Careers in Psychology
Where could an undergraduate degree in psychology take me?
A major sequence in Psychology provides students with a basic understanding of human behaviour, skills in critical thinking, reasoning, reading and writing, and research methods. These skills are in high demand in many careers other than professional psychology. Some students of psychology will go on to be psychologists but many others will work in complementary ‘helping’ professions or entirely different fields.
There are many fields available to graduates of psychology which students may not have considered as career options. Broadly speaking, these career fields can be broken into the following domains. Please click on any domain of interest to be provided with more information about careers in this field including types of roles/responsibilities, skills and qualifications/experience required.
- Coaching and Counselling
- Forensic (working in justice system)
- Human Resources
- Social Research
- Health and Human Services Consulting
Additional Training and Further Study
Many of the jobs that are listed within the domains listed above will require additional training and experience. Volunteering (which is discussed in more detail below) is an excellent way of gaining valuable experience in the particular field in which you are interested. There are also short courses (available through a range of institutions as well as online) which offer certificate and diploma level qualifications. These are an additional requirement of many of the jobs listed in this resource. Additionally, for many of the jobs listed within the Community sector, skills and experience in counselling are required. (See the heading ‘Coaching and Counselling’ in this introduction for more information about gaining valuable counselling skills).
For individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology that are considering undertaking postgraduate study, there are a range of courses available at Deakin and at other institutions which may be of interest. Some of these could include; a Graduate Diploma or Honours in Psychology, a Masters in Social Work, a Graduate Diploma in Education or a Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS).
Gaining Valuable Experience
The value of volunteering in the sector in which you wish to work whilst at university cannot be overstated. It is an excellent way of gaining skills and experience as well testing whether or not this sector or type of work is for you! Volunteer work gives you opportunities to network and build valuable relationships and some graduates have even found that volunteering has led directly into paid employment. Prospective employers look very highly upon graduates who have committed time to volunteer work specific to their sector and, ultimately, it could mean the difference between getting an interview and subsequent job offer and being overlooked.
There are many organisations that offer volunteering programs across Victoria. In order to assist you in your search you may wish to contact a Volunteer Resource Centre near you.
The employees in these centres can match you up with the appropriate opportunities and organisations in your local area. Volunteer Resource Centres across Victoria are listed below:
- South East Volunteers (Glen Waverley)
- Boroondara Volunteer Resource Centre (Camberwell)
- Eastern Volunteers (Ringwood)
- Volunteering in Glen Eira (Caulfield)
- Volunteer West (Western Suburbs)
- Volunteering Geelong (Geelong)
- Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre (Bendigo)
Other useful volunteering sites include:
Alternatively, you may wish to consider undertaking the multi-disciplinary Community Based Volunteering units, MIS 291 and MIS 292. Whilst hosted in the Faculty of Business and Law, students from any course can undertake these units.
Coaching and Counselling
For individuals who have an undergraduate degree in psychology but do not intend to become registered psychologists, there are careers in coaching and counselling which, with some further education and training, may suit some graduates. In 2013, Deakin introduced the first postgraduate courses in Australia to offer the professional disciplines of coaching and counselling combined with a single degree. The courses; The Graduate Certificate of Coaching and Counselling and The Graduate Diploma of Coaching and Counselling consist of 4 and 8 credit points respectively and are intended to be completed part-time over 1 and 2 years respectively. The courses are designed to give graduates a broad range of skills and knowledge which will equip them for working with individuals and groups in a range of settings. Students still in the process of completing their undergraduate psychology degree may be interested in undertaking the units HPY210 Coaching and Counselling Individuals for Behaviour Change and HPY310 Coaching and Counselling Groups for Behaviour Change.