Your Guide to the 7 Top Jobs You Can Get With an Associate Degree in Psychology
Let’s start with the elephant in the room—more and more jobs in the United States require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree as a qualification today. A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and The Workforce in 2018 predicted that 35 percent of the job openings available will require at least a bachelor’s degree.
This leads everyone to the same question:
What jobs can I get with an associate’s degree in psychology?
You won’t have any trouble finding jobs in psychology with associate’s degree requirements, though. Psychology is a field with wide-ranging applications. Pretty much any kind of job that involves working with people has an angle that associate’s-level psychology training can give you a boost with.
Psychology associate’s degree jobs aren’t what most people are thinking about when they think about psychology careers. But they are vital to the mental healthcare system in the United States. Psychology associate’s degree jobs also pop up outside of that system, in areas like social and human services, doing important work on a daily basis in areas that support mental well-being.
In fact, some of the highest paying jobs with an associate’s degree in psychology are well outside of what you will think of as traditional mental health positions.
Jobs in Psychology With an Associate’s Degree Help Get Your Foot in The Door In a Growing Profession
An associate’s degree offers a relatively fast path into working in psychology. They also lay the groundwork for further education in the field if you decide to go on and earn your bachelor’s degree, which is the next step on the path to a full doctorate and a job as a fully-licensed clinical psychologist.
The advantage to pursuing the associate’s psychology degree first is that it offers a low-cost way for you to get real experience in the field.
You can even earn your associate’s psychology degree online now.
With that real-world work experience, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to further your education in psychology. Or, you might just find that you love your psychology associate’s degree job so much that you will be happy with a career right there.
To get you started, these are some of the best jobs to get with an associate’s degree in psychology.
1. Psychiatric Aides Can Hold an Associate Degree in Psychology
Of course, the most obvious psychology associate’s degree jobs are the ones that are working directly in the field. You aren’t going to be plumbing the depths of patient’s psyches as they lay on a couch in a well-appointed office downtown, but you can get good, hands-on jobs working in mental hospitals, long-term care facilities, or clinics as a psychiatric aide.
These jobs put your training to use observing behavior, delivering therapies under the direction of psychologists and psychiatrists, and helping patients with daily activities including eating and bathing. Your compassion and understanding of mental disabilities will make you a perfect fit for jobs in this fast-growing category.
2. Teacher’s Aides Can Hold an Associate Degree in Psychology
It’s been said that all two-year-olds are just psychopaths with a relatively good prognosis. It follows, then, that a teacher’s aide with an associate’s degree in psychology might be a good choice a couple years later when they end up in the school system to continue their recovery.
More seriously, your college-level training in developmental and child psychology can bring big dividends when it comes to working with kids. Even though you aren’t responsible for any psychological treatment, understanding how the brain develops and what the stages of learning are will be a boost for you as you assist in children’s education.
3. Even Home Care Aides Sometimes Hold an Associate Degree in Psychology
Home health care is an exploding market in the United States. An aging population combined with skyrocketing healthcare costs mean that many people are going through significant health and rehabilitation at home. They need help with everything from getting groceries to changing dressings, and that’s where home care aides come in.
But home care is far deeper than just running errands. You find yourselves in close contact with people as they live their lives each day. That’s where psychological training comes into play. You can help deal with the inevitable issues that rise with disability, loss of independence, and many related problems that come with being home-bound or disabled.
4. Associate Degree in Psychology Jobs in Youth Counseling
Psychology jobs don’t get any more important than those involved in helping kids. Although you’d need a lot more education to do that in a clinical context, you can put your associate’s degree in psychology to good work with the same population by becoming a youth counselor. These jobs get you into positions of responsibility with kids in their formative years. You can put your training and understanding of developmental psychology to good use becoming a trusted and supportive figure for kids in schools, camps, and after-school programs.
5. Psychology Associate’s Degree Jobs in Social Services
It’s not just kids who could use psychological support on a day-to-day basis. There are a lot of people who are down on their luck and relying on social services for everything from helping paying utilities to getting the food they need. Although the work of a social services assistant is more about filing paperwork than providing counseling, with an associate’s in psychology you can offer a much more understanding and perceptive approach to helping people with their core issues.
6. Psychology Associate’s Degree Jobs in Family Advocacy
Family advocates also work in social services, but have a more independent role than social services assistants. Advocates serve as a voice for minors in difficult family circumstances such as poverty or going through divorce proceedings. They ensure access to educational, housing, and food resources.
They are also responsible for evaluating family circumstances and the situation at home and making recommendations to the courts for care, contact, and guardianship. This is where having a psychology associate’s degree really comes in handy, since you often have to look beyond the statements of both parents and children to read the real situation. Understanding the psychology of couples and families and having a background in interpreting psychological signals is a huge boost to family advocates.
7. Research Assistant is One of the Highest Paying Jobs with an Associate’s Degree in Psychology
Psychology is a science, and it’s one that is fueled by constant research. Psychologists and psychology professors are always running experiments to determine how people act or react in certain circumstances, or combing through data to see how society may be shifting in attitudes and behaviors.
That’s a lot of work and they can’t do it all alone. That means there were always psychology associate’s degree jobs for research assistants. These positions involve helping conduct live experiments, sometimes acting as an interviewer or going undercover to pose as another kind of worker entirely. They can also involve performing data gathering and collating to build source material for research.
In either case, having a strong foundational knowledge of psychological principles will make you much better at the job.