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Careers: Career Preparation

Preparing for your career

As a psychology major at Calvin, you have the opportunity to develop a number of skills that will be attractive to prospective employers once you enter the job marketplace. Some of the skills you should develop are:

  • research skills which can be applied in a wide variety of settings
  • quantitative reasoning skills (i.e. knowing how to make judgments with statistics)
  • assessment skills
  • increased knowledge of self and others
  • interviewing and helping skills
  • group leadership skills
  • critical thinking about psychological issues
  • appreciation for diversity
  • computer and communication skills
  • specific lab skills
  • others, depending on your unique experiences

Whatever you'd like to do with your degree in psychology—whether it's pursuing further studies in the field or finding employment in an area not directly related to psychology—you should take advantage of the resources Calvin provides to discover your vocation.

Coursework

A careful selection of courses is important to discovering your areas of interest in psychology. At least some of the classes you choose at Calvin—whether for core requirements, a psychology major or electives—should be relevant to the work you pursue after graduation. Aim to develop some of the specific skills mentioned above. Take advantage of the wide variety of courses Calvin offers. Be assured that a solid degree in psychology will serve you well, but also be aware that many employers respect a college record which gives evidence of a wide range of interests and abilities. You may find it helpful to talk to upper-class students, graduates, or faculty members to get opinions on course selection.

Connections

It's important to start making smart connections now with people who can guide you in your career choices. Make an effort to get personally acquainted with some professors. Developing a professional network (a collection of people in the field whom you know and who know you) can be a great asset in finding entry-level positions and apprenticeships, assistantships, and in connecting with other professionals. Student memberships with organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychological Society (APS), and the Christian association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) are beneficial for additional involvement with the field of psychology.

Experiential learning

Assisting a professor with research or doing an internship at a local organization can get you a long way when it comes to building your career. Find out what kind of opportunities the psychology department provides to learn outside the classroom.

Career counseling

Calvin provides two resources to help you identify your interests and build your career.

Broene Counseling Center

The Broene Counseling Center offers its services to all students at Calvin and provides help in identifying and organizing personal interests and career goals. The counselors there can assist you with career planning, as well as self-growth and self-understanding.

Career Development

The services of Career Development are open to all Calvin students. The office provides vocational guidance by means of testing, counseling, development of careers files and providing helpful information about specific careers. Career Development will help you develop your resume, cover letters and interview skills. For those interested in careers in psychology-related fields, it will provide information concerning the outlook for employment in fields like social work, education, counseling, personnel and rehabilitation. A list of jobs that Calvin graduates have accepted is also available in Career Development.

Career Publications

DeGalan, Julie, Lambert, Stephen. (2006) Great jobs for psychology majors. McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0-07-145876-X.

Delaney, Peter, Marcovitch, Stuart, Silvia, Paul. (2009). What psychology majors could (and should) be doing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assoc. ISBN: 1-4338-0438-7.

Kuther, Tara & Morgan, Robert. (2010). Careers in psychology: opportunities in a changing world. Massachucetts: Wadsworth. ISBN: 0-495-60074-1.

Landrum, R. Eric. (2009) Finding jobs with a psychology bachelor's degree. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assoc. ISBN: 1-4338-0437-9

Morgan, B. L. & Korschgen, A.J. (2009). Majoring in Psychology: Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates. Boston, MA: Pearson Education. ISBN: 0-205-62685-8.

O'Hara, Shelley. (2005). What can you do with a major in psychology? Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing. ISBN: 0-7645-7609-7.

The Psychology Major. (2010). The psychology major: career options and strategies for success. New Jersey: Pearson Education. ISBN: 0-205-68468-8

Schultheiss, Donna E. Palladino. (2008). Psychology as a major: is it right for me and what can I do with my degree? Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN: 1-4338-0336-4

Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.). (2007). Career Paths in Psychology: Where your degree can take you. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN: 1-59147-732-8.