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What is an effective way to decide which path you want to take careerwise?

I have two different career paths I'm considering taking and I'm not sure how to decide which I want to take. I'm struggling to choose between psychology or accounting/finance. The thing is that I have more experience than most my age, in Accounting (I'm currently taking Accounting 2 as a Junior in Highschool), but very little experience in Psychology. I can see myself being some type of therapist though, which is why Psychology has suddenly become something I'm considering. I like to be there for people and help them with any problems they may be going through. Even if it's just being the person they vent to or a shoulder to cry on. On the other hand, I also enjoy math, numbers, figuring out problems, etc. which is why I like accounting. Any advice?

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Chirayu’s Answer

One effective way to decide between two career paths is to gather more information about both fields and consider your skills, interests, values, and goals. You can start by researching job duties, educational requirements, and career prospects for both psychology and accounting/finance. It may also be helpful to talk to people who work in both fields or to shadow someone in each career for a day to gain a better understanding of what each job entails. Additionally, reflect on what is important to you in a career and how each path aligns with your personal and professional aspirations. What kind of work environment do you want to be in? What are your long-term goals? Are you willing to pursue further education or certifications? Ultimately, it's important to trust your gut and choose the path that feels like the best fit for you. It's okay if you feel unsure or conflicted, as making a decision may take some time and self-reflection.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Bri
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Grant’s Answer

I had a friend who was in a similar position who ranked these career paths as 1A and 1B because it was too difficult for them to decide. When it was time to enroll in college, my friend ended up majoring in accounting and minoring in psychology. It benefited her very well as she learned to handle difficult situations with clients because she was well versed in both fields.

While I can't speak to any psychology classes or career path, accounting is a great career path and as you are probably aware it's the language of business. Accounting will open up a lot of doors and you'll learn the ins and outs of how Company's operate as you become more involved in various business process areas (e.g. order to cash, procure to pay, treasury, stock compensation, financial reporting, taxes, fixed assets, leases, etc). Understanding a Company's control environment is an interesting part of the job that requires cooperation with numerous stakeholders. Therefore leveraging the foundations of your psychology classes can play a part in your success since you will interact with individuals with different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, attitudes, etc.
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Madisyn’s Answer

Hi Bri,

It's great that you have multiple career fields that interest you! In your situation, I would suggest that you research a bit more on the career fields and how they fit into your desired day-to-day life. Psychologists and accountants have different ways of working, different working hours, different types of clients/projects, etc. Therefore, I would encourage you to research the lifestyles and type of work that each field can provide and determine which is more suited to you.

Additionally, it is absolutely OK that you have more experience in accounting than psychology so far. If you chose to go down the path of psychology, you will learn all that you need to in college. If you chose to go down the path of accounting, it will be great that you have base knowledge on the subject when you get to college.
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Pratibha’s Answer

Hi Bri! It's great to see that you have diversifying interests. Interests keep changing over time and it's important to decide what major can help you achieve your goals. You can consolidate all your skills, goals, and interests in an excel file and cross-check with the majors of your interest. I would highly encourage talking to current students/ alumni in the programs you're interested in on LinkedIn or other platforms. Once all that is done, you can look at a few major options relevant to your goals. You can look into a Bachelor of Accounting degree with a minor in Psych, consider a double major, get a generic BA degree in case your interests change over time, or a BA in Psychology and study for the CFA exam separately after taking a few Accounting electives/ minor. However, I'd like to add that getting a finance internship is easier than psychology as psychology requires a lot of experience in terms of study, research, etc. So, before you make a decision, please look into all these factors, ask questions on the universities' reddit thread (will really help you get an objective viewpoint) and watch YouTube videos from students who have taken this career path. Good luck!
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Dr. LaShanda’s Answer

All above have provided excellent advice and you have taken steps yourself to have a general idea of what you may be interested in. Remember to not settle. Reach for a fulfilling career and be open to adjusting your interest as you learn and experience more. Another recommendation to get you going is to take a career interest inventory if you have not already. This allows you to answer a set of questions after which you are provided a cluster of different career paths.

