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how do I get started with choosing a career?

#psychology
I'm starting my senior year in high school this fall, but I'm not sure what I should do. I have a huge interest in psychology and I want to major in psych, but my father says that it's pretty hard to finds jobs with a psychology degree. I just need some guidance on what steps I should take.

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John’s Answer

Janelle psychology involves how people think, feel and behave, as long as the population is growing we will have a need for psychology professionals. There are many subsets within psychology that involve helping people cope with specific issues, such as social interactions or health problems, or researching how a person's behavior can be affected by different variables. Professionals who work in psychology may not just be psychologists; they may be involved in providing patient care, documenting information about psychological topics or education. Since occupations in this field often involve research or working with people one on one or in small groups, you'll be able to an endless amount of careers that are suitable for a psychology major.

PSYCHOLOGISTS • 15% Job Growth • The average Psychologist salary in the US is $90,500 as of August 27, 2020.
There are several different kinds of psychologists, such as clinical, school and developmental psychologists, but none of them need previous work experience in the field beyond the internship in their training program. In general, psychologists study the brain and various human behavior and cognitive ability. Many psychologists conduct experiments and interviews to identify, study and treat a range of psychological issues and disorders. Psychologists typically need extensive education, with most positions requiring a doctorate degree or at least a master's degree. In most states, psychologists will need a license to practice.

MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPISTS • 22% Job Growth • The average Marriage and Family Therapist salary is $75,750.
Marriage and family therapists do not need related work experience to help counsel individuals, couples and families through their various relationships. These therapists specialize in helping their clients express themselves and address difficult situations in counseling sessions where they learn how to cope with these situations and change their behavior. They may also help clients process future decisions and recommend any needed community resources. Marriage and family therapists must have a license and master's degree and typically undergo an internship or residency.

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST • 15% Job Growth • The average Forensic Psychologist salary is $80,500 as of August 27, 2020.
A career as a forensic psychologists combines psychology and law principles. These psychologists help law officers, such as lawyers or judges, better understand the psychological motivations of cases. They can work in private practice or for hospitals and government agencies. Job responsibilities may include interviewing witnesses or suspects involved in a particular cases, providing expert testimony in court proceedings, and creating research papers or articles that discuss their work. Forensic psychologists usually need a doctoral degree and must obtain state licensure.

MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS • 22% Job Growth • The average Mental Health Counselor salary is $78,900 as of August 27, 2020.
Like marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors do not need prior work experience to help their clients navigate through various issues, but these professionals focus on mental health issues instead of relationship issues. They must begin by assessing their clients' mental health and then creating an individualized treatment plan with input from the client about their personal goals. Mental health counselors may address issues like depression, grief, anxiety and stress in individual or group counseling. These counselors usually need to hold a master's degree and complete an internship.

MARKET RESEARCH ANALYST • 20% Job Growth • The average Market Research Analyst salary is $80,900 as of August 27, 2020.
Market research analysts review conditions of the market to project sales of a service or product. Market research analysts need to understand the wants of consumers and which consumers will buy the products at what price. Market research analysts need at least a bachelor's degree for most positions in a field such as communications. This degree could help individuals interpret data and present their findings to clients, while a psychology background could prepare them to conduct research.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST • 20% Job Growth • The average Training Specialist salary is $83,500.
Training and development specialists help with the creation and implementation of employee training programs. These specialists may review existing materials, consult with employees and managers to create appropriate programs, and then implement and evaluate programs to ensure they are effective and efficient. Employers typically require candidates to have a bachelor's degree and some work experience in the industry. Possible fields of study could include educational or organizational psychology, and communication coursework could help prospective specialists develop the interpersonal skills they need to collaborate with other trainees and instructors.

SOCIAL WORKER • 12% Job Growth • The average Social Workers salary in the US is $75,500 as of August 27, 2020.
Individuals in law and psychology could consider working as a social worker. It is beneficial for social workers to have an understanding of the criminal justice system, especially for clients that are experiencing legal issues. Social workers assist people better manage daily problems by guiding clients through life events like unemployment or divorce, helping them obtain services like health insurance or food stamps, and dealing with child abuse or mental health cases. Social workers will need a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, with a master's degree required for clinical positions. They may work for family services agencies or government agencies.

POSTSECONDARY PSYCHOLOGY TEACHER • 12% Job Growth • The average Psychology Teachers salary is $80,750.
Although postsecondary psychology teachers do teach classes, introverts may still find many aspects of this profession are a good fit for their personality. Postsecondary teachers must spend time preparing their curriculum, developing assignments and marking student work. All of this allows for independent or small-group work that introverts prefer, and postsecondary teachers are usually involved in research and writing about their research as well. Postsecondary psychology teachers inform the next generation of psychologists about their discipline, and they typically must have a doctoral degree in psychology.

