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What Can I Do With a Psychology Major? Practical Career Information for High School Students. Kristin M. Vespia, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Overview. The Psychology major Careers at the BA, MS, and PhD levels The special case of applied careers

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what can i do with a psychology major practical career information for high school students

What Can I Do With a Psychology Major? Practical Career Information for High School Students

Kristin M. Vespia, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

overview
Overview
  • The Psychology major
  • Careers at the BA, MS, and PhD levels
  • The special case of applied careers
  • Psychology major/career preparation
  • Resources for additional information
the psychology major an overview
The Psychology Major: An Overview
  • Some basic statistics (NCES, 2005)
    • 1983-84: 39,955 Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology
      • 32.1% men; 67.9% women
    • 2003-04: 82,098 Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology
      • 22.2% men; 77.8% women
  • Wide-ranging benefits for study at BA/BS Level
    • Facilitate critical thinking skills, knowledge of scientific method, and understanding of human behavior (APA, 2007)
    • Prepare for graduate education in various fields
    • Prepare for wide range of careers, including business, education, human services, and research
careers at the bachelor s level
Careers at the Bachelor’s Level
  • The nature of the liberal arts major
    • Emphasis on communication, critical thinking, research, and other skills – not on preparation for one specific career
    • BA degree will not make students “psychologists”
  • Variety of career options
    • Jobs may not be “in psychology”
    • Appleby (2006) lists 130 potential careers for Psychology students on the OTRP website – from claims supervisor and corrections officer to personnel recruiter and caseworker
  • Job outlook (BLS, 2006)
    • Opportunities for BA/BS holders may be more restricted if looking for jobs in Psychology only
    • Broad options; see Murray, 2002
  • Salary information
careers at the master s doctoral levels
Careers at the Master’s/Doctoral Levels
  • Graduate degrees also increasing
    • MS: 9,525 in 1983-84 vs. 17,898 in 2003-04 (NCES, 2005)
    • PhD: 3,535 in 1983-84 vs. 4,827 in 2003-04 (NCES, 2005)
  • Master’s: 1-3 years Doctoral: 5-7 years
  • Can pursue in degrees Psychology and other fields
  • Master’s Degree
    • Preparation for doctoral work or for a career (e.g., Human Resources)
    • Outlook in Psych: Not as strong as for PhDs (except I/O) (BLS, 2006)
  • Doctoral Degree
    • Career options depend on specialty but can include: research, teaching, clinical practice, consultation, industry, government
    • Biopsychology options? Neuropsychological Assessment, Health Psychology, Sports Psychology, Research
    • Outlook: Faster than average career growth (BLS, 2006)
the special case of applied careers
The Special Case of Applied Careers
  • “Helping Professions” – pursued at Master’s and Doctoral levels and in Clinical, Counseling, & School Psychology; Counseling; MFT; and Social Work
  • Master’s Level: 1-3 years Doctoral: about 5 years
  • Involve coursework, research, & applied experience
  • Process does not end with degree. Licensing laws vary by state but often require
    • Approved educational credentials
    • Equivalent of 1-2 years full-time, supervised, post-degree experience
    • Passing national and/or state exams
psychology major career preparation
Psychology Major/Career Preparation
  • Be informed.
    • Be aware of common misconceptions (e.g., can be a “psychologist” with BA degree, grad school is unobtainable/unaffordable)
    • Research, informational interviews, and job shadowing
  • Take appropriate background coursework.
    • Might include things like: math, science (e.g., biology), courses emphasizing written/oral communication, foreign language, and more (See APA, 2007)
  • Gain experience (e.g., volunteer work, science fair)
  • Find the right program for you.
  • Be flexible and open to possibilities!
  • Be cautious about taking on too much!
references
References
  • American Psychological Association (2007). Careers in psychology. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from the American Psychological Association website: http://www.apa.org/topics/psychologycareer.html
  • Appleby, D.C. (2006). Occupations of interest to psychology majors from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology website: http://teachpsych.org/otrp/resources/appleby06.pdf
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (2006). Occupational outlook handbook, 2006-07 edition, Psychologists. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm
  • Murray, B. (2002). Good news for bachelor’s grads [Electronic version]. Monitor on Psychology, 33. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from: http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun02/goodnews.html
  • U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2005, July). Degrees in psychology conferred by degree-granting institutions, by level of degree and sex of student: Selected years, 1949-50 through 2003-04 (Table 290). In Digest of Educational Statistics: 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from the NCES website: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/tables/dt05_290.asp
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