welfare agencies, and residential facilities. They work to protect and promote the rights, needs, and interests of children and adolescents in need, ensuring their wellbeing.
  • Case manager – Case managers work in a variety of settings, such as social service agencies and healthcare facilities, coordinating services and resources for individuals facing complex challenges.
  • Community service worker – These professionals are employed by social service agencies, providing support to various community members, such as individuals with disabilities and those in crisis.
  • Disability support worker – Disability support workers typically work in group homes, day programs, or in-home care settings, assisting individuals with disabilities to lead more independent lives.

Psychology careers in healthcare

  • Mental health support worker – These professionals are often employed in psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centres, and residential care facilities. Their primary role is helping individuals dealing with mental health challenges.
  • Mental health triage worker – Mental health triage workers assess and direct individuals to appropriate mental health services based on their needs and urgency.
  • Allied health assistant – Allied health assistants collaborate with healthcare professionals, such as occupational therapists and speech pathologists, to provide comprehensive care to patients, especially in rehabilitation and recovery. An ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is essential.

Psychology careers in human resources

  • Recruitment officer – These professionals use their psychology expertise to help identify and hire the right talent for organisations, often working in recruitment agencies or HR departments.
  • Occupational health and safety officer – Occupational health and safety officers play a key role in creating a psychologically safe and healthy work environment to maintain a positive and supportive work culture.
  • Organisational training and development officer – Organisational training and development officers use knowledge of how people behave and learn to improve employee performance and wellbeing. This is achieved through specific training and development programs.

Psychology careers in research, marketing and data analytics

  • Social and marketing researcher – Social and marketing researchers conduct research to understand human behaviour and consumer preferences, providing valuable insights to businesses and organisations.
  • Research assistant – Research assistants play an essential role in helping researchers carry out their studies effectively, ensuring that data is collected and managed properly, and contributing to the overall progress of the research field.
  • Entry-level data analyst – Entry-level data analysts work across industries, using data to inform organisational decisions. Psychology skills, like understanding human behaviour and data interpretation, can be valuable in this role.

Careers through postgraduate study: going beyond your undergraduate psychology degree

Now that we’ve explored what you can do with an undergraduate psychology degree, let’s look at where further postgraduate study could take you.

Registered psychologist

Becoming a registered psychologist is a widely pursued career path for those studying psychology.

Psychologists are professionals dedicated to comprehending the intricacies of the human mind, behaviour, and emotions. Utilising scientific methods, they analyse mental processes and behaviours, with the goal of aiding individuals in enhancing their wellbeing, surmounting challenges, and fostering positive life changes.

In Australia, becoming a registered psychologist typically involves completing an accredited 4-year psychology degree and a postgraduate degree in a specialist area of practice, such as one of UQ's master-level programs.

Psychologists work in diverse settings including clinical and counselling practices, schools, businesses, research institutions, and government organisations. They can specialise in different areas of psychology, such as clinical, counselling, health, sport and exercise, or organisational psychology.

  • Clinical psychologist – Specialising in promoting optimal psychological functioning, clinical psychologists aim to reduce psychological distress. Proficient in assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues – including anxiety, depression, stress, substance addiction, and more – they address challenges such as adjustment to physical illness, relationship difficulties, and learning disabilities.

“The most rewarding aspect of my work is witnessing the transformative journey of self-discovery, growth, and healing that my clients embark upon. Each interaction is an opportunity for mutual learning and growth, inspiring me to continually strive for excellence in my practice.”

- Dr Jenni Silva, Master of Clinical Psychology

  • Clinical neuropsychologist – These specialists assess and treat individuals with neurological conditions that affect cognitive function and behaviour. They conduct comprehensive assessments to evaluate cognitive abilities and emotional functioning, develop treatment plans, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide holistic care for their patients.
Maddison Reichel

As a paediatric neuropsychologist at Queensland Children's Hospital, I conduct assessments and provide support to children and teens with acquired brain injuries. My role focuses on helping them achieve their recovery goals and ongoing development. Combining my passion for psychology, neuroscience and youth support, this role is a dream come true. I'm so grateful for the educational path that brought me here.

