How to Become a

Vocational Psychologist

The complete career guide to be a Vocational Psychologist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $76,040
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 19.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

Vocational psychologists use their advanced knowledge of personalities and behaviors to conduct vocational counseling and coaching. They help college students and unemployed/underemployed adults find suitable careers, and they provide coaching and guidance to career seekers using a variety of tools.

Recommended Schools

What is a Vocational Psychologist?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in vocational psychologist roles:

  • Conduct career aptitude tests, personality tests, and other forms of testing to narrow down potential careers for patients
  • Provide career counseling by listening to a career-seekers wants, needs, and dissatisfactions, and providing relevant suggestions
  • Explain the job and educational requirements for career-seekers interested in specific careers
  • Work with businesses and human resource departments to develop processes and initiatives designed to increase employee productivity and happiness
  • Assist job seekers with job acquisition tasks like resume building, job searching, and application

A Day in the Life of a Vocational Psychologist

Vocational psychologists are high-level career counselors who use their understanding of the brain and personalities to assist career-seekers in selecting and pursuing careers. Vocational psychologists help job seekers create resumes and cover letters, find open positions, and apply for roles, but their responsibilities go much further than simply helping people find work. Because they’re experts in thought, behavior, and personality, vocational psychologists can use their in-depth knowledge and research to point career-seekers towards positions that match their wants and needs perfectly.

Vocational psychologists use a variety of methods to evaluate career-seekers and make career recommendations. They may administer psychological tests like career aptitude and personality tests to determine what careers a person is suited for. They may also conduct in-depth counseling sessions with career seekers in order to learn about what each individual is looking for. After studying a career-seeker’s personality, the vocational psychologist provides more detail about potential careers.

Vocational psychologists work with many different types of individuals. They may work in schools where they provide career guidance to high school or college students. They may work in government where they assist unemployed or underemployed individuals with finding new careers. They may also work in business, helping companies form processes, initiatives, and workplaces that are productive, happy, and conducive to reducing workforce turnover and building a positive company culture.

Typical Work Schedule for Vocational Psychologists

Most vocational psychologists usually follow standard business hours of about 40-50 hours per week that starts at 9 am till 5 pm. However, many psychologists run their own clinics and accordingly have more flexibility in setting their own schedule. Some psychologists also need to work at evening or night shift in rare occasions for this specialty that does not usually represent an emergency. Additionally, vocational psychologists have to be flexible enough to consider different needs of the clients especially if they work as independent consultants. As a result, they work by making appointments in advance with their clients. That could sometimes mean working on evenings or weekends.

Projected Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the demand for psychologists is projected to grow 14% from 2019 to 2029 which is higher than the average expected growth for other jobs. The stressful conditions and the fast pace of some jobs increase the need for role of vocational psychologists. Career counseling is also expected to increase in schools and universities to guide the students on how to develop necessary skills and prepare them for the workplace. Their job would also require the training of employers about how to deal with a lay-off and how to deal with major transitions as moving from military to civilian workplace. The role of vocational psychologists was more emphasized with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it caused to the community.

Typical Employers

Vocational psychologists may work as part of a large organization or company to support the employees and guide them during different critical situations. This is more common in universities and schools. Recently, companies provided more care to the psychology of the employees and how this affects their productivity. The governmental agencies are also a decent employer for vocational psychologists as the Department of Workforce Services or the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest employer of vocational psychologists with more than 1,200 psychologists hired. Many vocational psychologists may also choose to work as freelancers and build their own reputation and network of clients.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Vocational Psychologist

The first step in becoming a vocational psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. While studying for a bachelor’s degree, psychology or sociology majors are common, though any degree may be sufficient for gaining admittance into a graduate program. Aspiring vocational psychologists may benefit from taking courses in introductory psychology, statistics, research methods, business administration, and human resources, regardless of what specific major they choose.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, students must then move into a master’s degree program. Both general and career-specific master’s degree programs are commonly available, so students may choose to study general psychology or pursue a more specific degree like organizational psychology, counseling, or life coaching. With a master’s degree, aspiring vocational psychologists may be able to work as psychology assistants or career coaches, but you’ll need a doctoral degree to practice as a psychologist.

Two options are available for doctoral degrees for aspiring vocational psychologists: a Ph.D. is a research-focused degree, and a Psy.D. is a clinical-focused degree. Most vocational psychologists pursue a Ph.D. because the work of a vocational psychologist is research-based work. After earning a doctoral degree, aspiring vocational psychologists may also need to obtain state licensure to practice as a psychologist, which may include supervised experience requirements and passing a written test.

Vocational Psychologist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Vocational Psychologist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Vocational Psychologist's can make an average annual salary of $76,040, or $37 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $53,190 or $26 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #163 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Vocational Psychologists

  • 49.3%   Doctorate
  • 44.3%   Masters
  • 5.6%   Bachelors
  • 0.2%   Associates
  • 0.2%   College
  • 0.2%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Vocational Psychologist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 30,600 jobs for a total of 185,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 19.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #53 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Vocational Psychologists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 47,500 16,100 16%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 38,300 2,300 2%
Offices of mental health practitioners (except physicians) 13,500 5,300 5%

Want To Be a Vocational Psychologist? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →