Psychology

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Area

Human Services

  • Direct care:
    • Counseling
    • Psychotherapy
    • Applied behavior analysis
    • Art therapy
    • Music therapy
    • Case management
    • Mental health services

  • Direct care continued:
    • Physical health and wellness
    • Crisis work
    • Rehabilitation services
    • Performance enhancement
    • Testing/Assessment
    • Law enforcement

  • Administration:
    • Advocacy
    • Programming
    • Community relations
    • Management
    • Development/Fund raising
    • Grant writing

Employers

  • Federal government:
    • Health and Human Services
    • Justice
    • Veterans Affairs
  • State government:
    • Departments of Human Services
    • Departments of Mental Health
    • Departments of Justice
    • Community mental health centers
    • State psychiatric hospitals
    • Facilities for individuals with intellectual impairments
    • Boards of probation and parole

  • Local government
  • Senior citizens’ centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Social service/nonprofit organizations
  • Religiously-affiliated service organizations
  • Hospitals/healthcare providers
  • Private psychiatric facilities

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • College and university counseling centers and career centers
  • Pain clinics
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Testing centers
  • Private practice

Strategies

  • Obtain essential practical experience through part-time or summer jobs such as camp counselor, tutor, or resident hall advisor.
  • Complete an internship for academic credit.
  • Gain experience through volunteering with organizations such as crisis hotlines, Big Brother or Sister, Special Olympics, service groups, etc.
  • Many entry-level helping positions require one year of related experience.  Volunteer experience and internships can typically fulfill this requirement.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Develop strong communication skills.
  • Cultivate the desire to help others.
  • Earn a minor in a specialized field of interest (e.g., child & family studies, sociology, or political science)
  • Take courses to build valuable counseling-related skills (e.g., techniques of counseling).
  • Become fluent in a second language to serve clients who may not speak English.
  • Be willing to relocate for increased job opportunities.
  • Acquire knowledge of government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or social work for positions involving substantive counseling or psychotherapy or for advancement into administrative/supervisory positions.
  • Many specialties exist at the graduate level, for example school counseling, mental health counseling, counseling psychology, etc.  Pursue particular degrees depending upon interests and career goals. See General Information on the last page for more details on this topic.
  • Pursue graduate training or certification programs to establish test administration and interpretation qualification.
  • Maintain an excellent academic record and seek experiences valued by graduate programs.

Area

Research

  • Social research
  • Market research
  • Data analysis
  • Testing/Test development

  • Experimental psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology

Employers

  • Federal, state and local government agencies (e.g., National Institute of Health)
  • National headquarters of non-profit organizations
  • Universities and colleges
  • Market research firms

  • Market research departments of consumer goods and manufacturing firms
  • Private research organizations
  • Consulting firms

Strategies

  • Pursue research experience by working on faculty projects through independent study classes, as a student employee, as a volunteer in their lab, or through other departmental programs.
  • Take additional math and statistics courses to develop strong quantitative and statistical skills.
  • Take additional science courses or consider a minor in Neuroscience.
  • Obtain related experience through part-time or summer jobs or internships with a market research firm.
  • Get involved in the American Marketing Association.
  • Earn a graduate degree in experimental psychology, educational psychology, I/O psychology, statistics, or marketing.
 

Area

Education

  • Teaching
  • Adult learning/Community instruction (e.g., GED classes, life skills, parenting, etc.)
  • Information/Library science
  • Higher education administration and student support services:
    • Admissions
    • Financial aid

  • Continued:
    • Academic advising
    • Development
    • Alumni affairs
    • International education and study abroad
    • Career services

  • Continued:
    • Residence life
    • Student activities and Greek life
    • Orientation
    • Leadership
    • Multicultural affairs
    • Recreational sports

Employers

  • Public and private K-12 schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Government agencies

  • Federal Trio programs (e.g., Upward Bound, Talent Search)
  • Nonprofit organizations (e.g., Project Grad)
  • College prep programs

Strategies

  • Obtain a teaching certificate for public school positions. Multiple certification will increase marketability. Seek guidance from the education department of your college.
  • Earn a doctoral degree in psychology for post-secondary teaching.
  • Pursue graduate training in information science for library positions.
  • Earn a master’s in Counseling with a specialty in career development if interested in career services.
  • Seek a master’s degree in college student personnel, higher education administration for student
    affairs or administrative positions.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong personal recommendations.
  • Gain experience working with children, adolescents, or college students through tutoring or other volunteer positions.
  • Acquire related experience on campus as a resident hall advisor, orientation leader, admissions tour guide, or peer mentor.
  • Develop strong communication skills and learn to speak well in front of a group.

