Learn What You Can Do With a Psychology Degree

Archive for the ‘Career Corner’ Category

Careers for Psychology Majors

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

A Psychology major has 3 central focus courses in college. They are Research/Computer related careers, Clinical/Counseling, and Business/Management careers. Psychology is a versatile major that can be applied to many areas of work. Figure out what you want to specialize in. If you want to become a counselor or psychologist you will need additional schooling. For information on the difference between a masters and a PhD go to this post: masters for psychology and difference between a psy.d/ph.d. If you would like to know the salaries of these positions check the website www.bls.gov.  Here are some examples of careers that may interest you:


Counseling Careers


Counseling jobs require a master’s degree and being licensed by the state. The licensing focuses on supervised hours of counseling, training, and certification exams. To know exactly what type of licensing you need check with the state and your graduate program.


Specializing in Counseling


  • Clinical Counselor. Similar to that of a psychotherapist but this position does not have a PhD. Clinical counselors work with many different issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and learning disabilities.


  • Aids Counselor. This position educates others on the dangers of HIV. They are mainly concerned with prevention and treatment of AIDS and HIV. Aids counselors are responsible for educating diet and dealing with emotional stress. For more information check out the AIDS/HIV Disease and Medicaid Home Page http://www.cms.gov/


  • Career Counselor. Career counselors can be found on college campuses or in high school. They provide students with tests which can assess talent, abilities, and skills. They also help with building resumes, deciding what job fits with ones talents and finding jobs. For more information check out www.ncda.org


  • Addictions Counselor. This type of counselor helps individuals overcome drug abuse. They provide education on the effects of addiction and withdrawals. They also can facilitate an intervention for drug abusing individuals. This career requires licensing and training. For more information check out The National Association for Addiction Professionals www.naadac.org/


  • Rehabilitation Counselor. This type of counselor helps those cope with stressful conditions. This involves the disabled, injuries, and illnesses. They teach their clients how to socialize effectively, handling emotion, and dealing with family issues. For more information on the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association www.nrca-net.org


  • Mental Health Counselor. This type of counselor provides help with depression, marriage, health problems, addiction, and more issues pertaining to mental health. Individuals are treated in individual or in a group fashion. For more information check out the American Mental Health Counselors Association website www.amhca.org


  • Marriage and Family Therapist. MFTs provide counseling between relationships. This includes being married, divorced, deceased spouse and other situations having to do with families. They focus on teaching good communication skills and micro manages conflicts. For more information check out the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy www.aamft.org


Psychologist Careers


In order to become a psychologist you need a PhD and are certified/licensed by the state. Psychologists have the highest salaries in the psychology field because of their additional training. With more experience and training Psychologists mainly work in administrative positions providing programs.


  • Clinical Psychologist. This type of psychologist works at mental hospitals, counseling centers, or has their own private practice. They provide help for the emotionally and mentally disturbed. Clinical psychologists administer diagnostic tests and interview patients. They can also prescribe medicine but this depends on the state. Other clinical psychologists work at universities training graduate students.


  • Child Psychologist. This type of psychologist treats mentally and emotionally disturbed children. They may treat children how are depressed, anorexic, traumatize, or having a learning disability. Child psychologists work mainly at school but some have their own private practice.


  • Neuropsychologist. This type of psychologist is concerned with normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. They work in university or hospital settings conducting studies and treating human behavior.


  • Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. This type of psychologist works in a corporate setting by improving the quality, productivity, and motivation for work. Some companies rely on I/O psychologists for screening new employees, counseling, training and analysis. They are also hired as consultants who offer recommendations or solutions to a problem the company is experiencing.


  • Experimental Psychologist. This type of psychologist is busy in the lab conducting experiments on humans or animal. They research substance abuse, motivation, memory, learning, and other aspects that influence behavior.  They work for companies, government, and at universities.


  • Social Psychologist. This psychologist’s work involves improving the way individuals socialize in their environment. They study attitudes, perception, and group behavior. A social psychologist works at a university, systems design, and marketing research.

