Learn What You Can Do With a Psychology Degree

Posts Tagged ‘psychology careers’

What are the pros and cons of an Online Psychology Degree?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Online Psychology Degree: The Pros, the Cons and the Program Structures

An online Psychology degree provides the easiest route to a rewarding career in Psychology. Whether you are interested in studying the behaviors of man or how the buying patterns can help boost an industry, taking up a course in Psychology can take you a long way.

Different Online Degrees in Psychology

Just like the traditional campus-based programs, most online Psychology schools offer bachelor’s degree courses. These are programs that generally take four years to complete and which qualify the graduates to entry-level positions. The typical bachelor’s degree courses in Psychology that are available online include Human Development, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Community Psychology.

As flexible as ever, some online Psychology schools also offer special programs that only take a minimum of one year to complete. These are certificate programs and associate’s degrees.

Graduate courses in Psychology are also available as online programs. Aside from these advanced studies, bachelor degree holders may choose to take their specializations in areas such as Anthropology, Child Psychology, Sociology and Industrial Psychology.

The Advantages

The obvious advantage of taking an online Psychology class is that it provides flexible options to anyone who wants to pursue a career in this field. As long as a student has a computer and a reliable internet connection, he can easily earn a degree even from the comforts of his home and at his own pace. Thus, he saves a considerable amount of time and money which are supposed to be spent on transportation.

In a typical online psychology class, the students will have an access to the virtual classroom or the “learning portal”. From there, they will learn their respective curricula based on their availability. There’s no real pressure as to when you need to complete the course; a fact which makes it a choice program for working students. That being said, an online class in Psychology can be tailor-made to suit the needs of the students.

The Drawbacks

While the programs ensure flexibility on the part of the students, the fact that they are holding only virtual classes remains the number one concern in distance learning systems such as the online Psychology schools. The physical presence of the laboratory facilities, professors and co-learners is taken out of the context, thereby detaching the students from the unique learning experience based on personal interactions. Psychology is a field that is highly people-oriented and by adopting a whole new concept of virtual learning, the students are missing out on this one crucial aspect of education.

Aside from the limited class interactions, online degree programs are also struggling from accreditation issues. There are some online Psychology courses that fail to comply with the educational standards set by the governing bodies, which in turn make the graduates ineligible to sit down for the licensure exams. To check which programs are accredited visit: http://www.bbs.ca.gov. It is also advised to ask the school adviser the accreditation of the school you are requesting information.

Finally, the online Psychology courses may not be able to provide a job network that is as strong and as large as the campus-based program’s. This problem has a lot to do with the virtual communication that is taking place in an online class; the students are not personally known to the professors. On the other hand, in a campus-based degree, the personal interactions with the authority figures help the students in getting good endorsements to employers. A way around this involves doing an internship relevant to your program for increased experience and the ability to network. If your not sure how to get an internship visit: How to get an internship.

Maximizing the Potential of Your Online Psychology Education

Filling the gaps in the online program can help you get the best out of the said college education. If possible, get more educational resources to enhance your knowledge. It is a good thing that some online schools also provide hybrid programs, or those that offer both online and campus-based learning sessions. Internships would usually take place by the end of the online Psychology degree, so you must make the most of it.

If an online degree may be the slightest interest to you then request information from a school today. Its important to begin your research early so you future career is already mapped out.

Getting a Masters degree in Psychology

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

A master’s degree takes about 2 years to complete. It will give you more options than a bachelor’s degree. Usually getting masters in psychology means training in either clinical, counseling or social work.

 

Training to become Marriage Family Therapist involves 2-4 years of coursework/practicum and 2 years of an internship. If you decide to pursue social work your education also involves 2-4 years of course work and 2 years of internship. Both degrees require licensing form the state.

 

The only disadvantages for a masters degree when compared to a PhD is the lower rate of pay, uncertainty of getting hired, and less skills with accountability.