The career that is right for you may be a hybrid of what you love to do. You may be surprised by what you find and discovery that there is a career path that allows your combine your interest in both. I was convinced early on that I wanted to be a Computer Scientist or a Secretary. Very different in theory but when I figured out what I found desirable in both disciplines my mind was opened to other careers that I knew nothing about. Fast forward 20 years and I am an Human Resource Executive and I am doing elements that I love from both of my early career choices.

Dr. LaShanda recommends the following next steps:

Never settle and delve into the elements of each career to really know what you like about each. This may open the path to currently unknown career paths
Complete a Career Inventory Survey - Example of one is https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/careers/clusterSurvey
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Michael’s Answer

The best part of being at the beginning of a career is that the unknown is both scary and exciting. I've found that regardless of the industry you're looking into, deep down people are more often always willing to help when asked. I would recommend simply reaching out to some local business's in these fields to get their direct experience to get where they are. The worst thing that could happen is that they decline to speak, the best thing is that they share the exact answer you needed to move forward.
Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! Bri
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david’s Answer

A possible consideration for you is that psychology requires an advanced degree for a serious position, whereas a BA is sufficient to get a job in finance, and there are many job variations in that field.
Thank you comment icon That's true, I'll have to consider that. Thank you!! Bri
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Monica’s Answer

I suggest you make a list of 25 of your values , core values are basic fundamentals believes that guide and motivate you . Finish then by selecting only 5 core values.

Reflecting on inspirational motives exercise :
1. how you define success. 2. what drives you to make an impact. 3. when do you feel most alive 4. what would you stand for even if it was not popular.

I recommend also an inside out reflection exercise. Find out what is your mission in life.
Reflect on your WHY ( why you exist /your purpose/ mission), HOW do you accomplish your why ( discipline and your values) and then think of the the WHAT( what you do) .
Do a list of skills , reflecting on which are your strengths and areas of improvement and hopefully after those exercises on your values and finding your why, you can select a career that will align with your values and will make you happy.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Monica! Bri
Thank you comment icon you are welcome Monica Jaramillo
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Jon’s Answer

Hi, I agree with the previous responses about finding internships and that jobs in psychology may require a longer education. One other thing to think about --my guess here--is that a job in psychology will have much higher emotional highs and lower emotional lows than the finance field. In my experience (engineer) technical or financial problems are easy to "leave at work" but people issues tug at your heartstrings and keep me awake at night. I would guess the psychology field gets you exposed to some pretty harsh human issues. The reward when things go well would be amazing but when things go badly, I would have trouble leaving that at work.
Thank you comment icon Loved reading this, thanks! Bri
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Alexa’s Answer

Well I would say try to find out more about both careers you should find a career that makes you happy and a career your passionate about. If you have some knowledge about one that’s great but the real question is which one speaks out to you more, which career do you see yourself pursuing in. But just remember to pick a career that your passionate about and you see yourself doing in the future.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Alexa for the advice. Bri
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Kendall’s Answer

Bri

The best way to decide which is the best career path for yourself is to first identify what are your best skills. Once you have identified which natural talents that you were born with, you may want to research which careers would be a good match for your capabilities. Also, consider a career that would not feel like work because you enjoy doing it that much. In other words, find what makes you happy and the money will follow.

Good Luck
Thank you comment icon Thank you!!!! Bri
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Internships are a great way to immerse yourself in the field and learn if that is something you want to do long-term. Some companies offer early internship programs as a high schooler or even during your freshman/sophomore year in college. You will find yourself applying psychology (or emotional intelligence) in every role/career you decide on.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Bri
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Trudi’s Answer

If you can, I would start by job shadowing someone in each of the fields you are considering. Maybe there is a way to do both, such as having your own psychology practice where you have to do the accounting for your business.
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