Psychology as a Pre-Professional Degree

 

An undergraduate degree in psychology from Southeastern provides a great foundation for many professions. Because most professional careers involve interactions with people, the knowledge our students gain about human behavior gives them an advantage in many fields. In addition, psychology students acquire many valuable skills, such as critical thinking, designing and conducting research, presenting information, technical writing, statistics, and data analysis and synthesis. Furthermore, because our curriculum includes 15-21 free elective credits, students at Southeastern are able to earn a degree in psychology while completing particular coursework required for admission into a variety of professional and graduate degree programs. Below are a list of a few of these professions that are are expected to grow over the next decade. Read on to learn more.


Psychologist

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that Psychology is the ideal undergraduate degree for those intending to become psychologists. Psychologists evaluate and study behavior and mental processes. There are many different types of psychologists. Licensed clinical psychologists are qualified to do counseling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment for mental disorders. Cognitive, developmental, physiological, and industrial organizational psychologists are among the types of psychologists who conduct research and provide consultation services. Postsecondary training and education at the Ph.D level is usually required for a career as a psychologist. Graduate programs in psychology typically prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and most require at least 18 credit hours in psychology, including psychological research methods (Psyc 220 and Psyc 335) and statistics (Psyc 221). Particular programs may require other specific courses (for instance biopsychology graduate programs may require Psyc 462)

Job Outlook: Employment projections vary by branch of psychology practiced and geographical location. See link below to the Occupational Outlook Handbook for projections based on psychologist type and geographical location. Overall, employment of psychologists is projected to grow 19 percent in the next decade, much faster than the average of all occupations. 

Salary: Salaries for psychologists depend upon the branch of psychology practiced and geographical location. See link to Occupational Outlook Handbook for annual salary specified by psychologist type and geographical location. Overall, the median yearly salary for psychologists is $72,500.

Useful Links:

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Psychologist http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/

Graduate Degree Guide http://www.apa.org/education/grad/applying.aspx

Association for Psychological Science http://www.psychologicalscience.org/


Applied Behavior Analyst

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the process of applying principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors and to enhance adaptive functioning. Applied Behavior Analysts analyze behavior problems to determine why they occur so that effective treatments can be developed. They work in homes and hospitals, clinics and classrooms, and other settings. A master’s degree in the field is required to be certified as an applied behavior analyst. Admission to graduate programs in the field requires a bachelor’s degree and specific coursework in psychology. Course requirements for admission vary by program but most require at least 18 credit hours in psychology, and usually include abnormal psychology (Psyc 422), research methods (Psyc 220 and Psyc 335), statistics (Psyc 221), and developmental psychology (Psyc 204).

Job outlook: Because this is a relatively new field, the bureau of labor statistics has not yet published projections for this occupation. However, because Medicaid and insurance companies cover ABA services for the treatment of certain prominent disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, the job outlook is good.

Salary: Salaries for Certified Applied Behavior Analysts vary depending upon geographical location and years of experience. Overall, the median yearly salary for this position is $55,000.

Useful links:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board http://bacb.com/

Approved Graduate Coursework for Certification http://info.bacb.com/o.php?page=100358

American Psychological Association Behavior Analysis Division http://www.apadivisions.org/division-25/index.aspx?_ga=1.6635825.2066919445.1417794411

Louisiana Applied Behavior Analysis Association http://www.labaa.net/


 Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapists require a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Admission to graduate programs in occupational therapy generally requires a bachelor degree and specific coursework in psychology, biology, physiology and chemistry. These courses fit easily into our psychology curriculum. Gbio 151, Biol 152, Zoo 250, Zool 252, Chem 101 and Clab 102 fulfill our curriculum’s natural science requirements and also fulfill many of the course requirements for admission into occupational therapy programs. The remaining coursework required for admission to OT programs are Psyc 204, Psyc 221, Psyc 422, Zoo 251, Zool 253, and any Sociology course.  All but Zoo 251 & Zool 253 are specific requirements within our curriculum and the Zoo 251 and Zool 253 are 4 credits that count towards our curriculum’s free electives.

