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Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

A psychology degree can help prepare you for higher education or provide you with skills applicable in any field. If you are interested in a career working with people, such as education, human resources or counseling, a psychology degree might be worth it for you.
A blue graphic of three people and a yellow heart next to a psychologist talking to a child while sitting on the floor

Know before you read
At SNHU, we want to make sure you have the information you need to make decisions about your education and your future—no matter where you choose to go to school. That's why our informational articles may reference careers for which we do not offer academic programs, along with salary data for those careers. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

If you're interested in the human mind, you might want to pursue a psychology degree. But you may also be wondering how you might use a psychology degree and if it’ll be worth it in the end.

Can a Psychology Degree Be Useful?

There are a few different types of psychology degrees you may consider pursuing, depending on your interests and career goals.

A few of those include:

Dr. Leslie Buddington, an online adjunct psychology instructor at SNHUCertain degrees also offer concentration options, so you can further focus your studies on topics such as forensic psychology, mental health or addictions.

Dr. Leslie Buddington, an online adjunct psychology instructor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), suggested a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology degree if you’d like to apply psychology concepts to the workplace.

Although there are several different areas you can focus on, most psychology programs have some common skills you can learn.

According to Buddington, while pursuing a psychology degree, you may learn about:

  • Applying research
  • Conducting experiments
  • Data analysis and research methods
  • Individual differences
  • Making measurable changes in an environment  
  • Social justice and inequities  

“Those are incredible skills that are useful in any future career,” said Buddington.

Many employers look for individuals with those kinds of skills, across a variety of fields. According to Buddington, psychology is a well-rounded field that demonstrates that you understand people, how situations contribute to behavior, how to predict and change behaviors and how to apply that information in order to make changes to a system. “That is going to help you stand out as a job candidate in multiple careers," she said.

Exploring experiential learning opportunities can help you to stand out even further, providing real-world experience while you're a student. Buddington noted that you can also work with your school's career center to find an internship.  “An internship or experiential learning opportunity is definitely worthwhile to pursue," she said.

Find Your Program

How Hard is a Psychology Degree?

An icon of a pencil.How hard anything is can often be a matter of perspective. You might be surprised by the variety of different perspectives found in the psychology field.

"Because in psychology there are multiple perspectives (cognitive, developmental, behavioral, evolutionary and so forth), there is often no one ‘correct’ answer,” said Buddington. “Sometimes the fact that an answer is not just black or white doesn’t fit with how some people think.”

Buddington also said that students can sometimes be surprised by the amount of statistics and research work a psychology program involves.

The course load and program requirements may vary from school to school. Taking the time to research and ask questions about the programs you’re interested in can give you a better idea of what to expect while pursuing a psychology degree.

“I don’t necessarily think a psychology degree is hard, but it can sometimes be different from what you are expecting,” said Buddington.

Is a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Worth It?

Buddington said that a BA in Psychology can allow you to work in many careers. Some options you may consider include:

“I think because the principles you are learning apply to people, situations, behavior, society, as well as data analysis, they are universal skills that are needed across multiple career fields,” said Buddington.

And the reasons for entering this field of study are just as varied.

Yasmine Molinari, a BA in Psychology graduate from SNHUFor instance, Yasmine Molinari ‘22 pursued a BA in Psychology because of her desire to help others. As a first-generation student raised by a single mother, Molinari worked hard to complete her degree, with the support of friends, family and her advisor, Jennifer Darnell.

With her degree, Molinari hopes to work at a healthcare organization. She wants to help anyone who needs discretion, empathy and care, such as those transitioning or those who don’t have healthcare.

“I would just like to lend a helping hand to anybody who needs it,” she said.

A psychology degree can also help you to change careers.

Cedric Parker, a SNHU psychology graduate Cedric Parker ‘23 was working as a truck driver when he decided to pursue a degree, and he knew that he wanted to do something different.

“I always had an interest in the human mind,” said Parker. Psychology was the obvious choice when choosing his major.

After working 14-hour shifts, traveling all over the country, he would start doing his schoolwork. Since earning his degree, he now works as an HR business partner.

“It’s amazing, the job opportunities you can get with a psychology degree,” said Parker.

Is a Master of Science in Psychology Worth It?

A white outline of a hand holding a yellow heartSome career paths may require a master’s degree or higher.

“With an MS in Psychology, you are able to concentrate more fully on a field,” said Buddington.  

You might become a therapist or forensic psychologist, according to Buddington. She said that a master’s degree may also allow you to teach at some community colleges.

Parker said that his degree has already opened doors for him, including the opportunity to pursue further education. He’s currently enrolled in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at SNHU. (SNHU is not currently enrolling new students in the graduate counseling program.)

“My ultimate goal is to go back into drug and alcohol counseling, try to help people who suffer with addiction,” he said.

Are Psychologists in Demand?

“Post-pandemic there is more need than ever for psychologists,” said Buddington.

Becoming a psychologist typically requires a master's degree or higher, and licensing requirements vary by state. BLS predicts that job growth for psychologists will grow by 6% through 2032.*

A blue graphic with a yellow talk bubble and white ellipsisWith the rise of telehealth and the growing importance of mental health, the need for mental health professionals is growing. A 2023 study by Mental Health America (MHA) found that in the U.S., there are 350 people for every mental health provider. This study also indicated that over half of adults in the U.S. with a mental illness received no treatment (Mental Health America PDF Source).

“Teletherapy allows more individuals to have access to therapy that they otherwise may not have had,” said Buddington.

For example, people living in rural areas might not have therapists available nearby. Teletherapy allows those individuals to have access to therapy, said Buddington. “The fact that you can become teletherapy certified is an equity and inclusion triumph,” she said.

Like most fields, psychology is open to more diverse and inclusive perspectives. A psychology degree can provide you with the ability to better understand those from different backgrounds from you.

According to a study on diverse populations by the American Psychiatric Association, people from racial or ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive mental health care (American Psychiatric Association PDF Source). Some factors contributing to this include:

  • Lack of diversity among mental health providers
  • Language barriers
  • Mental health stigma

Psychologists with unique cultural perspectives can help more people to feel understood.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU psychology program that can best help you meet your career goals.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

Ashleigh Worley '22 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at SNHU. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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