What To Do When Finishing Your Psychology Degree?

What to do when finishing your psychology degree

Many people are attracted to a career in psychology, seeing it as that training in which they will learn to do psychotherapy and discover the mysterious enigmas behind why people behave the way we do.

However, it is not gold everything that shines. Whether you have just started your degree or are finishing it, many behavioral science students They wonder what to do when they finish their psychology degree

There are many questions about what the job opportunities are for those who finish psychology and today we are going to explore them. Let’s discover what to do when finishing the degree or bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

What to do when finishing your university degree in psychology

The psychology degree is attractive to thousands of pre-university students. Many people who become psychologists, deciding to study the career motivated by the idea that one day they will practice psychotherapy and help people who are going through a bad streak, convinced that once they finish the degree they will be able to practice in a very short time, getting a job. of what they have studied.

However, those who are already in and are in their third and fourth year wonder again and again what to do when they finish their psychology degree. Although they have been studying it for a while and know what the subject is about, they also It usually happens that they see their not-so-distant professional future in a gray color bordering on black, a very ugly color Questions like “What career opportunities are there after finishing?” “Can you make a living from it?” “What do I do if I can’t work from what I have studied?” and many others can overwhelm us a lot.

To avoid experiencing so much anguish regarding our professional future, throughout this article we are going to reflect on what can be done after finishing our psychology degree, also giving some advice for those who have already started it and motivating those who are doing it. ending that they do not stop or give up. Completing your degree is not synonymous with getting a job immediately, but having certain studies and skills acquired after completing your degree will increase your chances of working as a psychologist one day.

First thing: lower expectations

The first thing we are going to do is pour cold water on those who have just started or are thinking of studying psychology. Many believe that the psychology degree is aimed at acquiring all the necessary tools so that, upon completion, psychotherapy can be carried out. This belief ends in tremendous disappointment when it is discovered that, although it is true that the university degree continues to have a bias towards the clinical, teaching how to do psychotherapy is not what is intended, at least at the beginning

During the first two or three years, students will acquire the epistemological pillars of the discipline. The early years subjects focus on ensuring that students understand the origin of psychology, what psychological currents there are, how the nervous system is structured and functions, discover basic psychological processes and learn about statistics and research, among others. others.

Many of the subjects in which this knowledge is taught can be very heavy, experienced as if a heavy truck were passing over us (in my case, statistics) and can be demotivating since there is nowhere to be seen a subject or topic that helps us help patients. This can be so disappointing for some that it is precisely between the first 4 and 9 months that there are the most dropouts in the degree.

All this that we have to study as soon as we start is what it is. We must be patient, because as the semesters pass we will acquire knowledge that will allow us to become familiar with the branches of psychology and what exactly a psychologist does. From the third year onwards, we already have a sufficiently global and deep vision of the discipline to get an idea of ​​what our preferred field of intervention is and to think about what training to take once we finish the degree.

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Educate yourself about specializations from the beginning

One piece of advice that I would have liked to receive as soon as I started my degree is to research the specializations that exist in the degree. Although in my case I was clear that clinical psychology was my thing, I knew nothing about the rest of the branches, just like many of my colleagues. Because of this innocent ignorance, When they reached the end of the third year and had to choose electives, a deep and hard existential crisis came to them

Electives are subjects that, although it is mandatory to complete them in order to finish the degree, several can be chosen from a long list with all types of options. These subjects are included in mentions, modalities of the study plan that half specialize us. Although taking a specialization, for example, in clinical studies, does not have to prevent us from doing a master’s degree in social psychology later, the knowledge acquired in the electives that we do in the fourth year can give us advantages or disadvantages when choosing training after finish the degree.

It is for this reason that, and in order to avoid the much-feared existential crisis of third year and the insecurity about what to do once the degree is finished, the ideal is to document from the beginning how many branches there are and what is done in them. It is true that it may seem a little early and it is also true that during the third year we discover what these branches do, however, to avoid choosing right at the last moment and, on top of that, making mistakes, the ideal is to be clear from the beginning What is clinical psychology, social psychology, forensic psychology…

But this early documentation will not only help us find out what is done in each branch, but also It will help us see how we can acquire extra training while we are still studying the degree While we are researching what clinical or educational psychology or any other is, we may come into contact with a postgraduate course, websites specialized in depending on which branch, or even supervision groups organized by professors or psychologists with extensive experience who are looking for psychology students to collaborate on projects in which they will be rewarded with professional experience.

What to do when you finish your psychology degree

Professional opportunities in the branches of Psychology

Psychology is a very diverse discipline, there are many different fields of work and specialized branches because there are many contexts in which the figure of the psychologist can be of great help. The professional opportunities in psychology are immense, so many that they can confuse us.

Next we are going to do a brief review of the main five branches of psychology and what is done in them.

1. Clinical psychology

Clinical psychology is one of the most popular branches of the discipline, corresponding to the classic image of what a psychologist does in the movies. Here diagnosis and treatment of child and adolescent problems, family dysfunctions, mental disorders are made… issues that in order to be able to work on them properly require having acquired vast theoretical and practical knowledge.

It is one of the most popular branches of psychology, but it can also be the most overwhelming It is necessary to dedicate many hours to it, to always be updated for the sake of the mental health of the patients and, to be able to practice it, specific clinical training is necessary, the most common route being to complete the general health master’s degree or sit for competitive examinations (PIR). ).

Despite how demanding it is, this branch is the one with the most opportunities because the figure of the clinical psychologist is very popular, although the necessary places in public health are not available and there is always reluctance to receive private psychotherapy.

2. Social psychology

We could say that social psychology is the most supportive branch within the discipline in general, while social psychologists They aim to improve society, but normally the time they dedicate is not adequately compensated in their fees Employment in this area normally comes from NGOs, local and regional administrations.

