3 answers

Looking for advice on graduate school

Updated Austin, Texas

I graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration about two years ago. For the past several years, I've been working in direct care. I have experience caring for adults with severe mental illnesses, and my current job involves working with emotionally disturbed children. My goal is to eventually go back to school and seek a graduate degree but I'm having trouble narrowing my options down. I'm not sure what direction I should be heading in. I would love to discuss some options with someone who has experience in the field and could give me some more information about what kind of jobs are available.

#psychology #graduate-school #psychologist # #business

3 answers

Ashley’s Answer

I also received a BA in psychology, and though I did not pursue the psychology career route, I've seen many of my peers go in a few different directions. The first thing to consider is if you want to continue clinical work and be a clinical psychologist, or if you would like a more research-oriented academic background. Research the differences between a PsyD, a PhD in Psych, and a social work degree (since social workers can also do clinical work). Do you want to also prescribe medication to patients? That would involve going to medical school to be a psychiatrist vs. a clinician.

If you find your current work with children rewarding - I'm not sure what kind of clinical disorders you are dealing with, if it's learning disability, personality disorder, development issues - but you can definitely search schools and programs that focus specifically on those areas. If you'd like to branch out, you could try internships or research coordinator roles that allow you to test out different things.

Ashley recommends the following next steps:

  • Research the differences between a PhD, PsyD, psychiatry or social work degree, their pros and limitations, and see what you're interested in.
  • Once you narrow that down, search programs - more important than schools - that have a strength in your area of interest.

Andrew’s Answer

Christina, thanks for sharing. As someone who went to graduate school, I believe it can be a very personally and professionally enriching experience and is a long term investment in career and self. Graduate programs can have a wide range of results results based on type of program, location, cost of attendance, and prior work experience. What type of program are you interested in? (business, law, psychology)?

Andrew recommends the following next steps:

  • Decide on type of program
  • Research employers/jobs that typically hire from program
  • Depending on financial situation...research cost of programs, and typical salaries coming out of program to see how long it might take to cover cost of program
  • Research which programs will truly teach you something new, and are additive to your existing work experience. Refer to classes/professors as a estimate

Dr. Ali’s Answer

Updated Houston, Texas

1. Choose a major that you are confident you are ready to see through to the end.

2. Do it when you can focus and make learning the priority, not your job the priority.