Is Psychology Right for Me? Five Things You Should Know

By Ellie Walburg on December 11, 2018

Check the news app on your phone or watch primetime TV and you'll soon be reminded that this world is far from perfect. People are in need all around us. They may lack an external need, such as shelter or a consistent meal on their dinner table, or an internal need such as mental health.

Perhaps you can empathize with such external and internal needs, as you've had seasons in your life of challenge when you've needed someone to step in and offer their hand to overcome those barriers. Whether through a ministry, mental health or other social services, you may have encountered people who are equipped to meet the needs of their communities.

Are you inspired to provide that same support for others as you may have experienced yourself?

A psychology degree may just be for you.

With the knowledge, skills and experiences gained through an undergraduate program in psychology, you can be equipped to understand, address and offer solutions in a variety of human services related situations.

But how do you know if it's the right track for you? Here we share some important things to know as well as valuable questions to ask yourself as you determine whether psychology can get you to where you want to be in serving others.

Five Things You Should Know In Determining if Psychology is Right for You

Female counseling professional meeting with a female client

1) A Degree in Psychology Focuses on Human Behavior

The field of psychology focuses in on an individual's thought processes and behavior. Unlike sociology, which zooms out to examine societies and larger groups, psychology is rooted at the individual-level of study.

Psychology is helpful in analyzing and resolving issues, trends and challenges in human services needs. Some topics in psychology include things like stress, anger, aging and memory. Emotional and social responses are foundational to psychology.

This understanding of the individual emphasizes the diversity of populations; recognizing this trend is essential in succeeding in psychology. Through a degree in psychology, you'll discover that numerous factors contribute to an individual's mental health. In most psychology degree programs at the undergraduate level, you'll cover a wide range of topics that demonstrate the diversity in populations so that you're equipped to serve wherever you go.

Courses you'll engage in include topics such as:

  • Psychological theories—foundational understanding in the field of psychology.
  • Cross-cultural psychology—relating to diverse populations.
  • Current trends in psychology—so you're up-to-date on recent findings and methods.
  • Organizational psychology—focusing on human behavior in the workplace.
  • Abnormal psychology—introduction into major psychological disorders.
  • Lifespan development—understanding developmental changes from birth to adulthood.
  • Relationships in psychology—analyzing friendships, courtship and marriages.

Through practical curriculum like that included in a bachelor's degree in psychology, you will be well equipped in understanding and analyzing human behavior trends.

Not only will you be well equipped for your future career, but you'll also serve your inquisitive mind in looking into questions of why people behave and think in certain ways. Understanding what makes people do certain things is a marketable skill that has value in a variety of fields.

Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Am I interested in studying the trends and patterns of human behaviors?
  • Do I have a passion for helping people overcome barriers and challenges on an individual basis?
  • Am I interested in understanding human behavior in the context of diverse populations?

2) A Psychology Degree Empowers You to Meet the Needs of Others

Couple holding hands and coffee mugs at a table

A trend within the field of psychology is the desire to help others thrive and overcome challenges. After all, it is in the human services industry.

Through a bachelor's degree program, you'll develop strategies and tactics to moderate discussions and solve problems. A career in psychology or another related field can help you make a difference in the lives of those in your community by offering support and helping them overcome problems.

Being able to make a difference and empower others is a fulfilling opportunity. Within this field, you can support and guide others toward healing.

Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Am I motivated by the opportunity to serve others and make a difference in the community?
  • Am I able to create an appropriate amount of separation between my life and career in a social science field?
  • Does helping people succeed energize me in my work?

3) A Psychology Degree Sets You Up for Graduate Education

Female graduate looking toward the horizon

Due to the highly specialized field of psychology, you may need more than a bachelor's degree to pursue your career in fields such as psychotherapy, mental health services and counseling. In a graduate program, you'll build upon that foundation and continue to specialize in a field that intrigues you.