Area

Human Resources

  • Employment and recruitment
  • Selection
  • Labor relations

  • Compensation and benefits
  • Organizational development
  • Training

Employers

  • Large companies
  • Government agencies
  • Staffing and employment services

  • Large non-profit organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Educational institutions

Strategies

  • Gain relevant experience in human resources by completing an internship.
  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with business courses.
  • Seek leadership positions in student organizations.
  • Develop strong computer skills.
  • Earn an MBA or a graduate degree in human resources to attain higher level positions.

Area

Business and Industry

  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Advertising

  • Insurance
    • Claims management
    • Underwriting
  • Product design

  • Management
  • Real estate
    • Sales
    • Property management

Employers

  • Service providers
  • Wholesalers
  • Manufacturers
  • Retail stores:
    • Department stores
    • Specialty stores
    • Discount stores
    • Super retailers
    • Online retailers

  • Call centers
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Real estate companies

  • Property management firms
  • Apartment complexes
  • Public relations departments of large businesses or nonprofit organizations

Strategies

  • Develop career goals and seek relevant experiences to prepare for those goals.
  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with business or communication courses.
  • Obtain relevant experience through internships or part-time jobs.
  • Work a part-time or summer job in a retail store. Demonstrate a willingness to take on additional responsibilities such as “assistant manager.”
  • Participate in student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people. Develop a strong commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • For sales, develop the ability to work well under pressure and be comfortable in a competitive environment.
  • Be willing to start in a management-trainee program or other entry-level positions.
  • When job searching, seek employers interested in hiring “any major.”
  • Understand the top skills employers desire and be prepared to demonstrate them, such as communication (oral and written), computer, interpersonal, leadership and teamwork, etc.

General Information

  • Psychology provides a broad, liberal arts background.
  • Some students may choose to study psychology because they enjoy the subject but wish to pursue careers requiring “any major.” In this scenario, it is critical to develop desirable skills through internships, part-time or summer jobs, or volunteer experiences. Some skills valued most by employers include:  communication, interpersonal, leadership, teamwork, and computer skills.
  • Other students may major in psychology because they want to work in a related field. Many entry-level helping positions are available, however the amount of direct client contact is limited for those who only have a bachelor’s degree. Students may wish to pursue graduate education in psychology, social work,
    counseling, college student personnel, or other related fields to increase opportunities and earning potential. Research career fields to learn what type of degree (master’s, educational specialist, doctoral) and subject area are most appropriate for your interests and desired population.
  • The following list provides some examples:

Master’s Degree
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Professional Counselor
Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists

Educational Specialist
School Psychologist

Doctoral Degree
Counseling Psychologist
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Experimental Psychologist
Sport Psychologist
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist
Social Psychologist
Developmental Psychologist
Forensic Psychologist
Health Psychologist
Neuroscience Psychologist
Psychiatry (M.D.) *

  • For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, gain experience through volunteer or work opportunities, and assist a faculty member with research.
  • Many applied positions require licensure. This can take an additional one to three years of supervised experience after earning a graduate degree depending upon state requirements. Graduate programs in clinical work should be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to ensure a smooth transition towards licensure. Graduate programs in counseling should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  • Research the availability of certifications for specialties like the Board Certified Behavior Analyst if interested in working with people with disabilities.
  • Note (*): If Psychiatry is a career interest take additional science courses for admission to medical school; see your school’s pre-health advisor.
  • For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, gain experience through volunteer or work opportunities, and assist a faculty member with research.
  • Many applied positions require licensure. This can take an additional one to three years of supervised experience after earning a graduate degree depending upon state requirements. Graduate programs in clinical work should be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to ensure a smooth transition towards licensure. Graduate programs in counseling should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  • Research the availability of certifications for specialties like the Board Certified Behavior Analyst if interested in working with people with disabilities.
  • Note (*): If Psychiatry is a career interest take additional science courses for admission to medical school; see your school’s pre-health advisor.