Get PDF Your Career in Psychology: Putting Your Graduate Degree to Work

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You can type in psychologist in the Occupation Search and learn about a whole spectrum of the occupations for psychologists. Below are the answers to questions that are often asked by PSYC majors about the process of applying to graduate school. It depends on what you want to do! One of the first things to determine is whether you want to go into clinical psychology, or into research. This decision tree may be helpful in visualizing the most direct route to your desired career. If you want to do research, a PhD in your area of interest is needed.


If you are trying to determine your area of interest, it may be helpful to consider what psychology courses you liked most and also which courses you did not like. Finally, when looking at graduate programs, it is a good idea to be realistic about your qualifications for graduate study admission to graduate school is highly competitive as well as how long you are prepared to be in school.

Generally speaking, you need a package of materials, including competitive GRE scores and GPA, a well-written personal statement, official transcript, a curriculum vita CV and letters of recommendation. If you are applying to a research-based program, it is imperative to have research experience.

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If you are applying to a clinical program, it is helpful to have some clinical experience such as volunteering for a crisis hotline. Once you have determined which programs you wish to apply to, look at their specific application requirements and begin putting your package together for each program. Preparing your materials for graduate applications takes time and preparation, so begin well in advance.

It is entirely appropriate to begin preparing materials 6 months to a year before application deadlines. There are many prep books available that enable you to familiarize yourself with the exam format and practice exam questions. There are also prep courses available for a fee. Whether you choose to use books, a course, or both, make sure that you prepare! Beginning your preparation months in advance of your scheduled exam date is advisable.

Well in advance at least 1 month of the deadline, ask the professor in person or over e mail if he or she would write you a letter.

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If yes, then provide that person with a copy of your personal statement or a close-to-final draft , transcript and CV. Most letters will be submitted electronically, so make sure to let your letter writers know all the programs you are applying to, so that they can be watching their inboxes for the e mailed links. Sometimes, a graduate program will have guidelines for what they want you to put in your personal statement.

If no guidelines are given, then, broadly speaking, your personal statement should explain why you want to pursue graduate study in your chosen field.

Master’s in Psychology - Find Programs Near You | All Psychology Schools

Include your career goals, why those are your career goals, and why the graduate program you are applying to is needed to fulfill those goals. The study of psychology as a discipline is exciting and fascinating, but what can you do with a psychology degree? What are your career choices? While a psychology degree can prepare you for a number of occupations, only doctoral candidates are well-positioned to work directly within the field. D in Psychology are the most marketable.

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As these candidates move past the educational requirements and start submitting resumes, there are three primary focus areas. Training includes graduate courses on human behavior, psychotherapy, and community resources as well as two years of graduate training, followed by two to three years of supervised clinical work.

Unlike psychiatrists and, in some states, psychologists, social workers cannot prescribe medications. In the rare cases where they can, additional training is required, though the training does stop short of an M. D, PsyD, or Ed. D to become eligible for licensure. Coursework includes graduate courses in human behavior, development, personality, research, statistics, psychotherapy, assessment and ethics.

Psychiatrists are a level up from psychologists and several up from social workers. Psychiatrists are required to have either a Doctor of Medicine M. Their job outlook is expected to remain relatively low over the year period from to As of , there were only 25, psychiatrists employed throughout the U. By comparison, there are , social workers and , psychologists. In most states, you will need a degree from an accredited psychology program to be granted a license to practice.

To find an accredited psychology or psychiatry program in your area, start with your short list of schools, browse the course catalog and talk to faculty in their psychology departments. To learn more about the importance of accreditation and how it can affect your school choices, read this article on psychology degree program accreditation. Choosing a psychology program today is both easier and more challenging than it used to be.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Psychology?

When deciding how to choose a psychology program, you have to balance it on three primary factors: educational opportunity, professional goals and financial resources. In , U. News and World Report ranked the top schools in the country for general psychology. While the APA only accredits doctoral programs, students may attain pre-doctoral qualifications without incurring massive debt. Also, lack of APA accreditation will not necessarily be a deal breaker, as states set licensing standards independently.

D in Psychology or Doctor of Education Ed. D can open many doors professionally.


This is beneficial since there are dozens of career specialties to choose from. Some of the most common, the APA notes, are in the business, education, health, environment, public safety and performance psychology fields. The accrediting body also keeps a free database of job openings for psychology professionals. Currently, there are over postings, with more added daily. You do not have to be actively looking for a job to get value from job postings, as these reveal the types of specialized opportunities available. Also, personal relationship building is a good way to hone in on professional goals.

As you engage in coursework, ask questions and seek the counsel of your professors. As Business Insider pointed out in a piece from August , your odds of getting a job that you apply for are 2. So cultivate those relationships!


Controlling expenses at the undergraduate level helps to reduce the overall financial burden of a doctoral degree plan. To see if you qualify for financial aid, contact the financial aid office at the school you are attending. Also, speak with faculty in their psychology departments, preferably those with student advisory experience. Deadlines depend on your state of residence and the school year for which you are applying.

You can see the specifics for your situation at this link. Do the best you can. In a perfect world, you would be able to follow the exact career path at the school of your dreams and graduate with a perfect job waiting on you. Location can be a very important component of a degree program, especially if you are hoping to take advantage of residential in-state tuition and maybe even live at home to save money.