October 29, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Wright State University Lake Campus
University of Texas at Austin
University of North Florida
Texas Woman's University
Indiana University Kokomo
Eastern Washington University
Wayland Baptist University
North Carolina State University
University of Manchester
University of California, Santa Barbara
Stony Brook University
University of Valley Forge
Columbus State University
Wright State University Lake Campus
Lake Campus Science & Mathematics
Joshua Ricker Ph.D.: When looking through psychology instructor resumes, the skills that would stand out above all others involve experience. When speaking of experience, we are looking at it through a broad scope. Clearly, having taught previous courses would put one ahead of others, especially if this includes multiple courses. For example, many universities look for instructors capable of teaching in their focus areas and courses, including research methods or statistics.
Experience in other realms of psychology will put you ahead as well. It is always advisable to try to become involved in a hands-on manner. Volunteer work in behavioral health services is a great way to learn more about psychology and develop clinical skills that will aid in teaching later on. Many places are taking in lab assistants that will give you knowledge of how psychological research is performed. All-in-all, actively participating in the world of psychology through one of these outlets will boost your resume.
Joshua Ricker Ph.D.: Two specific soft skills are significant in terms of psychology. First, to be effective and successful in this field, one needs to develop critical thinking skills. You will end up working with research much more than you may initially think, and the ability to dissect the science and interpret things on your own is essential. Psychology is also becoming very mainstream in many aspects, so you will often be confronted with erroneous or misinterpreted information based on psychological research. Being able to sift through this and stop the propagation of this type of information is vital.
The second soft skill that is highly valued is the ability to work with others. Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior, and much of the time, we observe human behaviors. This means you will be working with others and having people participate in your research if you take that route. You will have much more success if you can harbor healthy relationships with others that you will come across in your career.
Joshua Ricker Ph.D.: The hard skills needed in this field are particularly dependent upon which area you find yourself in. Those who are teaching-focused will find that keeping up with your typical technical skills, such as being fluent in different computer programs, will make your life much easier. There is a good chance you will teach online at some point in your career, so having confidence in your ability to navigate various software programs is crucial.
If you find yourself involved in research or even teaching a research-related course, then it would be beneficial to establish a sound knowledge-base of statistical programs such as SPSS or R. Even if you are not doing the research yourself, you will always be relying on the interpretation of research and statistics for your courses, and these programs will eventually come in useful.
Joshua Ricker Ph.D.: If there was one skill that would help you earn the most, it would be versatility. Psychology is a much broader field than most people think, which means it has the potential to open a huge variety of doors. As mentioned before, you will need experience, and that can occur in any of these subareas. If you are willing to try new things and open yourself up to multiple outlets, you make yourself a possible candidate for a nearly endless list of careers.
Dr. Nicolle Mayo Ph.D.: Psychology professors should be keeping up-to-date on the latest research and information in their field. To show that they are staying current and have the skills to understand and contribute to their field, there should be several research publications and presentations listed on their resume. These should be current. Familiarity and regularity with statistical software, like SPSS, NVivo, and others also stands out because skills are needed to operate these programs to conduct research. Taking leading positions, like the chair of a committee, shows an instructor can take charge and lead a team of people. The type of committee an instructor leads is another important variable. If they lead a curriculum committee, that is often viewed more impressively than a student group, for example. How effective their leadership is can be further explained through their references. Finally, the number, types, and frequency of courses taught are vital to note. The more experience an instructor has with teaching a course shows expertise. Of course, how effective that instructor is at teaching the course should be taken into consideration. Usually, student evaluations, separate from a resume or CV, can elaborate on this piece. These components represent both the hard and soft skills.
