(Closed) Terrified of graduating with my bachelors in psychology!

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 33
117 posts
Blushing bee

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@Birdiebaby4:  I’m actually in Canada.. “counsellor” and “clinician” is loosly used here. There are sooo many opportunities though. Maybe see if your school has a career counsellor? 

Post # 34
13 posts

I got my BA in psych in 2010, and I went on to get my masters in social work. The job I’m at now has both people with a masters in counseling and a masters in social work in the same position. A lot of work for the two is very similar. I do crisis work now, but I was doing outpatient counseling in my last job. It sucks to have to go on and get your masters, but I wasn’t happy with the options with just the BA. You can be a tech at a hospital or a case manager, but it’s hard and thankless work. If what you really want to do is counseling, you need at least some kind of masters. Unfortunately, I found out too late that in Ohio where I live, you can do counseling and get licensed with a bachelors in social work. The pay for most counseling/social work jobs is pretty abysmal though, at least starting out. But I’m happy with what I did.

Post # 35
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Its interesting to see the difference in psychology training between Australia and America. I completed my 3 year bachelor degree in psychology last year and I am currently completing my honours degree year that will allow me provisional registration while I complete a masters or doctorate degree. However you go into psychology here knowing that formal registration to call yourself a psychologist requires at least a masters degree. 

A lot of people who decided not to continue onto postgraduate study from the end of last year (or couldn’t get in) have moved down pathway such as human resources, jobs with Australian ‘welfare’ departments and, strangely enough, further training to becme audiologists.


Post # 36
336 posts
Helper bee

@Birdiebaby4:  You sound so much like me. I, too am from Ohio. and I too ended up with a BA in Psych and BA in criminal justice. And, I too started working receptionists jobs. Please don’t hold against me what I’m going to say next. I was unaware that a BA in psych is just an entry-way degree to a higher degree. I’ll be finished with my MA in Clinical & Mental Health Counseling Spring of 15′. I couldn’t find a decent job with my BA anywhere. That degree is too simple. The only way you can utilize that degree is entry level stuff i.e research or secretarial work. Look on Career builder and Indeed. They have great job options for secretarial work! I’m also in great debt especially since I’m obtaining my Master’s and I feel like I’ve been duped again. My master’s in Clinical Counseling isn’t going to rake in the “big bucks” so to speak, just average pay. This is the big shocker: You can literally apply to a PH.D program in counseling with just a bachelors! I was furious when I learned of this. In these programs they allow you to obtain the MA and the Ph.d together. The only catch is that most require a minimum of 3.5 gpa and research experience. Now. I’m thinking of applying to the Ph.d program to make sure I have a comfortable lifestyle for my future children. I’ll most likely be paying loans for the rest of my life. Look on those websites. Everything will fall into place eventually. Good luck!

Post # 38
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

@Birdiebaby4:  Hi. I have a degree in psych as well.  I am now in my last semester in grad school for my MSW (master in social work).  Social work is not the same as psych but a related discipline. IMO a masters in psych is not worth it unless you intend to get ur phd. In regards to the cost I am in CA so it may be different where you are but wait until you are not considered a dependent so you have a greater chance of receiving student aid in the form of grants. I also agree with pps when they say you should take some time to gain real world experience. Good luck and btw everyone feels scared when they graduate. I hope you find your way.

Post # 39
1891 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

My Fiance has a psychology degree and is currently finishing his marketing degree. Basically he realized unless he gets his masters and phd in psychology he wouldn’t be working in psychology. 

There are just so many psych majors. It’s very competitive. I would consider furthering your education, it’s probably worth it

Post # 40
1031 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

I wish you much success with your career endeavor.  After graduating with a BS in Organization Mgmt…142 credits ’cause I did a dual minor. I got tied of the rat race and decided to establish my own business. Even though it’s still in its infancy,  I can honestly say that I have no regrets. 

