November 9, 2021

What Jobs Can a Psychology Degree Get You in Australia?

With an average annual psychologist salary of AUD 75,736 in Australia and a prediction of a 20% increase in job prospects in the next 5 years, there's no question about the bright future of psychology degree holders.

There are so many careers available to graduates with a degree in psychology, but this opens up significantly when you complete an Honours equivalent course. 

Generally, people who have studied this subject can find work in many diverse areas of employment - education, counselling, research, marketing, and market research. Many psychology graduates also go on for further study to specialise in particular fields.

The educational requirements for each job vary depending upon the roles themselves; some jobs will require postgraduate qualifications while other employers may consider relevant experience or vocational training enough (with an understanding that specific formal qualifications would be beneficial).

17 Careers Paths for Psychology Graduates

The following is not an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the more popular career options open to psychology graduates:

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work with people from all walks of life. They treat those who have mental illness and help them understand how to overcome their problems. In addition, they are qualified to diagnose emotional/mental disorders and prescribe medication accordingly when necessary.

Clinical psychologists need a solid educational background in psychology (typically 6 years of education/training) to identify the symptoms of particular conditions, find possible causes for these symptoms, develop suitable treatment plans, implement strategies that will reduce the distress associated with specific disorders, etc. Many psychologists also prefer conducting research studies to advance knowledge within the field of clinical psychology.

Clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medication - this is what psychiatrists are for. Clinical Psychologists predominantly apply Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which aims to change thought patterns to then change emotion and behavioural responses to situations to improve symptoms.

Clinical Psychologists are required to write detailed psychological reports about the progress of their clients, working toward specific goals to improve their quality of life.

Counselling Psychologist

Counsellors assist individuals, couples, and families with difficulties at home or in other areas of their lives. They aim to assist with developing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the issues that are causing them problems effectively. Counselling psychologists usually have a master's degree in psychology, typically two years after obtaining your bachelor's degree. You'll need at least four years of undergraduate degree for this level of education.

Child Psychologist

Child psychologists have a challenging job, as children are typically less able to express themselves verbally about their emotional experiences; so they must try to figure out why children are behaving in ways that may be harmful to themselves or others. This is not always easy, and it's often a challenge for them to get to the root of specific behavioural issues. However, child psychologists have various methods at their disposal that they can use to gather relevant information about how children think and feel.

A range of reasons children might see a Psychologist include learning, emotional, or behavioural challenges and aim to improve the lives of their patients by helping children and their families to develop healthy coping mechanisms and proactive strategies.

Child Psychologists are required to write detailed psychological reports about the progress of their clients, working toward specific goals to improve their quality of life.

Research Psychologist / Clinical Trial Coordinator

If you're interested in researching and contributing to the development of novel psychological therapies, then this might be the role for you - although it's certainly not easy! Research associates often work as part of a team, so they must communicate effectively with others. They must also have excellent attention to detail, as their experiments need to be designed carefully if they are going to produce reliable results.

Entry level jobs straight out of Honours in this area are labelled as ‘Research Assistant’ or ‘Study Coordinator’, or  ‘Clinical Trial Coordinator’. Once you gain experience, you could be promoted to a ‘Research Associate’ or ‘Research Officer’ or ‘Senior Project Coordinator’ or ‘Senior Research Associate’. There are many labels and many roles to explore as a career pathway in medical research - so many psychology students don’t know this!!

The type of institute you work at will determine the type of patient populations you will get exposure to, such as people diagnosed with OCD, Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, Anxiety, cancer - the list goes on! 

The type of institute you work at will also determine the type of treatment interventions you will get experience using or the type of equipment and clinical assessments you will get to use. For example, you may work in a neuroscience lab setting working with electroencephalography (EEG) where patients wear a cap that records brain activity, or you may get to administer an IQ test of intelligence and cognitive functioning.

The type of institute you work at will also determine the type of workplace and team you will be a part of, such as a hospital department or fancy corporate office building.

Nevertheless, it is a super interesting line of work and worth exploring if you want work experience before applying for post-graduate degrees.

Educational and Developmental Psychologist

Generally, these types of psychologists assist children with learning disabilities. Their primary role is to provide support and help overcome any barriers that may be hampering their development.

These psychologists work within schools, colleges, universities, etc. They seek to improve educational standards among students by helping them develop their learning skills and enabling them to reach their full academic potential.

Human Resources Specialist

This is another role that requires HR professionals to make use of psychology. Human resources specialists are responsible for recruiting, interviewing, and training new employees; they may also help managers develop their employees or resolve conflicts within a team. This role might be expected to hold a bachelor's degree in psychology (e.g., BSc/BA), though some employers might require candidates to have completed specific courses in business studies or management.

Organisational Psychologist

Organisational psychologists help businesses use psychology to solve problems and improve their work practices. For example, they might help the company managers identify how an employee can be most productive. Their primary role is to assess the various issues that affect people at work and develop solutions for these problems. This job will require a solid academic background in psychology (e.g., BSc/BA) and relevant experience working in business settings.

You can also obtain Junior roles within an Organisational Psych firm, working within teams to deliver outcomes for businesses and employees to improve productivity, team attitudes, and staff performance.

Forensic Psychologist

The goal of forensic psychology (sometimes referred to as clinical forensics or criminal psychology) is to understand why certain people commit crimes. Forensic psychologists also assess the mental state of defendants at the time of the crime(s). They can recommend sentences, treatments for individuals deemed unfit for trial, and other services related to criminal proceedings. Intelligence analysts are also included in the category of psychology careers.

You can also obtain roles in correctional facilities working with inmates to help them abstain from antisocial behavior and successfully leave prison reformed from their prior offences.