Dr. Nicolle Mayo Ph.D.: Emotional intelligence is a bonus in this position, especially regarding instructor-student interactions. This represents the ability to communicate (actively listen, socialize, clearly convey information), resolve conflict, empathize, show compassion, and have strong self-awareness. These factors suggest that an instructor can teach well, address issues that arise with students and colleagues effectively, connect with others, and continue improving themselves, starting with the notion of knowing and understanding themselves. Flexibility or adaptability is extremely helpful, given the changing contexts and circumstances of a university, whether it changes in courses taught, the number of students you teach, types of students you teach, new computer programs to learn, new teaching tools, new administration, department chair leadership, budget cuts, etc. You have to be willing to adapt to this ever-changing dynamic. Creativity is a must. All students learn in different capacities, so teaching content in different ways keeps things fresh and helps students absorb the information easier. Creativity is also required in different committees. Innovative ideas to make your job more efficient or to solve problems that arise in or out of the classroom are so needed. Problem-solving is the other part of this because there are always issues that need to be solved. Whether doing this with students or on committees, this is a constant. Strong and effective leadership helps enhance the functioning of committees you operate, students you serve, and the university. This also gives you more credibility (especially if you are rising to the occasion of promotion).
Dr. Nicolle Mayo Ph.D.: Hard/ technical skills include the expertise to run statistical software for conducting research more effectively and efficiently. Using programs, as I mentioned above (SPSS, NVivo, etc.), suggests you are staying current with conducting research. Other computer programming skills unique to the field or to teaching are also helpful. Familiarity with things like Nearpod can make teaching more interactive and accessible to students. Navigating online learning platforms (including D2L, Blackboard) and utilizing them beyond their basic capacities guides students to perform better in the classroom. Knowledge and regular use of other spoken languages also enhance communication with students who have different language backgrounds. Spanish and Chinese are becoming much more prominent for both native and foreign exchange students.
Dr. Nicolle Mayo Ph.D.: Many of the above skills can contribute to your path of attaining the next promotion, which a Professor can apply to earn every five years. Effective teaching, regular research, and consistent service to the campus and community are tickets to getting promoted. How you do these things contributes to whether you receive a promotion. Student evaluations of your creative and flexible teaching, frequent research publications and/ or presentations, consultations, and leadership on committees boast promise and credibility.
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Psychology
James Pennebaker: A psychology degree can be an asset for a wide range of jobs, from HR and sales to positions in business, law enforcement, and health care. Most psychology majors have been trained in statistics and experimental methods and to appreciate how people think, feel, and behave. You have also been trained to think flexibly about a wide range of problems.
James Pennebaker: If you have basic social skills and can work with people from various backgrounds, you will be more likely to get hired, promoted, and build a stable social network at your job(s). Almost all companies and organizations value people who can write well and who can speak to their peers, management, and customers. It also helps to have a high level of energy and enthusiasm for your job. Virtually every employer I know is thrilled to find an employee who loves learning about the company and can troubleshoot problems without being asked.
James Pennebaker: Most jobs require a basic understanding of statistics. Even the basic working of Excel and spreadsheets is invaluable. The more you know about database management, PowerPoint, graphing, the business uses of social media, apps, and web design, the better. If you are still in school, consider researching with a faculty member to learn more about some of these issues. Also, take courses in other departments that really interest you, and that may provide skills that might help you in the kinds of jobs you might like to have. Try to find an internship or part-time job to learn more about the kinds of skills you lack and can learn.
James Pennebaker: Don't think about what skills will help you earn the most. Think about the skills that will help you learn the most. The jobs that make you the happiest and challenge you the most will be the ones you will excel in. If you become an expert in a job you care about, you will earn what you need and love going to work every day. And you can't beat that.
University of North Florida
Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
C. Dominik Güss: - Degree: PhD
- Previous teaching experiences: how long and how many different classes
- Evidence of teaching experience, for example, ISQ (Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire) feedback and students' ratings. Or supervisor in-class visitation
C. Dominik Güss: - Ability to connect with students
- Ability to engage the listener
- Ability to explain complex material in an understandable way
- Being empathetic
- Mentoring students in projects
C. Dominik Güss: - Presentation skills
- Organizational skills
- Ability to work with technology
- Ability to teach in different formats: face-to-face f2f, distant learning DL/online, hybrid- a mix of f2f and DL
C. Dominik Güss: That partly depends on the expertise area of psychology. Some areas such as human factors or industrial/organizational psychology pay more than others, although overall, the salaries are quite standardized.
