Careers in Psychology

What can one do with a B.A. in Psychology?

A B.A. degree in psychology and a liberal arts education from Wheaton College is good preparation for a variety of jobs. Students with a B.A. degree can work in a number of areas including human services, sales, advertising, human resources, and management.

The Filene Center at Wheaton College offers students a broad range of support and services when in the process of finding and applying for a job after graduation.

People interested in working in mental health can take a number of routes. People can practice with a BA, a master’s degree, or a doctorate degree.

BA Level Mental Health Workers

Students with a BA can often work in the helping professions without having a graduate degree. They work in a variety of settings including psychiatric hospitals, residential programs, day treatment program, and schools. They can be called milieu therapists, mental health specialists, residential counselors, family stabilization workers, human services workers, youth advocates, outreach workers, crisis workers. They often receive in-service training and supervision and work alongside and with professional helpers. This is a good way to get experience before applying to graduate school.

Masters Level Practitioners

There are three professions that allow one to be licensed to practice with a masters level degree: counseling, marriage and family therapy, and social work.

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). (License title depends on the state)
    In general, counselors work with people with “normal” problems in living and adjustment to changes in life.  However, they also work with people with a wide range of mental, behavioral, and emotional problems, including addiction. They focus on psychological and human development principles. Although some jobs that use the title “counselor” do not require graduate training, “professional counselors” must have a minimum of a master’s degree.  Note that people with a doctoral degree in counseling psychology are categorized as “psychologists,” not as counselors.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
    Marriage and family therapists recognize the necessity of treating mental and emotional problems within the context of the family system.  They focus on understanding their clients’ symptoms and interaction patterns within from a relationship perspective.  They may work with individuals, couples, or groups.  Marriage and Family therapists have a minimum of a masters degree but some may have a doctorate.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)|
    Social workers focus on understanding the individual with his or her environment. Including the person’s social, economic, and cultural contexts. Clinical social work is a specialty practice area of social work that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances. Individual, group and family therapy are common treatment modalities.

Doctoral Level Practitioners

  • Licensed Psychologist
    Licensed Psychologists are trained in understanding human behavior.  They focus on providing mental health services to individuals, couples, or families.  In order to be a called a “psychologist,” you must have a doctoral degree and pass a licensing exam in your state (some states have reciprocity).  There are three types of doctoral level programs that make one eligible to become a licensed psychologist.

Learn more about Graduate Degree Programs