 

The decision of pursuing additional education depends on you. Do you have enough money for a masters or a PhD? Are you dedicated to academia enough to be in school for more years?

 

If additional schooling isn’t for you visit popular jobs for psychology majors.

What does it take for a psychology major to get into graduate school?

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Your dreams are set to one day become a great psychologist or psychiatrist but your grades aren’t so good and you barely have any experience of volunteer in the psychology field. The harsh reality is that getting accepted to graduate school for a PhD program is difficult. Here’s what you should know before you apply.

 

You need several things for graduate schools even think about accepting you. These are grades, GREs, statement of intent, letters of recommendation, experience, and an official transcript showing grades from your 4-5 academic years.

 

Your grade point average is important since schools have a cut off on what they will and will not accept. For instance masters programs require 3.0 or above while PhD programs require 3.5 and above. If you are short here you need to make it up in another area.

 

Most programs will require you to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There are three sections. They are quantitative, verbal, and analytical. Here is a great site that has practice exams. www.greguide.com/gre-practice-tests.html. The test is difficult but with enough studying and practice you should be able to get a good score. For PhD programs a score of 1200 or above is recommended and for masters programs over 1000.

 

Your statement of intent needs to state why you choose that specific program. It has to be clear, concise, and answer the questions the graduate school asks. Make sure to write drafts of this paper making sure your writing is good. If you have trouble writing and need help proofreading we recommended the site www.errnet.net. This great site proofreads your work in seconds and emails the results as low as a dollar a page. You can try shrinking the size of your document to fit if money is an issue.

 

Letters of recommendation need to be from an authority source. A letter from a professor will have more weight than a co worker. When finding those that can write you a good letter consider what skills of yours they can write about and how well they can evaluate your skills. These letters are meant to “talk” you up and show graduate schools that you are the best candidate for their program. At the end don’t forget to send letters thanking those that recommended you to your dream school.

 

Experience is crucial for the program you desire to get in to. It needs to be an area related to the type of program you are applying to. For instance if you are applying to clinical program it helps if you have volunteered at a behavioral center and understand the type of environment for that field.

 

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

How to select a School and Degree program for Post Undergraduate Psychology Majors

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Research! Research! Do your homework on what schools you want to get into before you apply. What interests you about this school and its program? Have you visited your dream school? Have you spoken with students and faculty? Have you contacted students in the program you would like to enter? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and answer. Here are some other resources and ideas to think about when selecting a school:

  • Look into the school homepage and what they suggest when applying for their post graduate programs
  • Is the grad school you applying to accredited? Review schools on www.gradschool.com. This site will give you information about schools and psychology graduate programs.
  • What activities does the faculty engage in? Besides teaching is the faculty conducting research and publishing their studies?
  • Ask your professors what else they looked into when selecting their dream grad school
  • The American Psychological Association publishes a magazine for graduate students called gradPSYCH. The information can be found here: www.apa.org/gradpsych
  • Look at what opportunities and activities are available for graduate students. Does the campus have an active Psi Chi club? Are there career advising resources and mentoring?

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

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?

Yes.

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.

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!

How to find Volunteer work in the Psychology Area

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Volunteer work for psychology gives a great opportunity to learn about the field and also make a difference.

Places you may want to volunteer:
• AIDS Counseling hot-line
• Suicide Prevention hot-line
• Teenage Runaways
• Serve as a research assistant (check with your school)
• As a camp counselor that works with developmentally delayed kids and children who are emotionally troubled
• In patient and out patient behavioral centers

Check with your psychology department and professors. They may be getting a new grant from the state government which would allow them to do research and allow students to participate. If you are unable to find any resourceful information on volunteering in the psychology area check on the internet. Simply type the above keyword and your area. Call the organization in your area and ask them if you can do some volunteer work. They should be more than happy to provide you with hours of experience.

This experience can then be used as a recommendation letter which will show graduate schools your familiarity with the field.

