People with Psychology Degrees - What do you do with them?

  1. The story:

    I'm 23 and I don't know what to do with my life. :rolleyes: I spoke to an academic advisor at my university this past week, who told me that I'm about a year and a half from graduating from most major programs at our university.

    Based on what I can complete with the least amount of backtracking, I've got it narrowed down to biology and psychology. Psychology has the advantage that it's easy for me -- the workload isn't all that bad and I tend to get good grades without murdering myself in the process (I've done well in the sciences, but the amount of effort I had to put into my classes to get those grades is insane). I could get really good grades & those will look great on graduate and professional school applications, should I decide to take that path further down the road. All of this is really appealing to me.

    But! What can I do with a psychology degree? Those of you with psychology degrees: What did you do with them? Did you go to graduate or professional schools? What kinds of jobs does your degree qualify you to do?

    I spoke with my personality psychology professor, who told me that most people who get a B.A. in Psychology wind up working in human resources or as social workers (I don't see myself working in those areas).

    Then, I've got two rather shallow questions:

    1. You guys have all heard the stereotype: "A psychology degree is a joke." "Psychology is the only major that doesn't teach you anything." Are these sayings founded in truth? Will I be "in trouble" if I get a psychology degree?

    2. As far as pay goes, what kinds of opportunities are out there for people with psychology degrees?

    Thanks for reading. :smile:
  2. I have a PhD in Clinical psych. I did clinical practice for 9 years and then jumped into a corporate job in healthcare. If you plan to stop at your BA, I would suggest you check into HR, as there is a very wide variety of great HR jobs, everything from being a generalist to exec comp, to benefits, etc. And once you get with a good organization and find the area in HR that you like, you can do quite well financially. So, don't rule out HR.

  3. Go back for a Masters Degree. Then spend the rest of your life wishing you had gotten a degree in something useful.:wacko:

    Seriously, you can't even work in the mental health field with a psych degree: they all want MSWs from an accredited school of social work. No offense to our MSWs on board, but it's been a bite in the butt to be someone like me that's MORE than qualified to work in the mental health system and know I'm muscled out by social work undergrad degrees.

    Take your biology degree, build on that and find something in the medical field. You'll have no problem finding a job and no problem making a decent income.
  4. Oh, and one more question, if you'll indulge me:

    To those of you working in the psychology field, which educational path did you take to arrive at your job?
  5. This won't be terribly helpful, but my older son has a B.A. in psych. and works in the neuropsychology clinic at the U of Iowa Hospital. He tests and evaluates patients, helps with research, testifies in court cases. However he's underpaid for all he does and he's been there so long he can't really advance and a graduate degree wouldn't help him where he is (moving isn't an option).

    If you see yourself in counseling/doing therapy, IMO LCSW is the way to go.
  6. Yeah I agree. I'm graduating with my BA in psych in the spring then I'm going to get my Master's. I'm taking a class called "careers in psych" and there is actually a lot that you can do, though I'd really suggest going on past your BA if you want to make a decent living. I'm in Industrial Psych which is involved in helping companies with their client base and apparently there is a lot of need for people who can help in that area.
  7. I did a 7 year stint as the house shrink for DirecTV here in Calif. Great job, and probably what you are thinking about. Good to get into the field and start meeting people, a lot of jobs are "developed" for the right person with the right idea, and knowing people in large organizations that might be interesting in your services.
  8. Do I need an honors to go on to higher psychology degrees (e.g. industrial psychology, like you mentioned -- I like the idea of working within a company!), or can I make do with a general degree and very high grades?
  9. Honestly, it really depends on what you want to do...I graduated with a psych degree a year ago, but I can honestly tell you that a lot of the the jobs offered for this degree are very low-paying. Not saying all the jobs are like that, but just a general idea. Some of the higher paying ones (like the ones in HR/companies) are competitive, but it also helps if your personality fits with that field (edit: meaning, if you got the personality, then you can definitely get the job with just a friend has a great job in this field with a BA! :yes:).

    I had the most difficult time with what I wanted to do with my degree (albeit I had a good gpa and a unrelated minor in Art History) because I didn't see myself as a very good counselor (which wasn't even my specialty field as an undergrad) or an HR person (because I'm pretty introverted). However, I was actively involved with research for 2 years as an undergraduate, and I realized that if I wanted to continue to do research (as in, work in a research institution such as a university), I had to go to graduate school. I'm also open to teaching in the college-level/junior college (which, again, equates to more grad school).
  10. I have a BA in Psychology. However, I also have a BA in Advertising. I got the psych degree as a 2nd major because I really liked the classes and at some point realized I had enough credits to graduate with a double major. I work at an ad agency and throughout my career the psych degree really helped me in differentiating myself from other ad majors.

    Don't listen to those who say psychology is a joke. There is nothing more applicable to life and dealing with people than human behavior. However, I do agree that if you want to continue in the psych field, you will need to get an advanced degree. I believe if you want to have your own private clinical practice you will need to get a PhD -- if you have only a Master's, you must practice under someone who's a PhD (if this is no longer correct, someone please advise).

    IMO, you can take your degree and apply it to a lot of business situations.
  11. There aren't many high paying jobs that you can get with a B.A. in Psych alone. However, if you have a Ph.D or a Psy.D you have a lot of options. You can practice in a private or hospital setting, teach in a university, work with kids, work for a private company or the government. You can even work for the C.I.A if you want to.

    I definitely recommend joining Psi Chi, which is the national Psychology honor society. It looks good on an application/resume, and they can give you a lot of help deciding your career choice.
  12. ^Yes, definitely join Psi Chi, it's really helpful!
  13. My husband went to law school after getting a B.S. in Psych.
  14. Take a look here for various positions that people with Psych degrees have entered after graduation.

    As you would expect, many are social service/human resource based posititions. The site also lists "advanced degree" positions.

    These are compiled from surveys of recent graduates and you can find them at several university Career Center websites.

    BTW: my undergrad degree was in BioPsych, worked at a college for a while, then finished Masters in Counseling and Doctorate in Education and teach at a local college.