Psychology Careers Outside of Mental Health

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Non-clinical psychology jobs are those that don't involve working directly in the area of mental health. While people often think that becoming a psychologist is the only option open to people who earn a psychology degree, there are lots of job opportunities outside of therapy and mental health.

Maybe you love psychology but are not interested in working in a mental health profession, or you started in mental health or counseling but decided that it isn't right for you. You might want to consider experimental and applied fields instead.

Non-Clinical Psychologist Jobs

Some non-clinical psychology career fields include:

There are many reasons why a person might want to work in a non-clinical field. Many start out planning to become practitioners but change their career direction in response to their interests, available opportunities, and the changing job market.

This article explores some of the different psychology careers outside of mental health. It covers experimental psychology careers, applied psychology careers, and careers outside of psychology.

Experimental Psychology Careers

Some non-clinical psychologists work exclusively as researchers and investigate different aspects of human behavior. Research psychologists examine various subjects, perform experiments, and add to our body of scientific knowledge.

Experimental psychologists research a wide range of topics. In many cases, experimental psychologists might specialize in a particular area of psychology, such as child development, the aging process, social behavior, or cognitive psychology.

They often work at colleges and universities and conduct research in addition to teaching courses, or they might work in settings such as private corporations, research centers, and government organizations.

Applied Psychology Careers

Applied psychologists use their knowledge of psychology to solve real-world problems. People who work in applied fields are employed in a wide range of settings, including universities, private businesses, government offices, law enforcement agencies, and private consulting.

Law and Criminal Justice Careers

Some people with a background in psychology work in legal settings to assess and evaluate people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Forensic psychology is one field that combines psychology with the law.

Forensic psychologists perform a range of duties, including assessing competency to stand trial, making sentencing recommendations, performing child custody evaluations, and consulting with members of law enforcement.

People who have studied psychology may also work in other roles within the field of law and criminal justice. They may work as addiction counselors, parole and probation officers, behavior analysts, and victims' rights advocates, among other jobs. 

Sports, Exercise, or Athletics Careers

Some professionals work with professional and amateur athletes to improve motivation and performance. Professionals who work in sports psychology explore how different psychological factors impact physical activity. This may include everyday exercise as well as elite athletic performance. 

Sports and exercise psychologists may work with people to improve focus, work on motivation, and build a sense of teamwork.

Organizational Psychology Careers

Industrial-organizational psychology is a field that explores psychological principles in workplace settings. People who work in this field may be involved in organizational development and employee selection. They may also work to develop products, improve worker productivity, and train employees.

Recap

Forensic psychology, sports psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology are all examples of applied psychology fields.

Careers Outside of Psychology

Another option is to use your knowledge of psychological principles in a career outside of psychology. Such careers often apply principles of psychology and knowledge of human behavior to alternative fields such as marketing or consumer research.

According to one job survey, only 26.7% of people who recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology work in a "closely related" field to psychology.

Most psychology majors work in jobs described as "somewhat related" or "unrelated" to psychology, such as marketing, advertising, sales, communications, and other areas.

Alternative career options to consider outside of psychology include:

  • Advertising
  • Career counseling
  • College admissions
  • College recruiting
  • Consumer research
  • Data analysis
  • Education administration
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Human resources
  • Journalism
  • Marketing
  • Politics
  • Public policy
  • User experience design
  • School counseling
  • Teaching

If you enjoy statistics, then you might find the field of psychometrics appealing. Psychometricians specialize in studying and developing psychological assessments. They might develop tests to measure intelligence, aptitude, personality, or educational achievements, often through surveys and questionnaires.

Recap

In addition to looking into non-clinical psychology jobs, you might also consider searching for a career outside of psychology. Such fields draw on psychology knowledge and apply it to different areas including education, research, marketing, and politics.

A Word From Verywell

Where clinical psychology jobs involve working directly with clients in mental health, non-clinical psychology jobs involve working in research, business, education, and government settings.

The field of psychology is very diverse and provides many jobs that focus on aspects of the human mind and behavior other than mental health treatments.

Before you decide which is right for you, explore different psychology career options to learn more about which areas are best aligned with your interests. Many people working in non-clinical fields are licensed clinical psychologists, so it is essential to know more about the training you'll need to best succeed in your chosen field.

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. The career path less traveled.

  2. American Psychological Association. By the numbers: How do undergraduate psychology majors fare?. Monitor on Psychology. 2016;47(2):11.

  3. American Psychological Association. Psychometrics. APA Dictionary of Psychology.