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Majoring in psychology?

arghwhyarghwhy Posts: 241Registered User Junior Member
edited May 2013 in Other College Majors
Everyone is deterring me from doing this, since it's such a popular major and has relatively no job prospects. How are my fellow psychology majors jobs' prospects like?
Post edited by arghwhy on
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Replies to: Majoring in psychology?

  • xINTJxxINTJx Posts: 46Registered User Junior Member
    Well, if you want to be a psychologist you need a PhD (similar to being a doctor or professor). However, you could become a counselor, therapist, or something like that with a BA degree. I would say you probably need to have very good people skills to land a job with that degree (extraverted, know what people want, good comm. skills) I have none of these skills, so thats why i'm studying Mechanical engineering. lol.

    I would say switch majors. 2 of my friends have recently graduated with a degree in psyc. (one did BA, other did BS) and BOTH of them are going back to get a second bachelors (one in nursing, and the other in 1 extra year of premed--->med school)

    Pick a STEM field (Science Technology Engineering Math) or medical/health, they have the lowest unemployment rate, and the best/coolest/most important jobs (my opinion).
  • turtlerockturtlerock Posts: 1,117Registered User Senior Member
    I would say switch majors. 2 of my friends have recently graduated with a degree in psyc. (one did BA, other did BS) and BOTH of them are going back to get a second bachelors (one in nursing, and the other in 1 extra year of premed--->med school)
    I concur. Unless you have an absolute passion for Psychology and plan to get a PhD, then switch majors. I too have a friend who majored in Psych a couple years ago and found no good job prospects and didn't really know what to do. She had a couple interviews and worked as a phone rep type person for eHarmony or Match or one of those online dating sites always trying to talk customers out of cancelling their services. She wasn't happy.

    She ended up going back to school a year later to set a Masters in Social Work to be a social worker, but obviously she wouldn't be able to land a social worker job with just the Psych degree alone.
  • anemgianemgi Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    Human Resources is a common career path for those majoring in Psychology. The job market is good; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the human resources sector is expected to increase 21% from 2010 to 2020 (faster than average). A bachelor's degree (often in Psych or Business Administration) is the typical education level required for an entry-level position.

    Advertising/Marketing is another Psych-friendly career, from what I've heard. Understanding the mindset of prospective consumers is a vital tool in connecting with one's target audience, after all.

    Psychology is also a popular major for those who intend to go to law school, if that is something you'd be interested in. As other posters have noted, many psych majors continue on for further education, often in the fields of Social Work, Counseling (all different types -- school, family, addiction, etc.), and Medicine. However, there ARE careers available to those with just a BA -- you might just have to work a little bit harder to find them!

    That said, don't listen to people who tell you to enter a STEM field, unless it is one you're truly interested in. There is something to be said for doing what you love. Yes, some people have a love for STEM fields - in which case, I say, go for it! - but others do not, and it is unwise, in my opinion, to force yourself into a career that you would not enjoy. After all, chances are, you're going to be in your chosen field for many, many years to come.
  • turtlerockturtlerock Posts: 1,117Registered User Senior Member
    Human Resources is a common career path for those majoring in Psychology.
    A common career path for a common major. I'd expect keen competition for those positions.
    Psychology is also a popular major for those who intend to go to law school, if that is something you'd be interested in.
    Psychology majors are recorded as taking fairly low LSAT scores. Between 16 and 17 out of 29 isn't that great if you're trying to get into a top program because the legal market is so full right now.

    Legal Blog Watch

    Average LSAT Scores for 29 Majors with over 400 Students Taking the Exam

    The second link is an article from 94 or so, but it's basis is that 15 years later the major didn't move on the list which indicates accuracy and continuity.
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Posts: 1,260Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ Actually, I graduated with a BA in psychology in Dec. 2010 and I am currently working as a human resources manager. There are a lot of positions available - but many start at entry-level, low wages. However, there is also plenty of room for advancement beyond that. And sure, there might be a lot of applicants for those positions, but I'd say most aren't serious competition. I can't even find a decent HR assistant for my office right now because most of the applications I'm getting are just...sad.

