Finding a psychology job that is the right fit for you may vary in difficulty depending on what you are looking for. The higher your degree, the more career options you will likely have. However, even with an associate degree, there are several psychology careers available for job seekers.
Psychology jobs may be located in several ways. Social service programs, nonprofit agencies, and psychology programs may be found through community service directories, newspapers, and through online searches. Adoption and foster agencies may hire individuals with a degree in psychology. Crisis hotlines, counseling centers, and group homes are additional places of employment. Mental health facilities, both inpatient and outpatient programs, are in need of psychology professionals.
Government-run social service programs through county, city, state, and the federal government also hire graduates of psychology programs. Government websites usually have a career section where job openings are advertised.
In addition to locating agencies, networking with people in the field is also helpful in finding job openings. Joining professional psychology associations at both the local and national levels is a good place to start meeting others in the field. Some associations have regular meetings where you can meet others in the field. Many psychology associations also have a job board where positions are advertised.
Don’t overlook the school you graduated from as a source of potential job leads. Fellow classmates and teachers may know of positions or agencies to look for work, and university career centers often maintain databases of job leads and, occasionally, alumni who may be willing to help you get your foot in the door.
Once you find places to apply to, you’ll need to have a resume available. When writing your resume, format it in a way that is easy to read and locate information in a hurry. Employers may simply scan resumes and need to be able to find relevant information, such as degrees and past experience, quickly. Also, when writing your resume, be sure to read back through it for obvious misspellings and typographical errors. Keep in mind that your resume is one of the first impressions you will make on a potential employer.
Highlight any position that you held in the psychology field. If you don’t have direct psychology experience, then highlight jobs in which you worked with the public or held a supervisory position. Explain how your past employment and skills prepared you for a psychology career and the particular position you are applying for.
Have a list of professional references available in case they are requested by a potential employer. References may be former coworkers, teachers, and employers. Be sure you have contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers. If you already have professional reference letters written, keep them on file in case they are needed in the future.
Once you get an employer’s interest in your resume, the next step will likely be an interview. Job interviews can be intimidating even for those who are fully qualified for the position. Whether you are interviewed by one person or a panel, it’s important to try to relax, be professional, and be honest.
If possible try to learn a little about the facility or program you are interviewing with. If available, visit the facility or program’s website for information. Bring copies of your resume and references in case either are requested. Arrive on time and dress the part. Although not all psychology jobs require business attire such as a suit, err on the side of formality.
Although anyone may be nervous before an interview, take a few deep breaths before going in. Answer questions honestly and discuss how your qualifications make you an asset to the facility or program you are applying with. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Not only is the employer trying to see if you are the right person for the job, but it’s a chance for you to determine if the job feels right for you.
After the interview comes the hard part; is waiting for a response. Sending a short thank you email can’t hurt. Just write a quick statement thanking the interviewer for his or her time.
If you don’t get the job, try not to take rejection too personally. There are many reasons you may not be selected, such as a high number of qualified applicants. Learn what you can from the interview experience and move on to the next possibility.
Types of Therapy
There are many different types of therapy people working in psychology careers may use to help someone. The type of therapy chosen depends on the age of the person, the problem he or she is dealing with, and the individual’s personality and preferences. Some types of therapy may not be effective for everyone. It may also be necessary to try a variety of therapies before progress becomes apparent.
One area of psychotherapy commonly used in a variety of situations is family therapy. Often an issue or problem affecting one person affects the entire family. Family counseling allows individual family members insight into problematic issues and helps the whole family learn effective coping strategies. It may be particularly helpful in situations such as domestic violence and substance abuse.
Group therapy is another type of therapy often recommended. Similar to family therapy, during group therapy the therapist works simultaneously with more than one person. Although it may not be for everyone, there are several benefits to group therapy.
Because dealing with psychiatric issues or emotional problems may feel isolating, group therapy often helps someone feel less alone and more connected to others. Members of the group share experiences, which may provide hope and other helpful information to the group as a whole. Members of the group may also serve as a source of emotional support. Group therapy may be done in conjunction with individual counseling.
Other types of therapy are also very effective, particularly in dealing with children or people who have a difficult time expressing themselves by talking. For instance, music therapy may be very helpful in these instances. Music can be soothing to almost everyone. Music therapy is based on the healing and calming effect of music. It also provides an opportunity for nonthreatening self expression. People with various problems, such as mental health issues, victims of violence, and people with substance abuse problems may benefit from music therapy.
Play therapy is also very helpful in treating children. Children may not have the vocabulary to express their feelings in all situations, but play therapy allows a child to act out emotions through play. It may be used to help make a diagnosis or as a form of psychotherapy. Additionally, play therapy provides children with the opportunity to learn new ways to cope with situations that cause anxiety.
Art therapy is another type of therapy that may be used to treat people with various emotional and mental health problems. Similar to music therapy, art therapy helps a person express feelings without using words. Instead, the emotions are expressed through art work. Art therapy can help people relieve stress and is often very calming.
This is an effective type of therapy for both children and adults.
Continuing education in psychology careers is an important part of staying current in the field. As with other fields, psychology changes and evolves overtime. New therapies, theories, treatments, and medications are developed and implemented with varying degrees of success. Taking continuing education in psychology careers helps professionals remain knowledgeable and credible in their field.
Continuing education may be mandatory for some psychology professionals. For instance, individuals licensed as clinical social workers, therapists, or psychologists may be required to complete a specific amount of continuing educations classes every few years to renew their license. Specific continuing education requirements for individuals’ psychology career specialties can be found through a licensing or accrediting agency.
Even for those psychology professionals who are not required to complete continuing education, it is still advisable. Although continuing education allows the opportunity to learn about new ideas in the field of psychology, it also provides a chance to improve your job skills. Continuing education classes may include learning about techniques and therapies that are new to you, as well as increase your marketability.
If you have a particular area of psychology you are interested in, continuing education classes are a good way to gain more knowledge in a short period of time. It also provides an opportunity to do a little career exploration. You can take a few continuing education classes in different areas of psychology to help determine what area you are interested in pursuing in the future.
It is also a chance to meet other people working in psychology careers. When attending conferences and classes for continuing education, you have the chance to network with other professionals. This frequently allows you to gain information about programs or jobs you would be interested in.
There are several ways to locate continuing education classes in psychology. Professional associations often provide a list of continuing education classes available through the association. Classes may also be found through colleges and universities. Often professional psychology conferences will offer continuing educations units for workshops, classes, and lectures. Professional psychology trade journals are also good sources for locating continuing education opportunities.
When selecting continuing education classes for psychology careers, keep in mind some classes may require in-person attendance at a class or conference. Other classes may be offered online after reading the required information and completing a test. The fee for continuing education classes varies widely. However, there may be some opportunities for free classes through professional organizations and employers.