Passion versus Paycheck
To those thinking of pursuing the deep path into the human mind, you’ve probably hit this roadblock before: “What can I do with a psychology degree?”
Subject to frowns from relatives wanting you to do something more practical, and peer pressure to hop on the Business, Law and Medicine bandwagon; you’re torn between a future lusting after the prestige of suits and suitcases versus profiting off people’s problems.
Contrary to popular belief, a degree in Psychology does not render you to the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder. Be it Psychology as a Science or Arts, the study of the human brain and behaviour runs across most fields. It’s so versatile that most jobs which don’t require specialised degrees are free game.
Furthermore, your honed ability to empathise, understand, and critically analyse people is a valued attribute in many fields, making you highly employable.
With a saturated job market swimming with degree holders, most fresh grads face a meagre starting pay of $2k per month. Before you give up your passion for a seemingly heftier paycheck, here are ten fulfilling and surprisingly well-paying jobs you can get with a Psychology degree.
1. Defence Psychologist with MINDEF
Definitely not your regular 9-6 job, pursuing a career as a defence psychologist with MINDEF means you’re responsible for the mental well-being of our countrymen fighting on frontlines.
Aside from keeping our NSmen and soldiers sane after weeks out in foreign jungles, a defence psychologist also doubles up as support for the human resource team and aids the SAF’s relief efforts overseas. Scratch “volunteering overseas” off your bucket list - your job allows you to do so much more.
This is clearly not the sheltered desk job you imagined being saddled with, and for good reason. If you’re up for something heartracing and challenging, this is the job to test how much you can take before you buckle down.
2. Foreign Service Officer at MFA
Lights, camera, handshake. You’ve seen countless photographs of foreign dignitaries in suits shaking hands on the morning news, and although you might not have known who they were at that point, you knew they were of importance.
Every superhero needs a sidekick, and every king needs a right-hand man - who could be you. I mean what would Kick-Ass be without Hit-Girl right?
Not only is it prestigious, a career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sure to look good on any resume. Did I also mention the never-ceasing flights around the world? As a foreign service officer, meeting and networking with fellow foreign delegates is all part and parcel of a day’s work. Wanderlusting? You’ll never have to again!
Make no mistake though; this is no simple networking job, not when world peaces rests in your hands - or your boss’s handshake.
What’s great about careers in the MFA is that they’re open to most fields of the Behavioural Studies sector - that means your BSc in Psychology is more than qualified for the job. Watch out though, competition for this perk-filled job is more heated than you’d expect.
3. Sports Psychologist
There’s more truth to the phrase “Get your head in the game” than the Wildcats from High School Musical make it out to be. Much of our physical limits are mentally induced, and there’s so much about the brain that affects the brawn.
If you’re passionate about sports and love to motivate others, a BSc in Psychology can bust you out of that lab coat, and get you your pass into the sporting arena. Help a team of athletes reach their peak performances - all through their minds. That win, it’s all on you.
If there’s anything that’s up the alley of a Psychology student, it’s breaking mental barriers . Not to mention, you get to be right in the heart of all the sporting action. The sportsperson in me is finding this very fulfilling indeed.
4. Polytechnic Lecturer
If you love learning about the mysteries of the brain but becoming a full-fledged psychologist isn’t really your end goal, being a lecturer is always a good way to make all that studying worth the long while.
Making 2D brain track diagrams come to life, and sharing your passion for the subject with other aspiring young ones can be more enriching than the actual practice - especially if you’re someone who loves the good old campus vibe.
A lecture hall full of budding adolescents in their tricky teen years - who needs a lab of samples when you’ve got a lecture hall full of them?
5. Research Assistant in a University
If you’re someone who’s inquisitive and keen to discover the unprecedented workings of the mind beyond the textbook, then working in a laboratory is your calling. This is not your conventional laboratory with hazardous chemicals. Psychological research is all about observation and collecting data from live samples, a.k.a people-watching identified groups and their behavioural patterns.
Your relational EQ skills in conducting focus groups and surveys will be key in this field, but that’s not all - what’s important is the 10,000 word report you’ll have to write at the end of the day. Remember, the theory of everything begins with the smallest discovery.
