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What is Psychology?
For those who have an interest in crime and its causes, forensic psychology is one path that psychology professionals pursue. A Connecticut forensic psychologist might work with attorneys and parole boards throughout the state or even the region, depending on licensure requirements. They can help determine whether people are competent to stand trial or whether they are ready for parole. Some forensic psychologists even help investigators profile potential suspects in unsolved cases.
A psychology professional is a person who works to understand human thoughts, behaviors, relationships, and feelings. They use the tools of social science to assess patients in clinical settings and to conduct their own, original research. While most of us may first think of a psychology professional as one who works one-on-one with patients in a psychotherapeutic environment, the field is far broader than just that one option.
Research psychologists, for instance, can work in large universities and use grant money to conduct experiments that they hope will unlock the secrets behind human behavior. They might also work on the level of pure cognition and seek to understand how the mind or nervous system is impacted by traumatic events or even regular life, or how other events or treatments can impact the human experience.
Psychology professionals may also specialize in psychological testing (psychometrics). These professionals administer intelligence and other tests, score them, and aggregate the data for later analysis. They seek to verify the veracity of the tests while also using the data to study how various groups respond to the exams.
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Psychology Education in Connecticut
Connecticut is a seemingly small state, but its colleges and universities offer top-notch psychology degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. It is also a very diverse state that is home to both extreme wealth and extreme poverty, both of which bring with them their own special challenges. Thus, a psychologist working in inner city Hartford will have a very different job than one who works in a wealthy bedroom community for New York City.
Nevertheless, psychology professionals in Connecticut have careers that are both challenging and rewarding. Some may in fact work in New York City and spend their days helping stressed out professionals navigate that urban environment. Others may opt for a more corporate path and work as organizational psychologists for concerns in the city or elsewhere in Connecticut. Given the growing emphasis our culture places on a quality of life, they can help businesses attract and develop employees using the most advanced and effective psychological approaches currently known.
Connecticut's psychology professionals can apply their knowledge and skills to other fields, as well. Given Connecticut's central location to New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and the rest of the eastern seaboard, they might consult with businesses that have locations throughout the region. For instance, they might help politicians in New Jersey survey their constituents to determine the best way to approach them, or to determine what motivates them to vote certain ways. They may also consult with cities and towns to help them with matters such as public messaging, how to design public spaces, and more.
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Finally, problems related to addiction are not unheard of in Connecticut. The opioid epidemic has reached its bucolic suburbs in addition to their inner cities. In fact, researchers have shown how the epidemic tracks along with certain highways that are used in the heroin trade. Psychology professionals in Connecticut can thus pursue careers that endeavor to help those ravaged by addiction.
Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)
Psychology students who earn a two-year associate psychology degree are off to a good start. While they will find that their degree is not sufficient to become a counselor, they can still apply their degree in the working world. For instance, if they were able to include a deep dive into statistics as part of their degree they might work in marketing. They might also use their degree to launch into a full bachelor’s. On the other hand, those who opt for an associate degree in a specialized field such as substance abuse counseling may be able to work in that field. However, each state licenses addictions counselors in their own way, so it’s important to pay attention to your state’s requirements before deciding to earn an associate’s.
Ultimately, an associate psychology degree is a terrific way to prepare for a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges are typically cheaper than four-year colleges and many states offer free or drastically subsidized associate degrees. Furthermore, community colleges hire top-quality instructors and class sizes tend to be smaller than those at four -year institutions. These degrees can be an associate of arts or an associate of science, learn about the differences between them.Read More About an AS in Psychology
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)
A bachelor’s psychology degree is a terrific way to start a career. The degree is a necessary prerequisite for a master’s and it's also highly valued in the marketplace. Many psychology students take courses such as statistics and computer science which help them crunch data like data scientists. Thus, those who graduate with a bachelor’s psychology degree could find meaningful work in marketing departments or even as financial analysts.
For those who deeply desire a career in research or counseling, the undergraduate degree will be necessary for their graduate school applications. Some undergraduate programs may even offer specialty tracks that help prepare students for their chosen long-term goals. Another option is to earn an undergraduate degree in addiction counseling, which can pave the way to a state license to work with substance abuse victims. After a few years working in addictions counseling, students can pursue a graduate degree that will lead to a higher level of licensure and elevated professional status. These degrees can be a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, learn about the differences between them.Read More About a BS in Psychology
Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)
A master’s psychology degree is where psychology careers take off. With a master’s degree, psychology professionals can work in academia, pursue a counseling license, or find work in corporate America. The graduate degree will pave the way for work as an adjunct or part-time professor or maybe as a researcher in a university. While the work will likely be under the tutelage of someone with a PhD, the experience can be invaluable.
Most think of a master’s psychology degree as the gateway to becoming a counselor. In fact, to work as an independent counselor, this degree is a requirement. Candidates will also need to complete the requisite supervised hours and maintain their licenses with continuing education courses.
Psychology students who pursue a master’s degree in organizational psychology may find work in corporate America. These professionals help management work more effectively with their staff and they may also consult on things like how offices are physically designed with regards to window placement, office size, and other considerations.
PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)
A PhD in clinical psychology will pave the way to becoming a full psychologist in private practice. This level of expertise will provide the top pay level for therapists and can lead to a variety of other work. For instance, some PhDs may work as consultants with law enforcement or attorneys in work as forensic psychologists, while others may consult with corporations who seek better ways to interact with employees. They may also expand their private practice with specialties such as family therapy, addictions counseling, psychological testing, or group therapy.
Those who pursue research psychology can find work in a variety of positions. Some can work with universities or may even take their ability to work with data and venture into other fields altogether. Some PhDs take their psychological expertise and consult with politicians, market research firms, and other ventures. A PhD or doctorate degree in psychology can also help professionals earn tenure-track professorships in colleges and universities.
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Become a Psychologist in Connecticut
Becoming a psychology professional in Connecticut is a long and rewarding road. The very first step toward becoming a psychology professional is to become fascinated with fellow human beings. Since psychology is a field dedicated to unraveling the human mystery, most professionals have fond memories of the first time they became perplexed by human behavior. However, others enter the field after a successful and therapeutic experience with psychotherapy. They often desire a career as a psychologist or counselor. Still others are more intrigued with the harder scientific aspects, such as the brain science behind the field.
Budding psychologist can't exactly dive into therapy or counseling as practitioners, but they can begin to examine human thoughts and behavior. One way to get started is through literature. Reading stories and novels helps people expand their capacity for empathy and deepens their understanding of the human condition. In these early days, they may also want to focus their mathematical exposure to include statistics.
When it comes time to go to college, students should seek out psychology departments that offer the resources and courses that will support their long-term goals. Some large universities may provide brain imaging devices or other high-tech scientific equipment that helps students learn about the brain. Others may have a more general focus, while offering courses that will support any future study.
To truly succeed in psychology, students will need to earn a graduate degree. There are many options for students to choose from. For instance, some may wish to work as a counselor yet not in the deep, dark therapeutic sense. For them, a graduate degree in career counseling may be the perfect match. Others may prefer research-based graduate studies, organizational psychology, or clinical psychology.
Keep in mind that those who desire a career working with substance abuse patients can work on a degree in addiction counseling. Many states confer licensure for these professionals starting with the associate degree level, if not below. This option allows an early entrance to the field and the potential to earn loads of experience before achieving advanced degrees.
Students should always be certain that their programs have the best accreditation possible. For undergraduate work, at least ascertain that the program or school has CHEA-approved regional credentials. For graduate work in psychology, students should look for a specific, nationally recognized accreditation agency such as the American Psychological Association.
Careers for Psychology Graduates
It's said that teachers at the elementary, middle grades, and secondary levels must wear many hats during their day. One of those hats is that of psychologist. They must find ways to help students learn in an efficient and timely manner while also being cognizant of many social and developmental factors that their students encounter. For that reason, most teacher preparation programs require that students at least take developmental psychology.
- Social Worker:
These professionals largely deal with people struggling with social situations. However, this invariably involves the human, psychological side of an issue. For those who earn a master’s degree in social work, licensure as a clinical social worker is possible. These professionals can conduct individual therapy.
To become a psychiatrist, students need to complete medical school and a psychiatric residency. These professionals often specialize in medications for their clients. Given the rise in psychiatric drugs, it is a full-time job to evaluate patients both in an interview as well as analyzing their blood, as in the case of patients who use lithium.
- Substance Abuse/Addictions Counselor:
The rise in opioid addiction, overdose, and related deaths has driven the demand for these psychological professionals. These days, states offer licensure to addictions counselors starting with those with only a high school diploma. However, to conduct one-on-one counseling sessions they will need a master’s degree.
- Child Counselor/Psychologist:
Children face many difficulties on their way to adulthood. When they don't surmount those problems effectively, they may become maladjusted adults. Child psychologists therefore often work with these youngsters to help them overcome their traumas and even mental illnesses.
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- Marriage and Family Counselor:
This subset of the psychological profession deals exclusively with helping couples and families stay together in harmony. They may work with the family members individually for a period and then meet with the group as a whole. These counselors often are rewarded by seeing couples and families reach a new level of understanding and functioning.
- Counselor (Private Practice):
This is the career path that is most likely to come to mind when someone utters the phrase, psychology professional. To enter into private practice as a counselor, a master’s degree is required. There are multiple options here. Some earn degrees as masters of social work while others go for a more traditional degree in clinical psychology.
- Psychology Researcher:
Psychology professions are not always concerned with talking with people about their problems. Researchers design studies and collect data to help further our understanding of the human mind. This could involve methods such as surveys or observational studies. To excel in this field, it is necessary to have a deep understanding of statistics and the scientific method. Most psychological researchers work for universities but many work with corporations or independent research facilities.
- Career Counselor:
These psychology professionals typically work with college students to help them achieve their long-term career objectives. For instance, they may have students take personality tests to help determine what field may best suit their innate abilities. They may also have more administrative functions such as organizing career fairs.