Career Preparation

A portion of the advising within the Department typically focuses on what students will be doing after their graduation from LVC. While this process can begin at any time, its formal commencement coincides with students completing PSY 201 (Sophomore Seminar) during the Fall of their Sophomore year. This course is designed to help clarify students’ interests and long-term plans in the field of psychology. Topics include identifying the academic and interpersonal abilities necessary to become a successful student at the undergraduate level and beyond, reviewing both the specific and broad skills/values related to different careers in psychology, preparing students for the different elements of job searching and applying to graduate school, exploring employment options in psychology available to individuals with bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and reflecting on one’s own skills/interests to develop a general career plan for their post collegiate life.

Beyond this class, advisors typically begin career-counseling discussions in earnest during Junior year, advising students to consider enrollment in graduate school or the work force. Those opting for graduate work are then counseled in terms of the necessary requirements for a graduate school application (e.g., letters of reference, research/internship experiences, completion of the GRE, etc.), as well as how to go about choosing graduate programs. Students opting for immediate entry into the work force are also advised how to go about preparing for application screening and job interviews.

In addition to Department-based career advising, the College’s Career Services Office “engages students to become active participants in developing and implementing their career plans and graduate/professional school pursuits.” Details about their offerings can be found at http://www.lvc.edu/career-services/

Four Year Career Decision Making Process
Choosing a career path, ideally, involves a series of decisions made over many years, both prior to and during one’s college years. During their time as an undergraduate the Psychology Department strongly urges students to follow the steps below in order to reach an informed decision about one’s career options.

Freshman Year
  1. Begin self-assessment process: Focus on skills, interests, and values.
  2. Get involved in extracurricular activities and gain valuable experience through the psychology club and other organizations.
  3. Attend workshops and programs conducted by the Psychology Department.
  4. Become familiar with the Career Services Office.
Sophomore Year
  1. Explore career fields by talking with family, friends, alumni and the faculty in the Department.
  2. Browse through the Psychology Department materials and learn more about careers by reading books, articles, and magazines.
  3. Talk with faculty advisers and other students in psychology about career possibilities.
  4. Read the newsletter and attend workshops and programs of the Career Planning Office.
  5. If interested in attending graduate school, become involved in research with LVC faculty.
  6. Enroll in and complete the Sophomore Seminar (PSY 201) course, to engage in serious reflection about career preferences.
  7. Continue involvement in campus-based activities, but begin to seek out leadership positions when possible.
  8. Prepare a resume (with the help of Psychology faculty and/or the Career Planning office) that details both specific work-related experiences as well as skills that you have developed over the years; update this document periodically.
Junior Year
  1. Investigate graduate and professional school requirements to determine that your academic record will be complete.
  2. Gain career experience through an internship or as a volunteer.
  3. Begin to gather letters of reference from faculty, internship sponsors, and summer employers.
  4. Attend Career Forums to hear alumni speak about their careers.
  5. Contact Alumni Career Consultants through the Psychology Department and/or Career Services to ask them for career advice and information.
  6. Read the Career Planning Newsletter and attend as many workshops and programs as possible.
  7. Prepare for and take appropriate GRE.
  8. Gather/request information about specific graduate schools.
Senior Year
  1. Apply to graduate programs.
  2. Meet with your advisor (and feel free to contact other faculty as well) as soon as possible to begin planning your job search or graduate school strategy.
  3. Do extensive research on specific organizations and on the career field of most interest.
  4. Conduct information interviews with Alumni Career Consultants and other professionals.
  5. Prepare a final resume that will be sent to prospective graduate schools and/or employers.
  6. Open a credentials file in the Career Services Office and make sure that your letters of reference are included.
  7. Read the Career Planning Newsletter thoroughly and do not miss any of the important workshops, programs, and career forums.
  8. Interview for positions in chosen field(s) with organizations on and off campus.

