Manda Coupe and Gladys Calderón share their undergraduate experiences and advice for incoming students.
At the bachelor's level psychology is a Liberal Arts degree, it is not a professional degree. Professional degrees are those which train a person directly for a profession at the bachelor's level. Degrees such as education, social work, nursing and business are professional degrees. Psychology is more similar to liberal arts degrees such as sociology, history, English and philosophy.
While a Liberal Arts degree does not train a student directly for a profession, there are certain jobs open to a person who has a bachelor's degree that are not open to a person without a degree. In some cases, employers may not particularly care whether the degree is in English or in psychology -- the employer simply wants to hire an employee with a bachelor's degree.
In other cases, jobs may be available to a person with a particular type of bachelor's degree. For example, jobs in human services are likely to be available to a person with a degree in psychology, sociology or social work that might not be available to a person with a degree in history, English Literature or accounting. These would include positions such as caseworkers or juvenile probation officers.
However, if one wishes to be a psychologist, graduate training is necessary. That training may be in the basic fields of psychology, in which one is being trained as a behavioral scientist, or in the applied fields of psychology in which one is being trained as a practitioner and/or a scientist. Some psychological practitioners may be counselors or therapists.
In certain cases, a person may work as a counselor with a Master's degree in Psychology; however, to be recognized as a psychologist in Indiana and most other states one must have the PhD in Psychology or the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology). If one does not want to pursue doctoral training, yet wishes to be a counselor or therapist, the MSW (Master's of Social Work) is a very good choice to pursue. Many people go on to graduate training in MSW programs with an undergraduate Psychology degree.
For further information we recommend reading the following sources which are available here in the Psychology department:
Is Psychology the Major for You?: Planning for Your Undergraduate Years
Graduate Study in Psychology.
The Complete Guide to Graduate School Admissions.
Getting in: A Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology.
Great Jobs for Psychology Majors
Career Paths in Psychology
Handbook for Enhancing Undergraduate Education in Psychology
Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology
Majoring in Psych? Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates
A survey conducted by the IPFW Psychology Department in 2014 asked area employers about skills they value most in their employees. The table below shows the percentage of psychology graduates employed by each type of company.
Top-Rated Skills by Area Employers
Employers were asked to rate the importance of 36 skills that we believe psychology students acquire in the major. Below are the top-rated skills listed in the order of their importance to area employers.
Apply ethical principles appropriate to the workplace
Establish relationships with clients or customers
Work effectively with diverse populations
Deliver clear and concise oral communication
Draw conclusions based on information gathered
Anticipate problems in proposed projects
Take the initiative to clarify ambiguous instructions from others
Train skills to individuals one-on-one
Facilitate interactions among group members
Collaborate on group projects
Craft clear and concise written communication
Propose ideas for new projects
Identify key concepts in written reports and/or proposed projects