Social Worker

Social workers play a vital role in our society. They can be found working with people from all backgrounds and on a wide range of issues that might affect them, such as

  • Child protection;
  • Social care;
  • Housing;
  • Welfare benefits
  • Education; 
  • Disability rights (i.e., helping those who are physically or mentally impaired)

Counsellors, life coaches, and therapists all fall within the job prospects of a social worker too. The list above is not exhaustive, as there are many roles for those with this qualification - you'll need to check out the specific job descriptions for more information about what's involved in each line of work.

Case Manager

A Case Manager is involved in the planning, promoting, and managing of health care services. They must ensure that patients receive adequate Counselors for their condition(s), which means assessing individuals' needs before developing treatment plans, liaising with healthcare professionals to make sure necessary steps are being taken (e.g., making arrangements for follow-up appointments or administering medication). 

Case Managers are required to write detailed case reports about the progress of their clients, working toward specific goals to improve their quality of life.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

This role entails helping clients who have experienced a physical or mental injury/disability to live independently by teaching them new skills (e.g., using the bathroom) and providing them with equipment that will improve their quality of life (e.g., wheelchairs). The ultimate goal is for them to look after themselves again without requiring a great deal of assistance.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists help people from all walks of life who have problems with their relationships. They might be experiencing difficulties within the context of their marriage/civil partnership or raising a family, or they may have been affected by something that happened to them personally (e.g., abuse), which has left them feeling anxious about being in close contact with others. In any case, this type of therapist will aim to assist them in overcoming whatever obstacles prevent them from leading a happy and fulfilling life. Social workers, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc., also work as marriage and family therapists. Rehabilitation Counselor

This role entails helping clients cope with life following a disability/injury through different therapies that help them become more self-sufficient. Rehabilitation counselors may work with people who have experienced physical or mental health problems, substance abuse problems, developmental disorders (e.g., autism), etc. They must assess an individual's needs before providing therapy and support - including any care they might require following medical treatment(s).

Recreation Therapist

This is another role that focuses on rehabilitating the injured. Recreation therapists find ways to engage individuals in fun activities that will help their bodies and minds heal; this can include helping those who are recovering from strokes regain movement in their limbs, assisting those who've had spinal surgery walk again, teaching children with disabilities how to play games, etc.

Child Care Worker

Child care workers organise activities that teach kids new skills and introduce them to new experiences (e.g., the arts). They may also be responsible for looking after infants if they work in a nursery or day-care center. The hours can vary significantly depending on where you're employed and what type of job prospects it has - some people might spend their days with young children during the week and then work at night taking care of older adults. Essentially, if you like working with kids, then this could be your perfect career!

Career Counselor

This involves helping people identify their skills and interests so that they can find a career path to match. A career counselor needs to have excellent communication skills, as a large part of the job is working with clients one-on-one to help them set goals and assess how realistic these are. After all, simply telling someone that "you're good at talking things through" isn't going to be very helpful if they're interested in becoming an astronaut! Generally speaking, this role requires a psychology bachelor's degree (e.g., BSc/BA), though some employers might require candidates to hold a master's degree or a doctoral degree.


Some psychologists choose to enter the teaching profession instead of carrying out research. However, if you like working with children, teenagers, or young adults, this could be for you. Educational psychologists work to improve the educational system and help students learn more effectively; they also try to enhance the wellbeing of children/students who are struggling in some way (e.g., by providing counselling).

Communications Specialist

This involves using psychology to help businesses/organizations communicate more effectively with their employees, customers, and the general public. It's a growing role within many different industries because organizations are aware that good communication will help them maintain a productive work environment and increase revenue. As such, communications specialists might advise executives on how they can get their point across better or train customer services staff so that they seem friendlier over the phone.

Political Psychologist

This might not be one of the most common jobs within psychology, but it's still an important one! Political psychologists study political processes, campaigns, voting behavior, social movements, etc., so this role is ideal if you want to research how humans behave when they are part of society. They may also design and carry out experiments and surveys and then present their findings to the relevant parties (e.g., politicians).

Client Support for Computer/Software Engineers

This role is relatively self-explanatory: client support psychologists work with computer/software engineers to develop user-friendly products. For example, if an engineer wants to create a new app or website, they will need to ensure that most people can use it without any difficulties. As such, client support psychologists might interview potential users before completing some tests on the product while an engineer watches to identify any problems/enhancements that could be made.

Legal and Compliance Psychologist

These psychologists specialize in legal matters, so they may work in various fields - from criminal justice to finance. For example, they might help lawyers or companies with their psychological research or review witness statements, etc. This role is certainly not easy to get into because you need to have completed your psychology degree (e.g., BSc/BA) and then gained relevant experience in the field through placements/internships/volunteering.

CEOs often have well-developed interpersonal skills, so this might be an ideal job for people who are very good at understanding other people's points of view! As a psychologist, you would advise CEOs on how decisions can impact employees' motivation levels, improve employee relations, etc.

Community Psychologist

This involves using your research skills to work with community agencies that help disadvantaged people. For example, you might help schools or social service organizations assess the psychological needs of their students/clients so that they can develop programs to address these needs. Since this job involves working in a range of environments - e.g., schools, hospitals, restaurants - it's important for psychologists who do this role to have excellent communication skills.

Final Words

So, as you can see from the above list, psychology graduates (particularly Honours graduates) can go on to many different roles after university! Whether you want to work in a school or hospital, several options should be open to you. Of course, this doesn't mean that it will be easy finding your first job after graduation because employers often look for people who have several years' relevant experience.

Although the job title 'Psychologist' is a major occupational class, it simply indicates one of the many career possibilities available to psychology graduates. Teaching, marketing, and public relations consulting are some of the most promising employment prospects for psychologists.

However, if you're willing and able to put in the hard work and dedication, then there's no reason why you should struggle to find what suits you the best! 

Good luck! :)