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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 »