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Psychology and Counseling Continue to Be Popular College Majors

The Princeton Review reports that the second most popular bachelor's degree in America, right behind that of business administration and management, is psychology. Despite not being one of the most lucrative fields, at least when compared to medicine, technology or law, students are still choosing to earn psychology and counseling degrees in large numbers.

Quick Facts: Psychology Industry
Median Pay:   $114,296 per year | $55 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   199,000

Psychology Occupations:

  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists$68,900
  • Psychologists, all other$92,110
  • Psychiatrists$181,880

In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that in the school 2010-2011 school year, there were 100,900 bachelor's degrees awarded in psychology, which is close to the same number in all of education and even healthcare. Discover why counseling and psychology continue to grow as popular fields of study for American college students.

Intriguing Subject Matter

Arguably the biggest reason college students opt to earn psychology degrees and counseling degrees is for the opportunity to take classes that are engaging and fascinating. On average, those who pursue a bachelor's degree will spend four years of their life consumed with the major they choose, so picking something that is interesting to you personally can be a desirable option. Learning about why humans make the decisions we do, think the way we do and develop the way that we do can be incredibly appealing for young individuals.

During an average four-year bachelor's degree program in psychology, you might take courses as diverse and as captivating as child development, personality theory and psychological disorders. While earning a degree in counseling, typical classes often include psychopathology, psychometric testing and intervention tactics, all of which are universal topics that many students are eager to learn more about.

Convenient Degree Major to Earn Online

Another reason that could explain the large number of degrees issued in fields like psychology and counseling is the ease of studying these subjects online. As degrees earned through accredited online colleges rise significantly, more and more students are opting to study from home, a local cafe or their office rather than attending a traditional college campus for classes.

This appeals to many with busy schedules, but it can feel overwhelming for degrees where lab work is required, such as biology. Since psychology is a subject that can be studied through live-streaming lectures and textbooks available online, it may be a natural choice for students who want both a worthwhile degree and the convenience and flexibility of online study.

Potential For Higher Salaries With an Advanced Degree

One of the most common arguments against careers in psychology and counseling is that they are not lucrative. In reality, however, there are a range of positions available, and the salaries of each can vary substantially. In addition, the type of degree you earn will help determine earning potential.

To become a state-licensed psychologist treating patients, for example, you will need a minimum of a master's degree, but you will be eligible for the median salary of $69,280 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, many graduates use the information they learn about human decision making in advertising or marketing, which offers an annual salary of $115,750 for managers with just a bachelor's degree and some experience.

Array of Career Opportunities in Numerous Industries

As mentioned earlier, there is not just one type of career opportunity available to those with a degree in psychology or counseling. There are dozens of options in several different industries, and each individual has their own skill set and preferences that can determine the best fit. Explore more career options for psychology majors.

Just a few of the most popular options, all of which require a bachelor's degree, include the following: Social worker, drug abuse counselor, child care worker, juvenile detention counselor, health and fitness therapist, industrial psychologist, psychology teacher or advertising consultant. The general skills learned over the course of your degree will apply to many different positions, and it can serve as a stepping stone to careers you never thought possible before earning your college degree.

Ability to Help Others and Make a True Difference

Finally, one big reason students pursue degrees in counseling and psychology is because they truly want to make a difference in the world. Working as a school counselor, a clinical psychologist or a social worker has the potential to drastically improve the lives of other individuals. While the work may be challenging and even stressful at times, professionals in these careers often come home feeling fulfilled and rewarded.

After taking a look at all of these reasons to pursue a bachelor's degree in counseling or psychology, it is easy to see why both majors are so popular. Being able to help others, choose from a variety of careers, study interesting subject matter and have an impressive earning potential in some key positions entice many students to earn their psychology degrees online or through a traditional college campus program.


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