Texas Woman's University
Department of Psychology & Philosophy
Lisa Rosen Ph.D.: Majoring in psychology equips students with many transferable skills that prepare them for work in diverse fields. Given the collaborative nature of many workplaces, I think it is noteworthy that psychology majors develop skills that promote successful teamwork. Psychology courses cover topics such as interpersonal communication, which may facilitate group interactions. Further, psychology courses foster an appreciation of diversity by focusing on individual differences, biases, and prejudice, preparing students to work collaboratively with diverse team members.
Psychology majors also have the opportunity to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Coursework in cognitive psychology and learning highlights effective learning strategies that allow majors to develop new skills on the job, which may be especially critical as the pandemic has brought many changes to the workplace and increased reliance on new technologies. Psychology majors are also skilled at collecting and analyzing information for effective problem-solving.
Lisa Rosen Ph.D.: Psychology majors have the opportunity to develop soft skills through coursework. Common courses in the major include Psychology of Adjustment, Psychology of Stress, and Introduction to Counseling Psychology. Through these courses, students develop skills for success at work, including identifying and employing effective time management and coping strategies, which foster adaptability, self-awareness, and resilience. Coursework may also focus on listening and other helping skills that can foster empathy and service orientation. These soft skills will be a benefit almost any career.
Lisa Rosen Ph.D.: Undergraduate psychology coursework centers largely on developing research and analytical skills. Psychology majors can review the literature, identify relevant information, and evaluate research conducted by others. However, psychology majors also develop the skills to conduct their own research. Many majors can complete a research project from start to finish, which allows them to hone data analysis and interpretation skills and other skills critical to project management. Psychology majors also develop their communication skills as written papers and oral presentations are quite common. Through research and writing, psychology majors develop various computer skills, including word processing and statistical software.
Lisa Rosen Ph.D.: Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the United States and prepares students for a wide array of fields. Students develop marketable skills in undergraduate psychology programs that foster success in many fields and industries, including human resources, law enforcement, education, and social services. According to the American Psychological Association, about 45% of psychology majors continue to graduate degrees. In graduate school, students develop a great understanding of mental health, better preparing them for clinical, counseling, and school psychology positions. These positions are some of the more lucrative in the field, and there is even greater demand as individuals of all ages are reporting more symptoms of anxiety and depression and seeking mental health services at higher rates since the onset of the pandemic, which highlights the continued and growing need for psychology.
Indiana University Kokomo
Department of Psychology
Brooke Komar: Regarding hiring instructors, our department first ensures the candidates have the appropriate degree in the content area we're most interested in hiring. I can not tell you how many candidate applications we have to wade through who are not qualified from the outset.
Those who have experience teaching use experiential and active teaching methods that engage students, and a strong presence with students in the classroom (during teaching demos) is important. We are a teaching institution, so a strong teaching record is paramount, while new hires are asked to do independent research in partial completion of promotion and tenure requirements. Those candidates who are effective problem solvers, resourceful critical thinkers, and can work collaboratively with others are individuals we'd likely hire.
Candidates who have a strong handle on computer skills and programs common to our profession (SPSS, Microsoft Office, Qualtrix, etc.) will prove to be stronger candidates than those who lack those skills.
At the end of the day, most universities have a defined pay scale associated with the various schools in which a candidate will be teaching. Humanities instructors earn far less than those in business and nursing on our campus. Having skills or certifications that are highly desirable will, at the very least, help candidates to rise to the top of the candidate pool. For example, I am a Board Certified Art Therapist. At the time of my hire, a colleague had just obtained an interdisciplinary grant to examine intersections between fine arts and psychology in treating addictions. So, while the job description didn't note they were looking for an art therapist, my experience, training, and certifications were unique and valuable.
Additionally, I would recommend that new graduates be willing to look outside of the scope of their "ideal" role and consider positions within agencies or companies where growth is possible. There, transferable skills and potential leadership opportunities can be gained. For example, several years before my role as a Lecturer in the psychology department, I worked in private practice. I'd experienced several consecutive losses and knew I wanted to take a break from direct client care for a while. While selling an item on the FB marketplace, I conversed with a gentleman who worked at Cigna Behavioral Health and asked if I was looking to leave private practice and wondered if I would apply to a Care Manager position within his agency. I did, was hired, and spent three years engaging in Utilization Review and Benefits management, consulting on clinical cases from a more academic perspective, applying my skills as a therapist through the lens of benefits management. I would have never in a million years been searching for that role. But, I believe it further prepared me for this teaching position in ways I could not have predicted at that time.
