Tips for Choosing a Psychology Major

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"Tips for Choosing a Psychology Major"
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Given the choices offered in the field of psychology, it's wise to learn about the offerings and what to expect with each level of education. Of equal importance is your commitment level to obtaining the level of education that fit your goals.

Many people desire a Ph.D. level of education in psychology. The average number of years required to obtain a doctorate in philosophy is about 5 to 7 years of graduate study, with internship and residency requirements. If you can meet the requirements, a rich and rewarding career awaits.

Choices at the Ph.D. level offer the best and widest range of choices. Some choices available are direct patient care, teaching, leadership training, industry consultation and research.

What happens if you can't complete the full requirements for a doctorate degree because of life circumstances, time and financial commitments? Life happens. With a foundation in psychology studies, you find that there are still a number of choices available.

You might decide to change your own concentration of study after you've been able to observe the actual practice of psychology disciplines.

Life happened to some of the great thinkers and pioneers in psychology; they wanted to go in one direction and life set them on a detour. We might wonder if they would have attained the same level of greatness had they continued on a set path. Change is not necessarily negative.

Direct patient care is rewarding for many but it can be very stressful as patients come and go over the course of time. Research is an exciting choice if you're more academic and like to work in a setting on your own. Experimental psychology might appeal more to your search for truth.

Each choice has its own set of challenges and rewards. Comparisons of psychology programs are a good starting place. If you have the opportunity, observe professionals in their work to get an overview. Ask questions to find out the highs and lows of the field.

Careers in psychology for all degree levels:


Clinical psychologist: health psychologists, neuropsychologists, geropsychology
Counselor: interviewing, testing and problems in everyday living.
Teaching: Faculty positions.
Research: Private industry, Government, and Grants.
Counseling in Universities
Experimental research
Public health

Psy. D

Clinical positions
Private practice
Teach, research, administration

Masters degrees:

School psychologist (some states)- Masters in Education, requires 3 years of graduate study and 1 year of internship: Elementary and secondary schools.
Psychology assistants: requires 2 years of graduate study.
Family therapists

Bachelor degrees:

Vocational rehabilitation
Correctional facilities
Administrative assistant for psychologists
Marketing research and sales
Industrial organization

Business management

All psychology degrees are welcome in health care, at a level appropriate with degree. Some Federal, entry level, jobs are available to those with bachelor degrees, but fierce competition for these jobs make them very difficult to obtain.

In addition to the academic requirements, a psychologist has to meet certification or licensing in line with state requirements. All states require applicants to pass examinations in the licensing process.

Before choosing a career in psychology, it's a good idea to spend time visiting or working part time in psychology labs or facilities where you can observe and learn procedures and practices. Certainly it's always a good idea to compare the different programs before you make a final decision on your career path.


More about this author: Mona Gallagher

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