    There are plenty of options for furthering your education outside of the PhD area as well - you can pursue a masters in business, marketing, social work, human resources, education, etc. People don't realize how flexible a degree in psychology really is. They think a degree in psychology must lead to a career as a psychologist - but there is so much more you can do with it. Many psychology students are mediocre with no real ambitions or any idea what to do with their degree after graduation. If you're one of the few with headstrong ambitions, you certainly have an edge.
  • anemgianemgi Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    Psychology majors are recorded as taking fairly low LSAT scores. Between 16 and 17 out of 29 isn't that great if you're trying to get into a top program because the legal market is so full right now.

    Turtlerock, thanks for the links. However, my point is not so much what the "average" Psych major does with his or her degree; rather, it is what <i>can</i> be done with the degree. As NovaLynnx noted, "many psychology students are mediocre with no real ambitions or any idea what to do with their degree after graduation." For the motivated student, though, there is no telling what can be accomplished.

    On average, Psych majors may not score as well on the LSAT as others, but that does not mean that a smart, determined Psych major is incapable of doing so. For instance, my mother was a Psych major at Williams, aced the LSAT, and then attended an Ivy League law school. My mother is an extremely intelligent human being - could have majored in anything and done well - but she loved Psych and chose to pursue it. If the OP is smart and hardworking, his or her major - regardless of what it is - will not hold him/her back from admission to a top-tier law school.

    The law school admissions process is, for all intents and purposes, major-blind -- it is hardly anything more than a numbers game. So long as a given applicant achieves a high GPA/LSAT score, his or her major does not matter -- at least not to the extent that one might expect. That said, I would encourage the OP (and others) to fully investigate the current state of the legal market before heading to law school. It is highly saturated at the moment (and will be for the foreseeable future), and even those graduating from the best of the best law schools are having trouble finding jobs.

    On an unrelated note, I hope to enter the field of Human Resources after my college graduation, and FWIW, professionals in the field have told me I would have been better off pursuing a degree in Psychology or Business Administration. Definitely something to consider if you're at all interested in HR, OP.
  • turtlerockturtlerock Posts: 1,117Registered User Senior Member
    anemgi wrote:
    However, my point is not so much what the "average" Psych major does with his or her degree; rather, it is what <i>can</i> be done with the degree. As NovaLynnx noted, "many psychology students are mediocre with no real ambitions or any idea what to do with their degree after graduation." For the motivated student, though, there is no telling what can be accomplished.
    I'm not saying that no Psych major can do those things noted above, but that the average Psych major seems to have trouble accomplishing those feats. Therefore, I guess the advice to the OP is: Don't be an average psych major. If they have a fear that they may be just another average psych major, then it would be advised to find another major.
    anemgi wrote:
    On average, Psych majors may not score as well on the LSAT as others, but that does not mean that a smart, determined Psych major is incapable of doing so.
    See above.
    anemgi wrote:
    The law school admissions process is, for all intents and purposes, major-blind -- it is hardly anything more than a numbers game. So long as a given applicant achieves a high GPA/LSAT score, his or her major does not matter -- at least not to the extent that one might expect.
    Yes, LS admission is almost solely dependent upon the GPA and LSAT combo, but that's the deduction in my (stolen) analysis: generally a major can effect LS acceptances directly based on how well they generally indirectly prepare that student through the major to learn the LSAT (as it is a learn-able test). Again, based on the average LSAT score from a Psych major, it may seem that that major does not prepare it's students very well. Of course there will be some individuals that have the LSAT come naturally or they do a little bit of a better study towards it and will thus score a little better. But we're covering the average here, which hopefully the OP will not be.
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Posts: 1,260Registered User Senior Member
    I'm not saying that no Psych major can do those things noted above, but that the average Psych major seems to have trouble accomplishing those feats.

