Psi Chi Honor Society
Department of Psychological
& Brain Sciences:
Decisions: Career & Degree
Graduate programs prepare students for a specific career. Taking classes to fulfill your undergraduate degree requirements may help you learn about careers, but it will not give you enough information to determine if a career that sounds interesting is really right for you.
Graduate schools want to know that you've thoroughly investigated the career for which their program will prepare you. They will look at your application packet to see if you've had internship experiences relevant to that career - to see that you are ready to make a committment.
The sooner you begin the career development process, the sooner you'll become confident about your career goals and will know exactly what you can do as an undergradute to become an attractive candidate for a specific type of graduate program.
Careers. You should figure that making decisions about a career will take several years and that during that time you'll need to:
- Asess yourself - Do you have the skills and personality that will fit a career in which you are interested?
- Research careers - Explore career fields and subfields. If, for example, you want to become a psychologist, you'll want to decide on a subfield and orientation.
- Network - Consistently talk with people about your career interests, experiences, and goals. You must contact professionals who are working in the career in which you are interested to learn what the career is really like and what you can do as an undergraduate to prepare.
- Participate in internship experiences that will allow you to try out careers and gain experience.
Degrees. As you investigate careers, explore all of the various types of jobs in the field and the degrees that could get you into the field.
If, for example, you are considering a career in law, will you need a J.D. or would a paralegal certificate be a better fit?
If you want to be a licensed mental health care professional, which license will be best for you - LP, LCSW, LMHC, LMFT - and which degrees will prepare you for each type of license?
Degree options for students considering careers as licensed mental health care providers:
- Careers in Mental Health Care Related Professions - Licenses, degrees, and resources you can use to learn more about Clinical, Counseling or School Psychology; Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Social Work; Marraige & Family Therapy and related professions.
- Master's and Myth: Little-Known Information About a Popular Degree
- Appreciating the PsyD: The Facts
- Psychology Today: Degrees and Licenses