The type of master's degree you choose to pursue following your bachelor's in psychology depends on what career trajectory you desire to follow. For example, if you want to go into counseling or therapy, a master's in counseling can help take you to that next level of understanding human behavior. If you want to build upon that foundation of human interaction and take on a greater leadership role in business, a master's in organizational leadership can create even greater opportunities for you to follow your goals.

At Cornerstone University, you can continue your education in our Professional & Graduate Studies division or at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Some degrees that might interest you as you continue to build upon that foundation from a bachelor's in psychology include:

You can also continue past a master's degree and pursue your doctoral studies. To become a licensed psychologist, you'll need a doctorate, such as a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or Psy.D. (Doctorate of Psychology). Careers associated at the doctoral level are much more specialized and include careers such as psychotherapist and forensic psychologist.

Whether you desire to dive deeper into the field of psychology or build upon that foundation of human behavior to attain a leadership role, a bachelor's degree will set you up for success.

Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Am I willing to pursue a graduate degree in order to reach my career goals?
  • What specialized field am I interested in pursuing with the foundation of a bachelor's in psychology?
  • If I were to pursue a graduate degree, what degree interests me and can equip me to achieve my career goals?

4) A Psychology Degree Paves the Way for Many Career Opportunities

In addition to being set up to succeed in a master's program, a bachelor's in psychology also equips you to explore many career opportunities, from the field of psychology and beyond.

While for careers in fields such as counseling, mental health and psychotherapy, a master's degree may be required, there are numerous other career opportunities you can move into with only a bachelor's. A bachelor's degree in psychology isn't only a prerequisite for graduate education. It's also a versatile degree that you can apply to a variety of disciplines and professions.

These career opportunities tend to center around human services needs and fields. The trend? Helping to equip and empower others for success. These careers include:

  • Psychiatric technician.
  • Childcare worker.
  • Mental health worker.
  • Child and family ministry leader.
  • Case manager.
  • Rehabilitation specialist.
  • Volunteer services coordinator.

But what if your desired career isn't explicitly in the field of psychology? A bachelor's in psychology opens the doors to many other career options across industries. Understanding the human mind and its interactions empowers you for many careers. In fact, according to an article from Career Profiles, only about 25% of undergraduates in psychology work specifically in the psychology field.

With a bachelor's degree, you can explore additional career fields beyond psychology, such as:

  • Business.
  • Education.
  • Ministry leadership.

Whether you want to stay within the field of psychology or branch out to a number of different industries, a bachelor's degree can equip you to be successful.

Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • What is my ultimate career goal?
  • Do I aspire to stay within the field of psychology or branch out to other industries?
  • What inspires me most about my ultimate career goal?

5) A Degree in Psychology Prepares You For Both Individual and Organizational Work

As the plethora of opportunities with a psychology degree suggests, there's more to the field than being a counselor. With the foundation of a bachelor's degree, you can be equipped to address human services needs at both an individual and organizational level.

As psychology is different than sociology in the focus of the individual, a bachelor's degree in this field will expose you to patterns, trends and observations from one person's experience, or perhaps a small group. This is learned in course topics such as abnormal psychology and physiological psychology. It's all about the way an individual thinks, behaves and perceives the world.

However, most individuals don't live in solitude. They think, behave and work in the context of others around them. Therefore, a degree in psychology also incorporates the context of an organization or group. This communal mentality is experienced through topics such as cross-cultural counseling and organizational psychology. As you progress through your program, you'll realize that attention at both the individual and organizational levels contribute to greater results and opportunities for growth in any situation, whether in a one-on-one counseling session or an organizational consulting role.

Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Am I interested in understanding people at an individual level?
  • Am I interested in understanding people in the context of a group or organization?
  • Can I utilize my interests to add my contribution to my community?

A Degree that Empowers You to Make a Difference

With a bachelor's degree in psychology, you're open to greater opportunities to serve your community and make a difference for both individuals and organizations. Human services issues are all around us, and they require leaders to step up and be involved in walking alongside and helping to overcome barriers that are holding them back from being their true selves.

Learn more about what it would look like for you to pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology. Connect with a trained enrollment counselor or request information to get started exploring your opportunities.

Meet With a Counselor

Category: Why College