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(NPR)   Those who can, do. Those who can't... apparently major in Psychology and feel lucky to make the minimum wage   (npr.org) divider line 153
    More: Obvious, academic major, petroleum engineering, academic degrees  
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5782 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Sep 2013 at 9:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-10 09:27:51 AM  
I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.
 
2013-09-10 09:33:58 AM  
One thing that's never mentioned in these stories is the motivation of the individuals in said majors. As an example, social work. When I went through, we were informed on a regular basis "you will not make a lot of money in this field." I knew that going into it. Frankly, I'm ok with it. Love my job, and I love the field.
 
2013-09-10 09:42:48 AM  

I'm an Egyptian!: One thing that's never mentioned in these stories is the motivation of the individuals in said majors. As an example, social work. When I went through, we were informed on a regular basis "you will not make a lot of money in this field." I knew that going into it. Frankly, I'm ok with it. Love my job, and I love the field.


Agreed.

There's also going to be differences by school.

Do psychology at university of who the fark cares - become pet psychologist.
Do psychology at Oxford - join MI6
 
2013-09-10 09:46:32 AM  

I'm an Egyptian!: One thing that's never mentioned in these stories is the motivation of the individuals in said majors. As an example, social work. When I went through, we were informed on a regular basis "you will not make a lot of money in this field." I knew that going into it. Frankly, I'm ok with it. Love my job, and I love the field.



They kind of do mention that where he said he "wouldn't have changed his path".  Yeah, you should do what you like.  I don't know what your degree is specifically but if it has to do with social work, you could probably make decent money doing something related to cultural outreach for a large nonprofit.


/Glad I had a passion for computer science.
 
2013-09-10 09:50:57 AM  
Getting a BA in psychology is like getting a BA in "pre-law", pretty useless unless you follow it up with graduate school.
 
2013-09-10 09:52:47 AM  
People make their own lives, regardless of having a college degree or not.
Not everyone is successful, regardless of having a college degree or not.

/Subby is a failure at trolling.
 
2013-09-10 09:53:54 AM  
I know quite a few people who thought their 4 year Psych degree was going to translate into something lucrative, in spite of people telling them otherwise.  Most of them ended up having to go back to school for another degree after spending a few years struggling to find work.  Those that did usually ended up in the school system or the corrections system.
 
2013-09-10 09:56:17 AM  

doyner: I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.


Is it? I only hear about church participation rate going down.

/just like the labor participation rate
 
2013-09-10 10:01:01 AM  
Yep, have a BA in Psych here.  I ended up going back to get a Master's and started teaching (NOT psych).  Was the degree useless?  No...I mean, I use what I learned in several psych classes on a regular basis--in fact, I understand it better now than when I was a student.  But is my job related to my actual degree?  Nope.  Ah well.
 
2013-09-10 10:02:50 AM  

Infernalist: I know quite a few people who thought their 4 year Psych degree was going to translate into something lucrative, in spite of people telling them otherwise.  Most of them ended up having to go back to school for another degree after spending a few years struggling to find work.  Those that did usually ended up in the school system or the corrections system.


Yep, I have a psych bachelors, which basically capped me out at $13/hr. Picked up my Masters in 2011 and nearly tripled that. For a lot of people, psychology is that 'gateway degree' to get you into a Master's program and then you can bury yourself in loans to offset the increase in salary in the hopes that 10-25 years from now, you'll see the money you work 72hrs/week for.
 
2013-09-10 10:02:50 AM  
I believe in "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."

It takes balls to go into debt knowing you will have a hard time paying off the debt, and a harder time finding a well paying job. But hopefully, money was never important in the first place.

I studied physics/chemistry/engineering because I was truly interested. I make a good salary, but it's a soul sucking job. I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).

My best friend from childhood majored in psychology. She has been a married, stay at home mom for nearly ten years but fully expects to open her own practice soon.
 
2013-09-10 10:03:04 AM  
So, we have arts, and subjects where you need masters or doctorates, compared to engineering.

I'm shocked by the outcome.

Anyway, seems that engineering is the only good field any more. How long before its flooded, and wages go down.

China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.
 
2013-09-10 10:03:19 AM  

Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Getting a BA in psychology is like getting a BA in "pre-law", pretty useless unless you follow it up with graduate school.


