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Eye on Psi Chi: Summer 2006
Occupations of Interest to Psychology Majors From the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
Drew C. Appleby, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The following is a list of 124 occupations that psychology majors can pursue. The descriptions of these occupations appear in the Information Technology Associates online version of the U.S. Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT; 2003a). Occupations requiring a graduate degree are marked with an asterick (*). I created this list of occupations from the following five sources:
  1. Students enrolled in my Orientation to a Major in Psychology class who must identify an occupation in which they have an interest.
  2. A list of the occupations that IUPUI psychology alumni report they have entered
  3. Marky Lloyd's Careers in Psychology website (
  4. The UNC Wilmington Career Services website (
  5. A nonexhaustive examination of the DOT, during which I searched for occupations not identified by the first four sources.
The DOT provides descriptions of more than 40,000 occupations that identify the tasks people in these occupations must perform. This makes the DOT a very valuable source of information for undergraduate psychology majors because they can use it to discover the skills they must develop in order to gain employment in the occupations they wish to enter. This knowledge can help them identify the opportunities their schools offer to develop these skills (e.g., classes, internships, service learning, and extracurricular activities) and can also provide them with the motivation to take advantage of these opportunities because of their increased awareness of the importance of these skills for their future success. The following is the description of school psychologist taken verbatim from the DOT. Notice how each sentence begins with a verb, thus identifying the skills school psychologists must possess to perform their job (e.g., evaluates needs, advises teachers, refers individuals to community agencies, counsels pupils, plans special placement, serves as a consultant, carries out research, and conducts diagnostic studies).
Evaluates needs of average, gifted, handicapped, and disturbed children within educational system or school, and plans and carries out programs to enable children to attain maximum achievement and adjustment: Conducts diagnostic studies to identify child's needs, limitations, and potentials, observing child in classroom and at play, studying school records, consulting with parents and school personnel, and administering and interpreting diagnostic findings. Plans special placement or other treatment programs. Counsels pupils individually and in groups, using psychodrama, play therapy, personal interviews, and other psychological methods to assist pupils to achieve personal, social, and emotional adjustment. Carries out research to aid in introduction of programs in schools to meet current psychological, educational, and sociological needs of children. Advises teachers and other school personnel on methods to enhance school and classroom atmosphere to provide motivating educational environment. Refers individuals to community agencies to secure medical, vocational, or social services for child or family. Participates in planning of remedial classes and testing programs designed to meet needs of students. Serves as consultant to school board, superintendent, administrative committees, and parent-teacher groups in matters involving psychological services within educational system or school. (U.S. Department of Labor. 2003b)
Undergraduate psychology majors interested in becoming school psychologists should read this description carefully. Their next step should be to seek out opportunities to develop the skills identified in this description so they will be perceived as possessing the "right stuff" when they apply to school psychology graduate programs.

