You Have Your Psychology Degree, Now What?
Psychology can be an intimidating field to go into because it’s very competitive, you may have to think about insurance, dealing with sick people, and it costs a lot to get such a degree! Obtaining a psychology degree is probably your biggest achievement to date, so you should be excited about putting your education to good use with a job of your choice.
There are many different directions you can take with a psychology degree under your belt; you just have to go the direction that best uses your interests, specialties, and capabilities. Most of us with a psychology degree have an innate desire to help people, so it can be difficult to choose who, or which portion of the population you really want to help and how you want to help them. Luckily, there are many options and you might choose more than one in your life!
Depending on what degree you have, you might want to open a private practice counseling patients with varying circumstances and issues. A private practice typically takes some time to really start making money, so you’ll need to decide if this is the right move for you right out of college. You need to consider insurance for yourself, how you’ll file insurance for patients, how you’ll acquire patients, and whether or not you are really ready to start establishing yourself as a privately practicing psychologist. Counseling patients can be very rewarding, but it can also be quite stressful so you need to consider if you are ready to handle the stress of starting your own business in addition to the stress that the business of counseling patients will bring into your life. You also need to consider things, such as taxes, self-employment costs and insurance and how these things will affect the plan you’ve put in place for your private practice.
Many people with psychology degrees that want to get into counseling patients choose to do this first with a group of other psychologists or psychiatrists because it gives you the ability to get into the business one step at a time. You’ll also usually have an easier time establishing a client base as well as dealing with the stress the job brings into your life. The costs are usually less when you go into practice with other psychologists because you can split the cost of insurance, office space, and even taxes if you are associated with one another in a business sense. This may be the logical first step for someone that wants to practice psychological counseling in an office settling.
If you want to counsel children, you might find that a job with a school district in your local area is a good idea. Working with the schools is a great way to start using your education like you want to, but it also allows you to work for someone else, which will help with benefits, taxes, and other expenses that you’ll incur if you work for yourself. Working with the schools in a counseling respect will give you interaction with students with a wide range of difficulties from social, familial, drug, alcohol, violence, and struggles with grades. If you can put your psychology degree to good use anywhere, it’d be at a school where there are hundreds of kids that seek the guidance of a great counselor. You’ll have to check with your school district as to the need and educational requirements of school counselors as they vary widely from state to state.
While many people thing that a psychology degree is only used to counsel patients, there is a lot more you can do with it. If you want to work on the criminal end of things, you might consider working with the FBI, CIA, or even your local police station as a criminal profiler or staff psychologist. This can be a very rewarding career as you help identify criminals as well as counsel those that have been affected by them. You might also think about working with doctors that treat patients and families with chronic illnesses, as they often have a staff psychologist to help the families and patients adjust to the illness. Hospitals usually employ psychologists to help the victims of trauma or illness get through their diagnosis and treatments. There are also many large corporate companies that have staff psychologists available to their employees at all times, and this is an interesting career. As you can see, you don’t have to go the traditional route, there are many great ways in which you and your psychology degree can reach a great many people.
My psychologists don’t really interact with patients all that much. Instead, they study various parts of human psychology and research them to develop new drugs, new treatments, and new schools of thought. Research is a big area where you can put your psychology degree to good use, and possibly even change the lives of other people through research. Many researchers and analysts go on to write books about their experiences, their beliefs, and methods in an attempt to help people.
Psychology can be related to just about everything we do, so there is a need for a psychologist just about everywhere you look. Psychologists don’t just look at mental illness, they look at mental functioning, and how that carries over into our every day lives.
Your psychology degree can take you to places and allow you to learn things that you never thought you would see and learn; it’s a career that you’ll never grow tired of if you keep learning new things.
Only you can choose what you’ll do with your psychology degree. Depending on what you want to do with your degree, you might be subjected to state testing and licensing, but that’s all a piece of cake! If you want to help people with your psychology degree, there are so many avenues for you to take; you might not even realize it. If you find that one area of practice isn’t right for you, there are a million other roads to travel so that you can utilize your deserved psychology degree.