As the last few years have shown us, the importance of psychologists cannot be understated. Psychology plays a myriad of crucial roles in private and public sectors spanning medical, corporate, academic, education, government—and even sports. As the field of psychology grows, CU Denver’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) aims to meet the high demand for trained psychologists, offering BA/BS undergraduate degrees and a PhD program in Clinical Health Psychology. Additionally, a PsyD program in School Psychology is offered through the School of Education and Human Development.
Psychology includes aspects of philosophy, biology, and pretty much everything in between. We offer students a general background in psychology from which they can get jobs or go on to graduate school.”
—Mitch Handelsman, PhD, CU Denver Professor of Psychology
A bachelor’s degree in psychology gives students an extremely well-rounded education, preparing them for a variety of fields and careers. Common industries include social services, education, business, and healthcare. Graduates find roles as case managers, development specialists, mental health counselors, rehabilitation specialists, human resources specialists, sales representatives, and more.
With an advanced degree (MA, MS, or PhD), individuals often go on to become licensed mental health professionals, such as social workers or clinical psychologists, while others choose to pursue research or academic careers.
CU Denver Psychology Programs
CU Denver offers two undergraduate degree options in psychology. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology is a four-year program that provides students with a broad understanding of psychology and the scientific methods used to study human behavior and mental processes. The BA in Psychology program includes coursework in areas such as abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.
CU Denver also offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology, which is a more research-oriented degree program. It includes courses in biology and chemistry. This program is well-suited for students interested in graduate studies in areas other than applied psychology or working in research-oriented positions.
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Both the BA and BS in Psychology programs at CU Denver prepare students for a wide range of career paths, including working in mental health settings, research organizations, or other jobs where a psychological perspective is valued.
In addition, CU Denver offers Psychology and Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience minors. The psychology minor gives students a glimpse into the field and provides an intro to the BA Psychology degree program. The Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience minor does the same, but for the BS in Psychology.
Common Psychology Jobs
A bachelor’s degree in psychology can prepare you for a variety of careers in mental health, education, business, and more. The field of psychology is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031. Individuals with a bachelor’s psychology degree are qualified for many jobs.
“The psych major is a broad major. There are a lot of things that people do [with this degree], they have the full range of opportunities.”
—Mitch Handelsman, PhD, CU Denver Professor of Psychology
Social and community service manager | Average Salary: $74,000
Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise organizations that support public well-being and direct employees who provide public services. A common role for social and community service managers is demonstrating that these public service programs are effective. They collect performance data to test their programs and report findings to administrators. They then use these evaluations to identify opportunities to improve their programs.
Training and development specialist | Average Salary: $61,570
This role helps create, plan, and run training programs for businesses and organizations. First, they assess the needs of an organization. Then they develop custom training programs that may take place online, in classrooms, or at training facilities.
Training and development specialists organize training sessions using lectures, team exercises, and other formats. It also may be in the form of a video, self-guided instructional manual, or online application. Training may also be collaborative and allow employees to connect informally with colleagues, experts, and mentors.
Mental health counselors | Average Salary: $48,520
Mental health counselors advise people on a range of psychological issues. They provide support, and prevention tools to help clients recover from addiction, change problem behaviors, or improve mental health. (Many counseling positions require a master’s degree; see below.)
Rehabilitation specialist | Average Salary: $38,650
Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities live independently. They work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on employment or independent living.
What Jobs Can You Get With an Advanced Psychology Degree?
Students may also choose to continue their education with a graduate degree in psychology. Clinical and counseling roles are projected as having the highest job growth, at 10% for 2021 to 2031. Jobs that require a master’s or PhD in psychology include:
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist | Average Salary: $105,310
Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by using learned principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. They study productivity, management/employee working styles, and morale. They also help top executives, managers, and development specialists with policy planning, employee screening or training, and organizational development.
Clinical or Counseling Psychologist | Average Salary: $82,510
Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They help people deal with problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions.
Counseling psychologists help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, the workplace, or in their community. These psychologists work with patients to identify their strengths or resources they can use to manage problems.
School Psychologist | Average Salary: $78,780
School psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to learning and developmental disorders. They may address student learning and behavioral problems; design and implement performance plans and evaluate performances; and counsel students and families. They may also consult with other school-based professionals to suggest improvements to teaching, learning, and administrative strategies.
Professor of Psychology | Average Salary: $77,860
Professors of psychology teach courses in psychology, such as child, clinical, developmental psychology, and psychological counseling. They include individuals who primarily teach and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Dr. Mitch Handelsman
Mitch Handelsman, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and CU President’s Teaching Scholar at CU Denver. He is an educator, researcher, and avid jazz trumpeter. Handelsman is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association and a licensed psychologist in Colorado. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters, mostly on topics in professional ethics and teaching.
Learn more about CU Denver’s psychology education opportunities and how you can build your career in this high-demand industry today.