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CHOOSING A CAREER IN PSYCHOLOGY or RELATED FIELDS

&

PREPARING FOR & APPLYING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL

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This presentation is one view.

Speak to many people in and outside the field, and utilize several references in deciding your future. No single person or source can provide all the information you need!

slide3

Choosing a Career Area

Pay attention in Careers class & read chapters in text to see what sounds interesting.

Surf career & grad school web sites linked to FSU web

pages: www.psy.fsu.edu and click “undergraduate” and “graduate school information”

Interview people in careers of possible interest. Speakers in Careers class might provide names of recent graduates.

slide4

Get research experience in professors’ labs to see what is interesting

Read books and scientific articles within areas of possible interest. Psych Lit is good source of articles as are your course text books that list references at the end of chapters.

slide5

Some other resources to read for ideas:

  • Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology
  • Graduate Study in Psychology, Getting In: A Step-by-Step Plan Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology
  • Allyn and Bacon Guide to Master’s Programs in Psychology and Counseling Psychology
  • Career Paths in Psychology - Where Your Degree Can Take You.
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Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is my theoretical orientation? (behavioral vs. cognitive; service vs. business)
  • What topics do I enjoy learning about?
  • Do I want to work with children, adults, elderly, or families?
  • How much does prestige matter to me?
  • How important is income and how much do I need?
slide7

How important is flexibility in hours to me?

  • Am I capable of very long hours of work hard?
  • Can I sit at a desk for a long period?
  • Do I have hobbies that I can turn into a career?
  • Am I going to get depressed listening to problems of others?
slide8

When to Apply to Grad School

When you apply to grad school will depend on the kind of program to which you are applying.

Ph.D. Programs

For some highly competitive Ph.D. programs, such as Clinical Psychology, you need to apply 8 or 9 months prior to your target admission date. For example, if you want to start in Fall, 2006, you probably willneed to submit your application in December 2005.

Importantly, you will need to start considering schoolsand obtaining application materials 3-4 months before the applications need to be submitted.

slide9

Master’s Degree Programs

For most Master’s Degree Programs, deadlinesare not as early. For example, many Master’s programsrequire that you submit applications in April or Mayprior to the Fall in which you start grad school.

Deadlines vary across programs. For safety, you shouldbegin considering schools and looking at applicationmaterials at least 8 months prior to when you plan tostart a Master’s program.

slide10

GRE

It can takeup to 6 weeks to receive your officialscores for your application. So for safety, completethe GREs (or LSAT or MCAT, etc.) at least 8 weeksprior to your application deadline.

To be absolutely safe and allow for the possibility that you may need to take the GRE more than once, with preparation in between, it is ideal to take the GRE 6 months prior to when your application is due.

For details on GRE, go to www.gre.org

For test preparation, go to:

www.gre.org/pracmats.html#gentest

slide11

Points of Clarification re: Degrees

  • Practicing degree (PD):
  • A. Degree that you need to work independently (i.e., without technically being supervised by someone with higher level degree).
  • B. May still need to pass a licensure exam after degree.
  • More than one route to a particular kind of career. For example, those interested in counseling careers may chose clinical psychology, counselingpsychology, school psychology, clinical social work, mental health counselor, or psychiatry.
  • Also, human factors, instructional design, & performance management have similarities.
examples of professional degrees in psychology or related fields
Examples of Professional Degrees inPsychology or Related Fields

Masters in Social Work (MSW). MSW is practicing degree (PD)

Masters in School Psychology (PD)

Masters in Performance Management or Instructional Design (PD)

Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology (generally not PD, but can be)

Masters in “Experimental” Psychology (Specialties: Neuroscience, Social, Personality, Developmental, Child, Cognitive, etc.) (generally not PD)

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Examples of Professional Degrees (continued)

  • Masters in Clinical Psychology (PD only in few states)
  • Masters in Counseling Psychology (PD only in a few states)
  • Masters in Mental Health Counseling (PD)
  • Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy (PD)
  • Masters in Pastoral Counseling (PD)
  • Note: If you have PD in non-psychology degree, cannot call oneself a “psychologist.” And for psychologists, must advertise by type of degree.
slide14

Examples of Professional Degrees continued

  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (PD) (specialties: children/adolesc, adult, family, substance abuse, forensic, health psych, aging, depression, schizophrenia)
  • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology (PD) (w/specialties)
  • Ph.D. in School Psych or Counseling Psychology (PD) (w/specialties, excluding severe pathology)
  • M.D. in Psychiatry (PD) (w/specialties)
  • Ph.D. in “Experimental” Psychology (neuroscience, cognitive, social, industrial-organizational, business, developmental, child, etc.) PD for research position
slide15

Differences between clinical and counseling psych:

1.Types of problems you are trained for:

Clinical: deals w/ entire range of problems from every day problems to severe psychopathology.

Counseling: deals w/ problems of every day living (e.g., child non-compliance, marital, depression, anxiety). Does not deal with severe pathology.

2. Relative emphasis on research:

Clinical training: generally emphasizes training to conduct research & evaluate effectiveness of treatments (within psychology departments). Counseling: generally much less emphasis on research (w/in programs in college of education)

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Difference between Psy.D. versus Ph.D. in Clinical

1. Psy.D. generally involves little if any research training either in terms of how to do research or how to be a critical consumer of research.