What kinds of classes do psychology majors take?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Heres an example of a psychology planned schedule taken from San Jose State Univeristy, California. http://www.sjsu.edu/psych/

Year Semester 1 Semester 2
1 Engl 1A (GE Area A2)Psyc 1 (General Psychology) (GE Area D1)

2 Core GE classes (Area A1 and E)

Bio 21 (GE Area B2/3)

Kin class (PE)

Meet with a Psychology Advisor

16 units

Engl 1B (GE Area C3)Statistics 95 (GE Area B4)

core GE class (Area B1: ?Chem 30A?)

1 Core GE Classes (Area A3)

Kin class (PE)

Register for WST at the end of the semester

16 units

2 Psyc 30 (intro to psychobiology)Support course (?Chem 1B or 30B?)

2 Core GE Classes (Area C1 and C2)

Area F1-2-3 Class (part A)

Meet with a Psychology Advisor

Pass WST by the end of the semester

15 units

Psyc 102 (Child Psychology)Psyc 110 (Abnormal Psychology)

Psyc 154 (Social Psychology)

1 open elective or supporting course

Area F 1-2-3 Class (part B)

15 units

3 Psyc 100W (Writing course dealing with APA Format) (SJSU Studies area Z)Psyc 139 (psychology of personality)

1 Psyc Elective (LD or UD)

2 open electives (or supporting courses)

15 units

Psyc 120 (Advanced Research Method Designs)Psyc 129 (Neuroscience) or 160 (Clinical) or 170 Industrial/Organizational

2 classes from: Psyc 135 (cognition) or 155 (human learning) or 158 (perception)

SJSU Studies R course (e.g., Bio 101 or Phil 160)

File for Graduation

15 units

4 Psyc 117 (Test and Measures) (or Stat 115)Psyc 121 a, b, or c

1 Psychology Elective (UD)

1 SJSU Studies V Course (e.g., Phil 110)

1 open elective or supporting course

14 units

Psyc 190 (current issues in capstone) in c or 195 (honors seminar on psychology)Psyc 121 a, b, or c

1 SJSU Studies S Course

Stat 115 (or Psyc 117)

1 open elective or supporting course

14 units

As an undergraduate you will be taking general education courses. Some of them can be psychology such an introductory class or a statistics class.

Statistics is a class you are required to take to fulfill your major. In the past you may have learned about mean, mode, and median. This class will go further by teaching you about z, t tests, ANOVAs and using a graphing application for data. Knowing these forms of test can give a researcher a lot of information about a sample group. It also helps to see if the data was statistically significant.

You will also be taking some lecture courses and laboratory courses. The lectures will be a sit and learn type of class while the lab course will be hands on approach to learning. Laboratory assignments will have you conduct simple to advanced experiments on selected populations. For one laboratory assignment you maybe asked to form a group then pick a study to do. Your group partners and you will write a lab report using previous studies relating to the topic. Lab reports have a cover sheet, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and a references sheet. It’s important to take these statistic classes and an advanced research methods class since this information is heavily used when conducting experiments and if you want to go to graduate school it helps for prerequisites.

As you begin taking more psychology courses one or two classes in particular should interest you. This course should become your focus if you’d like to pursue it as a career. Psychology is a broad subject that can be applied to many areas of life. Here are some examples of careers.

  • Do you enjoy being around children? Then look into child psychology. You could one day work as a school psychologist.
  • Are you fascinated with drugs and the effect they have on the brain? Then look into Neuroscience. You could be in the lab doing experiments with rats comparing a drug and a placebo.
  • Do you have a mindset for business but want to apply psychology in that setting? Then look into industrial organizational psychology. You could be working in corporate setting making sure everyone is working to their highest potential.
  • Do you enjoy new experiences and have the empathy to work in a behavioral health center? Look into clinical psychology. You would be in an inpatient clinic helping individuals deal with the recent stress that has entered their lives.
  • Are you curious on testing things and seeing if it has a significant impact? Look into research in psychology.