Post # 41
167 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

@Birdiebaby4:  Oh jeez….  55-60k in loans for your undergrad in psych?  Okay, well, first things first.  If you are considering more school, you need to choose right away between PhD and a Master’s, because most programs, unless they explicitly state otherwise, will not roll your Master’s work into your PhD for psych.  Some schools will allow you to start in the Master’s program and then transition into the PhD program that you’re aiming for, but only if you do well enough to compete with external candidates.  Most notable psych schools want a 3.5GPA or higher; advisors for PhD programs will commonly throw away apps from candidates that don’t meet this requirement, which means the supervisor picking interviewees won’t even know that you’ve applied.  PhDs will require GREs, and good ones, especially for your GPA.  On that same point, you are going to need amazing academic letters of rec.  It is possible to find a school that will examine your whole PhD app, but it’ll take work and it’ll likely not be a super great school.  Realistically, you’ll need to spend time in the industry–suicide hotlines, research assistant, rehab facilities, etc…  You’ll likely need at least a year.  It is much more possible to find Master’s programs to get into with your stats, and the less notable ones may not even ask for GREs or more than 1 academic lor (still usually need three).  Good schools will have the same app requirements between programs, but lower standards for admission into Master’s–offers usually go to the runner-up candidates for PhD.  Keep in mind, most research PhDs have a B.S. and then some.  Also, good schools stipend your PhD, so TAing will cover your tuition; I’ve never heard of a Master’s paying you to go to school, so this will likely incur more debt.


On top of all of that, you’ll need a program type–adult clinical, social, behavioral, etc…  Then you’ll need a statement of purpose that outlines any research goals/plans if you’re applying.  A good psych program will make you rue the day you chose the discipline, so it really isn’t worth jumping into a PhD willy-nilly.

Now, a Master’s is not going to net you that much unless you work your balls off to publish an f-ton of research, whereby you attract the attention of a high-end practice–I’ve seen this once, and she had got into the game a long time before psych became so ranked with competition…  And it is, especially inside a research-based clinic.  Thus, the average Master’s salary with the amount of loans you’ll have, will not get you much past your loan payment…  A lot of assumptions here, but these are my observations.


This is a lot, especially if you don’t have direct knowledge or a passion for working with patients and other psychologists that often suffer from some issues of their own.  Again, generalizations, which are bad, but this is what I’ve seen.


If I were you, I’d try for a financial deference of your loans for a year, pick another field of interest and find a paying job in it, then find an evening shift to volunteer for that is related to the psych program you might be considering.  Until you know what you want to do, do NOT get anymore loans.  Hope this helps.

 ETA:  After thinking through the numbers of loan payments versus debt for more school and what you’ll net on average, I think it would be a horrendously bad decision to go to any school outside of a PhD–and only if your current loans can be deferred during.  Unless you’re an anomaly or there are limits on what your loan payments can max at per month, there is just not a great way to keep your head above water after you’re done if you are completely financially responsible for yourself.  I say work that debt down however you can for a few years, volunteer, and then go back to school when you know you can handle living expenses and the total loan payments once finished with school.  Maybe even move to a state with a school or schools that you like and think you’ll get into, and go for resident status.  An MSW or M in psych is just bad news with 100k+ debt and a full load of living expenses breathing down your neck.

Post # 42
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Birdiebaby4:  I ended up continuing my studies and obtaining a law degree so I guess I’m not much help.  Does your school sponsor any type of internships?  They’re a good way to obtain credit for your degree while obtaining experience and some companies end up hiring interns.  Worse comes to worst you could check out jobs with the State which usually offers decent entry level positions.

Post # 43
1081 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Birdiebaby4:  Does your school offer any fieldwork courses that could get you “experience” under your belt for the fall? I did a fieldwork placement in a school for children with autism during my last semester of undergraduate college, and immediatley after graduating, I got a job there as a teaching assistant.  Crappy pay, but it got my foot in the door! And because I had done fieldwork there, I was already “trained” so they hired me without question. Six years later, I’ve worked my way up the ladder, and have saved enough to go back to graduate school for a Master’s degree AND my BCBA certification. 🙂

So, there’s hope!!! Try to take a class that gives you some kind of training/experience in the field.. even research assistant experience is helpful sometimes

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