Counseling and being a psychologist may not be the kind of career you would like to have. There are other options with a bachelor in psychology. Here are a few other careers that may interest you:


  • Caseworker/Social Worker. This career involves interviewing patients using your psychological skills. The decisions you make will significantly affect the patient in where they will be placed for treatment or if treatment is not needed. This job ties in with a social work degree. Some organizations may require you to get more schooling before you are hired as a caseworker. This might mean a masters and licensing in  social work depending on where you work.


  • Advertising. You can either be a media planner or media buyer. A planner develops and explores media plans.  Psychology helps in this area by identifying a specific audience and the best way to advertise to them. On the other hand a media buyer will look for spaces to buy ads and negotiates prices. Starting in advertising just requires a bachelor’s degree.


  • Market Research Analyst. As a psychology major you will put all your education in statistics and research to use.  The goals are to analyze data to evaluate the needs and responses of consumers for products. With that information you will communicate to your clients helping them better understand the market


  • Insurance Agent. Having a psychology major helps you understand and discuss issues relating to mortality, health, property loss, and dealing with distressed clients. Selling insurance can be done through licensing by the state.


  • Teacher. With a bachelors degree in psychology you can better understand your students and manage the class for effective learning. You will need additional graduate work and training to become certified. Some schools will require you to get a masters level degree. You can choose to work in elementary schools or high schools.


Are you still not sure about your career? That’s alright here are some resources:



You can also check this post on Transitioning from Undergraduate school to real life or to Graduate school. It has other ideas on what jobs to get

3 Things you must have on Your Resume when applying for a Psychology Related Career

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Your resume is your profile to your employer. Ask yourself: What sets me apart from other individuals trying to get hired for the same job? What do I have to offer which can benefit my employer? During your interview you can go over some experiences in greater detail. Your employer needs to hear about your great skills. Those stories will illustrate your skills and relate them to the targeted career.

What to include in your resume:

• Psychology related experience. Did you volunteer at a behavioral health center? Did you conduct research in a lab? Make sure to list these and state what month/year you did them. Add some details to what you did. Its important that your future employer sees how your experience ties in to the career you are applying for.
• List your activities. What did you do during your college career which can be sold as an activity? Were you part of a club that involved leadership roles? Any sports that you played?
• Detail your work experience and some of the duties with each job. If you have worked at many places it will show the employer that you are familiar with different kinds of task. If you have worked only few jobs but for a long duration it can show loyalty to a company.

So you’ve started writing your resume…But what about the template?! Whatever word document you use should have a template creator. Visit this resume for an example.

Interviewing for a Job

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

You have your resume. You sent it to 20 companies and 7 replied back. The companies are asking for an interview. You have the attire for dressing to impress but have you gone through the interview in your head? Visualize what will happen. Imagine your confident self giving a firm handshake and sitting with a good posture. Think of what questions your interviewer may ask:

• Why should this company hire you?
• Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
• What can you contribute to a team?
• If you could what would you change about yourself?
• What made you leave your last job?
• Please explain some of your strengths and weaknesses?
• How do you stay motivated?

Form answers to these main questions. Think of what stories or explanations you can tell to showcase your skills.

Sample questions:

Why should this company hire you?
I have a lot of experience related to the position your company is hiring. I worked in (company name) and there I learned how do so and so. That experience taught me blah and how I could use in the future.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I see myself working either for this company or another. I have many other skills so I may start my own business in future and promote that niche.

What can you contribute to a team?
I usually enjoy leading and motivating others. In a team I would be pick a leadership roll and make sure my team gets its projects done before the dead line.

If you could what would you change about yourself?
I would change my motivation and help it fit with those around me. Sometimes I am so hyped up and motivated to get something done that I push other people. These people may not be as inclined as I am so sometimes I have to tone myself down so I can work cohesively with a team.

What made you leave your last job?
The work I was doing was not challenging enough for me. In the end my goals changed and I decided to leave the company. I did enjoy working there but I rather go somewhere that can use my skills to its full potential.

Please explain some of your strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths are keeping myself and others motivated. My weakness is trying to complete my task as soon as possible when some of my co workers maybe going at their own pace.

