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Old 07-24-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default Psychology jobs

This is completely unrelated to weight loss and fitness, but I have found the 3fc community to be so helpful over the years that I wanted to put this out there anyway. I just graduated with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education, and I have a job starting in August as a 4th grade teacher. I am incredibly excited and can't wait to FINALLY be the lead teacher in my own classroom. I love teaching and working with elementary aged children, and I think that the next year will be both challenging and immensely rewarding.

That being said, I am interested in going back to school for a PhD in psychology. I'm taking prerequisites for this on Saturday mornings. I would ultimately love to continue working with children and adolescents, but I find that although I love working in the classroom, what I most enjoy is working with my students individually, and not just on academic issues. I'm not entirely sure that I would like to stay in a school environment, though I'm not opposed to the idea. My question is this: is anyone in the 3fc community familiar with psychology jobs? What sort of opportunities might there be for me? And would a PhD in Counseling Psych be as useful as one in Clinical? I am considering School Psychology, as well, but it seems to be fairly heavily focused on special ed referrals, which I'm not so sure I'd want to spend all my time doing. If anyone could point me toward some resources, I'd be ever so grateful. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:19 PM   #2
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Even though my undergrad is psych, I don't really have any insight to job prospects. But I do recommend watching this youtube video. I know you have an idea of working with kids so it may not totally fit you but it does point out many things you should think over http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZaLipDgFZQ

ETA: I know there are a few people on the boards that should answer your actual questions and I do look forward to what they say
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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First off, congrats on the teaching job!

Have you considered home instruction? I did it for a while and it's a really nice gig if you like working with individual students. I had a lot more freedom than when I was in the classroom and I really got to know the students and their families (because I was in their house!). The downside is that you don't get to interact with your fellow educators that often, and I really missed that bouncing around of ideas.

I'm going back to the classroom this fall, but I know I'm going to miss that home instruction job! Setting my own hours was great and I had quite a bit more freedom.

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Old 07-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #4
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PhD's are research degress - really focused on research. If want you really want to do is work with children - I would suggest looking into other advanced degrees and not doing a PhD in clinical. Yes you will be trained to do therapy - but a majority of your training is in research and they will gear you towards research (even though many go on to private practice).

I would suggest looking into becoming a licensed clinical social worker, masters in counseling (for those states that allow that degree to practice as a therapist), or a PsyD.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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My fiancé has a Stanford phd in cognitive psychology. He got a job in business intelligence right out of grad school.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:56 AM   #6
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I'm glad you asked about this. I'm 31, married with 4 kids so I'm getting a (very) late start but I should have my associates by Christmas and will be starting the teaching program next fall for 4th-8th grade language arts and social studies. Like you though I think I would like to work with kids in different settings. I was not happy with my children's recent counselor and principal, and while I've never worked in a classroom I wonder what it would be like as a teacher if you didn't get along with them? It wasn't personal (though I didn't get warm fuzzies from them either) but more on how they handled activities and events with the kids. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do, what sort of positition/environment, etc and what I need to do to get there. It's very confusing sometimes. My oldest child had some issues when he was younger and my middle child has a somewhat rare learning disorder so I've navigated many issues as a parent. I think I would like to help other parents and kids too.

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Old 07-28-2013, 08:57 PM   #7
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I work in Student Services at the University level and we look for Master's level degrees in counseling, psychology, education, or related. If you want to work in the field, a Master's level degree may serve you better, be less work, and less expensive.

I would suggest identifying your career goal first, then choosing the program that fits that goal, rather than choosing the degree program first- I tell this to my students all the time
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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I have a Ph.D. in clinical psych and I work with children and adolescents in a community mental health setting. In my position, I assess children for mental health disorders, developmental disorders, and learning/cognitive problems; do individual/family therapy; and I am starting to train interns. Looking at all my classmates' career paths, it is clear that there are many different directions you can take the degree: teaching at the college level, participating in cancer-related research, working in an inpatient hospital, private practice, etc

While it is true that the Ph.D. is typically a research degree, many clinical and counseling psych programs are "scientist-practitioner," so you end up prepared for research or practice (depending on the types of internships and postdocs you seek out). I work along-side people with counseling psych degrees and we competed for the same internships and stuff; I don't think think it makes a difference (unless maybe you are set on working in a hospital setting - it is possible they prefer clinical). If you know you want to practice rather than do research, the psy.d. is good, but you may not not funding from many of those programs - my program was pretty much free (fully funded), where my psy.d. friends ended up with major loan debt. That may not be the case for smaller private psyd programs though

It is true that a masters degree in counseling might get you the type of job you are really seeking, and with less time and headaches. However, feel free to ask me questions about the ph.d.!

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Old 07-31-2013, 02:36 PM   #9
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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses and advice!

Sontaikle, thanks for the congratulations and for the thoughts about home instruction. I actually have applied for some part-time work doing home instruction in the evenings and on weekends, and I am sure that I will enjoy it, though it's not something that I'm interested in as a long-term career. Welcome back to the classroom! What grade will you be teaching in the fall?

MandyPandy, thanks for mentioning PsyD programs. It's something that I've looked into in the past but which sort of fell off my radar.

Carbstart, that's good to hear! What does a job in business intelligence entail?

Arrwillia, I hope that you find a position in which you're interested! Have you considered possibly going into Special Education? Getting dual certified would certainly help you find a job after finishing your teacher prep program.

Underwater, thank you for the insider's perspective! The advice to choose a career goal and then a degree program is very sound.

On that note, I think my original post did not thoroughly reflect some of my hopes and goals in pursuing a psych PhD. I just didn't want to create a monstrosity that nobody would read! As much as I enjoy working directly with my students, I also enjoy academics and research. I would definitely be interested in a PhD program that prepared me for both research and for practical application in some sort of counseling or therapeutic role. Because I grew up country-hopping, I am particularly interested in researching children and adolescents who grew up in host environments with different cultural values and expectations than those found in their home communities. I am leaning more and more towards the idea of becoming a therapist and would especially love to work with clients who can be identified as TCKs (Third Culture Kids). I would also be interested in working with displaced populations. I know this is highly specific, but I think that such a research focus could be helpful if I were to later work at international schools or in areas with large immigrant populations.

Aside from my interest in the research component of a PhD, I am ultimately uninterested in pursuing another Masters degree. Pursuing my M.Ed. was an incredible financial drain, and my hope is that I could get into a PhD program that is fully funded. If I do not receive any funding for further education, I will not pursue an addition degree.

Thanks again for all of your replies! They've certainly given me a lot to think about and have helped me better articulate what I may be looking to do in the future.

pnkrckpixikat, thanks for the video clip! Always good to hear the different sides to every story.

straightahead, I will send you a pm later this evening!
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
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I am so happy you asked this question! Reading everyone's reply has also helped me I am what I call a "professional student", been in school for over 5 years with no degree to show for it yet. BUT I have finally committed to my associates of Psychology and am almost done. I was struggling with the decision of transferring my credits to a Social work degree or continue on to a BA- psych. The information was very helpful thanks everyone
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