What is Psychology All About?

Psychology is dedicated to gaining an understanding of basic human processes and behaviors in the individual, social, and sometimes cellular context and for the practical applications of this knowledge for the benefit of all society. It is concerned with basic behavioral functions such as sensation, perception, learning, thinking, language, motivation, personality and emotion. A key characteristic in psychology as a discipline is its reliance on scientific methods, including techniques of descriptive and inferential statistics, to evaluate theories and ideas about the basic processes of behavior.

The undergraduate degree in psychology does not make you a psychologist or professional counselor-it does provide you with an excellent liberal arts background and is valuable for almost any type of work focused on people. Psychology is a useful major for pursuing graduate/professional study such as law, medicine, management, social welfare, recreation, counseling, or occupational therapy.

Sampling of Skills Needed

  • Using insight to deal effectively with people
  • Promoting good relationships with a group
  • Applying knowledge of human needs/problems to counseling/crisis intervention
  • Using interviewing techniques in investigative, reporting, social service, or marketing-research
  • Conducting surveys and interpreting results
  • Analyzing statistical data
  • Using computers and assisting in lab research
  • Conducting library research and writing reports

Transferable Skills:

Managing, interpreting, editing, advising, organizing, problem solving, detail orientation, writing, teaching, speaking to groups, reading critically, reasoning, analyzing, statistical analysis, ability to think conceptually, evaluating evidence, advising, and selling.

Work Settings:

Students with a bachelor's degree who pursue work after graduation typically work in aspects of business, government, health, education, and other areas requiring an understanding and sensitivity to behavioral dynamics.

Some Types of Employers

  • Government Agencies
  • Hospitals and Clinics
  • Businesses and Industries
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Clinical or Consulting Agencies
  • Private Practice


Clinical Psychologist - assess and treat psychological problems from familiar developmental and adjustment to extremely disordered conditions.

Health Psychologist - study the degree to which psychological factors are involved in the development of diseases and explore ways to use psychological and behavioral principles to maintain health.

Personality Psychologist - evaluate special education programs for the handicapped or continuing education for adults as well as for groups and institutions that provide human services for young/old.

Social Psychologist - perform tasks for business and industry such as develop employee training programs, hiring and promotional procedures, and analyze interaction and decision patterns in organizations.

Experimental Psychologist - examine factors that influence learning and performance in laboratory and industrial settings.

Some other related occupations:

  • Criminologist
  • Editor
  • Educator
  • Personnel Manager
  • Police Officer
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Sales
  • Social Worker
  • Job Analyst
  • Technical Writer
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Psychometrist
  • Probation Officer
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Special Ed Teacher
  • Counselor
  • Clergy
  • Industrial Relations
  • Loan Officer
  • Public Health Administrator


Encyclopedia of Careers

Occupational Outlook Handbook

What Color is Your Parachute?

Federal Jobs for College Graduates

College, Knowledge, and Jobs

The Complete Job Search Handbook


American Psychological Home Page is:


Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the Summer 2008 NACE national salary survey for Bachelor's Degree Candidates in Psychology, the average salary was $33,564.


American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(Tel) 202-336-5500

Psi Chi - The National Honor Society in Psychology
825 Vine Street
P.O. Box 709
Chattanooga, TN 37403-0709
(Tel) 423-756-2044   (Fax) 423-265-1529

The American Psychological Society
1010 Vermont Avenue, NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005-4907
(Tel) 202-783-2077   (Fax) 202-783-2083