I really want to major in psychology, but I don’t think my parents like the idea of it because they say that I’ve never taken a pysch class (which is true) and that many people who major in psychology do it because they are unsure what to major in. Also isn’t it really hard to find well paid jobs? I’m really unsure, but I’ve just liked the idea of psychology since middle school. I get excited just thinking about it. Ideally, I’d like to work with either criminals, people who are mentally ill, or people who have underwent a traumatic event. However, I do not want to waste time and money if I’m not going to be able to find a good job after college.

Most high schools don’t offer classes in psychology. Actually, most fields that you can study in college don’t offer any classes in high schools, and many high school classes in specific fields aren’t really the best indicators of whether you’d like a major in college. So that’s not really a good reason not to choose a major.

Some people major in psychology because they aren’t sure of what to major in…but that’s true of a LOT of majors. I know lots of biology majors who defaulted to that because they wanted to be doctors. I know some business majors, some economics majors, and some and computer science majors who picked those fields because they wanted jobs and weren’t sure if other majors would offer them post-graduation employment. Who cares why other people selected the major? The question is whether you like it and want to study it.

Whether or not you find a good-paying job depends a lot on what you want to do and what kind of experience you get in college. It also depends on what “well paying” means. I think a lot of college students, especially here on this forum, have unrealistic expectations of how much money they will make after college. Software developers, management consultants and i-bankers at top firms, accountants at the Big 4+, engineers - those are the jobs (not majors, but jobs) that can expect to make $50-65K+ right out of college. But the vast majority of recent graduates won’t work in those jobs. So the vast majority of graduates can expect to start somewhere between $35K and $50K after college.

The other thing that I don’t think most graduates realize, though, is 1) your salary potential changes over time and 2) you don’t need to make $75K as a 22-year-old graduate to live a middle-class life. That’s not to say it isn’t nice to make that much money then, but it’s not necessary to survive or even thrive. And just because you’re not making $75K at 22 doesn’t mean you won’t get there at 35, especially if you get a graduate degree. And if you want to work with the populations you’re talking about, you’ll likely need a graduate degree down the line anyway.

Many, many jobs don’t require any specific major, and many of those jobs pay well after college.

If you haven’t started college yet there is no need to decide your major now. Take a few classes in psychology as well as other things that interest you. Talk to professors (if you can) as well as career services to get ideas of things a psychology major may do after graduation. After a semester or two of college you can have a more informed/educated discussion with your parents.

FWIW my D was a psychology major and is now in grad school for speech pathology. Some friends in that major also went on to different grad schools and some are working in various jobs.