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What is Psychology?
Psychology is one of the more popular majors for undergraduate students. It helps them gain a fresh understanding of human nature as well as providing a scientific background. The goal of many undergraduate psychology students is to eventually become a therapist or a counselor of some sort. That profession attracts those who are interested in helping others while also providing an independent working environment. However, there are more possible careers with a psychology degree.
Those who decide against working as a therapist might diverge into a research-oriented career, where they take a purely scientific approach to the field. These psychology professionals tend to work for colleges and universities where they may hold the title of professor, whether they teach or not. Those with PhDs typically take these positions and may enjoy tenure from their institution. There are also psychology professionals who may work for corporations, government health agencies, or even law enforcement.
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Psychology Education in Indiana
The Indiana economy is comprised of a wide range of companies and industries. Where the state might be famous for agriculture and basketball, its most important industry is manufacturing. The state is also home to many other sectors that provide white- and blue-collar jobs to the state. With all of this growth and development comes a need for coping mechanisms. Citizens also need ways to overcome various psychological difficulties that may stand between them and their best lives. The need for psychology professionals is thus all the more important.
After all, happy employees make for successful enterprises. This fact has been increasingly recognized over the past fifty or more years, and that is why so many are seeking wisdom from psychology to solve various problems. Indiana's colleges and universities have thus been at the vanguard of the psychological field.
Higher education recognizes Indiana's need for highly qualified psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists, among others to keep the state growing and thriving. Thus, schools at all levels, from local community colleges to the huge four-year universities, are sure to offer psychology degrees to a student body that is eager to study human behavior with the goal of helping people attain their best lives.
Indiana's psychology departments are also geared towards helping students earn a state license to work as counseling professionals. Even those at the associate psychology degree level can qualify for a license to work with patients suffering with substance abuse disorder. From that point, students can increase their academic level through the master’s psychology degree level, where they can work as independent mental health counselors or in a research capacity for an Indiana university.
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Ultimately, Indiana students who have a burning desire to decipher the codes of human behavior, and even neuroscience, will be able to find the right degree program for them. Whether they attend a smaller liberal arts college or the enormous Indiana University, there is a psychology degree waiting for them.
Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)
Students who start their careers with an associate psychology degree have made a great decision. Local community colleges often have terrific psychology faculty and curricula. While a two-year psychology degree is rather limited, it can lead to a career in mental health for those who pursue addiction counseling to help Indiana victims of the opioid crisis, not to mention the ravages of alcohol on the population.
An associate psychology degree is also a good choice because most community colleges offer credit hours at a great discount relative to Indiana colleges and universities. Community colleges also attract faculty that are just as capable as those in four-year institutions. On top of that, class sizes in community colleges are often quite small and all associate degrees require the core college curriculum required by Indiana's four-year institutions. Thus, a student with an associate psychology degree can take their credits to an Indiana university and complete a bachelor’s psychology degree as long as they are careful to make sure the credits will transfer before they begin their associate degree.Read More about an Associates in Psychology
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)
A full four-year undergraduate psychology degree is a great foundation for a career. Most employers look for bachelor’s degrees when they hire entry-level employees, and the degree is also a requirement for any future master’s degree program. The courses required for a psychology degree include statistical analysis, as well as other forms of reasoning and how to create a research study. Thus, many undergraduate psychology degree holders launch careers in marketing, which relies on both quantitative as well as qualitative reasoning.
This degree offers students more career options than an associate degree. Many bachelor’s psychology degree holders proceed into counseling work as college admissions counselors, drug and alcohol counselors, and career counselors after they complete a master’s degree. Of course, the bachelor’s degree prepares them for a graduate clinical psychology degree, which is required for all Indiana mental health counselors in private practice.
Furthermore, a bachelor’s psychology degree allows students enough time to complete internships as well as complimentary minor concentrations. Some compliment their psychology degree with work in sociology, economics, statistics, or biology.Read More about a Bachelors in Psychology
Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)
To become a clinical psychology professional in Indiana, students need to complete a master’s clinical psychology degree program. The Indiana board requires this degree for those who desire work as independent counselors. Psychology students can also choose a master’s degree in research psychology, which will likely require a PhD in order to start a successful career.
Yet another option is an MBA with a concentration in organizational psychology. This degree can help students enter the field of business where they help businesses organize their workspaces and implement managerial mandates in ways that increase efficiency.
Another option is a master’s degree in career guidance. This degree allows students to work for an Indiana college or university. Their goal in this role will be to help students approach their undergraduate work in such a way that they can achieve their career goals later. Career guidance professionals also organize job fairs, coordinate with internship providers, and more.Read More about a Masters in Psychology
PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)
Since psychology is a very academic field, the PhD is considered a crowning achievement. While a master’s clinical psychology degree enables a professional to work in private practice, conduct psychotherapy, and teach at the college level, a PhD brings all of that up a notch. With a PhD, counselors can call themselves Psychologists, who can charge more for therapy and are eligible for tenure if they choose to teach at an Indiana college or university.