Job Outlook: Employment projections depend on geographic location. See the link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook link below for projections specified by region. Overall, occupational therapists are projected to grow 27 percent in the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary: Salaries for occupational therapists vary depending upon geographical location and years of experience.  See link to Occupational Outlook Handbook below for annual salary specified by geographical location Overall, the median yearly salary for this position is $80,150 a year.

Useful Links:

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Therapy http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm

American Occupational Therapy Association http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy.aspx

List of Accredited Master Programs http://www.aota.org/education-careers/find-school/accreditentrylevel/otmasters.aspx

Louisiana Occupational Therapy Association http://lota.camp9.org/


 Physician / Psychiatrist

Physicians diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. There are many specialties within the medical field. Psychiatry is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental and neurological disorders. Other specialties include pediatrics, cardiology, and endocrinology. There is growing recognition in the medical community that psychological and sociological issues play a critical role in health and illness. The creators of the MCAT (the entrance exam required for admission to medical school) recently revised the content of the exam to include substantially more psychology and other social science topics. Social Science majors’ scores on the MCAT and rate of acceptance into medical school are on par with and in some instances exceed that of biology and chemistry majors. Of the paths presented in this section, medical school requires the most in terms of specific coursework required for admission.  125-132 credit hours (5-12 more than are required for a psychology degree) are necessary to obtain a degree in psychology and complete all coursework necessary for admission into medical school. Pre-med courses include 8 credits hours of chemistry, 8 credits of biology, 8 credits of physics, 4 credits of biochemistry, and 3 additional credits in math. Contact scoats@southeastern.edu for more information.

Job Outlook: Employment projections vary by branch of medicine practiced and geographical location. See link to Occupational Outlook Handbook below for projections specified by medical specialty and geographical location. Overall, employment of physicians is projected to grow 14 percent in the next decade, much faster than the average of all occupations. 

Salary: Salaries for physicians depend upon the branch of medicine practiced and geographical location. See link to Occupational Outlook Handbook below for annual salary specified by medical specialty and geographical location. Overall, the median yearly salary for physicians is $187,000 a year.

Useful Links:

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicians and Surgeons http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm#tab-1

MCAT Information https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/

Information on the Recent MCAT Revision http://www.wsj.com/articles/medical-college-entrance-exam-gets-an-overhaul-1429092002

National Registry of Required Pre-med Coursework:                                                                         https://aamc-orange.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/3b/d5/3bd57410-ec3a-4592-ad71-397186230002/premed_course_requirements_20162017.p

Article Concerning Undergraduate Major for Medical School http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/medical-school-admissions-doctor/2013/09/11/choose-the-right-undergraduate-major-for-medical-school

Admission Statistics by Major: https://www.aamc.org/download/321496/data/factstablea17.pdf


 Licensed Counselor

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives. Counselors specialize in a variety of areas, such as substance abuse, school guidance, marriage and family, and career counseling. Counselors also work in a variety of settings including schools, clinics, government agencies, and private practice. Postsecondary training and education at the masters or Ph.D. level are required for a career in counseling. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or related discipline is preferred for admission into such programs.

Job Outlook: Employment projections vary by branch of counseling practiced and geographical location. See link to Occupational Outlook Handbook below for projections specified by specialty and location. Overall, employment of licensed counselors is projected to grow 19 percent in the next decade, much faster than the average of all occupations. 

Salary: Salaries for licensed counselors depend upon the specialty practiced and geographical location. See the link to Occupational Outlook Handbook below for annual salary specified by specialty and location. Overall, the median yearly salary for licensed counselors is $43,000.

Useful Links:

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Licensed Counselor http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

Council for Accreditation of counseling and Related Educational Programs http://www.cacrep.org/

National Board for Certified Counselors http://www.nbcc.org/