Careers in Psychology

 
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Students who seek a degree in psychology will have a variety of possible career options, many of which focus on human behavior and how environment and motivations influence that behavior. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology gives the foundational skills needed to pursue positions that involve studying human nature or that require extensive human interaction. The Master of Arts in Psychology enables students to combine and utilize their in-depth research and their analytical and problem solving skill sets to pursue further education, or to begin or further their careers. This information provided is an informational tool to help you identify career and internship opportunities; federal employment information; and academic and professional organizations.

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Useful Skills within the Psychology Field

Helping - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying and taking time to understand the points being made.

Problem Solving - Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.

Reading Comprehension - The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.

Reasoning - Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of the reactions of others and understanding why they react the way they do.

Speaking - Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.

Writing and Authoring - Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.

Managing Time - Allocating and budgeting your time for various tasks so that tasks are completed as needed.

Negotiating - Bringing people together to discuss and resolve differences.

 
Careers


Must-Know Information

It is important to note that the Master of Arts in Psychology does not qualify graduates to seek professional licensure or engage in counseling or psychotherapy. The program’s value to graduates lies in the foundation of theory and knowledge of practice. It focuses on the classroom study of what psychologists do rather than hands-on learning, which would require field-experience education such as what one experiences in an internship or during residency.

While your degree prepares you for a variety of career options, you may decide to use your degree as a foundation for advanced degrees or other career options. Advanced degrees beyond your B.A. in Psychology are essential for teaching; clinical and therapeutic counseling; and administrative and supervisory positions.

Throughout this guide, you will find career options that are specifically geared towards the preparation you gained through your coursework, as well as some options that require additional education or certifications. As always, research is vital. Be sure to research your local and state regulations when considering employment in areas beyond those for which this degree is specifically designed.

Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the psychology field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry, using our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only) or by speaking with a career coach.

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. Check with your state’s credential and licensing department to ensure your education is an appropriate foundation for your ideal career.

Human Resource Specialists
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Residential Advisor
Social and Human Services Assistants
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Positions for which students are seeking additional education, certificates, or credentials are listed below. Many states have their own credentialing requirements and your degree may or may not meet their requirements. Please visit your state’s credentialing website for additional information on whether your chosen path requires specific credentials.

City and Regional Planning Aides
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors

Social Science Research Assistants
Statisticians
Training and Development Specialists

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships; they are organized by interest or by federal program.

There are government-organized internship programs that provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.

Pathways
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years, from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF.

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in psychology. The list below provides some examples of those federal agencies. Each position within the federal government is classified under a series of numbers. For example, the “Social Science, Psychology, and Welfare Group,” is within the 0100 series. You can narrow down the exact series number based on your interest and search for it on USAjobs.gov across hundreds of federal agencies.

Department of Defense
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security

Department of Veterans Affairs
Federal Emergency Management Agency

While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is related to the psychology field.

Academic Careers Online (ACO)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Association for Psychological Science (APS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Child and Family Policy
The Chronicle of Higher Education

HigherEdJobs.com
JobsinPsychology.com
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Social Psychology Network

 
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Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations
Conferences and Expositions

Psychology Conferences Worldwide
A comprehensive listing of psychology conferences.

AACAP Annual Meeting
Oct. 20-25, 2015
San Diego, Calif.

AAPL 45th Annual Meeting
Oct. 23-26, 2014
Chicago, Ill.

APNA 28th Annual Conference
Oct. 22-25, 2014
Indianapolis, Ind.

ABPsi 47th Annual Conference
July 19-26, 2015
Havana, Cuba

APS 27th Annual Conference
May 21-24, 2015
New York, N.Y.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference (ADAA)
April 9-12, 2015
Miami, Fla.

International Convention of Psychological Science
March 12-14, 2015
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISPP Annual Meeting
July 3-6, 2015
San Diego, Cali.

SIOP 30th Annual Conference
April 23-25, 2015
Pennsylvania, Pa.

SPSP 16th Annual Conference
February 26-28, 2015
Long Beach, Cali.

Get Connected: Social Media

American Psychological Association (APA) – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Anxiety and Depression Association of America – Facebook, Twitter
APA PsycNET - Facebook
Association for Psychological Science - Facebook, Twitter
Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences - Facebook, Twitter
National Center for PTSD – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Facebook, Twitter
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - Facebook, Twitter
Society for Personality and social Psychology (SPSP) - Facebook

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