Master Degree in Psychology

Friday, July 31, 2009

So, what are you going to do with that psychology degree? With your college-educated insight into the human mind, you could do just about anything. Psychology is fundamental to nearly everything we do, and the degree is among the most versatile in the job market.

The qualities that make a good psychologist are also the qualities that make good business managers, health care workers, educators, or researchers. Psychology students need strong communications skills, compassion, research and analytical abilities, and last but not least, an understanding of what makes people tick. 
Five Careers for Psychology Majors

Most psychology graduates do not go on to careers as psychologists. Business and healthcare are the top employers of psychology majors, and the top three careers are manager, sales representative, and social worker. Here's a look at five different ways to put your psychology degree to work.

1. School Counselor

With the quality of education under increasing scrutiny, school counseling is more important than ever. And psychology graduates are in a position to do the job well. Psychology-educated school counselors have the background to troubleshoot student performance and help them develop effective learning strategies. In addition, they can guide students in the introspection necessary to answer that crucial question: "What do I want to be when I grow up?"

School counseling typically requires specialized training in addition to a bachelor's degree. State certification requirements range from a teaching certificate to a master's degree in the field. The good news: an online Master of Education in School Counseling can be completed in as little as a year.

School counseling promises to be the fastest-growing counseling specialty, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

2. Social Worker

Social workers draw on their interpersonal and organizational skills to guide clients through psychological, social, or financial problems. Psychology graduates have the training to work effectively in what can be an emotionally draining role. Their counseling background enables them to maintain an appropriate level of empathy and support without taking on their client's problems. 

A bachelor's degree in Psychology is sufficient qualification for many entry-level positions in social work, but most social workers go on to a two-year master's degree. An advanced degree is a requirement for supervisory, policy, and clinical positions. 

Social workers can look forward to plentiful job opportunities: the field is projected to grow 36% through 2014. <


3. Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists help patients adapt to mental or physical challenges and achieve an independent lifestyle. The job takes practical ingenuity--occupational therapists develop tools to improve mobility, exercises to improve mental acuity, etc. But most of all, it takes psychological insight. Gadgets and strategies aren't worth much unless the therapist can inspire a patient to use them. That's where your psychology degree comes in.

As of 2007, board certification requirements include graduate-level training and an exam. Psychology majors will need to supplement their undergraduate training with a master's degree in Occupational Therapy.

Earning that additional degree should pay off: Occupational Therapy ranks among the Department of Labor's Fastest-Growing Careers.

4. Marketing Executive

Psychology graduates excel at Good Samaritan roles, but can they take on the business world? Yes, say employers of managers, sales representatives, business strategists, and marketers. A bachelor's in psychology is a valued qualification in all these careers. 

Marketing executives, for example, rely on their understanding of human behavior to communicate effectively. Marketing initiatives play to mass audiences, and they need to be carefully calibrated to drive specific responses. Psychology majors understand what motivates consumers, and are therefore able to develop effective promotions, merchandising strategies, and advertising campaigns.

Psychology undergraduates can proceed directly into a marketing career without additional training, but many will find professional education an asset. MBA programs and Marketing certificates are readily available online.

Consumer spending is alive and well, and so is the job market for marketing specialists; the BLS predicts faster than average growth through 2014.

5. Criminologist

Criminologists draw on their insight into the human psyche--plus their research skills--to catch criminals and improve law enforcement. Psychological profiling is a major asset in criminal investigations. Criminologists review patterns of behavior and present their research in reports. Some assume a more active role, inspecting crime scenes for evidence and questioning suspects.

Criminology is "exciting," "interesting," and "unpredictable," according to its practitioners, but it is also competitive. A psychology bachelor's degree is the standard qualification, but many boost their career profile with graduate work in behavioral sciences.
Criminal justice occupations are booming, but criminologists face a competitive market; demand is higher for those with investigative skills.

Understanding the human mind, it turns out, is a critical asset no matter where you turn. Psychology majors graduate to a world of career opportunities. What are you going to be when you grow up?

Source; Clare Kaufman

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