Psychology Careers

Because of its equal focus on verbal and quantitative reasoning, psychology makes a versatile undergraduate major. Graduates are well-prepared to pursue a variety of paths:

  • Social Services – Paraprofessional or administrative work in social service and mental health agencies is also a good option. But be aware that you’ll need an advanced degree to enter professional practice in these areas.
  • Graduate School – If you want to become a clinical psychologist, social worker, or similar professional, you’ll be heading to graduate school to earn a PhD, PsyD or MSW degree. Check out the American Psychological Association's website for career information.
  • Business – Typical jobs might include work in banking, retail, human resources, nonprofits and even entrepreneurship.
  • Law – Many psychology majors decide to go to law school. They realize psychology’s constant emphasis on drawing conclusions by summarizing the conclusions of others has prepared them well because the law operates in the same way.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a mental health profession that integrates human development, visual art and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with people of all ages to assess and treat the following:

  • anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional problems and disorders
  • mental illness
  • substance abuse and other addictions
  • family and relationship issues
  • abuse and domestic violence
  • social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness
  • trauma and loss
  • physical, cognitive and neurological problems

Art therapists are masters-level professionals who hold a degree in art therapy or a related field. They work in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, public and community agencies, wellness centers, hospice centers, educational institutions, businesses, schools and private practices.

Each graduate school has its own requirements. However, all will require undergraduate course work in art and psychology as well as a personal portfolio (typically 15 examples in three or more different media).

You’ll need to earn at least 12 semester credit hours in psychology, including:

  • general or introductory psychology
  • abnormal psychology
  • theories of personality
  • psychometrics or research methods

Some schools may also require a course in lifespan development or child & adolescent development.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a doctoral-level profession that requires a state license to practice. Each state sets its own licensing requirements. In general, clinical doctoral programs approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) meet the standards of most states.

A student can pursue one of two paths when seeking to become a clinical psychologist: a PhD or a PsyD. PhD programs include extensive training in research methodology, while PsyD programs focus more on clinical training only.

Both PhD programs and PsyD programs would qualify you to earn a license to practice clinical psychology. It is the same license no matter which degree is earned. The main difference is that colleges and universities typically hire only psychologists with PhDs to teach and do research. 

As an undergraduate at Dominican, you may choose either the general psychology or clinical psychology sequence. We strongly recommend that you pursue the BS degree if you want a career in clinical psychology.

Clinical psychology programs are ranked in the United States and Canada based upon the performance of their students on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.  This is only one measure of the quality of a doctoral program.  Students are encouraged to discuss their career goals with their advisors.

School Psychologist

School psychologists work with students individually and in groups. They also develop programs to train teachers and parents about many vital issues, including:

  • effective teaching and learning strategies
  • managing behavior at home and in the classroom
  • working with students with disabilities or with special talents
  • addressing abuse of drugs and other substances
  • preventing and managing crises

School psychologists are trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a specialist-level degree program (60 graduate semester credits). This is usually a two-year program that leads to a master’s degree. The training includes a 1,200-hour internship.

School psychology programs are often found in schools of education in major universities. Additionally, some professional schools of psychology may offer programs in school psychology. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work.

Social Work

Social work is a masters-level profession, so graduate school is a must. Plan on allowing two years of full-time study to earn your Master of Social Work degree (MSW), although part-time study may be an option at some schools.

Social work is an independently licensed profession in all states. Social workers serve in many different settings including:

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • community clinics
  • private practice
  • community agencies

Social work offers traditional areas of practice with specific clientele groups, including:

  • mental health
  • child welfare
  • families
  • school social work
  • medical social work
  • crisis disaster management

Social workers can also focus on specific client groups, including adolescents, young parents or older adults.

If you choose, you may be able to continue your social work education at Dominican. The University’s Graduate School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Dominican also offers the Type 73 School Social Work Certification for those who want to work in the school setting.