Occupations for Psychology Majors
1. Academic Counselor*
2. Activities Director
3. Admissions Evaluator
4. Advertising Sales Representative
5. Alumni Director
6. Animal Trainer
7. Applied Statistician
8. Art Therapist*
9. Benefits Manager
10. Career Information Specialist
11. Caseworker
12. Chief Psychologist*
13. Child Development Specialist
14. Child Psychologist*
15. Child Welfare/Placement Caseworker
16. Claims Supervisor
17. Clinical Psychologist*
18. Coach
19. College/University Professor*
20. Community Organization Worker
21. Community Worker
22. Comparative Psychologist*
23. Computer Programmer
24. Conservation Officer
25. Correctional Treatment Specialist
26. Corrections Officer
27. Counseling Psychologist*
28. Criminal Investigator (FBI and other)
29. Customer Service Representative Supervisor
30. Data Base Administrator
31. Data Base Design Analyst
32. Delinquency Prevention Social Worker
33. Department Manager
34. Developmental Psychologist*
35. Dietician
36. Educational Psychologist*
37. Elementary School Teacher
38. Employee Health Maintenance Program Specialist
39. Employee Relations Specialist
40. Employment Counselor
41. Employment Interviewer
42. Engineering Psychologist*
43. Experimental Psychologist*
44. Family Counselor/Caseworker*
45. Financial Aid Counselor
46. Fund Raiser I
47. Fund Raiser II
48. Group Worker
49. Guidance Counselor*
50. Health Care Facility Administrator
51. High School Teacher
52. Human Resource Advisor
53. Industrial/Organizational Psychologist*
54. Information Specialist
55. Job Analyst
56. Labor Relations Manager
57. Lawyer*
58. Loan Officer
59. Management Analyst
60. Market Research Analyst
61. Marriage and Family Counselor*
62. Medical Social Worker*
63. Mental Retardation Aide
64. Military Psychologist*
65. Minister, Priest, Rabbi, Chaplain, etc.*
66. Music Therapist*
67. Neurologist*
68. Neuropathologist*
69. Neurosurgeon*
70. News Writer
71. Nurse
72. Occupational Analyst
73. Occupational Therapist*
74. Optometrist*
75. Patient Resources and Reimbursement Agent
76. Pediatrician*
77. Penologist*
78. Personnel Psychologist*
79. Personnel Recruiter
80. Pharmacologist*
81. Physiatrist*
82. Physical Therapist*
83. Physician*
84. Police Officer
85. Polygraph Examiner
86. Preschool Teacher
87. Probation/Parole Officer
88. Psychiatric Aide/Attendant
89. Psychiatric Social Worker*
90. Psychiatric Technician
91. Psychiatrist*
92. Psychological Anthropologist*
93. Psychological Stress Evaluator
94. Psychometrist*
95. Public Health Director
96. Public Relations Representative
97. Purchasing Agent
98. Real Estate Agent
99. Recreation Leader
100. Recreation Supervisor
101. Recreational Therapist
102. Research Assistant
103. Retail Salesperson
104. School Psychologist*
105. School Social Worker*
106. Social Group Worker
107. Social Psychologist*
108. Social Services Aide
109. Speech Pathologist*
110. Substance Abuse Counselor
111. Systems Analyst
112. Teacher for the Emotionally Impaired
113. Teacher for the Hearing Impaired
114. Teacher for the Learning Disabled
115. Teacher for the Mentally Impaired
116. Teacher for the Visually Impaired
117. Technical Writer
118. Therapist for the Blind*
119. Veterans Contact Representative
120. Veterinarian*
121. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor*
122. Vocational Training Teacher
123. Volunteer Coordinator
124. Writer

*occupations requiring a graduate degree
U.S. Department of Labor. (2003a). Dictionary of occupational titles (4th ed.). Retrieved April 26, 2006, from
U.S. Department of Labor. (2003b). Psychologist, school. Retrieved from Dictionary of occupational titles (4th ed.), April 26, 2006, from

Drew C. Appleby, PhD, received his BA in psychology from Simpson College (IA) in 1969 and his PhD in experimental psychology from Iowa State University in 1972. He currently serves as director of undergraduate studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has numerous publications in professional journals, and has made over 250 presentations on topics related to teaching and learning before a variety of both professional and nonprofessional audiences. His most recently published book is The Savvy Psychology Major (2003, Kendall/Hunt). Dr. Appleby is a fellow of both Division #1 (General Psychology) and Division 2 (Teaching of Psychology) of APA. He received Division 2's Outstanding Psychology Teacher Award in a Four-Year College or University in 1993, the Marian College Teaching Excellence Award in 1993, the IUPUI Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and was chosen by APA to present its G. Stanley Hall Teaching Lecture in 1998. He was recognized for his advising skills by the National Academic Advising Association when he received the Outstanding Adviser Award of its Great Lakes Region in 1988 and for his mentoring skills by being the recipient of IUPUI's Psi Chi Mentor of the Year Award in 2000. He created Division 2's Project Syllabus and currently serves as the director of Division 2's Mentoring Service.

Copyright 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 4) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology


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