How do I get a relevant job to my Psychology major?

Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
edited January 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So, as of this December 3rd, I am done with the undergraduate variety of college. I have a double major in Psychology and Philosophy (from the U of Oregon) and a decent GPA (3.33), and I'm looking to get some actual work experience and make some money in a job that might actually, you know, be relevant to my degree.

I am kind of at a loss as to where to start. I am sure that with my degrees, and the fact that I interview rather well (I appear confident and I have excellent locution), I could get a fantastic McJob, but that doesn't seem like fun, nor does it seem like a good idea. Monster.com doesn't to be giving me a lot of great options for my area... so...

I live in Oregon and I can work in Eugene or Corvallis or Salem pretty easily, so I'm trying to figure out where to start.

Thanks in advance.

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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You don't.

    heh... sorry, bitter psych degree holder here :)

    It really depends on what your interested in. If you plan to go back to school for a Master/PhD, I would say you're best bet would be to check out any colleges/universities in the area and try to find a job as a Research Assistant or something like that. If you're more interested in clinical psych or counseling then I'm not sure what type of qualifications/degrees/licenses are required for different jobs, but check with any local mental health clinics, hospital psychiatry departments, etc.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    With a psych degree, you've got some options in the Human Resources field, especially if you took some good business courses you can list as well.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Generally, I've been told your best option with a Psych degree is a double-major in something marketable (i.e. the opposite of Philosophy), or grad school.

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  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Grad school is the intent. The overall goal is to do clinical psychology.

    The problem is I want to do something now that might be relevant to the field. This, apparently, seems rather unlikely. I'm not looking for a career, yet, I am just looking for work.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    If you're going to do grad school, and possibly get a doctorate, then just find a good internship or entry level job with a psychiatrists or psychologists office. There's bound to be a few of them local in your area.

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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Well, I'm not personally interested in clinical psychology, but several of my co-workers have been. I work in the Psychiatry department at a research hospital/university. The entry-level position for this would be a Research Assistant or Research Tech or something similar. Depending on the lab you may get to use some of your skills or it may be a mindless "call subject, run subject, type some numbers in excel" job. Either way if you work there a year or two you'll likely be able to get good recommendation letters from 1 or more psychiatrists/psychologists which will help greatly in grad school applications. In my 3 years at my old job we had about 5 people come and do exactly that and go either to clinical psychology grad programs or med school.

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  • RocketSauceRocketSauce Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You could do Case Management at a Mental Health Center.

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  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Grad school is the intent. The overall goal is to do clinical psychology.
    That is one long, tough road. I don't know what it's like where you are, but I suspect it's similar to what I was looking at before I decided it wasn't for me. Here in Canada at least, it's an extra 5-6 years minimum post-undergrad (Masters, PhD, minimum one year of internship, possibly longer). Personally, I ended up ditching the Psych aspect of my degree, for the most part, because I was tired of being student-poor. Mine was actually a Psych Co-op degree, but there were no Psych Co-op jobs due to healthcare budget cuts at the time, so I ended up poaching CompSci co-op jobs, and I ended up just running with that as a career when I graduated. Now I'm an Oracle DBA. Life's weird like that.
    The problem is I want to do something now that might be relevant to the field. This, apparently, seems rather unlikely. I'm not looking for a career, yet, I am just looking for work.
    If you're planning to go on to grad studies in Psych, ask around the Psych department at your school. Explain your situation, that you need to work for a while before you can apply for grad school, you'd like a job that's at least somewhat related to your longterm goal, and you're wondering if they have any leads, or places that they know of where you'd do well to check for leads. They may know of paid academic research assistant positions that are currently available, and/or they may know of clinics or hospitals that have hired Psych grads in the past in the sort of capacity you're looking for.

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  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thanks a bunch guys for the info, more is always appreciated of course.

    vonPoonBurGer: We are different in an important way here, in that I have a good bit set aside for grad school. I am not in debt in any way (credit cards, student loans, etc) right now. I am purely lucky in that I was born to a mom who saved a lot for our college education, and I'd be spoiled if I wasn't grateful.

    However, I do want the practical experience, and I definitely would like to have a cash flow. I don't need to work before grad school. I want to.

    Anthrax! Please. on
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  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    vonPoonBurGer: We are different in an important way here, in that I have a good bit set aside for grad school. I am not in debt in any way (credit cards, student loans, etc) right now. I am purely lucky in that I was born to a mom who saved a lot for our college education, and I'd be spoiled if I wasn't grateful.

    However, I do want the practical experience, and I definitely would like to have a cash flow. I don't need to work before grad school. I want to.
    I actually came out of school debt-free as well, for pretty much the same reason you did. I probably could have kept going, but I felt I'd been draining the parental coffers for long enough. My father was in the middle of investing in a new home business at the time, and both my families (mom & stepdad, dad & stepmom) were starting to pay for the secondary educations of my four sisters (two with each family). But beyond all that, I just wasn't really into the idea of further education, and I liked working with computers. I have no regrets anyway.

    If you're definitely set on grad school eventually, best of luck to you. I would suggest being wary of going to work for "a while" before grad school though. There's no shortage of people who intended to go back to school "eventually" and then never did for one reason or another. In the long run, for clinical psychology work, you're not going to really need some entry-level clinical job to prove you've got the chops; that's what the internship is for, to give you on the job experience under a veteran clinical psychologist. It can certainly still be valuable for other reasons (experience in the field, financial incentives of course, character and work references, etc.), so I'd still say it's worthwhile.