There are also lots of career paths in psychology beyond some of the "typical" options of clinical or counseling psychology. In fact, some of the most interesting job options might be those that you don't hear much about. One exercise you may find helpful is to look through a list of psychology careers to see what your options are and then narrow down the list to those in which you are most interested in.

Hope this was Helpful Janelle
Thank you comment icon Thank You for your Continued Support Dexter. Every problem is a gift – without problems we can't grow. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for listing these and breaking each one down. Especially the job growth part. I truly appreciate it. Janelle
Thank you comment icon Your Welcome Janelle, It was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Janelle. The real opportunity for success lies within the YOU and not in the career Janelle. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You for your Continued Support Ro. Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. John Frick
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Judy’s Answer

Hi Janelle,

It's great you're starting to explore now. Explore is the key word.

Just because you major in _______ , doesn't always mean you'll work in the same industry.

I'm a counseling psychology major. I wanted to be a Child Custody Mediator so I worked in a Family Law office and realized how much it impacted me emotionally. I also wanted to pursue Marriage Family Therapist but I needed to work and help pay for bills so school wasn't an option.. I worked at a different law office for 6 years and was able to utilize the knowledge I gained through conflict resolution between employees and clients.

Right now, I work in Talent Acquisition but I use what I've learned in so many ways as I interact with people. I do career coaching so that gives me opportunity to exercise my skills and counsel.

I hope what I share isn't discouraging but helpful. What you learn in Psychology can be exercised in practically every role that requires interaction with people. Exploring to see what you're good at is the journey that requires experimentation as well.

Judy recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of roles that you're interested in and require a degree in Psychology.
As you explore, list what you enjoyed or didnt and keep track.
List jobs you'd like to observe to see what the role is really like. Challenge then is finding people who will let you observe or asking people to talk to you about their career in Psychology.
Find a trustworthy person or group of people who can help you process your experiences. Many times people saw what I didnt see in myself.
Thank you comment icon This wasn't discouraging at all. I appreciate you sharing your experience and also presenting the list of steps. It will be really helpful for me. Thank you. Janelle
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Janelle,

My first question for you is - why psychology? How did you land on that career? Beginning with that, I would want to make sure that you did some research on the actual facts of the job. And that means job shadowing. Interacting with a psychologist and learn what the day-to-day activities are. Also ask questions about what is good and bad about being a psychologist. Maybe you could volunteer with a psychologist to learn for yourself what the administrative tasks are. I do not know how to make that happen, but being open to volunteer your time to help them may open doors for you to observe. I would recommend volunteering in a general sense as well. When you volunteer for various organizations, you are given different tasks that will help you expand your skills and experience in various roles.

If you want to take a broader look at what else you might consider, I would say do not lock into a career choice too soon. I actually knew my major when I went to college at 18. I did not graduate with that major. I wanted to write so I chose Journalism as a major. I even chose my university based on that major. However, I did not consider how competitive a project like that would be. So when you look at majors, learn as much as you can about what having that major entails. Consider majors that appeal to you. Unless the job that you want would benefit from a specific college, I would say choose a college based on its overall benefits, not just based on a major.

You can actually go into college life without a major selected. Most of your major work is done during your junior and senior year. I would suggest that you work hard on the general courses that you need to take at your university – English, History, Math, etc. I would also recommend that you challenge yourself with the elective courses that you take. If you do not really know what you want to major in, you should start to look in places where you have never looked. Take the elective that you don’t even know what it is. That will expose you to new experiences that may catch your attention. Or you may find that something you don’t think would be a good major is actually what you want to do. You should not be afraid of majors where you are not quite sure what you will do with it as a job.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
Gloria
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Donna’s Answer

Janelle; I had a hard time with this as a parent too. This is not your father's future it is yours. Your father may be correct finding a position as a psychologist may be difficult. There are a lot of stigma's associated with society and psychology. That being said, a psychology degree may lead you into another field that you like even more. It will give you a different perspective and could lend it self to becoming a CEO of a company or leader in Human Resources. In this changing world environment and record levels of suicide, you may be the key to solving that question of the survivor's ask. Why? How the brain works is fascinating, go for what you want with confidence and perseverance. Maybe that is what your dad is looking for, what is your conviction behind pursuit of this psychology degree?
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Laura’s Answer

Hi Janelle!

It is indeed a tough decision when it comes to choosing your career. However, I believe that college is the best time for you to explore different areas and find your passion. Colleges usually require freshmans to take general introductory courses in the first year and decide on a major in the 2nd year. This would be a good chance for you to explore different areas.

During your summer breaks, it would also be good to apply for internships. In addition to getting a more on the job practical experience and building your network, there is also a chance for you to return to the company after you graduate.

With regards to careers relating to psychology with a good job prospect, you can explore human resources. I would recommend you take some courses related to both psych and HR and see if you are passionate about the two!

