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What's the best way to use a psychology degree?

I love the field of psychology, but I don't love being poor. What's the best way to get my money's worth out of a psychology degree? Is a degree in psychology really worth going to school for? What's the best path to take down this (psychology) road?
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Ken’s Answer

The application of psychology is very broad. The important thing is to see how possible applications relate to your personality traits. Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ## ## ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## ## ## ##
Here is a very interesting site that will help you to learn more about opportunities in which you can help people. Perhaps you could find one that fits your personality traits as indicated by your testing and networking and find a fitting application for you to pursue. Remember that many people are trapped in jobs that pay well but have not given them the proper feeling of satisfaction or fulfillment that they might have been seeking. ## ##

I agree with the advice provided by Ken Simmons. Being aligned with the right job is very important. My career path has truly been a journey and I have take a lot of time to learn about myself. This has allow me to look at jobs in terms of personality fit, interests and also environment. Another resource that you might find very beneficial is Cindy R. Jones, CCSP, CCC

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Katie’s Answer

Hi Anthony - There is a growing need for Industrial Psychologists at many companies. It's a specialty area you may want to check out!

Hi Katie! Thanks for your answer. This is great to know - could you add a little bit more about what IO psychologists do and/or what is involved with that position? Alexandra Carpenter, Team

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Brittany’s Answer

A bachelor's degree in psychology can be used in many broad career paths - I personally have a BA in psychology and started in Human Resources at a financial firm. Since then, I have moved around to various roles outside of HR within the company. You don't necessarily need to stick with a 100% applicable career following the major you choose.

If you are choosing a masters or PhD route, I would recommend researching various counseling and psychiatrist positions that may be applicable and exploring salary ranges, career progression, etc. to ensure this is the path you want to pursue.