Psychology is one of the most flexible majors at the undergraduate level. It can apply to almost any career, and it appeals to so many people. It’s actually one of the largest majors a UMD. The problem is, with so many choices, a lot of Psych majors feel pretty lost. UMD has seen this so often, they created a class just for exploring what you can do with Psych. It is required for the major, but if you don’t want to take it just yet, here’s a basic rundown of career options:
Counseling Psychology lets you talk one on one with someone and help them figure out how to work the best with what they’ve got. They can work in schools, hospitals, colleges, private practice, or pretty much anywhere they’re needed. They can be Grief Counselors, School Counselors, Career Counselors, Family Counselors, and so many more. You need a master’s to be called a counselor, and a Doctorate to be a Psychologist.
Clinical Psychology is essentially the research focus of Psych. Clinical Psychologists have generally gone to grad school and spent a lot of time asking people questions, studying how to write research reports, and just doing research projects. With how diverse a subject Psych is, you can imagine what they study: physiology, human interactions, stress, development, aging, mental disorders, consumerism (how people decide what to buy), and SO much more.
Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology studies, essentially, work places. Working environment, motivators, and learning in the workplace. You’ll usually find an I/O Psychologist in the Human Resource Department of a big firm.
Educational Psychology is focused on how people learn in settings like schools. Psychologists help develop teaching models, study how people on different developmental levels react to being taught, and everything else related to education. When working in a school setting, they’re generally referred to as School Psychologists, which often requires a separate degree.
Not everything in Psych requires an advanced degree, though. And not every Psych major is going to go into something necessarily “related to Psychology.” With A Bachelor’s, you can go into a lot of entry-level jobs and work your way up, with no additional education. For example: child care, Human Resources, Marketing, Information Technology, Administration, Retail, Editing, Nonprofits, and more.
With Psych, you can make your own path. You don’t have to follow a strict hierarchical scheme, or learn things in a certain order. You can make your own research projects, your own job, and your own focus. It’s such a young field, everything is constantly changing. There are specialties I haven’t discussed, and more that haven’t been developed. So if you’re interested in Psych, feel free to make your own path.
Still not sure?
The Graduate Follow-up Report has a list of what Psych majors (from UMD!) have done in the year since they graduated.
O*Net lets you look up a career and see salaries, similar occupations, classes you might like, and even job growth.
The Career Resource Center (SCC 22) has several books on what to do with a major in Psych.