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Psychology or education as college major for academically average student.


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She likes helping people, listening to their problems and encouraging them.  She really thought she wanted a psychology degree and to go into counseling.  We have run into several people who started a psychology degree and switched majors or went back to school for a different degree after finishing it.  Consenses seems to be it is not very useful unless you finish a master's or doctorate and I think finishing a bachelor's degree is going to take longer than the typical student.  I don't see graduate school in the picture. She doesn't like school but wants to have options.   She also really enjoys working with kids.  She helps out at 3rd grade Sunday school class and is helping to do tours for kids at the local butterfly house.  I am wondering about an elementary education degree.   The thing is between her health issues and anxiety she has there is no way she could handle the pressures of working in the public school system.  She is not sure she would want to teach in a classroom situation even in a smaller private school.  Does anyone know what kind of jobs besides teaching in a classroom that would be available with an elementary education degree?  Which degree would be more useful if you weren't going to got the traditional route ( counseling for psychology/classroom teaching for education). Which would open more doors?  Or any other degrees/career paths along this route.  We have nixed social work.  Just looking for any kind of feedback/opinions on what you would do if it were your child.

Sorry if this is rambling.  It's late and I'm tired.  :)

 

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Well, my sister has her MSW, even though she's never been the greatest student.  I tried to tutor her in middle school math and we're lucky both of us lived.  To this day, we tease her about being the 3rd smartest (of 3... or 5th of 5 if you count our blended family) and she agrees.  Yet she's the only one with a bachelors, never mind a masters! So she always has the last laugh.

 

It did take longer than... well, I don't want to say "typical" because apparently it isn't typical do finish "on time" anymore.  It was either 7 or 8 years.  And it was hard work for her, but her goals got her through.

 

She DID happen to focus on social work (and her undergraduate is in social work) but her license isn't limited to that area.  She's allowed to practice privately with whatever focus she wants. Her experience happens to be with the foster care system.

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Special Ed might be the way to go if she can handle paperwork. I also think she could get her degree in elementary or early elementary and then get Orton Gillingham certified and take as many as classes as she can in working with reading issues. Most of the jobs are one-on-one, and private tutors seems to always be in demand for a reading specialist.

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She'll still need a masters in many states to stay or become a certified teacher.

 

Look into demand for teachers in your area.. Here there are few jobs & thousands of applicants.

 

For teaching "not" in a classroom, she could do special ed itinerate teacher, doing in home Early Intervention or preschool services.

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Definitely look into the teacher certification process for your area, not just the demand.   Where I live (FL), there is a pretty high demand for certain teacher specialties, but the certification process isn't very easy.   Teacher certification is only granted WHEN you have been employed as a teacher, so you almost have to work in a classroom for a short period of time just to get the certification.

 

Certified teachers in FL can do portfolio reviews and standardized testing for homeschooled students, but the catch 22 is that you can't get a teaching certificate without a job in a classroom first.

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Look into associate's degrees in Speech & Language Pathology Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Physical Therapy Assistant. Those jobs don't pay a ton but have decent ROI since the CC tuition is cheap. SLPA's where I live make around $20-$25/hr and she could work 1:1 doing Early Intervention or home health care. Not sure the going rate for OTA's and PTA's but they'd be at least as much if not more.

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My bachelor's degree is in psychology so I can attest to its uselessness without a master's, except for jobs which simply require that you have a bachelor's in SOMETHING. Like the job I have now!! There are a lot of jobs like that out there, so in retrospect I wish I hadn't focused so hard on what career I wanted (because I really didn't know what I wanted) and just pursued my academic interests, because ultimately I would/could have landed in the same job anyway. 

 

The university that I work for offers degrees in Industrial Psychology and Safety as well as Forensic Psychology. Both of those fields have career paths after bachelor's level. So the smart thing for me would have been to do something like that, and then even though I never did make it to grad school I would still have had more opportunities for employment within my field. Neither of those sound like what your daughter is interested in, but my point is that if she's interested in psychology, there may be other specialty bachelor's programs she could look into. 

