It’s important to keep in mind that if you are pursuing a psychology-related career you are in luck. If you had been a Psychology (or related) major when I was in college 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago, things would have been very different for you. You would not have been happy because one of the most important resources for career planning was unavailable—the Internet. The fact that the Internet is available allows you to have considerable resources at your fingertips to help with career planning.
Before presenting more about the value of the Internet, let me say that the Internet is not the only place to get information about psychology-related careers. There are books you can check out. For example, if you are interested in graduate school, there is always the trusty American Psychological Association’s book Graduate Study in Psychology (2017). It includes information about all graduate programs, and lists critical data for each program—average GRE score of the incoming class, number of applicants, and number of accepted students. You can also contact a number of people to talk about career issues. If you are on a college campus you can talk to faculty members, professional advisors, and career counselors. Even if you are not in college, you are still free to contact those who work on a college campus. I can’t promise they will always be willing to communicate with you, but it’s worth a shot. Also, career counselors and professional advisors can be found off campus.
Now back to the Internet. Anne and I have a website specifically designed for psychology-related careers. The site was started in 2015. Recently, we revised the site and wanted to tell you about it. Its name is scoutiescareersinpsych.org, and it was developed after I had been a professor for almost 30 years at the University of Kentucky. While advising undergraduates, I realized that psychology-related career possibilities had grown a great deal, and it was becoming harder and harder to discuss career possibilities with students in a single advising session. I first looked at the Internet with the hope of finding a site that could help individuals with psychology-related careers. However, I soon found that although there were sites for psychology careers these sites were managed (if names were mentioned at all) by individuals whose credentials were typically not in psychology, and the sites did not offer a comprehensive view of career possibilities related to psychology. Frustrated with the lack of Internet sources, I turned to Anne (my postdoc at the time) who had experience in computer programming and website design. Together, we started our site.
I should add that the site is called scoutiescareersinpych.org in honor of Anne’s beloved 14-year-old golden retriever, named Scout and affectionately called Scoutie who passed away in March of 2017. Fiercely loyal, warm, intelligent, persistent, Scoutie embodied many of the traits the site reflects. One of Scoutie's greatest traits was his ability to find things that his owners believed to be forever lost. House keys in the woods, an ipod in the soccer field, a favorite tennis ball at the bottom of the lake- and more. Scoutie would, true to his name "Scout" these things out and hold them in his mouth as though it was no big deal. This site is meant to be a Scout of sorts and help you find your career treasures. Any career is within your reach--you just need reliable and relevant information to get started.
There are three important points to make about the site:
1. It was developed with the critical premise that there are many career paths for psychology majors, and that the idea of certain majors leading to certain careers has changed. For example, in the past if a student wanted to go to medical school his or her major was biology or chemistry, and for law school it was political science or history. The thought that a psychology major could be in a medical field (doctor, nurse, physician assistant, physical therapist, or dentist) or be a practicing attorney was rarely discussed. Today, fields like medicine and law are definitely open to psychology majors.
2. It can help you regardless of your current level of commitment to a specific career path. You may be totally clueless about a career or you may have a general idea about a career path, but you are uncertain about the specific steps to achieve your goal. Let’s say you may want to be a therapist, but you are unclear about what type of degree to obtain and exactly what should be your area of focus. Our site offers either of the above individuals the option to indicate an interest area and then be directed to one or more specific careers aligned with that area. That is, if you are interested in being a therapist you would be directed to the Mental Health career category where you would be presented with various descriptions of specific career options involving different degrees (e.g., Masters degrees in various areas [e.g., Family, Genetic and Pastoral Counseling], PsyD, and PhD). Finally, you may know exactly what you want to do (e.g., get a PhD in clinical psychology), in which case you would be directed to this career category by the site.
3. The site offers more than just interest areas and career categories. It lets you check out salary information about every career listed in the site. Also, you are provided with a list of critical steps you need to take to move forward in a specific career path. For example, a step that is important for most careers is to complete an internship in a career category you have chosen. Finally, it offers links to other Internet sources for career tips and advice.
We hope you will use our site and tell others about it. Also, if you have any suggestion for improving the site, let us know: We are continually revising the content of the site. Good luck as you move forward with your career!
Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.