I’m not certain if I want to be a psychology major. What do psychologists study? What careers are available for psychology students?

Psychologists conduct both basic and applied research, from understanding brain functions to the behavior of complex social organizations. They work within communities and organizations, diagnose and treat people, teach, test intelligence and personality. They assess behavior and mental health, study how human beings relate to each other and also to machines, and bring important knowledge and skills to understanding diverse cultures. They study how people think, hear, see, speak, and acquire language, thoughts, and memory. Psychologists can work within schools, the court system, hospitals and health centers, law enforcement, public health, and corporations and organizations. Psychology is expected to be one of the fastest growing fields in the U.S. through the year 2016 (Department of Labor statistics).

Psychology majors learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret data, which are important skills for many jobs. Careers for psychologists vary. They can work independently or with other professionals–other scientists, physicians, lawyers, school personnel–in all different settings, such as hospitals, schools & universities, courtrooms, prisons, health centers. The American Psychological Asssociation (APA) reported that psychologists work in two primary areas, Research and Health Services, as follows (percentages in parentheses). Research: academia (57%), business/government (29%), health care (10%), and schools/educational (4%). Health Services: hospitals (19%), academia (18%), other human service (15%), business/government (14%), independent practice (11%), and managed care (9%). Most psychology careers require an advanced degree in psychology, beyond the bachelor’s degree. (Information from the APA Education Pipeline, based on 2005 doctorate employment survey).

What type of career growth is expected for Psychology?

From the Department of Labor, 2008-09: “Employment of psychologists is expected to grow about 15 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. Employment will grow because of increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics, consulting firms, and private companies.”(Occupational Outlook Handbook Web site)

I don’t know if I want psychology as a major. How soon should I begin to take required courses?

You should begin working on your degree requirements (Math, English, Science, Social Studies, etc) as early as possible to provide the groundwork for your eventual major by satisfying all course prerequisites.  Note that eligibility for English 100 is a prerequisite for taking Introductory Psychology (Psy 100) here at Palomar, so you need to satisfy that requirement as early as possible if you haven’t done so already.  Then, take Psy 100 in your first year, as many psychology classes have Psy 100 as a prerequisite.  Satisfying the English and Intro Psyc prerequisites will open up most of the psychology courses should you decide on it as a major.

What is Psi Beta?

Psi Beta is the National Honor Society in Psychology for community college students. Membership in our campus chapter enhances your experience at Palomar by providing activities with other Psi Beta members, such as attending the Western Psychology Association convention, learning about graduate schools, meeting Psychology faculty at informal meetings, and other events. Psi Beta exemplifies academic excellence in scholarly work.

Do I have the right prerequisites for a course?

Please read this page for information on course prerequisites.  Prerequisites for psychology courses are strictly enforced and individual faculty members cannot wave them.  Thus, if you do not have the prerequisite, you will not be able to enroll.  The link provided tells you how you can satisfy or challenge a prerequisite for each psychology course.

I am interested in transferring to [specific 4-year university].  How do I do that?

This website contains information on transferring to universities, with particular emphasis on the CSU and UC systems.  However, choosing the right courses and path to transfer varies from school to school and from major to major.  You should make an appointment with your counselor and/or Palomar’s Transfer Center for the most up-to-date information on transfer as it relates to your circumstances and goals.

What is the AA-T degree in Psychology?

The AA-T is a special Associate of Arts degree offered here at Palomar for students who intend to transfer to a 4-year university.  The benefit of obtaining the AA-T is that it guarantees you priority admission to a school in the CSU system.

Will I get in to my school of choice if I obtain the AA-T degree in psychology?

Unfortunately, no.  The AA-T does not guarantee you the school of your choice.  It guarantees only priority admission to A school within the CSU system.

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