 

Also if she's more interested in counseling than in psychology, she could get her bachelor's in education or some related field, and then go for a master's degree in educational psychology. You can be a school counselor with ed psych but also any other kind of counselor with that degree. I don't think she needs to rule out careers that require a master's degree, just so long as whatever her bachelor's degree is in has applications on its own. 

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I'll be the contrarian, as someone with both a BA and a PhD in fields I've never held a job in! My BA was in Psychology and I thought it was great, and incredibly useful body of knowledge for anybody who is going to navigate the world as a successful adult. Understanding behavior, personality, bias, judgement? Understanding how children develop and how cognition changes across the lifespan? Figuring out how advertisers dupe us and how we behave differently in crowds? What's not to like about all that? I'm coming from the perspective that a college education is about developing your intellect rather than just getting a job. So that's the bias I'm operating from. But given that, I don't see Psychology as a useless degree at all. 

 

For me, all my job training has come via situations I have sought out: apprenticeships, internships, on the job training, reading, studying, attending conferences and workshops. Self-educating, essentially. Nothing I learned in college taught me the direct knowledge and skills I've used in my jobs - my jobs have taught me that. But what I learned in college has helped me navigate the world, communicate effectively, and appreciate what goes on in my head and in other people's. It's not been useless at all.

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My bachelor's degree is in psychology so I can attest to its uselessness without a master's, except for jobs which simply require that you have a bachelor's in SOMETHING. Like the job I have now!! There are a lot of jobs like that out there, so in retrospect I wish I hadn't focused so hard on what career I wanted (because I really didn't know what I wanted) and just pursued my academic interests, because ultimately I would/could have landed in the same job anyway. 

 

The university that I work for offers degrees in Industrial Psychology and Safety as well as Forensic Psychology. Both of those fields have career paths after bachelor's level. So the smart thing for me would have been to do something like that, and then even though I never did make it to grad school I would still have had more opportunities for employment within my field. Neither of those sound like what your daughter is interested in, but my point is that if she's interested in psychology, there may be other specialty bachelor's programs she could look into. 

 

Also if she's more interested in counseling than in psychology, she could get her bachelor's in education or some related field, and then go for a master's degree in educational psychology. You can be a school counselor with ed psych but also any other kind of counselor with that degree. I don't think she needs to rule out careers that require a master's degree, just so long as whatever her bachelor's degree is in has applications on its own. 

 

Good points!   She does like psychology in general, though counseling is her main interest.  But if ANY degree will open up doors for her maybe I should just let her pursue her interests and not worry so much about usefulness.  My son picked a major, got his degree and has worked in his field for 6 years now and plans to stay there.  That was so much easier!

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I have a bachelor's degree in psychology. Graduate school is absolutely necessary to really do anything with psychology. I wish I'd continued and become a counselor. While not particularly employable, my degree has been helpful with my kids (my emphasis was on developmental psych). I work part-time in a public library now, and it's been surprisingly helpful working with the public.

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While psych is an interesting field (dh is a psych and I have an MFT) it is also becoming increasingly political and liberal. If these are concerns, you will want to be aware of those issues. Also, the field/ billing is changing radically- master's level people are becoming technicians more and more, making o.k. money, but generally, not exceptional money. If you are looking to work with a psych degree you will need a grad degree, and licensing after that, as well as CEU. 

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My oldest dd is an OTA.  The going rate here depends on what type of facility and whether you are willing to travel between facilities or want to just work in one location.  The starting rate is around $28/yr and the younger ones (she is only 23) make up to around $35/yr depending on the previously mentioned choices.

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Definitely have her consider Occupational Therapy Assistant programs. My 17 yo sounds similar and is really happy with that choice. She considered special education or gerontology, but OTA combines a lot of those interests and is practical. She has been taking the prerequisite courses through dual enrollment so she can apply to the program and start right after she graduates next year.

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