What do i do with my psychology degree now???
May 1, 2007 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I recived my degree in psychology 4 years ago, rather than pursuing my masters or getting work experience directly related to psycholgy i chose to get a job in sales. I have done well and managed to pay back all my college debt(loans, credit cards). Now i'm at a point where i am burnt out from sales and I want to utilze my degree. The problem i;m running into is that most of the jobs require masters degrees(which i plan to get) or prior psyc related experience.

So i'm trying to figure out what my options or where i should look for jobs within the psychology related field(tretment counselors, counselors, etc) where i can get expereience now. any suggestestions, advice, stories, or words of encouragement would be greatly appriciated
posted by Windell79 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered volunteer work? Working as a counselor on a volunteer basis in a homeless shelter, or women's shelter, or on a suicide hotline, for example? A few months of this would, I think, be totally valid clinical experience to put on your resume. You'd have to work another job to support yourself, of course, but it might be worth it (and since you're debt-free, if you're really, really frugal, you might be able to get by with a part-time job for a while).
posted by Wroksie at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2007

I started in case management with my B.S., which for me here in Mississippi meant going to the homes of the seriously mentally ill to check on their meds, see how they seemed to be functioning, taking them to various doctor's appointments, etc.

Case managers are really under appreciated, I feel. They often know much more about the clients than the therapists or doctors and are a first line of defense for a vulnerable population. Lots of great experience, and I still fondly remember many of my clients from that time over 20 years later.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2007

Lots of government jobs will take a BA in a behavioral science. (I'm graduating with a Sociology degree in two weeks, I would know). Look into your state's Department of Social Services or Department of Mental Health or those kinds of places. The pay will be crap at first, but the benefits are pretty nice. Also, yeah, volunteer work is some of the best experience to put on a resume.
posted by almostmanda at 10:35 AM on May 1, 2007

i don't have good answers for you but i'm in the exact same situation. I did work for awhile in a psych related field (behavioral field research via various surveys for a state Dept of Health) and was broke...all..the...time...not to mention the sadness/madness/scariness of losing my job every time funding for the various projects got cut/transfered/breathed on too heavily. Then i went to sales. the only thing i can say is...i got tired of pure sales but didn't want to lose the paycheck and go back to the poverty line...so i got into executive recruiting with a good, ethical firm, serving a population that fascinates me (mathematicians). as a headhunter, i am therapist, career counselor, mother, teacher, all sorts of things. and i don't have to eat rice and beans for every meal =).
posted by Soulbee at 1:10 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this will help, but it may make you feel better (if you're not okay with it already) about not continuing on with your studies. I'm getting my Ph.D. in developmental psychology next month, and I can't get a job in the psychology field! I'm hearing the same story from others who have the same degree and are looking for the same sort of jobs (community college) that I'm trying to get. Getting the higher degree definitely doesn't guarantee you a better job outlook.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 5:09 PM on May 1, 2007

Do you know what kind of job you are aiming for in the long run (in other words, once you get your masters)? There are a lot of different degrees within psychology - it will make your life easier if your degree is the right one for the career that you want.

I also strongly recommend that you talk to some people who currently have the job and find out more about how to get there and what it is like as a profession. When I was thinking about going back to school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, I made a list of things I wanted to know, got the names of MFT's in the local area and started calling. About 30% called back. After about a dozen interviews, I felt had a good handle on what I wanted to know so I stopped calling and sent out my thank you notes.

Too many people spend time and money on degrees that either lead to jobs that they don't like as much they thought or the degree isn't the right path to the job that they want. Keep asking questions!!
posted by metahawk at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

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