The paper presents the self-assessment results that were obtained with the help of O*NET Interest Profiler Instrument of U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The paper also describes the job opportunities for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree holders. On the basis of the self-assessment results, there has been developed an educational plan that considers work-related interests and suggests choosing a career of a clinical, counseling or forensic psychologist. The paper also indicates the further direction of educational planning and job research in the spheres of clinical, counseling, and forensic psychology.
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Career and Interest Self-Assessment Results
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (2000a) has developed a special tool that helps to “identify the strongest work-related interests” of a person (p. 1). This tool refers to the RIASEC spectrum, which classifies work-related interests in six groups: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2000a).
With the help of this tool, I found that my strongest work-related interests are investigative (10 scores) and social (9 scores). Thus, my primary interest area is investigation, which means that I prefer activities that involve more thinking than physical labor and also stresses my inclination for solving various problems rather than having active interaction with people. It seems to be true; however, my secondary interest area is social. Indeed, I like being of service and think that helping people is one of the most important factors in assessing the significance of the occupation. Considering the above-mentioned, I may conclude that the combination of science and its practical application is the best option for my future career.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (2000b) suggests that for exploration of my possible occupation I should think about my “current job zone” and “future job zone” (p. 4). My current job zone is Job Zone 2, for which employees’ professional experience may be helpful but is not needed. With my undergraduate knowledge of psychology and investigative and social interest areas, I could work as an emergency medical technician, medical and clinical laboratory technician, or funeral attendant (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2000c, 2000d).
For my future job zone, I choose Job Zone 4 or 5, which require considerable or extensive preparation and experience, as well as a master’s or doctoral degree. I consider such occupations as forensic science technician, clinical psychologist, and counseling psychologist (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2000c, 2000d).
Self-assessment of work-related interests has proved that I had chosen the right educational path since my interests coincide with a future career as a psychologist.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Psychology?
Graduates with bachelor, master’s or doctoral degrees in psychology are qualified to try a wide range of spheres of activity. Even master’s and doctoral degrees do not imply the necessity to work in an academic setting. If the graduate obtains a special state license, they may work as therapists, running a private practice (Kuther & Morgan, 2012). Apart from obvious occupations in the spheres of clinical and counseling psychology, school psychology, legal and forensic psychology, etc., former students of psychology may find employment as business, commercial, management, and human resource consultants (American Psychological Association, n.d.a).
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Such a variety of job options may be explained by the fact that psychology deals with human behavior, motivations, mental and communicative skills, in other words, with everything that may be used or influenced in order to improve the efficiency of the workflow.
Do I Have to Go to Grad School and What Should My Undergraduate Degree Plan Be?
As it was stated in the first part of this paper, for my future career I am considering forensic psychology, clinical psychology, and counseling psychology.
Forensic Science Technician
Forensic examination is a popular sphere of activity among psychologists. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (n.d.) states that forensic science technicians “typically need at least a bachelor’s degree” (para. 3) and that most of them “spend their time writing reports” (para. 1). It seems that this occupation is rather boring and non-challenging, but if one takes into consideration that many doctoral degree holders apply to forensic sites to conduct sanity evaluations, one can see that this occupation also has potential to be interesting and rewarding (Kuther & Morgan, 2012). I believe that this specialty corresponds to my interest in investigations and inclination for searching for the answers to difficult questions.
Moreover, I am convinced that this occupation is of great service for people since it helps to establish the truth in controversial issues that have an impact on people’s lives. For this specialty, the undergraduate students may take such undergraduate courses as personality theories, social psychology, psychology of terrorism, and even psychology of combat (American Public University System, n.d.).
Clinical and Counselling Psychologist
Self-assessment has shown that my work-related interests are investigation and social help. Clinical and counseling psychology are the specialties that correspond to these interests. Kuther and Morgan (2012) state that clinical psychology is “the integration of science, theory, and practice to explain and understand, predict, and alleviate psychological problems and distress, as well as promote healthy human development” (p. 20). Counseling psychology is much like the clinical variant, with the exception that it focuses on “helping people improve their well-being across the lifespan” (Kuther & Morgan, 2012, p. 21).
The American Psychological Association (n.d.b) claims that independent practice of clinical and counseling psychology “requires a doctoral degree and a state license” (para. 9). Students may apply for a doctoral degree program with only a bachelor’s degree, but it is advisable to obtain a master’s degree first. For these specialties, the undergraduates may choose such courses as biopsychology, psychopathology, and independent study of psychology (American Public University System, n.d.).
I Need to Know More
The most interesting part of this research work was learning about forensic psychology. The distinguishing and surprising feature of this science is that there are few training programs where a student could obtain all the necessary information. Field experience during predoctoral or postdoctoral internship is required for those who want to be professionals. This is a great example of integration of science and practice in one’s occupation.
Having established my professional interest in clinical, counseling, and forensic psychology, I would like to know more about the real experiences of people who work in these spheres. The course textbook gives an extensive number of theoretical details regarding these branches of psychology, but it is the practice knowledge that interests me most. Thus, I would start with works of professional clinical, counseling, and forensic psychologists such as Henry Lee, David Wilson, Valerie Jenness, John Dombrink, and Margaret Rombone.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.a). Frequently asked questions about graduate school. Web.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.b). Pursuing a career in clinical or counseling psychology. Web.
American Public University System. (n.d.). Undergraduate Course Descriptions. Web.
Kuther, T. L., & Morgan, R. D. (2012). Careers in psychology: Opportunities in a changing world (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Cengage Learning.
Occupational Outlook Handbook. (n.d.). Forensic Science Technicians. Web.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (2000a). O*NET Interest Profiler Instrument. Web.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (2000b). O*NET Interest Profiler Score Report. Web.
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U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (2000c). O*NET Interest Profiler Occupations Master List. Web.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (2000d). O*NET Occupations combined list. Web.