For many students, graduate school is not a part of their plans. Many students want to begin working after they receive their bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, you may have been told "You'll never get a job with a B.A. in Psychology!"
Do B.A.'s in Psychology get jobs after graduation?
Psychology is one of the most popular majors with college students both at IU Southeast and across the country. While many of these students do go on to some type of graduate training program, the majority does not. The remaining students DO get jobs!
What types of jobs are available to psychology majors?
Just about any entry-level position in the mental health field, business, or banking is available. The key to getting a job is to be competent in those skills employers are seeking.
To give you some idea of the type of jobs past psychology majors at IU Southeast have obtained a partial listing is provided. Do not feel constrained by this list as many students have been able to essentially create their own jobs.
- Caseworker for Debra Corn agency
- Counselor Lifespring
- Counselor Jefferson Hospital
- Personnel director for a hospital
- Psychological testing for private practice psychologist
- Social worker
- Working at sleep lab at local hospital
- Manager local store
- Police officer
- Assistant to local attorney
- Research assistant to professors at local university
Can I do private practice with a B.A. degree?
While anyone can legally hang up their shingle and provide "counseling" for a fee, an individual with a B.A. degree in psychology cannot call themselves a psychologist or be reimbursed by insurance. In addition, your B.A. degree does not really prepare you for providing psychological testing or therapy. However, many students with a B.A. degree do work under an individual with graduate training in a supervisory relationship at community mental health centers and private hospitals.
What do employers want?
While employers differ, many employers report that they are looking for certain qualities in applicants for entry-level positions.
- First, they want applicants who can communicate effectively both orally and in a written manner.
- They also want applicants who can think clearly and apply whatever knowledge they have gained to real-life situations.
- In addition, they want individuals who can get along with fellow employees, administrators, and customers.
As you can see, most entry-level positions in these fields do not require substantial specialized knowledge. Most employers expect and wish to train their employees according to their own procedures. Employers do expect the skills listed above and RELEVANT job experience. As a psychology major you have already acquired the skills as part of your class requirement.
How can I get RELEVANT job experience?
Many students at IU Southeast work full-time while attending classes. However, these jobs are rarely the type of job the student wishes to pursue after graduation. Psychology students are fortunate in that they have two means of acquiring work experience while earning college credit. Students can participate in research and practicum experiences. Suffice it to say that students are able to acquire the necessary work experience, skills, and recommendations from these experiences to give them the added advantage in later job interviews. In addition, many students have been offered jobs in placement sites at the end of their practicum.
What else can I do?
At IU Southeast, students are fortunate to have an active placement office here on campus. During your junior year, it is wise to make an appointment with a counselor in that office to discuss career-seeking strategies. The placement office can help you prepare a professional resume, hone your interviewing skills, and even help schedule interviews. The personnel in the placement office are trained professionals and will be able to help you present yourself in the best possible light to employers and to help you find those employers. By contacting the placement office during your junior year, you will have time to correct any deficiencies in your skills prior to graduation.