Jillene Seiver Ph.D.: Of course. I am in psychology, and there are two main types of psychologists: Applied (counseling, clinical, I/O, and school) and Basic Research/Academia.
Applied: One known change is the increase in telehealth. Psychology pioneered this method of treatment, but it has really become mainstream, and I suspect many clinical psychologists and counselors will spend at least part of their day in this type of therapy session.
-More classes will be online and hybrid, now that everyone has been forced to adopt this strategy.
-More research studies will be conducted online in one way or another.
-Fewer faculty jobs will be tenure-track.
Jillene Seiver Ph.D.: Anything that pays the bills is a good job! But for psychology majors, jobs that allow them to use their knowledge of human behavior and mental processes are ideal. Managerial positions, HR positions, and sales positions are often a good match. For those students who focused on the scientific/statistical side of psychology, jobs in market research, statistics, test administration, and evaluation are good.
Jillene Seiver Ph.D.: Learn basic computer programming. At the minimum, HTML coding, but at a higher level, databases and statistical packages are good skills to have under your belt. Given the changes in the professional landscape thanks to the pandemic, being confident in a cyber situation will benefit all psychology majors in their careers.
Dr. Perry Collins: I am not convinced that there will be an enduring impact. However, graduating students need to understand that it may take longer to find their first professional job and to not get discouraged. The economy wants to get back on track.
Dr. Perry Collins: In the behavioral sciences field, the license as a professional counselor is very popular and there seems to be a good number of jobs available from my experience.
Dr. Perry Collins: In my field of psychology and behavioral sciences, it would definitely benefit students to consider pursuing a graduate degree that is on track for some sort of licensure such as marriage and family therapy, professional counselor, clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, etc.
Elizabeth Morgan Ph.D.: I believe so. One likely enduring impact is their recognition of the need to be flexible during these times and adapt to new modes of working and learning, as well as giving up participation in previously anticipated activities and events (such as sports participation, living in residence halls, graduation ceremonies, etc.). Having been forced into these situations means that they might value consistency more, but also be more confident in taking on change and flexibility in the workplace in the future. Also because of the difficulties over the past year or so, we will likely see increased need for mental health support, which is an area that psychology graduates could be well positioned to help with.
Elizabeth Morgan Ph.D.: Psychology graduates have so many good options - employers definitely appreciate the skills and knowledge that psychology programs develop in college students. A good job would be fairly dependent on the individual - it would be one that the person finds interesting and rewarding, that they are skilled at but that also presents manageable challenges, and one that helps them further their knowledge and skill development. This might include working with in a school that provides specialized services for children with autism or developmental disabilities, it might include work as a paraprofessional in an inpatient psychiatric or rehabilitation facility and helping develop programs and workshops, it might include working for a human resources office to assist in the development of more inclusive hiring practices, or it might be working as a program director for an after school programs for youth in urban areas. There are many different options that would be good jobs because of the skills and experience they afford to the graduate as well as the ways that they also give back to the community and help others.
Elizabeth Morgan Ph.D.: A clear one for graduates in psychology is to seek a graduate degree - typically a master's or potentially a doctorate. There are also additional certifications that can be obtained to help students become eligible for different positions or job duties. Also, because psychology degrees prepare graduates for such a broad array of potential jobs that have various earning potential means that graduates can seek jobs in fields that pay more, in addition to seeking graduate degrees or certifications.
Jessica DeCuir-Gunby Ph.D.: Educational psychology graduates often target jobs in higher education, K-12 education organizations, or education research organizations. However, the pandemic and the lack of academic jobs has forced recent educational psychology graduates to consider positions in other areas. Many graduates are considering education-related positions in non-profits, business firms, and health care organizations. Some graduates are becoming entrepreneurs and becoming education, research, and statistical consultants. The pandemic has helped educational psychology graduates to expand how they see themselves and the work they can do.
