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Basics of Psychology?

Is a psychology based job more interesting than psychology classes in college? How do psychology centered jobs generally pay? Is there any big flaws with your occupation that you wish you could eliminate?

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mark’s Answer

Hello Eli,

If you are finding your college classes boring and uninteresting, then perhaps you should look for other course in the field of psychology that feel more interesting. Seek outside resources for help as well-- books, journal articles, blogs, etc. The earning potential in psychology professions varies greatly on the type of job you would like to pursue. Psychiatrists are usually the highest paid professionals in the field, though you would need to become a medical doctor in order to practice psychiatry. I strongly urge you to look at what you would most like to do and then find opportunities that may pay fairly well, but are not likely to make you wealthy.

The biggest flaw I have experienced as a therapist is the role of managed care insurance companies in steering the therapy process. Their role is to make money for their company, sometimes at the client's expense. I found working with them to be the biggest irritant in my career.

I hope some of this helps. I wish you all the best in your pursuits.

Mark V.
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Tam(Tommy)’s Answer

Dear Eli, to answer your questions, firstly, psychology based job are not always more interested than the psychology classes. In practice, you will meet with different people, clients and cases that test your mental endurance- the kind that the college classes may not prepare you to handle. It also differentiate by different practice such as research or actual counseling. The former can be a headache due to different numbers and analysis, the latter is tiresome due to mental burden. Both however comes with legal obligation that in turn can be, again, burdensome.

In term of payment, it varies and some would argue that it is not enough. However, this answer will vary based on what you define as "little/enough/a lot" as well as other external factors. In general, here in California, the pay for entry level psychological job can be $17-23$. Despite so the turnover rate is still high due to mental burnout, which I find to not worth the pay.

Some flaws in my current career, ABA therapy, are the loopholes, cultural barriers and lack of training. There will be time where you will need to go against the training based on the client as well as their environment. Furthermore, usually our clients are children of very young ages(which fit ABA model of training being play-base), but if we work with an adult client( rare but happens), there a completely different rules and chance for them to just delay treatment altogether. Cultural barriers affect the work because parents may sometime ask you for favors that in their cultures would be acceptable such as babysitting their children(a big no-no in my career). Finally, due to the turnover rate, sometime companies would not train their personnel correctly and would assign them cases before they could be ready.

That are my experience but if you interested, never afraid of trying it out. Good Luck, Eli!
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James’s Answer

Eli to keep it simple psychology 101 in college gives you a broad overview of psychology. Then you can take more advanced courses like developmental psychology, group dynamics, etc. When you begin working in the field is when you apply some of what you've learned in a practical setting. To be honest most entry-level jobs in the field can be tough but like in any field, you have to pay your dues. Here in New York City, even entry-level psychologists get paid well. You can begin with upwards of $50,000 or more per year. I was a substance abuse counselor for the State of New Jersey for 20 years and when I retired I was making $80,000 per year and I now have a nice pension. I absolutely loved being a counselor. If you enter the field I hope you love what you're doing as well.
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