How do you stay motivated?
I know this maybe cliché to say but I feel motivated to change people’s lives. To see them grow and reach their potential. Of course coffee helps but at the end of the day it’s that satisfaction of getting everything completed do I feel motivated to continue.

If you are still having trouble answering these questions here is a great article to check out by Alison Doyle. There are some great answers which can help you form your own.


Jobs can be found through networking, internships, or in a local paper. Keep trying and soon you will have the career you desire.

Getting a Job after your Undergrad or after Grad school

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

The job market is constantly changing. No longer does an individual work for a company for 30 plus years and then retire and collect checks in the mail. Yes there are exceptions to every rule but in these current times companies will higher a younger person who can do more work and take more stress. They may even outsource their work to employees in a third world country so it can be done for cheaper.

Don’t expect to get your dream job right out of college. You may have to work on the side and apply numerous times before you land that job. Networking and an internship are powerful tools to land the position you want as well as the career center on campus. Check on campus-recruiting and career fairs. If you work within a company and a spot job that needs to be created try selling the idea to the company. You may have success in filling that position. Continue your search and remember there will be tough times but accept the struggle. Preserve and keep trying!

A great site we recommend when searching for jobs is www.monster.com and www.careerbuilder.com

According to the National Association of College and Employers look for about 6 things:

• What school you have attended
• Any volunteer work
• Any leadership positions you took
• What is your major?
• A High GPA (3.0 or above)
• Has been involved in extracurricular activities

The information listed above can be found here: http://www.naceweb.org/Publications/Spotlight_Online/2010/0106/Job_Outlook__What_do_employers_look_for_in_candidates_.aspx

It’s also important to have basic skills such as motivation, computer skills, a logical mindset, and working well with a team. After college you will be more familiar with skills since many of your classes will ask you to learn or practice these skills.

Getting a career/job is numbers game. You will apply to 15 and less than half will call you back. Out of those numbers you will be set with interviews. Some will have more than one interview. You will dress formally and be there for the interview ahead of time. Show up to the interview with your resume and confident self. So start looking for jobs and calling already! Your future is waiting!

Psychology Major Career Path 4: Professor Callaghan

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Psychologymajor.org recently interviewed Professor Callaghan of San Jose State University. Professor Callaghan is involved in research as well as teaching various psychology courses.

What interested you about Psychology?

When I was an undergraduate I became interested in psychology. I saw it as a way to live life and as an application of philosophy. Studying as an undergraduate psychology showed me how biology interfaced with a larger level of analysis.

What worked for you and helped you succeed?

I think as an undergraduate I finally got decent advice about graduate school and what was a good  fit for my interest. In  graduate school I had a great adviser who helped with all the questions I had and helped me achieve my goals. It really helps to find a mentor.  Part of my success was finding my bliss. Work becomes much easier and you feel rewarded.

What were some pitfalls which you recommend to avoid?

Personally, don’t think you have it all figured out and even if you think you have don’t let people know that. The real key is to stay open to theories, ideas, and different people.

Where are you now with psychology?

I am a professor of psychology. I have active lines of research. I teach an active amount of classes and see a few amount of clients therapy.

What do you plan on doing?

I honestly really enjoy what I’m doing now. I would like to write a book on the type of therapy that I do.  Live a good life, be great dad, play the guitar, and provide value to the world.

What can students expect in salary if they take the same path?

For a clinical psychologist in academics: starting fairly low $55k and if they stay in it $88K.

Psychology Major Career Path 3: Professor Arias

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Psychologymajor.org asked Professor Arias of San Jose State University a few questions about his path in the psychology field.

What interested you about Psychology?

Psychology interested me since I was young. I’ve always been able to figure out other peoples problems. I rememeber as a young child a mentor of mine telling me about psychology in high school. That sparked my interest. So I started studying Sigmund  Freud’s work and because I wanted to help people I became even more interested.

What worked for you and helped you succeed?

Understanding  that a lot of different people and seeing the many perspectives they have. I’ve had many mentors show me many ways to see things and that helped me out. Different angles are what you should see.

What were some pitfalls which you recommend to avoid?