Jessica DeCuir-Gunby Ph.D.: Employers look for a variety of skills in employees. One important skill is the ability to think critically and to adapt to the changing learning and working environment. Employers are also looking for employees that work well in teams as both team members as well as team leaders. Proficiency in using the latest technological tools as well as research and statistical software packages is a must. It goes without saying that employees need good writing and communication skills as well.
Jessica DeCuir-Gunby Ph.D.: Salaries for educational psychologists have increased well over time but are lower than many other subfields of psychology. According to the American Psychological Association, the average salary for educational psychologists is $75,000 with the median salary for psychologists in general is $85,000 www.apa.org. Educational psychologists with doctoral degrees can earn substantially more.
Dr. Doron Cohen: It is difficult to say exactly what the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be on graduates, but there is likely to be some enduring impact. The good news is that this impact will not necessarily be negative, even if it feels negative at the moment! There are a number of critical skills that the coronavirus pandemic has forced students to develop and which, traditionally, take students many years to acquire. In particular, students have learnt to work flexibly, to adapt to working at home and to develop a range of digital literacy skills and competencies, including managing VPNs, data security, encryption software, Google Docs and collaborative management tools. So from a skill acquisition perspective, students have probably been forced to excel. Another positive to emerge from the pandemic is that many Higher Education Institutions have had to diversify their assessment away from the traditional exam and include more innovative and modern assessment practices, such as blog posts, online presentations and assessed podcasts. So, overall, it's not all negative. That said, many institutions have also made the decision to reduce content and subject knowledge where possible and so employers who require specific knowledge from their incoming applicants may consider some additional in-house training to mitigate any negative effects of reduced content in the curriculum.
Dr. Doron Cohen: This is very context dependent and is entirely contingent on the specific courses. Taking a career in Organisational Psychology, for example, the British Psychological Society requires graduates to have undergone specialised certified training before organisational psychologists can work in the areas of assessment and recruitment. One area though that seems to be growing in demand across many employers is the ability to analyse large data sets, undertake primary and secondary research and, ideally, undertake some coding. Many employers are now looking for applicants with these skills who can hit the ground running on appointment and, the coronavirus pandemic, means that they are having to scale back some of their in-house training regarding research and data analysis skills. Rather than pay out for third party training, we are seeing some employers select graduated from psychology, health sciences and related degrees who have been taught these skills at University level. There are many online free (and reasonably priced) courses out there through platforms like Udemy that can further help applicants to develop high level competencies in these skills across a range of different software (R, SPSS, Python etc) packages.
Dr. Doron Cohen: The number one piece of advice here is getting experience during their degree. Even during the pandemic, there are organizations that are offering virtual and/or socially distanced internships and volunteering opportunities and any kind of experience will really make applicants stand out from the crowds. In addition, final year students should talk to academic within their departments (or look for opportunities across their institution) to undertake research internships or any other relevant opportunity that allows them to develop skills commensurate with those expected of graduates.
Spencer Mermelstein: I first note that Psychology is a very versatile undergraduate degree. With a Bachelor's you can pursue a career within the field of Psychology (such as academic research, clinical, or applied) or in many different fields from education to business to healthcare to computer science and more. I think employers do value Psychology students' knowledge of human behavior, and they especially value the research skills and statistical literacy that are core to the science.
The effects of the COVID pandemic on the job market might depend then on what industry one is looking to join. Nonetheless, I have seen a few general trends from my point of view as a soon-to-graduate PhD candidate in an experimental psychology program. First, there was a major surge this year in applications to graduate school programs including PhD programs. As in past economic downturns, it seems like the relative current scarcity of jobs and other opportunities increases the demand for graduate education. In turn, this made graduate programs potentially a bit more selective given the greater number of applications. It will be interesting to see the next application cycle for grad school as the economy recovers.
At the other end of grad school, current PhD students seeking tenure track professorships in academic research are facing a very tough job market. Even before the pandemic, there were relatively few jobs for the number of new doctorates, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Funding and hiring freezes at colleges and universities are likely to shrink the number of new professorships even further. I think we are going to see new PhDs increasingly consider careers outside of academia, where their research and data analysis skills can be put to use in fields like User Experience or Data Science.