    I'd recommend setting a time frame or end goal state. So you could say that you'll work in a related field for one year, say, or a suitable timeframe to get yourself some good references. Daenris' suggestion of working for a while as a research tech and getting some good references from psychiatrists/psychologists is an excellent idea. That gives you a chance to take a break from school, make some money, and put yourself on a good footing to apply for grad school, while at the same time having a defined boundary for when that phase ends and the grad school phase begins.

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  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thanks again. So how do I go about finding psychologists/therapists who need an intern? Should I just email my favourite professors from school that may remember me and ask if they know anything? Just googling around the area isn't giving me a lot in the way of how to find a research tech type position in the area.

    Do I just start calling therapist offices and schools and such in the area and ask, "You gaiz lookin fer sum help?".

    Anthrax! Please. on
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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Easiest way is to check out the websites from the nearby universities and hospitals. Find out if they have an employment/jobs section and search for a job. Beyond that, emailing old professors is definitely an option as is directly contacting the psychiatry/psychology departments of any university/hospital that doesn't have an online job thing. Just inquire if they have a list of available positions.

    Alternatively, at my old job we got a lot of unsolicited resumes from people sent directly to our lab from our website. Can't recall any that actually led to a hire, but their resumes went into a file to be reviewed for the next time we actually did have a job available.

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    edited January 2008
    Thanks again. So how do I go about finding psychologists/therapists who need an intern? Should I just email my favourite professors from school that may remember me and ask if they know anything? Just googling around the area isn't giving me a lot in the way of how to find a research tech type position in the area.

    Do I just start calling therapist offices and schools and such in the area and ask, "You gaiz lookin fer sum help?".

    In my limited experience any intern slots in therapy offices are already filled by grad students, because grad students looking to get counseling certificates need to clock a certain number of internship hours.

    If you want to get some experience in the field before going on to grad school, you basically have three options. The first (and worst option, IMO) is to find a mental health job - and yes, there are jobs out there. Monster.com probably isn't right for this, look in classified ads or Craigslist, and you might be able to find entry-level jobs as live-in counselors for drug & alcohol residential programs, domestic abuse shelters, etc. Keep in mind that these jobs are underpaid and overworked - they tell you that you're going in to help people but what you end up doing is cleaning up toilets and picking up dirty socks for $9/hr.

    My suggestion is to instead find an office job working for the business department of any hospital or doctor's office, even if it's not psych-oriented. There are lots of those open and you'll gain experience dealing with insurance companies and paperwork, something you'll have to do if you work in any private capacity as a therapist. VA hospitals would be great for this - there's going to be a huge growing need in the next several years for competent psych professionals in the Veteran's Administration.

    The last option is to get a job doing something, anything, and then volunteer somewhere nights and weekends. Do some shifts for a rape crisis hotline or a suicide hotline, volunteer for a homeless shelter, etc.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Feral wrote: »

    In my limited experience any intern slots in therapy offices are already filled by grad students, because grad students looking to get counseling certificates need to clock a certain number of internship hours.

    If you want to get some experience in the field before going on to grad school, you basically have three options.

    Just curious, why don't you think a research position is an option? In my discussions with other psych majors and clinical psych hopefuls with Bachelor's degrees it seems to be one of the best bets.

    (I really am just curious about your thoughts on it, though reading what I wrote it may sound confrontational or whatnot.)

    Daenris on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »

    In my limited experience any intern slots in therapy offices are already filled by grad students, because grad students looking to get counseling certificates need to clock a certain number of internship hours.

    If you want to get some experience in the field before going on to grad school, you basically have three options.

    Just curious, why don't you think a research position is an option? In my discussions with other psych majors and clinical psych hopefuls with Bachelor's degrees it seems to be one of the best bets.

    (I really am just curious about your thoughts on it, though reading what I wrote it may sound confrontational or whatnot.)

    Okay, four options. :P

    (When I was in his position and looking for a mental health job right after college I didn't see any research positions in mental health that I qualified for; but if you're saying that those positions are out there then I'm probably just wrong and either I just didn't see them or the job market's changed. :) )

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thanks guys. I also talked with a friend of mine who's a counselor and he recommended trying to get an internship at a local Residential Institution, of which there are apparently several in the area.

    So I'll be checking around those and the options that feral mentioned to try and get some work doing one of those things. Hopefully I'll actually have a choice between options. More likely I'll find maybe just one and have to stick with it.

    Anthrax! Please. on
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  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    Is this impolite? 12 year old thread bump?

    I was resurrecting this account and just wanted to thank you guys for hearing me out during a time of concern and panic. I arguably chose the hardest option - working as a direct care staff in a residential facility, but this gave me a goal for graduate school, and a deep understanding of what that end of the system looks like (protip: it's real bad). My doctoral dissertation was on the topic - graduated in 2015. Now I'm working in private practice and teaching full-time at a 4-year university.

    Really only looks like @Feral is still posting - but anyway, thought I'd put my appreciation out there.

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    Congrats!

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    It’s lovely to hear the end of a story for once!

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  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    It's been a ride. It was interesting to find this a decade on.
    You guys are rad. Thanks for being my people, even if I just mostly lurk.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    These are the best kind of necro-posts. :D Only slightly lower on the joy scale than "I finally found that song/video that I couldn't find before!"

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  • Idx86Idx86 Long days and pleasant nights.Registered User regular
    This bump is fucking rad, thank you for sharing.

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