Well, you could also do like my brother in-law's ex wife - get a psych degree then get paid as much as a Level IV engineer at an engineering company.  Of course, she's a sociopath and more than likely doesn't have a problem giving blowjobs for better pay...  So, I wouldn't say psychology is totally worthless.  If you have a good set of tits and lack a conscience and don't mind giving hummers to aging, fat, balding, op-managers, then you can go far.
 
2013-09-10 10:04:25 AM  
Relying on a degree alone to get you a job is a sucker's game unless you're in a technical specialty like engineering. You want to work in the arts or people-skills field, you need to start working while you're studying it. Internships, free-lance work, extracurricular school organizations, anything you can get. Some young people do become well-compensated writers/editors/non-profit execs, but they don't get there by just going to class and doing the homework. Buddy of mine parleyed his election as university band captain into a business producing halftime shows at bowl games, and used that to get hired as an NFL team's entertainment director. Now, he's a TV music producer. His degree was in business management, and if all he'd done was get his degree, he MIGHT have been able to get into some kind of management training program out of school, making peanuts and working 80 hours a week trying to wrangle code monkeys.

I can see why psychological counseling is so low-paid right out of school. Who wants to be counseled by a 22-year-old?
 
2013-09-10 10:05:10 AM  

teylix: I only hear about church participation rate going down.


They don't need the churches.  A lot of religious organizations are taking their sermons -- and fund solicitations -- on-line.  I work Sundays as part of my tech support shift so I routinely troubleshoot their live streams.  It's a weekly struggle to do my job despite some pretty nasty crisis of morality; these sermons pretty much check every item on the "creepy anti-intellectual brainwashing tithe enslavement propaganda" list that must be a case study in every textbook on psychiatry.
 
2013-09-10 10:05:47 AM  
DNRTFA: but if you just get a bachelors in Psychology no shiat your job options will suck ass. Thats the kind of field that requires a MINIMUM of a Masters if you want to get a real job, and you still wont be making much (unless you go into I/O Psych and run an HR Dept for a major company). My psych professors used to tell me a BS in Psych is just that, BS.

/Clinical Mental Health Counseling Masters student
/One year left until graduation!
 
2013-09-10 10:06:18 AM  

Witness99: My best friend from childhood majored in psychology. She has been a married, stay at home mom for nearly ten years but fully expects to open her own practice soon.


Yep, any day now.
 
2013-09-10 10:06:38 AM  

bsteiny: Yep, have a BA in Psych here.  I ended up going back to get a Master's and started teaching (NOT psych).  Was the degree useless?  No...I mean, I use what I learned in several psych classes on a regular basis--in fact, I understand it better now than when I was a student.  But is my job related to my actual degree?  Nope.  Ah well.


Does it help you find yourself, or perhaps read people so you can spot the suckers?
 
2013-09-10 10:07:12 AM  

Witness99: I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).


How do you figure?
 
2013-09-10 10:08:42 AM  

Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Getting a BA in psychology is like getting a BA in "pre-law", pretty useless unless you follow it up with graduate school.


I have a BA in Psychology and am doing quite well without grad school. It's how you sell the skills you learned in university. I had to take 5 different stats courses plus a couple of applied research courses. I now work as a research analyst.

Also, there are many different fields of psychology - counselling psychology is only one of them.
 
2013-09-10 10:08:56 AM  

liam76: Witness99: I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).

How do you figure?


Given that I have the same thought about myself, it's probably because we end up getting married to our 72+hr/wk jobs (don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do) that leaves little time for much else and basically I know at this point I'd be a horrible dad/husband, so I just stick to vacuous gf's who know what the score is.
 
2013-09-10 10:08:59 AM  
Everybody knows that college is all about vocational training.  All that stuff about learning how to think is for pussies.
 
2013-09-10 10:09:27 AM  

doyner: I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.


The churches that are booming have a pastor who is more versed in Marketing than Theology.
 
2013-09-10 10:11:08 AM  

Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Getting a BA in psychology is like getting a BA in "pre-law", pretty useless unless you follow it up with graduate school.


My relative is finding that out the hard way. She just graduated with her BS in Psychology (specializing in Grief Counseling). Her mantra her entire final semester was, "I'll graduate and score an awesome-paying job."

She's currently unemployed though may be starting a part-time retail job shortly.
 