I think these concerns are specific to my particular field of academic research at the moment, as I believe clinical psychology and applied psychology job opportunities will continue to grow for those with Bachelor's and graduate degrees.
Spencer Mermelstein: I have two responses to this question. First, during your time in your degree program, you should try to find the topic or subject that just captivates you. Find out what your passion is and learn what career options are available to enact that passion. Perhaps beyond a particular course or license, I would say to try to speak with someone in that career and from there begin working in that field even as an intern or assistant. For example, to gain research experience in preparation for graduate school, meeting with professors whose work interests you and gaining a position in their lab as a research assistant is invaluable. Assistantships and internships will open all sorts of doors to where you want to go.
Spencer Mermelstein: I think we are currently seeing salaires really grow for psychology degree holders. More industries and employers are seeing what skills and insight psychologists can bring, especially for those with graduate degrees working in applied or clinical fields. Academic research salaries, however, are potentially a bit more stagnant, again a consequence of a tough job market and tight funding at universities. On the other hand, professors have a lot of flexibility with their work and time, which is it's own form of compensation.
School of Business and Social Science/ Psychology Department
Jeremiah Warren Barber: The enduring impact among graduates from the psychology program has been the proactive approach of resilience in light of the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The remote learning environment has allowed each student to overcome hardship and endure an ever-changing stressful period within their academic career. The psychology program's focus has been to encourage learners to be both idealist and innovators in applying themselves within the helping profession. The Dine College family intensely felt the impact of the pandemic and the loss of family members and loved ones. The student body felt the impact, but this also showcased their strength, perseverance, and resilience to not let a virus steal their driving spirit. Resilience against adversity has been the force that has allowed for healing to take place. The growth that has taken place has inspired the student body and reinforced the feature of hope and faith.
Jeremiah Warren Barber: The uniqueness of the BA in Psychology degree has been the pliability in job direction and job acceptance. Distinctly, with this in mind, students can apply their degree within various platforms. The Psych BA program's key feature is its focus on actionable insight, whether it be in counseling principles, research design, cultural awareness, or social advocacy. The consistency of being ethically aware in the helping profession has been an integral feature of the BA program. The BA program incorporates a Field Work Experience course implemented during the student's senior year in which they search and choose an internship/volunteer placement. The placement has been a beneficial collaboration of program resources within the communities both near and far. The emphasis has been to bridge learners with real-world experiences that can broaden and sharpen their academic and professional skillsets. The programs that have lent their collaborative partnership have been the local coffee shop on the main campus, several Domestic Violence crisis programs near and far, and a domestic violence sheltering program within the Navajo Nation. The collaborative associations have created awareness for both training opportunities and networking possibilities allowing for career advancements.
Jeremiah Warren Barber: The technical skills that stand out to employers within the various collaborative partnerships both on and off the Navajo Nation have been documentation and writing skills through various software platforms. Given that psychology blends both hard and soft skillsets, the rudimentary knowledge of psychological determinants of behavior allows for greater insight and direction, which can be useful for employers in psychology. The use of therapeutic techniques and implementation has been a critical feature that allows a graduate from the BA in Psychology program to stand out. Moreover, the knowledge and the experience of learning psychological research methods and data collection create a well-rounded feature for employers to utilize when working with diverse communities and ethnicities on and off the Navajo Nation. Additionally, the critical feature of ethics is paramount given the close-knitted element of working on the Navajo Nation; therefore, the learners have the ethical mindset to be a crucial asset when working within the community. The aspect of career planning has been the main feature of the Psych BA program, as the hope is to have the students garner a job. Lastly, cultural, traditional, and language awareness is an essential skill set that blends both hard and soft skills to offer the utmost care within the Navajo communities and abroad.
Anne Moyer Ph.D.: Certainly! Many are experiencing financial hardship at home and strain on their wellbeing.
Anne Moyer Ph.D.: Students graduating with an undergraduate psychology degree have been provided training in multiple areas such as public speaking, research methods, statistical analysis, and critical thinking, as well as broad areas of content from the field of psychology. It is important for students to seek out opportunities, like internships, employment, community service, clubs, or research extracurricularly, in the areas that they are interested in pursuing a career or further study. Students interested in working with children can intern at the child care center on campus. Students interested in political psychology can join one of the clubs related to political activity.
