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General Psychology Major

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General Psychology

6,210 Master's Degrees Annually
1,672 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#34 in Popularity (Master's)
$95,610 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Psychology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general psychology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 6,210
Doctor’s Degree 1,672
Graduate Certificate 205

What General Psychology Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, psychology majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Psychology Majors

Psychology majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Psychology Majors

When studying psychology, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Psychology Majors

As a psychology major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a General Psychology Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with psychology:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Counseling Psychologists 14.2% $76,990
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists 5.9% $97,260
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists 10.3% $100,770
Psychology Professors 15.1% $76,710
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
School Psychologists 14.2% $76,990
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in General Psychology?

6,210 Master's Degrees Annually
77% Percent Women
33% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
General Psychology runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #34 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 6,210 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major is dominated by women with about 77% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of psychology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Psychology Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 250
Black or African American 818
Hispanic or Latino 747
White 3,436
International Students 312
Other Races/Ethnicities 647

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Psychology. About 5.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • India
  • Malaysia

How Much Do General Psychology Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that general psychology students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $40,000 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $37,300 (25th percentile) and $45,000 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a psychology degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Psychology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $88,490 to $109,030 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a General Psychology Major  ( 88490 to 109030 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with psychology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to psychology have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.2%
Some College Courses 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 26.1%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 0.0%
Master’s Degree 25.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 5.6%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.6%
Doctoral Degree 15.9%
Post-Doctoral Training 20.2%

Online General Psychology Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,672 schools offered some type of general psychology program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 28 6
Certificate (1-2 years) 8 3
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 288 64
Bachelor’s Degree 19 8
Post-Baccalaureate 28 6
Master’s Degree 379 45
Post-Master’s 11 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 151 6
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 8 2
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Psychology Worth It?

The median salary for a psychology grad is $95,610 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 140% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,114,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to psychology.

Major Number of Grads
Clinical, Counseling & Applied Psychology 30,532
Child Development & Psychology 13,150
Other Psychology 3,056

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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