Where your Degree Can Take You
Few degrees offer more career opportunities than does a psychology degree. Those career opportunities are diverse, challenging, fun, and for the most part, they pay well. The degree is also flexible, meaning that people can switch careers fairly easily. The freedom to choose a new setting within which to apply your psychological knowledge/skills provides for a life time of learning , challenge, and new energy and focus. Therefore, if you decide to major in psychology, you will open up a world of possibilities for yourself. Realistically, you will neither go broke nor live in a mansion if you choose a career in psychology. The good news is that you will most likely live above the median salary in the United States. How far above, depends upon what you do with your degree and whether you go on to graduate school or not. What you will do, no doubt, is help people improve their lives, and have a great time while you are doing it!
Here are some of the things that people do with a psychology degree:
1. Counseling/consulting with individuals, couples, or families in a private practice or agency setting: If you choose to develop a private practice, you must be licensed by the state of California. You must go on for further education after your BA degree, obtaining either a Masters of a Doctoral degree. You might be licensed as a:
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, M.A.
Licensed Professional Counselor (a new license, signed into law as of Oct. 2009), M.A.
Licensed Clinical Social Work, MSW
Licensed Psychologist, Psy.D., or Ph.D.
As a licensed professional, you may provide psychotherapy, psychological testing, or consulting services. You might choose to see a variety of clients or you might decide to limit your practice to a specialty area like:
divorce mediation, grief, infertility, sex addiction, gerontology, children, adolescents, men, women, behavioral medicine, health , forensics, career and educational counseling and/or group counseling.
2. Federal, state, or county community social service agencies: These agencies include directing agencies, case management for the severely disturbed population, investigating child or elder abuse allegations and/or counseling in substance abuse programs, foster care and adoption programs, and programs for the poor, homeless, elderly, or those individuals on probation.
3. Working in nonprofit agencies: Some examples of non profits include: YMCA, YWCA, United Way, Goodwill Industries, Pride Industries, Crisis Pregnancy Programs, Churches, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Child Advocate programs, Domestic Violence Programs and Suicide and Crisis Programs.
4. Teaching as a career: These individuals will most likely enter a post bacaulaurete program to obtain a teaching credential. People might teach in elementary school, high school, adult education programs, or college/university.
5. Working with children in a school setting: You might choose a graduate degree in school counseling if you like working directly with children, or school psychology if you like testing children and developing individualized education plans for them in collaboration with their teachers and parents.
6. Health related fields: Some individuals specialize in behavioral medicine--helping people maintain wellness by offering individual consultation for people who are dealing with health related issues and by providing courses for groups on such things as stress management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
7. Enhance their work in business: Writing, consulting with organizations, researching and publishing, and/or utilizing psychological knowledge in sales or public service careers are just a few examples of what you might do if you are business minded.
In summary, this is only a sample of what you might consider doing with your psychology degree, so if you still have questions feel free to contact Bev, Ken, or Doug in the psychology department or access the services of our career counselor, Anita Hermsmeier. We'd be glad to help you explore your options and then design a program that helps you achieve the goals you set for yourself.