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Although it is an exciting branch for those who practice it, since with it they can change the world, it is also the specialization in which half-days and low salaries predominate. Depending on where you live, the public administration may value the figure of the social psychologist very positively, but this is generally something uncommon.

3. Legal and forensic psychology

Legal and forensic psychology focus on everything that has to do with the field of people involved in the commission of some type of crime (as victims or perpetrators) or who have a conflict that must be resolved before the judge In this area we can find psychologists specialized in carrying out expert evaluations in the private sector and in the private sector, for example.

4. Experimental psychology

Actually, research in psychology can deal with absolutely any branch of psychology and focus on any topic. Whatever they say, psychology is a science insofar as it applies the scientific method to be nourished by new knowledge based on empirical evidence and, therefore, experimental psychology is extremely necessary for the discipline.

The good thing about this field of application is that it can be proceeded from any branch of psychology. Experimental psychology is not done only by psychologists specialized in clinical, but also social, organizational, forensic and whatever their origin. The bad thing is that it depends a lot on external factors such as the state’s investment in science or the funds of the university itself where the experimentation is carried out.

5. Organizational psychology

Organizational and business psychology has a lot to do with human resources and marketing. It is a relatively recent branch that has become very popular in recent years, something that can even be seen as the goose that lays the golden eggs but, as with everything in this life, it may or may not be your thing. If you like the world of economics and business, organizational psychology is probably your thing

How to train after finishing the degree?

Regardless of whether we get a job right after finishing our degree or not, It is essential not to stop training Psychology is a young discipline, a science that is updated every now and then, causing knowledge that until recently was taken as a reality to be considered obsolete, something common in any science but which occurs very frequently in ours. .

It is taking this into account that, regardless of whether we have trained in clinical psychology and want to work with patients or if we have become social and want to help change the world, consult all types of sources of information and expand our knowledge once we are already psychologists is extremely necessary. In fact, I would dare to say that it is a deontological imperative, since the discipline cannot be exercised correctly if we base our professional activity on knowledge that is already outdated.

Next we are going to see what to do to train after finishing the race.

1. Masters and postgraduate degrees

To practice in some branches of psychology it is necessary to have completed a master’s degree as can be seen with clinical psychology and the general health master’s degree if what you want is to do private psychotherapy.

But one thing is worth commenting. The world of masters is a bit… murky. Although those offered by universities are reliable, especially if they are official ones recognized throughout the state, outside of them we can also find this type of training or other postgraduate training that offer things that the university does not give us.

There are hundreds of institutes and academies specialized in some area of ​​psychology that can help us greatly to expand knowledge and make our curriculum competitive in the world of work. However, the fact that there are so many institutions that offer their own courses should make us be careful, since Perhaps what they offer is not recognized as real training and we will have paid for something that is of no use to us

That is why it is essential that, before taking any course at any given institute or psychological center, it is preferable to do a little research on what postgraduate and master’s degrees are offered by both our university and any other, educational centers whose degrees will be more valued by our future students. employers than those offered by any academy.

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2. Supervision groups

One of the best ways to gain practice as a psychologist is through supervision groups. There are many veteran psychologists who organize small supervision groups in which real cases are presented and content and tools to work on them are discussed, making their students take an active role in a practical and real work context.

Thus, We not only gain practice practicing our own profession, but we also gain confidence And, if the psychologist who teaches us has prestige or fame, this is always a plus point on our resume, in addition to being a reference when looking for work in the future.

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3. Online resources

Most current psychology students are digital natives We are surrounded by devices that connect us to the greatest source of information that human beings have been able to access throughout their history: the Internet. The library of Alexandria is nothing compared to everything we can find in that vast place that is the cybernetic world.

In addition to watching kitten videos and gossiping about the latest that our favorite YouTuber has published, the cyber world can help us expand our professional knowledge for free and effectively, updating us on the newest techniques and knowledge available to science. of behavior.

There is everything and many are free digital content, so there is no excuse We can expand our knowledge about Psychology on YouTube, on the websites of the universities and psychological institutes or, to say something, hey, in Psychology and Mind, there is surely more than one article that helps you learn about something that you did not know about in the degree. they explained.

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4. Books and magazines

Every psychologist should try to read at least one book on psychology every month, even if it is a popular science book focused on all types of people. As I mentioned, psychology is a young profession and is constantly being remodeled, which means a lot of knowledge that we study in the degree, even though it has only been a year since we finished it, is no longer completely valid.

Books and magazines by recent authors, published no more than 6 months ago, are a reliable and safe source to obtain professional knowledge of the discipline. This does not mean that we should discard classic sources of psychology, such as the work of Sigmund Freud or BF Skinner, in fact, It is highly recommended to read books by historical authors to be able to have an even more global vision of our career

Be that as it may, consulting any source of information once we have finished our degree is the ideal way to expand our resume, make it more competitive in the world of work and, at the same time, fall in love with the degree we chose. No matter how expert we are, we will never stop learning new things about our own career.

Do you want to continue training in Psychology?

If you want to continue specializing and professionalizing, the Master in Integrative Psychotherapy from the Mensalus Institute You may be interested, given that it offers the possibility of learning theory and practice from psychotherapists who dedicate most of their time to treating patients in the Mensalus clinic itself. It lasts one year, has a start date of September 27, 2022 and can be done in person, online or in mixed mode (part in person and part online).

This Master is especially aimed at psychology professionals who want to specialize in the Clinical Practice of Psychotherapy through an integrative theoretical approach, all through viewing real therapies live and in real time, with the participation of reflective teams and by carrying out of practices with real cases. In it you will find an extensive program of 5 modules with theoretical and practical content that will allow you to become an expert in Integrative Psychotherapy.