Maddison Reichel
Master of Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology
  • Counselling psychologist – In the realm of personal wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, work, recreation, and health, counselling psychologists aid individuals, families, and groups. Their training equips them to support those facing both acute and chronic life crises.
Lydia Chan

I currently work in child and youth mental health. What I most enjoy about my role is witnessing clients grow and change and those special ‘light bulb’ moments that they have in therapy! Therapy can be rewarding when you help clients create change, develop new understandings into themselves and into their problems, and when you help give clients a safe and secure relationship. For many clients, the therapeutic relationship may be the first time that they have had such a safe and meaningful relationship, and it’s a privilege to be in that role.

Lydia Chan
Master of Psychology (Counselling Psychology)
Christos Tatsis

I feel most privileged to experience therapy in its most bare sense. Yes, there is a place for diagnoses, assessments, and empirical research in psychology. However, to me, the magic all lies in the relationship between two people sitting in a room, putting aside any judgement and working together wholeheartedly towards a better future.

Christos Tatsis
Master of Psychology (Counselling Psychology)
  • Health psychologist – Working on health promotion initiatives with government and NGOs or assisting clients in hospital or private practice settings, health psychologists play a vital role. They provide support to clients dealing with chronic pain, disease, or in need of palliative care.
Georgia Young

I work for a workplace health and wellbeing provider as a psychologist; I love how diverse my role is! Every day is completely different. I work onsite at companies doing preventative wellbeing initiatives alongside clinic-based work. I have had amazing opportunities to work in factories, fly interstate, and deliver education to large crowds of workers. Within clinic I also deliver adjustment to injury counselling, psychology under the better access scheme, and private counselling.

Georgia Young
Master of Psychology (Health Psychology)
  • Sport and exercise psychologist – Opportunities in sport and exercise psychology span from helping elite athletes develop essential psychological skills for peak performance, to conducting research on the benefits of exercise in treating chronic illnesses.
Tama Barry

My greatest passion lies in guiding individuals to uncover or rediscover their inherent human potential. Witnessing people confidently and purposefully engage with the world is truly remarkable, and I find immense fulfilment in playing a role, no matter how small, in facilitating that journey.

Tama Barry
Master of Psychology (Sport and Exercise Psychology)
  • Organisational psychologist – Applying psychological principles to workplace and organisational settings, organisational psychologists focus on enhancing various aspects of organisational behaviour. Their efforts aim to improve both employee wellbeing and overall organisational effectiveness.

"I work in London as a senior change consultant, working with a broad range of different clients and industries. My education at UQ equipped me with the tools I need to deliver on client needs in the areas of recruitment and selection, job design, team processes, change management, resilience, and safety culture."

- Jessica Fraser, Master of Organisational Psychology

Research or academic psychologist

Do you love the idea of delving into unanswered questions in the field of psychology? If so, a career in research or academia could be the perfect career for you.

Research or academic psychologists play a crucial role in advancing the field of psychology by expanding our knowledge and contributing to evidence-based practices.

You’ll work at designing and conducting experiments, surveys and studies to explore various aspects of human behaviour.

Research/academic psychologists often work in academic institutions such as universities, where they teach courses, mentor students, and publish their research findings in scientific journals.

To pursue a research or academic career, you’ll need to complete a graduate degree (master's and/or PhD) in your specific area of interest.

Lewis Nitschinsk

Human behaviour is so complex, but at the same time so understandable, as people live out these experiences in their day-to-day lives. Trying to synthesise and consolidate the complexity and variability of what humans do is ever fascinating. This makes me passionate to continue researching in this field.

Lewis Nitschinsk
PhD Candidate, Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)

Accredited counsellor

An undergraduate degree in psychology can be an excellent foundation for embarking on a career in counselling, (e.g. as a crisis counsellor, drug and alcohol counsellor, or family counsellor).

As a counsellor, you're able to have a big impact on someone's wellbeing. You'll be there to assist people in finding their strengths to go through life challenges. It's a field where you can truly help and inspire others.

To become a counsellor in Australia, you typically need relevant qualifications in counselling or psychology at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. UQ’s Master of Counselling program provides comprehensive training to become an accredited counsellor. Explore what it's like to study mental health and counselling as a postgraduate.

If you want to become a registered counselling psychologist in Australia, you can achieve the necessary registration by enrolling in UQ's Master of Psychology (Counselling) program.

How can I study psychology at UQ?


At UQ, you have the opportunity to study psychology in a number of ways:


You can undertake accredited psychology training in specialist areas:

If you're not seeking professional registration as a psychologist, you may be interested in:

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