Why Choose an Applied Psychology Degree

This articles contains information about why you may want to choose an applied psychology degree, and how it could benefit your career. We will tell you what an applied psychology degree is and what is taught in it so you can decide whether it is for you. Also provided is information about some of the careers that you may enjoy, and corresponding salaries.

What Is an Applied Psychology Degree?

A degree in applied psychology is either a master’s or doctoral degree that studies how psychological theories may be used to solve problems in daily life and the real world. An applied psychology degree takes the many psychological theories that one learns in an academic environment and applies them to everyday human interactions.

There are actually several types of psychologists who use applied psychology; you may decide after you have earned your degree to work in one of these specialties:

An applied psychology degree is focused on teaching you the skills in psychology to solve problems. You will learn how to solve problems that your clients have by using the psychological theories that you have learned in your degree program.

You could possibly train clients to change how they think and behave, and they may learn through you how to create systems that can promote better outcomes in their lives.

A typical curriculum for applied psychology intersects in the areas of psychology research, theory and practice in various business settings.

Why Earn an Applied Psychology Degree?

Many people decide to enter the field of psychology for three major reasons:

  • Passion: They feel a calling to work with people on their psychological issues, or they want to study various areas of psychology in research and academia.
  • Financial: They want to earn a good living, and most psychologists with a master’s or doctoral degree do so.
  • Jobs: They want to work in a field with plenty of jobs available, and this is the case in psychology.

There is a generally strong and growing demand for psychologists in America. The US government reports that demand in this field is going to increase by 19% by 2024 overall. While it does not note what the increase in demand will be by 2024 for applied psychologists, the data online does state that demand for counseling, clinical and school psychologists will increase by 20%.

Demand for applied psychologists and other types is going to increase in the coming decade as people are turning to psychologists to assist them with their problems. Psychologists are strongly needed in a country where the population is living longer; psychological services are often relied upon by the elderly so that they can handle the issues of aging and changes in lifestyle as they get older.

More psychological services also are required by the former military who are coming back from war trauma and need help to deal with their memories.

If you get a degree in applied psychology and want to work in schools, you will be glad to know that more school psychologists are needed because of the better understanding that mental health has a major effect on the ability to learn.

School psychologists are greatly needed to help students in need with their learning disabilities, behavior challenges and personal issues. School psychologists also are needed to assist to both assess and counsel most students. School psychologists also are needed to understand how problems in and out of school can affect the capacity to learn. This is very important information that teachers and administrators want to know to make education more productive.

Students who wish to become industrial-organizational psychologists will find more work because companies want information about how to choose and keep their best employees. It also is critical to boost productivity in companies due to the increasingly competitive global market in the 21st century.

The last reason that people earn a degree in applied psychology is the salary. The median wage in the field of psychology today is $75,200. The top 10%, usually with a PhD, will earn more than $120,000 per year.

All of these reasons make it clear why many professionals today are seeking their master’s or doctoral degree in applied psychology.

Online Degree Options

Students who wish to work in applied psychology or a related field may want to consider earning their Master of Science in Applied Psychology from the University of Southern California. This is an intensive program that can be earned in as little as one year as you focus on the study of consumer and organizational psychology.

This is a unique program because it focuses on both areas; many graduate programs only focus on one of them. But for businesses to be successful, it is important for both the consumer and employee mindset to be understood.

This unique program will provide you with the skills in applied psychology to help the student to become an expert on both of these business challenges by using the tools and language of psychology.

This accelerated master’s degree consists of five core classes, two elective classes, an internship course and experience and a capstone. It is a program that is geared toward preparing liberal arts graduates for a variety of careers in the applied psychology field.

You will be able to develop and hone your new skills in the real world as you complete a required internship in various business settings, which is a highlight of the program. Students at USC in the past have had internships in marketing, human relations, talent acquisition, social media communications, not for profits and startups.

Other highlights of this program that make it unique in the US are:

  • Modern curriculum: Psychology theory in your classes will truly come to live as you are completing team oriented projects that deal with the many problems of different organizations that are faced in today’s global business community.
  • Experienced and innovative faculty: The instructors in this program have been working with organizations in the field of applied psychology and industrial-organizational psychology for many years. All of them are highly experienced professionals and professors, and they have passion in the area of understanding human behavior.
  • Accelerated completion: Most USC students can finish their requirements in a single academic year, but others may take longer. The diversity of the students in this program ensures that you will be challenged in the curriculum by both your peers and instructors.

Upon completion of this master’s program, you will be required to sit for your Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, and then obtain licensure in your state.


Obtaining your master’s in applied psychology will open the window of opportunity for you in this growing field, and your chances to earn a good living with rewarding work will only grow in the future.