Learn What You Can Do With a Psychology Degree

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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.

6 Things a Psychology Major needs when applying for Graduate School

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The decision on attending graduate school rests solely on you. In order to first get in you need about six things done on your check list. The checklist is dependent on what school you want to go to. Since some schools may not require a GRE score you may need to check their program requirements. Make sure to do research and email professors with your questions. Usually these are the six things which most graduate schools ask for:

  • A grade point average of 3.0 or higher. This depends on what program you are trying to enter. Some schools want students with 3.5s and will still have low acceptance rates in PhD programs.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and a score which the college allows for entrance
  • Three to four recommendation letters from professors or anything which will have weight and value when determining your acceptance into graduate school. For instance if you have experience in the Behavior Center it would be wise to have a recommendation letter detailing the hours you were there and the tasks which you did.
  • Experience in the field you are interested in such as an internship or volunteer work
  • A statement of intent is required to detail why you desire to further your education and comments about fluctuations in earlier academic years. For instance, someone close to you may have passed away which caused a strain on your education. Its important to detail this since graduate schools will get to know you in this statement.
  • Lastly you need your undergrad transcript signed by your school to make the document official

How to network like a Psychology Major

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Psychology majors are usually social individuals dedicated to understanding human and animal behavior. Networking helps present opportunities that you wouldn’t have likely had. We will be telling you a couple ways to social network.

Take advantage of the psychology classes you will be taking. Get to know your classmates and professors. Get their contact information. Email your professors when you have questions about class or graduate school. Classmates will come in handy when studying for tests and doing projects.

Find a mentor for psychology. This mentor can be anyone who has the psychology career which you desire. They may be a Psychiatric Technician, Psychologist, or college professor. Having a mentor can be beneficial when choosing classes and when it comes time for getting letters of recommendation.

Become a great listener. Instead of waiting for the person talking to stop so you can say something pay attention to the content leaving their lips. Take notes to what you find informational. Ask a question and stay quiet till that person has finished.

The career center on campus can help you network by helping you get the contacts of previous students who found work and participated in internships related to your field.

Talk to everyone around in your environment. It’s alright if you’re shy. In class just say “hello” and ask them what they think about class. On the street ask them how their day is.

Join clubs such as Psy Chi. Psy Chi is the International Honors Society for Psychology. This club hosts great events to educate students on the area of psychology and interested in graduate studies.

Interviewing individuals in the psychology field of work is another great way to get career insight. Shadowing is also recommended. When you network well you will meet individuals who you can later call and they will be able to give you details of what they do.

Just remember that friends, family, classmates, former co-workers, and neighbors are all on your hit list of social networking!