Career Planning

A psychology background is useful in almost any career that involves the needs of and interactions with people. Desirable skills include interpersonal communication, leadership, teamwork, and research. A diversity of experiences achieved through coursework, research experience, and fieldwork placements can help better prepare students for a wide variety of careers. Employment outcomes data from LAS Career Services Office found that 90% of graduates report positive career outcomes following graduation. Of that data, 60% of psychology graduates pursue professional employment following graduation from their undergraduate program.*

Popular Fields and Industries for Psychology Graduates

Below are career paths, each requiring different educational backgrounds, that graduates of the psychology department at Iowa State University most commonly pursue:


  • Bachelor Degree Roles: Adult Learning and K12 Programs, Teacher, Teacher Assistant
  • Advanced Degree Roles: Academic/Admissions/Career Counselor, College Faculty, School Counselor, Student Affairs
  • Employers: Public and Private K-12 Schools, Colleges and Universities, Government Agencies

Human Resources and Business

  • Bachelor Degree Roles: Broker, Customer Services, Employee Benefits, Human Resources Coordinator, Insurance,  Management, Marketing, Public Relations, Recruiter, Real Estate Agent, Sales,  Selection, Training and Talent Acquisition
  • Advanced Degree Roles: Industrial/Organizational Consultant, Consumer Psychologist
  • Employers: Government Agencies, Manufacturers, Private Industry, Retail, Staffing Services, Wholesalers

Medicine and Law

  • Bachelor Degree Roles: Corrections/Juvenile/Parole Court Officer, Public Health Social Work
  • Advanced Degree Roles: Child Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Geriatric Specialist, Public Health,      Sports Psychologist.
  • Employers: Colleges/Universities, Government, Hospital, Nursing Homes, Private Practice


  • Bachelor Degree Roles: Data/Market/Social Research Assistant
  • Advanced Degree Roles: Cognitive/Experimental/Forensic/Health/Social Psychologist, Research Scientist, Nutrition Researcher, Market Research Analyst
  • Employers: Government, Higher Education, Industry, Non-Profit and Private Industry Headquarters

Social and Human Services

  • Bachelor Degree Roles: Addiction Specialist, After School/Camp Counselor, Caseworker, Family Consultant, Prevention Specialist, Substance Abuse Specialist, Victim Advocate, Youth Counselor/Specialist
  • Advanced Degree Roles: Art/Music Therapist, Marriage/Family/Grief/Substance Abuse Counselor, Social Work
  • Employers: Government, Non-Profit, Hospital, Nursing Homes, Youth/Community Services

Double Major

Many psychology majors combine their psychology degree with another major (26%) or a minor (56%).  These students often complete courses in the following fields:

Graduate School

Psychology majors frequently pursue an advanced degree through graduate/professional programs to enter careers requiring specific training, such as psychiatry, counseling, or research positions in the private or government sectors. Liberal Arts and Sciences career services employment data indicate that 38% of graduates from the psychology department at Iowa State University pursue advanced degrees.*

Common Graduate Degree Paths

Below are advanced degrees that graduates of the psychology department at Iowa State University most commonly pursue:

Masters Level Programs

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Counseling Psychology/Mental Health Counseling, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Human Development & Family Studies, School Counseling, Social Work (LMSW or LCSW), Student Affairs & Higher Education

Doctoral Level Programs

  • Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Counseling Psychology,  Social Psychology

Professional Programs

  • Law School, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy

Career Services Support

*Based on Iowa State LAS Career Services Employment data 2013-2018.