6. Industrial Organisational Psychologist
Don’t let the many syllables scare you - this is just one level above human resource management.
These days, so much goes into hiring a worker, even more so when it’s a highly successful firm whose key performance index is off the roof. With so many equally impressive, hopeful candidates to choose from, it’s going to take more than their resumes to distinguish the promising degree-holders from the lot.
This is where your expertise in judging human behaviour and psyche come in; many big-shot companies have been developing character assessment tests in place of the single standard interview. And who better to create them than Psychology majors?
But that’s not the bulk of it, you’ll also be managing relations between the departments to keep both morale and productivity high. They might as well call you the smile-maker.
7. Social Worker
Do not be deterred by the modest paycheck of this selfless position, for this job returns so much more than just material build-up in the bank. If being exposed to various hypothetical dilemmas has inspired you to take action in real-life situations, then follow your passion and lend a helping hand to the vulnerable in the community.
Psychology teaches you so much more than just samples of distressed minds; it also offers you an innate understanding of how to soothe them. If you’ve always fancied yourself the family mediator, extend your scope to help others out of their emotional troubles.
8. Marketing Science Analyst at Facebook
Consumers sure are one of the hardest groups of people to understand. With our tastes and preferences being whimsically influenced by anything from Kylie Jenner’s life on Instagram to YouTuber Zoella’s newest Favourites video, it seems the big companies have decided that they need professionals to make sense of it all.
Having fun at work even when you’re crunching numbers and data is entirely possible - at Facebook, whose vibrant office culture has everyone envious. Using your degree in Psychology to wrap theories around the behaviour of consumer groups can help your company make the jump from science to sales, proving that Psychology isn’t that far off from the business world after all. Take that, old-fashioned, skeptical relatives!
9. Human Resource Manager
You know what they say - if ever a recession hits, the HR department will be the last to go.
Every corporate body needs its talent management to keep its talents functioning after all. With a keen eye for managing human relations and critical judgement gleaned off your psychology degree, overseeing a team of workers and headhunting for potential candidates should be right up your alley.
10. Sales and Management At Google
We’ve already touched on the top 10 coolest jobs of 2016, but here’s how your Psychology degree can get you into one of them.
Be it a liberal arts degree in Psychology or the science equivalent, you too can apply for a position on the global sales team Google For Work.
Google is thankfully open to most fields of study, but don’t start mentally decorating your seat in the dream office just yet - their interview process is notoriously rigorous and demanding.
Known for their character assessment tests and challenges meant to sieve out the real leaders and team pillars, candidates with low EQ can kiss their impressive resumes goodbye.
Here’s where your Psychology degree gives you that cutting edge boost. With your skills in cognitive psychology, you’ll be able to assess the team dynamics a lot better than the layman, and bring these disparate personalities together to function as a team.
As a Territory Account Manager at Google, your role in managing business relations between clients as well as the internal politics of your team will be vital, and what better attribute to have than a seasoned eye at understanding behavioural patterns?
Getting An Edge With A Psychology Degree at MDIS
It’s not all about the money money money - sure, more zeroes at the back of our monthly cheques, and impressing some superficial friends with a flashy name card is always an ego-perk. But more than that, don’t lose track of your initial passion for psychology, or any degree you saddle yourself in for.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to decipher the human mind and its intricacies, the world needs you! Time is money, and every minute spent on something you love is worth its weight in gold. And now, you have an easy option to do so.
Whether you’re a budding undergraduate or seasoned veteran making a mid-career train hop, Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS)’s curriculum is sure to lure you into the field of Psychology. No more sob stories about giving up school for work; with MDIS’s flexible 18-month curriculums, juggling both together becomes a possible reality.
Offered by one of the top 25 universities under the Regional Universities West ranking, you’ll be able to get all the right accreditation, right here in Singapore.
Classes will be taught by Oklahoma City University professors, and all students will be given the chance to experience a three week residency at the university’s main branch in Oklahoma City itself - much like the exclusive exchange programme in conventional universities.
With so many attractive career paths open to Psychology degree holders, the journey into the depths of the mind is more than an eye-opener - it’s an inroad to a fulfilling career.
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