Anne Moyer Ph.D.: Working in teams, writing, public speaking, critical thinking and analysis, communicating and working effectively with technology.
University of Valley Forge
Department of Behavioral Sciences
Kathy Caruso: I think more people will be working out of the house. I can't say for sure how that will look for sacred music since it's not my field, but I imagine more online collaboration, performances, etc.
Kathy Caruso: So, people should be prepared to have online computer skills in addition to their performance, artistic, and business skills. I am not sure I agree with those who say today's grads won't be prepared for the workforce or graduate study due to online learning. I see students working just as hard online at the undergrad level as they did for seated classes.
Kathy Caruso: A day at work could well be a day at home, recording and doing other things via Zoom, Teams, and other modalities. Hopefully that will turn around as more people are vaccinated and the pandemic eases.
Dr. Elizabeth Dalton Ph.D.: I expect that the coronavirus pandemic will have an enduring impact on many people, including recent college graduates. In terms of psychology-specific impact, the pandemic has increased the demand for mental health services, and particularly those administered via telehealth. The pandemic has also highlighted, for example, the need to better understand and mitigate the impact of social isolation on well-being and existing disparities in the healthcare system. Psychology graduates are well-positioned to help address such needs, either immediately upon graduation in roles such as behavioral health technicians or research assistants, or after pursuing graduate-level studies in the field.
Dr. Elizabeth Dalton Ph.D.: The specific certifications, licenses, or courses that have the biggest impact on job prospects depend significantly on a student's area of interest within psychology. Psychology is a tremendously broad field! I know that our psychology students at Elizabethtown College benefit from gaining hands-on experience in the field through internships, research projects, and volunteer opportunities. In fact, we've seen several students' undergraduate internships turn into full time post-graduate job opportunities. More so than any one particular course, I have seen students benefit from a well-rounded education that cultivates their ability to problem-solve, engage in critical thinking, and work effectively with others.
Dr. Elizabeth Dalton Ph.D.: Psychology graduates benefit from being able to clearly and convincingly articulate their interests in the field and convey the ways in which their prior experiences and interests are a good fit for a prospective employer or graduate program. Now more than ever, graduates benefit from being flexible, open-minded, and willing to learn. I've been so impressed by my students' resilience and resourcefulness throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Recent graduates have had to overcome many challenges in obtaining their degrees, and their grit and determination will continue to serve them well as they launch their careers.
Columbus State University
Dr. Diana Riser Ph.D.: I think while we are likely to see some jobs becoming more limited, we are seeing an increased need for other jobs. For example, there has been a greater demand for helping positions and positions that support positive mental health & wellbeing (e.g., counselors). In terms of all jobs, there is an increased demand for flexibility and well-rounded skills. Job places may need candidates with more flexible schedules or candidates with the ability to work remotely with proficiency. It's an interesting and changing phase in our world as we get a better sense of what jobs can operate in a work from home/telehealth capacity versus those that truly need to be in person. We are also seeing a focus on increasing diversity in mental health fields as there is a clear need for practitioners from underrepresented or historically marginalized groups.
Dr. Diana Riser Ph.D.: Adaptability, flexibility, and resilience are pretty key personal skills these days. Job requirements and settings can change rapidly in a pandemic. If you are established as a person who is flexible and able to adapt to changes efficiently, that is likely to be valued. Similarly, technology skills are essential. Employers and colleagues want to know that you either know the tech that is being used or that you can figure it out and learn it efficiently. Everyone is busy and overwhelmed, it goes a long way to know that you can learn and use the technology tools without overburdening others. Finally, writing and math/statistics skills are important in our digital age. People often underestimate the function of professional, written communication skills.
Dr. Diana Riser Ph.D.: Often, undergraduate psychology majors need to go to graduate school to become counselors or clinicians. However, there are many opportunities in the non-profit sector and in health professions. Health professions need individuals who are strong with data for COVID-19 tracking. Health professions and non profits also need individuals with experience in psychology to support the socio-emotional needs of clients. Psychology majors can often find fulfilling careers helping those in their community by working in either of these areas.