(Closed) psychology bees- advice for pursuing a career change into psychology?

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 3
1425 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I majored in Psych, but ended up doing project management and now I’m in finance.

Post # 4
661 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@dovelovesfalcon:  I have a Master’s degree in psychology. I worked on a depression study in the psychiatric unit of a hospital as well as in a federal prison.

Those jobs were interesting but very grueling, and they didn’t pay much. Between $35,000-$65,000 and I am also in NYC.

I also found that advancement is limited in the field unless you have a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology. Most everything I did in those jobs had to be signed off on by either someone with those degrees or an MD.

Most of those I knew who had PhD’s and PsyD’s made more than I did, but they also had a lot of debt that they accrued from obtaining those degrees. Many of them had a investment-banker spouse who made the real money in the household.

This is not to discourage you. I enjoyed those jobs but the grueling part came from always dealing with the mentally ill and in many cases, criminals. It can make you depressed as well, and also harden you. But it was never boring. Good luck with your choice.

Post # 5
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Yeah, I am in a similar field, and everyone I know said don’t get a psych degree to do psych unless you are planning on getting a doctorate degree.  I do social services with mental health, and I am getting my masters in social work.. so Its a little different, but I will be 100k in debt after my masters.. and you don’t make a whole lot of money in any of the social services unless you have a doctorate.. keep that in mind!

Post # 6
4998 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I would recommend doing a PhD if you’re going into psychology, a master’s won’t get you to far, neither will a bachelor’s aside from getting you into grad school. If you really want to do counseling and are willing to have a small income, social work would be a good field and requires less schooling.

Post # 7
3751 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

View original reply
@mimi123:  +1 

I have a bachelor’s in psych and it’s essentially worthless. These days even a masters won’t get you far. In order to do anything of substance you really have to have a PhD or PsyD.

The work is not all sunshine and roses either. It’s grueling work and can put a real straing on your mental health dealing with other peoples’ mental health all the time. 

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer but rather just give you a more realistic expectation regarding the psych world. If you have something specific you want to do and are passionate about it then I recommend finding out exactly what schooling you need to accomplish it and go for it. 

Post # 8
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m not in psych but one suggestion I have for a masters in something related to psych would be marriage and family therapy. Since you set your own rates and hours, it could be a somewhat lucrative endeavor.

Post # 9
11736 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

majored in psych, worked for 6 months in the field in a residential psyc rehab program for little pay and couldn’t get out fast enough!  Went back to school to get my MBA and MHA, now work in consulting.

It takes a very special person to work directly with psyc patients – I wasn’t that person. I thought I was, until I did it.  It’s not something you know you can or can’t do until you do it!  It can be rewarding, but generally thankless, exhausting work.

If you want to do anything with psyc and make $, you need a PhD or PsyD (if you want to do therapy a MSW works).  A bachelors and even a master’s in psych is generally a waste of $.

Post # 11
1938 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Honestly it DEPENDS on what aspect of Psychology you want to go into. I got my Master’s in Educational Psychology and I don’t NEED a Ph.D… but the career options are limited. 

If I could go back I would ge my LPC. 

If you truly love it and are passionate about it then go for it, but its a BIG commitment. 

Post # 12
1949 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I have a BA in Psych. I applied to 8 masters/PhD programs and did not get accepted to a single one, and I had good grades, and lots of experience working for profs.

My advice is that if you REALLY want to go for it, then do, but don’t have any delusions that 1) you’ll get into a Master’s program or 2) that you’ll instantly have a career upon completion of said master’s.

I’m not sure what you want to do with a masert’s degree, but alot of those types of jobs are not stellar pay, working with some potentially thankless clients, or not so great hours starting out.

If you’re looking to go the counsellor route, you’ll likely need a PhD to get liability insurance and then somehow build a client base. They won’t just magically show up at your door.

honestly, in this economy, if you have a steady job that you don’t hate, that has good benefits that you can advance in, I would say stay with it.

ETA: I also worked for 3 years as manager of admissions for an online counselling program. What I learned is that drug/alcohol rehab and marriage/family therapy are loosely regulated fields and while you need specific credentials, lots of schools offer “credentials” that then aren’t accepted by the appropriate credentialling body. So be wary.

As for the PsyD program, this is still relatively a new credential and not many accrediting bodies (in Canada anyways) were regonizing them 3 years ago to become a licensed psychologist.

Post # 13
23 posts

I’m a psychology major so I can give you some insight. If you prefer research, get your PhD. If you want to do clinical/counseling work, get a PsyD. A PhD takes 4-7 years and a Psyd takes 4 years plus one year of internship. There are fully funded programs, but these are really competitive to get into. My advice, get your bachelors in Business, that way you have a back up. Take psychology classes for all your electives (make sure you talk to your psychology department) then get a Masters in General Psychology. It only takes two years full-time, or if you do part-time while you’re working, you can take as long as you want. There are online programs as well. OR you can get a Masters in Counseling Psychology and give therapy, but the average pay is only 40k. I would try to get a Psyd if I were you, that’s the route I’m going to take. My SO is an engineer so I’ve already accepted the fact that he’s going to be the breadwinner. 😛 OH YEAH. Industrial Psychology! I know you said your job doesn’t thrill you, but if you got a Bachelors in Business, you would probably get into a Masters in Industrial Psychology. It’s only two years and they get paid A LOT, even with just a masters! You can do consulting and help with hiring people. It’s kind of like being a CEO for a CEO. Plus, if your job wants you to get a PhD, they will pay for it. I can’t belive I almost forgot that option. The pay is so good because few enter the field (people that are attracted to psych are usually touchy-feeling, not business people). I hope that helped!!

Post # 14
692 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I recommend you major in finance or economics (not as generic) and use all your electives to make a psych minor. Many graduate programs require about 18 credits of psychology classes (abnormal psych, etc.) make sure you take those classes as part of your minor.Develop relationships with those professors. Talk to them after class. Be a top student and work your butt off so they remember you and can write you killer recs. Gain experience, even if unpaid. Try to volunteer at an abused women’s shelter or something like that.

This will give you substaintial skill sets that will help open doors, and you’ll also have psych in your back pocket if you choose to pursue grad school.

I work with psych people, counselors, etc. People in the field always tell me that unless you want a phd an MSW is the way to go. More $, broader range of job oppurtunities, and lots of MSWs supervise LPCs and others. I know MSWs who have their own business, write books, do research, you name it. It’s all about what you do with it.

I’m currently torn between an MSW or an MPA/MPP. Although stressful, I love having the option of pursuing two different fields. I had a well rounded undergrad experience which has given me lots of options : )




Post # 15
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@dovelovesfalcon:  Psychology as a career is very difficult. I have my BS in Psych, and my MA in Clinical/Community Psych. I work in higher education. I found out while pursuing my MA, that I don’t love it as much as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I still find it super fascinating, but as I was doing my internship my eyes were opened. It’s very demanding work, with very little pay.

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