    I don't think the average psych major has difficultly accomplishing those feats - I think the problem is that most don't even try to begin with. I have never heard a fellow psych major at my college say they wanted to go to law school, so I'm sure the idea of preparing for the LSAT never (or rarely) crossed their minds. There were plenty who seemed to want to go into counseling but never even tried to pursue an internship because they thought their grades and taking relevant courses were all that mattered. There were only a select few of us who took research experience seriously, as well.

    It seems to me that many students going into the psychology major don't know at the start that they may need additional schooling to pursue the most obvious career paths (namely, to be a psychologist, counselor, etc.). A year or two into the program they will begin to learn these things, but I get the impression that they just don't feel like going through the hassle of changing majors, or they find psychology "fun" or "easy," or think they'll worry about graduate school later. Then they find out upon graduation that it really isn't so easy to figure out a plan at the last moment.

    So I think a well-informed prospective psychology student has a much greater chance of doing well in the field than the majority of students with less accurate perceptions and poorly developed plans. I see these same things happening to the general business majors who have no idea what they really can/want to do with their degrees. The same with English and other popular yet seemingly less practical majors. Those who crack down early and develop a strong plan always seem to work something out (from what I've seen and experienced), while the majority who don't...don't.
  • AllyJayAllyJay Posts: 181Registered User Junior Member
    Don't go into a STEM fields because someone told you to or you think it has the most job options. There's no problem with major in Psych. You want to be passionate about what you're doing whatever it is. My counselor always tells me to major in what YOU feel like and then find jobs that go around that. (within reason. Don't only major in art if you're really not that good at art.) I agree with earlier posts. A lot of counselors only have their B.A., I think. The only person I know with a Phd is my Psych teacher. You may want to go into Human Resources or something like that and if you want to get a higher degree go for it! My sister's taking a break and going into International Psych. so she can work with the government.

    Also look for majors that can compliment psych. like criminal justice. With that you can become a profiler for either the police or a major organization like the FBI. Does your school have a college counselor of some sort? Ask them about their major (if their in psych.) and see if they have any ideas of specified psych. or complimentary psych. majors.
  • turtlerockturtlerock Posts: 1,117Registered User Senior Member
    Don't go into a STEM fields because someone told you to or you think it has the most job options.
    This is truth as well. I have a friend that got a degree in biomedical engineering and works for Genentech . . . as an event planner. Seriously.
  • arghwhyarghwhy Posts: 241Registered User Junior Member
    ^wow, that was very insightful.
  • swedo94swedo94 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    As far as majoring in psychology I think it will take me where I want to go, career wise. But I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a job I could do in the field while I'm going for my degree; a job in the field that doesn't require a degree. if anyone knows please let me know. thanks

    -Swedo94
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Posts: 1,260Registered User Senior Member
    That depends...what do you want to do in your career? Then pick jobs that will build up the skills you need to get there. For example, if you want to be a child psychologist, then working with children will be good experience. If you want to do research, then talk to your profs about becoming a research assistant. Looking at HR? Get some office experience.

    Build up your people skills. Working in retail has done wonders for my public speaking skills and has exposed me to a wide variety of personalities and situations.

    Internships will be important, which will give you the most relevant work experience in exchange for course credit. They will likely be the closest to what you are actually pursuing, and may be paid or unpaid. Look early for good internships.
  • GlamorousGirlGlamorousGirl Posts: 168Registered User Junior Member
    I had considered psychology because I was interested in it but also because you have the potential to get a "community service" type job that could end up getting you college loan forgiveness. In my state every county/city has a counseling office that helps low income people in need with counseling. This potential may be something to put in the "advantages" column when you are deciding. I ended up deciding not to do it because science is one of my weaknesses and I don't want to take the science courses required for that major at my school.
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