Careers and a Psychology Undergraduate Degree
Careers that can be Pursued with a Psychology Undergraduate Degree (possibly with some additional training)
If you are not interested in pursuing graduate-level training, then it becomes particularly important to consider what skills employers might be looking for at the undergraduate level, and to figure out the best ways to develop and to document those skills. Choose courses that will strengthen skills employers tend to value (e.g., oral and written communication, teamwork, research/analysis skills, critical thinking). Top skills employers are searching for are outlined here. Remember that your extracurricular activities (e.g., work, clubs and organizations, volunteer activities) may also provide opportunities to develop these skills, plus experience working with relevant populations. Acadia’s co-curricular transcript is a good way to document these experiences.
Finally, if you find it difficult to get your foot in the door because employers are looking for more concrete and applied training and experience, then consider adding a diploma from a community college, or a post-graduate diploma or certificate from a university, in the area in which you are seeking employment. These courses are often designed specifically for those who already have an undergraduate degree, or else transfer credit may be given for undergraduate courses, making most of these programs one year or less in length. Courses are also sometimes offered part-time, in the evenings, or via distance education, allowing you to combine them with paid employment. To give just a few examples, Nova Scotia Community College offers an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management, and also diplomas in Human Services, with concentrations in areas such as Correctional Services, Disability Supports and Services, Child and Youth Care, and Educational Support. Dalhousie University offers certificates in Adult Education, Business Management, and Human Resource Management. Seneca College offers a graduate certificate in Public Relations. The combination of the broad-based, general skills and theory training from your undergraduate degree, plus the more applied and concrete knowledge obtained from these sorts of certificates, may enhance your chances for securing higher-level employment and/or promotion.
Individuals might work as day or residential camp counsellors, or coordinators for recreational services. They might work as support workers (community or residential) for those requiring a variety of different supports: e.g., children with autism, individuals with physical or mental challenges, adolescents in group homes, homeless individuals, etc. They might work as case workers to assess individuals’ eligibility for certain services (e.g., social services, insurance benefits) and to facilitate provision of benefits.
Individuals might work as probation officers, parole officers, correctional officers in prisons, police officers, RCMP officers, etc. Some of our graduates have also proceeded to a variety of positions in the Armed Forces.
Individuals might work as research assistants for a variety of different academic researchers. Graduates have also secured positions working with research organizations (market-oriented or opinion-sampling oriented), conducting surveys and analyzing survey data.
Many of our graduates have spent time overseas teaching English as a second language. There are occasional opportunities to work as a teaching assistant or laboratory instructor for psychology courses, although preference for these positions is usually given to those with master’s degrees or higher.
Individuals might work in customer service, personnel, human resources, marketing, sales, consulting services, public relations, etc. Psychology students tend to have a good balance of skills that can make them appealing to employers looking for those with an undergraduate degree, exact area not specified. Psychology students tend to have more quantitative and research skills than most other Arts students, and more writing and oral presentation experience than most other Science students, making them very flexible.