Other professions and psychology

Career opportunities

Psychology graduates have a number of career opportunities. Most obviously if they continue on to postgraduate study and meet the requirements of professional accreditation, they can become a clinical, clinical neuro-, community, counselling, forensic, health, organisational, sports, or educational and developmental psychologist.

However, graduates with undergraduate psychology degrees are employed in a range of different areas including, research, health, education, marketing and advertising, recruitment, counselling and statistics. They are employed as, social policy researchers, human resources professionals, teachers, life coaches, immigration and correctional officers, social workers, market researchers, counsellors, career development practitioners and health promotion officers.

Valuable career capabilities

If you decide after completing your basic degree not to continue on and become a professional psychologist, an undergraduate education in psychology gives you valuable skills that are helpful for a large array of different careers. Listed below are skills, capabilities and personal qualities that students of psychology should expect to develop through their academic studies and research projects. This list includes capabilities that were identified by formal research on the thinking skills of psychology graduates (Hayes, 1997), as well as graduate capabilities emphasised by La Trobe University and the Department of Psychology and Counselling.

  • Writing
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Self-awareness
  • Interpersonal awareness
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Understanding multiple perspectives
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Computer literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Research skills
  • Measurement skills
  • Higher-order analysis
  • Pragmatism
  • Epistemological (knowledge) awareness
  • Environmental perspective
  • Social responsibility

The portfolio of skills possessed by psychology graduates is one that can be valuable for many types of work apart from the profession of psychology itself. Psychology provides you with an extensive education, helping you develop skills in thinking and reasoning, and encouraging you to explore a broad range of ideas and assumptions. Psychology integrates areas of knowledge that span the sciences and the arts, and in the process it provides students with a traditional liberal education as well as a particularly wide range of practical and professional skills.

Studying psychology can be, and should be, a life-changing experience.

Reference: Hayes, N. (1997). The distinctive skills of a psychology graduate. APA Monitor, July, p. 33.  Adapted from:The distinctive skills of a Syracuse psychology graduate.

Some examples

Students can select among a wide variety of different career options after graduating with a Bachelors or Honours level Psychology degree.

Secondary and primary school teaching

Students with an interest in psychology often wish to pursue careers in teaching at the Primary or Secondary school level. If you are interested in secondary school teaching, psychology can be one of two 'teaching methods' that will make you eligible to apply for a one-year masters in education in secondary education at La Trobe or elsewhere. In addition you would select a range of elective subjects to make up your second 'teaching method', either from behavioural neuroscience offered in Psychology in our Department or from a wide range of other discipline areas offered at La Trobe.

Government department positions in a range of fields

Large companies and Government agencies often recruit graduates into specialised training programs known as Graduate Employment Programs.

We continually develop partnerships with organisations to develop students' career skills. For example, we have a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide students with opportunities for field placements during their undergraduate degree. These placements place them in a competitive position to apply for positions with DHHS on graduation.

Students can make use of Graduate Employment programs with the Victorian Government or a similar Australian Commonwealth scheme. These involve becoming employed in a variety of positions with government departments to see which are most rewarding to focus on afterwards.

Further study to build careers

Students can use their Bachelors degree in psychology as a springboard to other professional careers.  Further courses at the postgraduate level can been taken at La Trobe in a wide variety of professions:

In the School of Psychology and Public Health

Examples elsewhere at La Trobe