Those who pursue research psychology find that a PhD is nearly a requirement if they wish to continue with their research. A doctorate makes things easier when it comes to publishing, landing research grants, and getting hired. The degree is also highly valued for those who work as forensic psychologists and organizational psychologists. This is because the degree conveys a heightened sense of authority and expertise. Psychology PhDs can even teach as part of fulfilling their CEUs for their Indiana license.
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Become a Psychologist in Indiana
Psychology is a highly diversified field that offers many different roads to success. Students enter the field to become clinical practitioners, forensic psychologists, organizational psychologists, and career guidance counselors, among many other possible careers. Some even take their psychological knowledge and apply it to the world of business. After all, a human resources, management, or marketing professional who has a deep understanding of the human mind can go very far indeed. Furthermore, since a good portion of the degree involves analyzing statistical data, psychology students might even transition into data science for their career.
The question then is ‘how does one become a psychology professional in Indiana?’ With so many outcomes, many future professionals start at similar places. That is, youngsters who demonstrate a deep curiosity for human behavior are probably good candidates for a career in psychology. These kids may also be fascinated with language and even optical illusions. They may question how different people can see the same thing in different ways or why people do harm to one another. Some may at some point experience therapy and be inspired to pursue that as a career.
In college, psychology majors follow relatively uniform courses of study. Each must study topics such as personality, developmental psychology, and research methods, among other courses. Depending on the department, students might be able to take introductory courses in counseling. Along the way, students should consider their options for after the complete their bachelor’s psychology degree.
Some may want to dive into counseling right away or at least gain experience in the field before committing to a master’s counseling degree. Indiana licenses psychology professionals to work with the state's substance abuse disorder victims. The licensure requirements for this can be provided by an academic advisor or the state's licensure board. Typically, a bachelor’s degree enables a professional to work in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center as staff, where they are under supervision and likely not allowed to work one-on-one with patients.
When an Indiana psychology student decides to pursue their master’s degree, they have many options. The most common might be clinical psychology but some may take a more nuanced approach and focus on child psychology, marriage therapy, or forensic psychology. Those with a more analytical mind may pursue research psychology or organizational psychology.
Careers for Psychology Graduates
- Psychiatric Technician:
These psychology workers don't need to have a formal degree and can launch a career with a certificate from their local community college. These workers typically assist in mental health facilities. Most states do not require a license to work in this capacity but check with the Indiana board prior to pursing the career. However, the most important qualities a psychiatric technician can have are patience, empathy, and physical stamina.
- Social Work Assistant:
There is no degree requirement for this position, but some background in social work or psychology will be helpful. Psychology students can take work as a social work assistant to get a feeling for how Indiana handles its mentally ill or otherwise disadvantaged population. In this job, students can discover whether they are more drawn to bigger picture issues and research or whether they prefer one-on-one interactions with people in need.
- Social Worker:
This title doesn't necessarily imply any particular degree. However, the higher the degree, the more a social worker is likely to be paid. Social workers can be found working with a wide range of clients. Some options include developmentally disabled people, foster children, those who are mentally ill, hospital patients, and everyday folks who need talk therapy. Those who achieve a master of social work can become licensed to provide one-on-one psychotherapy.
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- Victim Advocate:
These workers may have a background in social work, psychology, or criminal justice, among other options. They help those who have been the victim of a crime to receive the best care possible in the judicial system. Just as criminals are all provided with legal counsel free of charge, so too do victims need a representative so that they can understand the process, find support, and obtain other help.
These psychological professionals are actually medical doctors who have completed a residency in psychiatry. Where in the past they used to provide psychotherapy, these days, most psychiatric practices are centered on evaluating patient needs regarding psychiatric medications. They thus prescribe treatments such as antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and mood stabilizers. To make their determinations, they rely on a combination of blood work and patient interviews.
- Family and Marriage Therapist:
Counseling students who are especially concerned with helping maintain family structures can pursue family and marriage counseling as a specialty in graduate school. The state of Indiana provides special licensure for these psychology professionals, which requires a master’s degree, a period of supervised counseling work, and a professional examination.
This title is conferred on mental health counselors who have earned a PhD in their field. This title can be used by counseling professionals, research experts, and forensic psychologists alike. The title commands added esteem in the community and can open the door to administrative jobs and tenure track teaching positions with Indiana's colleges and universities.
- Psychology Professor – Postsecondary:
These academic psychology professionals typically hold a PhD and have chosen to work as educators in Indiana's colleges and universities. While a master’s psychology degree is the minimum requirement to teach at the college level, a PhD will allow professors to pursue a tenure track position. Research psychologists in particular are drawn to this line of work, especially those who wish to continue their research.