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Careers

Finding a career in psychology

Graduates from Calvin's psychology department go on to do a great many things. Our surveys show that at least 65% of our students go on to earn advanced degrees. Other graduates go on and find work without further education, pursuing careers in everything from human resources to business and marketing.

Read more about job prospects in psychology.

Of the many career paths you could take as a psychology major, there are a few broad categories that may characterize your use of the degree.

Psychology as a social science degree

Many graduates pursue a career directly related to psychology. Calvin psychology majors have found work at places like Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Wedgwood Christian Youth and Family Services, Hope (Rehabilitation) Network or state departments of social services. If you would like to pursue a career in this area, you will enhance your marketability by working at one of the area organizations listed above (or others) during your college years.

Psychology as a liberal arts degree

As a wide ranging liberal arts degree, psychology prepares you to work in a large variety of fields that require critical thinking, problem solving, and general human relations skills. Many employers in business, for example, look for general liberal arts graduates. Keep in mind that many jobs and careers do not fit into the disciplinary or professional categories that we use in college. You have the opportunity to use your liberal arts background in careers as diverse as your imagination allows.

Psychology as a pre-professional program

Occupational Therapy

Practitioners in this area generally provide training and assistance for individuals needing to learn to use adaptive technology (e.g., prosthetic limbs, communication devices, computer-assisted learning tools, work site alterations) following physical or neurological injury. Occupational Therapy generally requires one or two years of graduate training beyond the bachelors degree. Undergraduate preparation often includes course work in psychology, physical education, recreation, biology and some physics for the health sciences. Calvin College has an occupational therapy advisor to provide further assistance.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists generally work in hospitals or outpatient clinics providing training and rehabilitation for a wide variety of physical injuries, disabilities and diseases. Physical Therapy requires a Masters Degree or Ph.D. Undergraduate preparation often includes a background in biology, psychology, physical education, recreation, other health science courses. Calvin College has a physical therapy advisor to provide further assistance.

Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychosocial and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. Calvin graduates are uniquely qualified for this career because of their passion for medicine and concern for the general well-being of others. Genetic counselors offer compassionate, individualized, one-on-one care. This profession requires a Masters Degree and undergraduate preparation includes a background in biology, psychology, and other health science courses. Calvin College has a genetic counseling advisor to provide further assistance. For more information go to http://www.calvin.edu/academic/biology/academics/pre-gen.html.

Christian Ministry

A small but regular portion of past psychology majors at Calvin have pursued seminary training. Some have pursued traditional pastoral training, while others have pursued work in pastoral counseling, youth work, or pastoral education.

Educational Counseling

Educational counselors provide career, educational and personal counseling in a secondary or primary school setting, and occasionally in college counseling or career service centers. This specialty sometimes requires an undergraduate education degree. However, some education majors have also minored or majored in psychology in order to pursue this area. Educational counselors typically have a Masters degree from a graduate education program with this specialization. Note: In the State of Michigan a teacher’s certificate is not required but most people who are in such a position have obtained one.

Psychology as a preparation for further graduate studies

In addition to the prospect of teaching psychology in the world of higher education, you might pursue further studies in the field to get into an area of applied psychology, or its sister, social work. Some of these fields include:

Applied Specializations in Psychology

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Psychology

Applied Specializations in Social Work

  • Clinical Social Work
  • School Social Work

Learn more about specialized fields in psychology »

Careers Ideas

The following are careers that Calvin psychology majors have pursued.

Psychology as a social science degree

  • FBI/CIA agent
  • adoption worker
  • counselor/therapist
  • director of family planning
  • welfare eligibility examiner
  • youth activities coordinator

Psychology as a liberal arts degree

  • sales agent
  • human resources director
  • marketing researcher
  • insurance agent
  • management specialist
  • account officer

Psychology as a pre-professional program

  • physician
  • pastor
  • occupational therapist
  • physical therapist
  • lawyer
  • politician
  • educational counselor

Psychology as preparation for graduate students

  • psychology professor
  • clinical psychologist
  • counselor/therapist
  • industrial/organizational psychologist
  • school psychologist
  • social worker

Learn more about careers in psychology»