Hope this helps!

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! I always thought you had to choose your major first year. Thank you again. Janelle
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Meghan’s Answer

I got a degree in psychology and found that it was incredibly difficult to find available jobs with that degree. At the same time, the degree is relatively broad and leads into sales, business, marketing, and more. Really, it is applicable to any field in which you work with other human beings but finding a true therapist or psych centered career is incredibly difficult and most require higher education.

Taking a free DISC Personality test online can give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and the types of careers that could be best suited for you. It can be very insightful and helpful when deciding on a career. I was told once that it doesn't matter what you do or how much money you make, you will be successful in your career so long as you do something that you are incredibly passionate about. Finding out who you are and what you need in a work environment will get you closer to figuring out what career you are most passionate about. Once you do that, the rest will fall in to place.

If Psychology is what you are most passionate about I urge you to take the DISC Personality test and see if psych related careers come up as suggestions. I would also suggest you look into the duties of specific psych related careers and see if those are duties you would enjoy performing each day.

I have included a link to a free online DISC Personality test below. Hope this helps!

https://discpersonalitytesting.com/free-disc-test/
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Michelle’s Answer

This is a really good question, but a difficult one to answer. I'm way older than you and sometimes I ponder "what do I want to do with the rest of my life?", so don't put too much pressure on yourself to figure it out. As I tell my daughter, who is a junior in college, explore, explore, explore...take classes of all kinds, of all things that may interest you, because your exposure to the world at this age, is what's most important. She too is interested in psychology, and is pursuing this as her major. One thing you'll definitely have to plan is your Masters and most likely a PhD in the field for maximum career success. It's a lot of schooling, but worth it if you're doing something you love.

Psychology classes are wonderful no matter what field you find yourself in - I think everyone can benefit from understanding the human psyche. It will serve you well in all aspects of your professional career. I'm actually in the field of consumer research, where psychology is a huge part of understanding and exploring the needs, wants, and desires of consumers. You might consider checking out some classes in Consumer Research and Design Thinking - both incorporate many aspects of psychology - and there are generally many job opportunities around the U.S. and likely within your own home state. Internships are available as well at many market research companies.

Hope this info was helpful and good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you. I've never actually heard of Consumer Research and design thinking. I will for sure be reading up on that. Thanks! Janelle
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Jose’s Answer

Hello Janelle, hope this message finds you well. As I try to relay to all of you that are asking these questions about the rest of your lives just remember that you are alright just as you are. Have confidence in yourself and know that you are fine and going to be ok! I admire that you are caring about your future and that you want to do something constructive and positive with it. The best advice I can give is to pay attention to yourself and what goes on inside of you. Are you fascinated about the mechanics of the brain and the mind, do you find yourself daydreaming about the why's and how's of peoples' behaviors, have you lent an ear to somebody who was going through a difficult situation in their life and even may be talked them through to feeling better about themselves? I imagine these are tasks performed by people who like psychology.
Please don't allow fear to dictate the decisions you make in choosing your career. There is a great demand for social services and counselling which the field of psychology lends itself too. There are not enough quality psychologist or psychiatrists and there are many more positions of employment in the field of psychology. You be determined and put yourself in positions to find success in whatever you wind up choosing to do and the opportunities will follow. Consider reading the book, "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill to get an understanding of creating your vision of what you want and the steps to get there. Good luck with all of your endeavors! Peace be with you...
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. I will definitely be reading the book. Janelle
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Tia’s Answer

Everyone has given great answers and I want to add my perspective. I previously worked in advertising and you wouldn't believe the amount of sociology and psychology degreed people we had in the office. You don't have to become a psychologist with a psych degree, other companies would love to bring you on board as you understand people as an individual (psych) and as a whole (social). I spent 10 years getting a degree (nights and weekends) and I agree that you should choose classes you are interested in. You are going to spend hours both in class and studying and why do that on something you aren't passionate about?
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Donna’s Answer

Janelle; I had a hard time with this as a parent too. This is not your father's future it is yours. Your father may be correct finding a position as a psychologist may be difficult. There are a lot of stigma's associated with society and psychology. That being said, a psychology degree may lead you into another field that you like even more. It will give you a different perspective and could lend it self to becoming a CEO of a company or leader in Human Resources. In this changing world environment and record levels of suicide, you may be the key to solving that question of the survivor's ask. Why? How the brain works is fascinating, go for what you want with confidence and perseverance. Maybe that is what your dad is looking for, what is your conviction behind pursuit of this psychology degree?
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Parita’s Answer

Hi, good day to you!
I would suggest you to go for a career where you have passion as that will help you in the long run. Choosing a career should be a combination of Talent + Passion + where you can be financially independent. So think through it, research on the job market availability in your city/country or other places where you are open to work for and choose accordingly.
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