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Is a Psychology degree really considered useless?

  1. Jan 14, 2016 #1
    I am so fed up of majoring in IT. I have a decent GPA but I must say that I am miserable in the process. I was initially a Psychology major and that was something I was passionate about. I enrolled in Physics more than once and still do not have a firm grasp of the concept! Whether I utilize a private tutor, use khan academy, chegg or sources provided at my college. I am tired of being miserable in something that may earn me decent money in the end but will be extremely overwhelmed in. I withdrew from Physics already along with a Java Programming course. I enrolled in another required Developmental Psychology course, including the Biology pre req, a concept that I can grasp :p. Will a psychology degree get me somewhere? Did I make a drastic mistake ladies and gents? :( :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2016 #2
    Are you looking for confirmation that you'd be making the right choice by switching majors? You don't need our confirmation. Are you looking for one of us to magically pull a statistic out that'll guarantee you'll be alright? That's not possibly something we (or anyone) can determine. Sorry, there's no way anyone can possibly know what a psychology degree will get you. We don't even know what an IT degree will get you. So, the best we can fall back on is "look at the statistics" or "follow your passion," but the fact that you've asked this question several times indicates that you don't want someone to tell you to stick with your IT degree--you want someone to affirm that psychology is a good choice so you'd feel better switching. You've already decided what you'd prefer. That's just my thought.

    No one can predict the job market. If you end up switching, just make sure you make yourself marketable, and I don't think you'll starve.
  4. Jan 14, 2016 #3
    Look I was not necessarily looking for a snarky remark, I can hear the annoyance in your composition. I am just an anxious college student, I am sure we have all been there. I do look at statistics. And they say counseling Psychologists tend to make less money than the industrial/clinical psychologists. So far, that is most of what I have gathered.
  5. Jan 14, 2016 #4
    It's not annoyance, and I didn't intend it to come out like that, so I apologize if it did. I'm just trying to stress that it seems to me that you have already in your mind decided that you would prefer psychology, and you just want confirmation that your choice is correct so you can go ahead with it. Correct me if I'm wrong there. I've been there too, and really, all I can say is that you may or may not make a good living with psychology, and it's hard to comment on job prospects. You won't starve on the street with a psychology degree, but there's no guarantee you'll make a lot of money. There's also no guarantee you'll live a comfortable life with an IT degree. I don't think anyone can comment on which one you'd be more successful at, but if you hate IT, and I mean truly can't imagine working in IT for 30-40 years, then no amount of money will make the job more interesting.*

    Also, you ask if a psychology degree will get you somewhere, and my response to that would be: where do you want to go?

    You have to evaluate where you are in life--what kind of job you want, what kind of job you're willing to work for, how comfortably you want to live, how difficult would a major switch be at this point in your college career, etc. Then you just have to pick. And I'll be honest--switching is always the more exciting option. If you've got a nagging feeling to switch and you do, it's a whole new adventure. If you don't, you end up wondering what you missed out on. I had the same feeling. I decided not to switch. I'm happy with my decision, but it was a personal decision, and you've gotta force yourself to sit down and make it.

    I repeat--in some fields, the unemployment rates are quite high. This is always subject to change based on the economy, the demand for those jobs, etc. However, if you are in America, you will not starve. Build up marketable skills in whatever major you pick, because no degree guarantees a job.

    *okay, maybe a few million a year, but with that kind of money, you wouldn't need to work 30-40 years, now would you?:biggrin:

    *hands obligatory grain of salt since this post is coming from an undergraduate*

    Also, do always maintain hobbies that you enjoy outside of work and school. If you're overtly stressed out, it can help to have a hobby--particularly one you can find other people to participate in.
  6. Jan 14, 2016 #5


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    Whether it's "considered" useless is impossible to answer. By whom? However, the HR departments of bigger companies will certainly not regard it as useless. There may be more examples but this one was the first that came to my mind and what I'm sure of not telling nonsense.
  7. Jan 14, 2016 #6
    Alright, so you're implying an IT degree nor a Psychology major will determine a great career. Although, what career were you happy to stick with? And what career gave you second thoughts?
  8. Jan 14, 2016 #7
    No major guarantees a great career. A major gets your foot in the door. What you do after that determines your career.

    I wanted to switch from electrical engineering to physics, then electrical engineering to math, both "less employable" than engineering. I decided to stay and found aspects of electrical engineering I enjoy.
  9. Jan 14, 2016 #8
    No degree on its own determines a "great" career. It's all about how you market yourself. As axmls said, the degree is often just the foot in the door.
  10. Jan 14, 2016 #9
    My wife makes more and is far more employable with her psychology education in health care than I am with my physics eduacation in engineering. Our jobs are very different and hers is very high stress. Mentally ill families on the brink, life and death situations, torment and abuse are part of her daily grind.

    I think psychology is very much an over saturated degree. But many psychology grads do not want to apply it to social services and health care. I think there is a thought that psychology is a way to get the prestige of science without the difficult math... That perspective leaves them unsatisfied. Otherwise, if you have a passion for helping the needy, providing social services and health care psychology can be great.
  11. Jan 14, 2016 #10
    Thank you
  12. Jan 14, 2016 #11
    I guess trusting your first instinct can be an ideal notion at times.
  13. Jan 14, 2016 #12


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    Well, when I was a kid and touring colleges to check them out, my parents and I had lunch near VA Tech's campus. Our waitress was a recent psychology grad. So there's that.
  14. Jan 14, 2016 #13
    At the same time, there have been posts on these forums of recent Ph.Ds in physics/math who were working in restaurants/as bartenders/as cab drivers, so certainly there are other factors that come into play when that happens to a degreed person (like lack of geographical flexibility).
  15. Jan 14, 2016 #14
    So what do you think the reasoning behind this misfortune is? You said they "were"? Did they end up getting a better occupation? That sucks.
  16. Jan 14, 2016 #15


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    To Danielle,

    I had replied to one of your previous posts with the following questions, which you've never answered:

    What kind of a career do you want? What do you actually like doing? Do you like work interacting with lots of people (e.g. customers)? Do you like to sit in your desk and work on the computer all day? Do you like working with your hands?

    So whether a psychology degree or any other degree is useful or not will depend ultimately on what you would like to do.

    If this helps, I've known several psychology graduates in my life, and they have worked in the following fields: (1) clinical psychologist/therapist (after earning her PhD), (2) biostatistician working in design of clinical trials (after earning her PhD in social psychology), (3) health care IT work, (4) lawyer (after finishing his law degree), (5) doctor (after finishing his medical degree), and (6) market research analyst. So a psychology degree did turn out useful for these people.
  17. Jan 14, 2016 #16
    Wow I never got your reply till you sent it a second time. I'm just that oblivious . Anyway thanks for the information. I would be interested in a career consisting of helping people, sitting down would be nice. Statistics is fun too.
  18. Jan 14, 2016 #17
    I think it should be said that in this job market not all degrees are equal. Though, as already stated, the person's abilities and drive matters more than the degree.

    I make more money with no degree than my two roommates who both have 4 year degrees from a state college.
  19. Jan 14, 2016 #18
    Likewise, a number of my friends who have no degree (or a diploma in some cases) make much more than most of people I know who have graduated from university by going into welding and other trades.
  20. Jan 14, 2016 #19
    This jives with what I think is the case for all science degrees. A marketable, specific graduate degree adds a great deal to an academic undergraduate science degree. For these people, psychology looks like it was a stepping stone into an advanced degree.
  21. Jan 14, 2016 #20
    For sure, it can happen to people with any degree. When I was delivering pizza I worked with drivers with Biology, Math, History and Business degrees. I had a degree in Physics.
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