Department of Psychology

Exploring Careers in Psychology

A college education is designed to provide students with the intellectual tools necessary to be successful in their future career endeavors. However, a good education is only one step in the process of securing an ideal career in your chosen field. A second step in securing that ideal position is to educate yourself about various career options that are available. Psychology is a particularly diverse field with many options open for exploration.

Where Do Western's Psychology Graduates Find Employment?

Graduates in Clinical/Community Mental Health have been quite successful in obtaining a variety of positions at competitive salaries in the public and private sectors of the mental health field. More than 90 percent of the option's graduates have secured positions in mental health agencies. Typically, new graduates find positions as counselors in mental health centers. Such positions offer the opportunity to engage in many diverse, professional activities including individual, group, and family counseling, primary prevention programming, community consultation, and program evaluation.

Graduates from the clinical/community option often will enter more specialized career areas within a few years after completion of the degree. Among the professional positions occupied by graduates of the program are case manager, clinical director, executive director, program coordinator for the mentally handicapped, coordinator of youth outreach programs, corrections counselor, and director of after care programs. Graduates from the clinical/community option have found employment nationwide. Former students and agency directors have reported that the pre-degree internship required of all students is a valuable asset when trying to secure a position.

Graduates of the school psychology program, upon completion of the internship, are certified by the State of Illinois as school psychologists and readily find employment in school systems. More than 90 percent of recent graduates are currently functioning as psychologists in school districts in Illinois. The roles and functions of school psychologists are many and varied, including assessment, consultation, educational planning, development and implementation of behavioral strategies, counseling, program development, and research. After working for several years as psychologists, some graduates from the school psychology program have assumed administrative positions. Others have gone into private practice. About 10 percent of the graduates of this program complete doctorates. Several of these individuals are currently functioning as faculty members in school psychology training programs.

One emphasis within the general experimental psychology option is preparation for entrance into doctoral programs in psychology. Approximately 40 percent of graduates from the general option have earned doctorates in various fields of psychology at universities across the U.S. and Canada. Other graduates have pursued career opportunities such as community college teaching, corrections, personnel management, children's services, research, and management consulting. A master's degree in general experimental psychology provides a sound base for moving into a number of career areas.