[Updated: September, 2013] Whether your job search is one year away or is in the distant future after graduate school, many psychology students want to know more about employment opportunities. It is difficult to give a short answer to the question "what can I do with a psychology major?" because there are so many possibilities. You can see how many options there are by clicking here.
Some undergraduates who major in psychology successfully apply for positions in fields that are outside of the area, such as HR or sales. They use their understanding of people and the general skills that they learn from a liberal arts background in their work. Most students, however, will find employment in the helping professions. Some will look for a job right out of college, while others will go on for graduate school to receive an MA or doctoral degree in one of the many subfields of psychology (clinical, counseling, developmental, social, industrial/organizational, etc.). Each of these leads to different opportunities as well!
In this essay, I'll provide you with a series of resources to help inform your decision-making about career opportunities when it comes to jobs.
1. A good starting point is to read this overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that provides an overview of what psychologists do and what the job prospects are in each area for the future. One of my favorite career resources is O*Net. You can type in any career to find out more about the skills and responsibilities involved and the training required. If you're unsure of what career may be a good fit for you, they have an online test to take.
2. There are jobs that students can receive with their BA degree right after graduating from college. If you want detailed information about finding a job with a bachelor's degree, there are helpful books on the topic in the library, too.
3. Employment opportunities (and salaries) increase when students receive a graduate degree in psychology. Getting into graduate school can feel like a daunting process, but there are many resources out there to give you advice and support. Here is a list of web resources that provides tons of information on the topic. Remember that our department's faculty can provide you with opportunities and guidance when applying for grad school in psychology, too.
4. Regardless of your next step, take advantage of Roosevelt's Office of Career Development. Click here to go to their website to see all of the services that they offer. They have extensive online resources as well as their in-person services to help you prepare your resume, succeed at an interview, find internships/volunteer opportunities to make you more competitive for a job or graduate school, and learn about both employment and graduate school options.
Here's some final advice in this essay for job seekers. First, start looking into your options now rather than later. Learning what you need to succeed will inform the choices that you make this semester -- from the courses you take to seeking out additional research or volunteer opportunities. This will also allow you to set accurate goals for yourself. Second, take the initiative in obtaining information and assistance. This involves not only reading the information above and looking for more if you need it, but also speaking with your professors and career development professionals at the university. Third, it is okay to be confused. Many students are. Things typically become clearer along the way as you talk with people and learn about the possibilities.