2. Psy.D.: generally within free-standing institution.

Ph.D. : within university

3. Psy.D. generally more expensive—often VERY expensive

slide17

Recommendations regarding Psy.D. vs. Ph.D.:

1) Be sure programs in counseling or clinical are APA approved before you apply.

2) If attend Psy.D. program, I recommend those within a university.

3) Be aware that Psy.D. degrees are not as well- recognized as Ph.D.

4) Even if you don’t want to conduct research, you want to learn to be a consumer of research & to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

slide18

How to strengthen your credentials

  • Get the highest possible GPA.
  • Minimum for Master’s programs usually 3.0.
  • For competitive Ph.D. programs, can be 3.5 or higher
  • 2. Study for the GRE (or other entrance exams)
  • Minimum: 500 verbal; 500 math.
  • For competitive Ph.D. programs, minimum 1l50, &
  • often 1250, unless your application exceptional.
  • 3. Need 3 letters of recommendation, at least 2 of whichshould be very strong. Letters generally need to befrom faculty, although some programs accept letters from people that supervised you in applied settings (schools, crisis counseling, nursing homes).
  • 4. Get experiences to prepare you & to earn strong letters
slide20

DIS (Directed Independent Study) PSY 4911-4914 or PSY 4920 (Group DIS)

  • Work in professor’s lab doing research forcourse credit.
  • 2. Allows professor (&/or their grad students) to observe your work habits &quality of your workso they can write a strong letter of recommend.
  • 3. 6 hours count toward major in psych; (In future, may be 9 hours toward major.) Can take more hours as electivesthat don’t count toward major. (12 DIS/12 4920)
  • 4. Depending on career goals, may want to do 2 or more semesters with 2 or more faculty.
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How to Seek out a DIS or 4920

1. Find a faculty member whose research is interesting:

-Check out psychology web site to see each faculty member’s research interest, or

-Get Psychology Handbook from Advising Office

2. Contact that faculty member:

-Indicate your interest & ask what would be involved

-Don’t approach prof. by saying “I need to do DIS.”

3. Look for flyers on 2nd floor Psychology

4. Some DIS/4920 involving working with grad student

fine as long as professor will co-sign letter of recommendation

slide22

Other Ways to Strengthen Your Credentials

  • Write an honors thesis, if you qualify for honor’sprogram. (Generally do DIS first.)
  • If you’re interested in applied work, volunteer or work with the population that interests you.
  • Work on a crisis line or at a daycare center
  • Be a big brother or sister
  • Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home, or centerproviding service to seniors
  • Remember: Professors’ letters are necessary so don’t count on volunteer supervisors for all letters.
slide23

How to Check out Potential Grad Schools

  • Start looking early so you have time to carefully consider programs.
  • Note that different schools within same specialty areas may give different training so read materials carefully.
  • Check out Web sites for programs of potential interest
  • Go to library to look at written materials
  • Request written material from programs of potential interest
slide24

When deciding which grad schools to apply to, consider:

type of training

type of jobs they say you are likely to get

(contact them about jobs if not clear)

financial assistance

cost of living in that location

admission requirements: be realistic, but optimistic

geographical location of school (less important if do out of state internship and/or want academic position)

deadlines, application requirements

ask DIS/4920 supervisor(s) for opinions

slide25

How Many Schools Should You Apply To?

  • Depends on how competitive your credentials are.
  • Depends on how competitive the schools are.
  • In general, I’d say 10 or more for competitive Ph.D. programs.
  • Project 1000 for Hispanics and some other disadvantaged minorities might help with application costs; see FSU web site on this
slide26

Narrowing Down Schools

  • Consider criteria on prior 2 slides (e.g., type of training)
  • Examine faculty at potential schools to pick schools w/faculty of interest (particularly if want to do research)
  • Read the web site of each faculty
  • Read their scientific publications to see if work is interesting to you
  • Find articles of professors by:
  • looking at their web site
  • searching Psych Info or Medline by author’s name
  • Get further information by contacting professors.
  • Contacting professors to let them know you like their research helps your chances of acceptance, but be respectful of their time)
slide27

Filling out materials

  • Avoid spelling or grammar errors
  • Avoid leaving spaces blank
  • Avoid mistakes that show you didn’t follow instructions!!!!!!
  • Leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Don’t procrastinate out of anxiety or laziness
  • If didn’t do so earlier, may want to contact professors at these schools ahead of time, particularly for those with apprenticeship models
slide28

Statement of Purpose

VERY important

Proof many times and use spell-check, but

never rely on spell-check

Have several people read for clarity, content, grammar, spelling, accuracy

Can ask DIS supervisor for general advice

Can ask DIS supervisor to read, but …

only after it’s in good shape, & you followed their early advice

BE HONEST!! Don’t say you love research just because that is what you think they want to hear; emphasize your experiences without misrepresenting what you did.

Highlight your individuality, but do NOT make it a self-disclosure of personal problems.

slide29

Interviewing

  • Many applied programs encourage top applicantsto come interview.
  • Dress professionally (goal is to look/actprofessional—not to be “trendy.”)
  • Remember, many faculty are older than your parents.
  • Give thought to what you’ll say when asked why you want a particular career and particular school
  • Come prepared with questions to ask them about nature of program, jobs that recent graduates have gotten, collaboration among faculty, etc.
  • If not pre-arranged, ask to interview with currentgrads and perhaps even get names of those who recently completed program.
slide30

If Accepted to More than One Program

  • Celebrate!!
  • Use criteria discussed earlier to choose program