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December 12, 2012 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to get a good job in psychology without a degree?

Ideally, I'd like a nicely paying job in physiology... but I have no more than part of a 4 year degree completed. I do, however, have some experience in psychology- 1 to 1.5 years of fulltime work, stretched out over ~6 years of weekends.

So, is there any possibilities? Please don't say 4 year degree, that isn't in the cards right now.
posted by Jacen to Work & Money (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
What type of work are you looking for, exactly? There are very few places that will let you practice without at least a bachelor's degree (though a Master's or PhD is more common).
posted by asnider at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you mean by 'in psychology'? Psychology is a massive field. If you mean something like cognitive science then you might be able to get admin or data entry work in a research lab, but those positions tend to be pretty few and far between because they mostly get very junior research staff to do it. At my university to be a research assistant you needed a degree, but that might not be true everywhere. Otherwise you might be able to get work as something like a rehab assistant - a lot of allied health professionals have first degrees in psychology.
posted by kadia_a at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2012


What do you mean by psychology? Are you talking about having worked in a cog psych lab, or about doing weekend coverage at a group home?
posted by OmieWise at 1:57 PM on December 12, 2012


If you have no training or accreditation in psychology, you may be allowed to answer phones or do maintenance work. While these are both important jobs, really you need training.

Teachers aides (learning assistants etc) do perform some psychology-type jobs, and training for that is typically a couple of months to get a certificate.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2012


Most of the behavioral health state jobs that I've known of ask for the degree or an equivalent number of years worked in the field. So for those you'd be a little more marketable, but still for entry level positions that have you assist others. Most positions along this line don't pay well, but they often have decent benefits.
posted by bizzyb at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2012


Psychology is a very popular college major. You will competing for most jobs with many many people who have a bachelor's degree. As OmieWise says, weekend coverage at a group home type jobs are what you would be qualified for.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:02 PM on December 12, 2012


You could become an STNA (2-4 week class) and get a job in a nursing home with a psych unit.
posted by Autumn at 2:32 PM on December 12, 2012


Psychology is a major for undergrads who think they're crazy, you can understand it is very popular on a scale that is in no way justified by the job market, and you would be competing with the degreed and desperately unemployed logical conclusions of that.

What exactly do you have experience doing?

Are you interested in doing clinical work yourself? Joining the nurses hierarchy somewhere? becoming a supporting technician of some kind? Working in a lab?
posted by Blasdelb at 2:36 PM on December 12, 2012


I'm a psych BA graduate. My first job out of undergrad was a full time position mentoring children and it paid 25 cents over minimum wage. My other option was a BRS- "behavior rehabilitation specialist"- which was essentially monitoring inpatients or people in group homes, and it paid around 2 dollars over minimum wage, mostly because you could be required to work nights and often the people you cared for were violent. After looking over job ads in a couple of different states, I've found the BRS is the most common one. I've not come across another mentoring type program that wasn't volunteer.
posted by teslacoilswoah at 3:22 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I should note that both of those did not require a degree. It took me another 6 months out of undergrad to find a job that did require my BA, so you may be competing with lots of other folks who have BAs as the job market isn't prosperous right now.
posted by teslacoilswoah at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2012


Psych Aide? (Also called Psychiatric Assistant.) They tend to work in inpatient settings, which means geriatrics or people who pose a fairly serious risk to themselves. I've never met a psych aide in any of my outpatient service settings, anyway - there are a bunch in the inpatient ward attached to where I did my partial program. These people have a voluntary certificate program for Psychiatric Technicians, which indicates to me that a lot of places hire such folks without any kind of degree.

There are also places that hire folks that do what I was looking for someone to do in this AskMe a while back. You'd be looking for work in government facilities, or places that accept Medicaid and Medicare funding, and it'd be for folks with fairly severe diagnoses, again. Local United Way agencies will be able to tell you what kinds of places provide these services.

Be aware that almost everyone in this line of work a) gets burned out crazy fast and b) is relying on state and federal funding (both of which are iffy right now.) A lot of grants and waivers and stuff aren't getting renewed, and people are mostly losing jobs, not getting them - even though the field is in serious need of more people and beds and such.

I'd personally move to the bluest state with the best economy/budget situation possible, if I wanted to do this kind of work. In other words, not Texas and also not California.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 3:37 PM on December 12, 2012


Without a bachelor's degree, your options are very limited and even then, there is not too much you can do without a Masters. I worked as a nurse in a psychiatric facility for 5 years and they were always looking for CNA's. You might consider that. Just to warn you, it can become dangerous at times.
posted by sybarite09 at 6:07 AM on December 13, 2012


You could always tend bar.

Otherwise, I would say decidedly not.

There are thousands and thousands of folks out there who can't get work in the field of psychology with bachelor's degrees from top-notch institutions. Without a degree at all? Good luck...
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:23 PM on December 13, 2012


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