Career-Based Research
Beyond the general steps outlined above, students are strongly urged to conduct their own research (in consultation with their Department advisor) on various career paths that are of interest to them. Currently, approximately 40% of LVC psychology and psychobiology students attend graduate school after obtaining their college degree, and the remaining 60% enter the workforce. With this in mind, some possible research sources include the following, many of which are available in the Psychology Department Library (LYN 286).

  • Kuther, T. L. (2006). The psychology major’s handbook (2nd Ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
  • Kuther, T. L. & Morgan, R. D. (2004). Careers in psychology: Opportunities in a changing world. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
  • Buskist, W. & Sherburne, T. R. (1996). Preparing for graduate study in psychology: 101 questions and answers. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  • DeGalan, J. & Lambert, S. (2001). Great jobs for psychology majors (2nd Ed.). Lincolnwood, IL, VGM Career Books.
  • Getting in: A step-by-step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Graduate programs in psychology: 2004. (2003). Lawrenceville, NJ: Thomson/Peterson’s.
  • Keith-Spiegel, P. (1991). The complete guide to graduate school admission: Psychology and related fields. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
  • Landrum, E., Davis, S., & Landrum, T.A. (2000). The psychology major: Career options and strategies for success. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Sternberg, R.J. (1997). Career paths in psychology: Where your degree can take you. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

In addition to these sources, students should frequently check the website of “Eye on Psi Chi,” a magazine published by the National Honor Society in Psychology (one does not need to be a Psi Chi member to access this website), at www.psichi.org. This site provides full-text versions of all articles that have appeared in this magazine over the years, including many with up-to-date information about various careers in psychology, and how to apply for psychology-related jobs and/or graduate school admission.

General Career Options with a Degree in Psychology
Each specialty area in psychology has entry-level positions, which require a bachelor’s degree, as well as advanced careers requiring additional graduate study. Some of the careers appropriate for students with interests in psychology are listed below (* indicates a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement; remaining careers require graduate degrees).

Research Psychologists: Clinical, Comparative, Developmental, Educational, Engineering, Experimental, Gerontological, Psychometric, Social, Statistical, Cognitive, Psychobiologist, Neuroscientist

Human Services: *Behavioral Technician, Career Counselor, *Case Worker, *Child Development Specialist, Child Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Counseling Psychologist, Criminologist, *Day Care Center Director, *Development Officer, *Extension Service Specialist, Family Therapist, *Guidance Counselor, Health Psychologist, *House Parent, *Inmate Worker, *Juvenile Counselor, *Elderly Care Activities Director

Business: *Industrial Relations Coordinator, *Administrative Assistant, Advertising Agent, *Bank Trainee, Business Manager, Claims Representative, *Rehabilitation Worker, Consumer Psychologist, Corporation Counselor, *Customer Service Representative, *Employee Counselor, *Employment Training Specialist, Engineering Psychologist, *Import Specialist, *Industrial Psychologist, *Job Analyst, *Labor Relations Coordinator, *Management Specialist, *Management Trainee, *Market Research Analyst, *Research Assistant, *Marketing Specialist, Organizational Psychologist, *Personnel Administrator, *Personnel Trainer, *Program Coordinator, *Program Trainee, *Recruiter, *Sales Person, *Systems Analyst

Public Service: *Affirmative Action Officer, *Community Organization Worker, *Community Planning Specialist, *Psychiatric Assistant, Environmental Psychologist, *Field Health Officer, *Health Policy Planner, *Intelligence Specialist, *Police Detective, *Psychiatric Social Worker, *Policy Analyst, *Probation Officer, *Relocation Worker, *Psychiatric Aide, *Psychometrist, *Resident Advisor, School Counselor, *Therapeutic Activity Aide, *Volunteer Services Director, *Youth Counselor, School Psychologist, *Social Service Aide, *Social Work Specialist, *Social Worker, Sports Psychologist

Communications: *Statistical Report Writer, *Public Opinion Survey Worker, *Media Director, *Consumer Researcher, *Technical Writer

Miscellaneous: Family Medicine Physician, Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, *Recreation Resource Specialist, *Animal Ecologist, *Corrections Administrator, *Curriculum Designer, Lawyer, *Museum Worker, *Park Recreationist