Julia writes: "I have been attending school for about 5 years now. At first I was a Biology major and I had fallen in love with psychology classes so I decided to switch. The problem is that I love psychology, but I have no idea what I could see myself doing as a career. Psychology is so broad I don't know where to narrow it down. I am due to graduate with a Psychology bachelor of arts degree within a year. Any advice? Thank you for your time!"
Choosing an area of specialization is a problem that many psychology majors face. Let's begin with the biggest question you'll face after earning your undergraduate degree in psychology - are you planning to go to graduate school? Realistically, jobs directly in the field of psychology with a bachelor's degree are quite scarce. According to one survey, nearly 75 percent of people with an undergrad degree in psychology work in a completely unrelated field. Some of the most common areas of employment for those with a B.A. or B.S. in psychology including sales, management, marketing and social work positions.
If you do plan to continue on to graduate school, the big question then centers on what type of degree you will pursue. Clearly, there's no right or wrong choice here. In order to make the choice that is best for you, spend some time exploring your own interests and options. What classes did you find particularly enjoyable? Where do you envision yourself working in five to ten years? Learn more about different psychology careers and make a list of the ones that interest you the most. Next, write down potential pros and cons of each option and note the type of degree needed and how long it will take to complete.
There are a lot of resources on the About.com Psychology site aimed at helping students choose a career. Some that might help you make your decision include:
You might also consider signing up for the free Careers in Psychology e-course. The course offers a good introduction to entry-level careers, graduate-level careers, salaries, educational requirements and specialty areas.