Avoid self doubt. Realize when you are critical of yourself. Realize how powerful that can be. Sometimes it can overwhelm you and you can become depressed. Notice what level your on and don’t compare yourself on there. Your level of self worth needs to be fostered and nurtured by yourself.

Where are you now with psychology?

Part time professor for SJSU and private practice, while studying for licensing exam.

What do you plan on doing?

Working on opening my own practice specializing in adolescent and families. I want full time status at a university. Write a couple books on identity development and make a better living.

What can students expect in salary if they take the same path?

You can make fairly decent money in this field. Once your licensed you can make 100k based on the field. In this field money comes and goes. For instance some clients will come in and go. You just have to face that as life and keep going.

Psychology Major Career Path 2: Ms. Raj goes to Grad school for a Psy.D

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Psychologymajor.org asked Janice Raj (a recent graduate of SJSU) about her path with psychology. Shes has recently been accepted to John F. Kennedy University for Clinical psychology, America.

What interested you about Psychology?

I took couple of classes during my freshmen year as an elective and realized that I was very interested in psychology. I declared psychology as my minor. The more classes I took in psychology, the more I got interested in it. The more I took political science which was my major at that time, the more I became disinterested in it as a result, i changed psychology to my major.

What worked for you and helped you succeed?

Being close to my professors and getting the right advice from them. Doing a lot of research online, talking to people, and networking.

What were some pitfalls which you recommend to avoid?

Stop listening to everyone. Most of the things you hear from others are partly or fully incorrect. I learned the most when I took the time and talked to advisors.

Where are you now with psychology?

I’m starting graduate school at JFKU for a PsyD in Clinical Psychology

What do you plan on doing?

I plan to become a professor and a therapist

What can students expect in salary if they take the same path?

Students can expect more than 55k once they graduate and start working

Psychology Major Career Path 1: Professor Laraway

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

PsychologyMajor.org asked Professor Sean Laraway of (San Jose State University, America) a few questions having to do with his current career. His answers should provide some insight if you decide to take a similar path.

1. What position(s) do you work?

Assistant Professor of Psychology, San Jose State University

2. Did you major in psychology in college?


3.What did you do with your degree?

Attended graduate school in Psychology, worked as a postdoctoral fellow in behavioral pharmacology, taught as a lecturer and then as an Assistant Professor in psychology. Did some consulting work in statistics and research methods.

4. What tips can you recommend for psychology majors?

Learn to write well. Learn to speak comfortably in front of groups. Learn as much about statistics and research methods as you can. Take every stats and methods class available. Get research experience, if possible. Get to know your professors. Gain as much relevant experience as you can without sacrificing your grades (e.g., complete an internship, volunteer at a mental health facility, work in an area related to psychology). Find some good mentors at your school or workplace and develop good working relationships with them. Attend professional conferences. Attend class. Study more. Read as much as possible. Exercise. Get more sleep. Try to present research at professional conferences. Treat your studies as you would your career. Don’t sacrifice schoolwork for anything else, including your part-time job. Find friends in your same major and build a support network. Figure out what you don’t want to do as a career. See a major adviser as soon as possible and meet with him/her often. Start thinking of your life after your bachelor’s degree: What do you want to do every day?

5. What worked for you and helped you succeed?

I tried to do the things listed in #4, although I didn’t always succeed

6. What were some pitfalls which you recommend to avoid?

Don’t think you have to get a doctorate to be successful with a psychology degree. There are plenty of rewarding jobs available with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you want to make a lot of money, don’t become a professor in psychology. If you want other rewards, such as teaching, working with students, flexible schedules, and a lot of independence in your daily work, then become a professor in psychology. Don’t think that good grades/GRE scores alone will get you into grad school. You will need other achievements (e.g., research or other relevant experience) and letters of recommendation from professors/supervisors who know you well, among other things. Don’t think that statistics/research methods are too hard for you to understand.

7. How is your day on average?

I enjoy my workdays. In an average day, I will teach, attend a meeting, meet with students, and work on research

8. What can students expect in salary if they take the same path?

Starting faculty members in the CSU can expect to earn about $50,000-$60,000 per year, depending on teaching experience, etc.