As a psychology major, either a new graduate or a current undergraduate, you may be worried about your future employability. In times of economic difficulty, some of the jobs that have most commonly been filled by psych majors are not usually a hiring priority. Psychology majors who are most interested in providing individual therapy in a private practice setting may be especially worried about future earnings since the nature of such a freelance income can be uneven during the best of times.
Additionally, students in the process of finishing a bachelor’s degree in psychology or behavioral health may feel their career potential without a graduate degree is very limited. However, students may be reluctant to take out additional loans with no promise of future employment. An adjustment in career path to a course of study in nursing may be one way to work in your chosen field without such an uncertain employment picture. There are many reasons why psychology majors should consider nursing.
- The Lamar University Online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is 100% Online and CACREP accredited. The M.Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling prepares you to provide clinical counseling services to a wide range of clients in a variety of professional settings, such as private practice, clinics, hospitals and school-based mental health programs.
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Psych Majors Can Make Great Nurses
The knowledge and experience that psych majors have can be easily translated into nursing skills. In addition to theoretical knowledge you’ve built up in classes, you may have participated in internships, externships or co-op placements that helped build the same skills that are needed in almost any psych mental health nursing setting.
Even if you’re not particularly interested in a specific psych mental health placement, almost anywhere you work as a nurse will benefit from a nurse who is well trained in behavioral health. For example, nurses who work in the intensive care unit have to know how to talk with families about issues like end of life care and grief. Nurses who work in the emergency room deal with conflict management on a daily basis. Even nurses who work in less clinically intense settings can benefit from excellent behavioral health training. For example, nurses in primary care often work with patients who are experiencing clinical depression or anxiety in addition to their presenting complaint.
Nursing Jobs : Flexible and Plentiful
Although recent economic downturns have meant that the nursing shortage is growing at a slower rate than initially predicted and new grads especially may need some time to acquire full time employment, the employment outlook for registered nurses is still very good. According to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020 which is faster than almost any other non-technology based profession type.
Dee Winter, an Illinois registered nurse who started her career in the mental health field but went back to school to become a nurse reports being very happy with her choice. “When I was looking for a job as a therapist, I had to make all the phone calls,”she said “Now that I’m a a nurse, employers call me.”
Psych mental health nurses work in many different capacities: in prisons, free standing psychiatric hospitals, outpatient programs, eating disorder treatment facilities, for the Veteran’s Administration and in long-term care facilities. Many nursing jobs can work around your schedule. For example, if you have school age children, you can work a night shift which enables you to be home when the kids get home from school. Some nurses work swing shifts or afternoons and some hospitals have programs where nurses can work two, twelve hours shifts for three weekends out of the month for full-time pay and benefits.
Possibilities for Clinical Advancement
A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree and some experience in clinical nursing can return to school to obtain a psychiatric nurse practitioner’s license. In most states, nurse practitioners are able to prescribe medication; this makes them a much sought after mid-level provider. Psych mental health nurse practitioners in some areas of the country can make $120,000 annually immediately after graduation.
The availability of the role of the psychiatric nurse practitioner also allows psych nurses to advance in their careers, with more responsibility and increased compensation without having to leave clinical nursing for administration.