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ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS FOR PSYCHOLOGY MAJORS

This section will help you learn about some of the entry-level jobs available to psychology majors.

By now, you probably know that to be a "psychologist," one must have a doctoral degree in psychology (PhD, PsyD, or, sometimes, an EdD). This is because the nature of the work that psychologists do requires much more extensive education and training than can be gained in four years of undergraduate course work. (For information about jobs that require more than a bachelor's degree, see the next section, "Master's- and Doctoral-level Careers in Psychology and Related Areas.") Nonetheless, there are numerous entry-level jobs that are open to those with a bachelor's degree in psychology--although this often seems like the world's best-kept secret! For reasons noted above, you won't find an entry-level job for a "psychologist." This fact means that you will need to do some detective work to search out job options for psychology majors. The types of entry-level jobs for which undergraduate psychology majors are typically prepared are those that use "people skills" (for example, communicating with and relating to individuals from diverse backgrounds as is required for case workers, counselor's aides, and in sales, marketing, personnel, and management positions), analytical skills (for example, figuring out why a certain problem occurs and how to minimize or eliminate it), writing skills (for example, writing a logically developed report), and research skills (for example, using statistics, tables, and graphs to analyze problems and communicate relevant findings). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that these skills can be used in a wide variety of work settings. Human services (counseling, social work), business, criminal justice (probation officer, corrections officer), health and recreation, and education are areas that come readily to mind.

To get an idea of the wide variety of entry-level jobs that are open to psychology majors, you can scan the jobs listed in the hand-out, "Types of Entry-level Positions Obtained by Psychology Majors." The following articles will also be helpful.

Once you have an idea of some specific job titles, you can learn a lot about these jobs by consulting the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) (see "Books on Careers for Psychology Majors"). This government document, published every two years, is an excellent general reference on occupations. It provides job descriptions, education and training requirements for jobs, salaries, and employment outlooks for 250 jobs. It also describes resources for special groups such as youth, the disabled, veterans, women, and minorities. At the end of the section on each job, you'll find a list of places to obtain additional information.You can find a copy of the OOH in your institution's Careers Services Office or any library (ask a reference librarian). To get an idea of the wide-ranging information contained in the OOH job descriptions, you can review the description for "psychologist."

To use the OOH, go to the index at the back of the book and look up the title of "your" job. Keep in mind that you probably won't find the job listed with the exact title you're looking for; you'll need to be creative and keep and eye out for alternative job titles. You should also read the section entitled "Related Occupations" that appears at the end of the material on each occupation. Another way to learn about careers in which you might be interested is to scan the OOH index, keeping an eye out for occupations that look promising to you.

After several years in an entry-level position, some individuals find that they want more challenges, more money, better personnel benefits, more independence, more status, and less stress (or a different type of stress!). One way to obtain these things is to go back to school. To learn about psychology-related careers that require graduate degrees, go to the section, "Master's- and Doctoral-level Careers in Psychology and Related Areas." For information on the graduate programs that prepare you for these careers, go to the section, "Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors."


APA-style reference for this page:

Lloyd, M. A. (1997, August 28). Entry-level jobs for psychology majors. [Online]. Available: http://www.psywww.com/careers/jobs.htm.

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