2013-09-10 10:11:52 AM  

MichiganFTL: liam76: Witness99: I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).

How do you figure?

Given that I have the same thought about myself, it's probably because we end up getting married to our 72+hr/wk jobs (don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do) that leaves little time for much else and basically I know at this point I'd be a horrible dad/husband, so I just stick to vacuous gf's who know what the score is.


You could say that about any particular field.  I am wondering what his education (engineering) had to do with it.

I used to make bank working in the oilfield right out of college.  I now make about 20% less after working in my current field about 9 years, and am happier because of much more time off.
 
2013-09-10 10:13:27 AM  

sendtodave: So, we have arts, and subjects where you need masters or doctorates, compared to engineering.

I'm shocked by the outcome.

Anyway, seems that engineering is the only good field any more. How long before its flooded, and wages go down.

China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.


The particular business I work for in GE just closed all their China and Mexico plants, and brought all the jobs back to the US. Giving me a massive headache, but sense of pride.
 
2013-09-10 10:13:44 AM  
Highest paid phsych degree holder I know of is now a software engineer... (managed to get in w/out the CS degree)

UberDave: /Glad I had a passion for computer science.


Same. Made games for several years. In the big D now. Pretty lucrative for putting in your 8 and going home.

sendtodave: So, we have arts, and subjects where you need masters or doctorates, compared to engineering.

I'm shocked by the outcome.

Anyway, seems that engineering is the only good field any more. How long before its flooded, and wages go down.

China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.


Last I checked, they still produce shiat. Some companies are ok at selling shiat, but not all of them. Jobs that require a clearance won't be shipped out ever.

Generally, engineering will continue to contain the leading fields because all the other jobs are being eliminated by engineers automating everything.
 
2013-09-10 10:15:46 AM  

Bolebuns: All that stuff about learning how to think is for pussies.


Well, you need to do the workouts; just hiring a trainer and buying the equipment isn't enough.

The courses I opted to take re-wired my brain so extensively at times I thought I was going insane.  I wound up running from a few with my tail between my legs.  I don't regret it in hindsight and if anything I wish I had the maturity to study harder.

When I see people graduate from college largely unchanged I don't care what their major is; they've wasted an opportunity.  Yes, it's more likely with liberal arts, but it's quite possible to fark up a STEM degree.

/ Nonlinear dynamics is definitely one of those courses that will either kill you or make you stronger
 
2013-09-10 10:17:28 AM  

liam76: Witness99: I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).

How do you figure?


Can't date effectively when studying 24/7. Can't date effectively when working for a multinational corporation that demands blood almost 24/7. I wish I had majored in psychology and married a guy who paid for my tanning and nails. I'm really just kidding, and I did have the chance, but I wanted a spiritual, intellectual partner, so he didn't work out.
 
2013-09-10 10:18:16 AM  
Bachelor's in Music - French Horn Performance.  I received enough scholarship through the school of music to pay for the degree.

I now make more than the chart says for my major and more than fellow graduates with similar degrees, but it helps that I got an actual job not related to my major and am not shift manager at the bowling alley.
 
2013-09-10 10:19:31 AM  
Engineers talk shiat on internet forums, but we all know they are a gentle push away from shooting their families in their sleep and then offing themselves.
 
2013-09-10 10:19:55 AM  
4 kinds of Psych majors in my college:

1) the ones that are interested in Psychology, are competent and good students, and hopefully will get to do something serious with it.
2) the pre-Med folks who wanted the "easy" science to major in, forgetting that Med school is insanely competitive.
3) the pre-Med folks who fail out of the program and want some sort of science to major in to placate the pissed-off parents who just bankrolled their failure.
4) crazy women (and almost exclusively women) who want to find out why they are crazy.

#4 was disproportionally represented in my college...
 
2013-09-10 10:20:28 AM  

MichiganFTL: liam76: Witness99: I don't even have any kids (probably partly due to my education and career path).

How do you figure?

Given that I have the same thought about myself, it's probably because we end up getting married to our 72+hr/wk jobs (don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do) that leaves little time for much else and basically I know at this point I'd be a horrible dad/husband, so I just stick to vacuous gf's who know what the score is.


Yes, exactly
 
2013-09-10 10:20:34 AM  

doyner: I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.


The churches that make the real dough have very little interest in theology.
 
2013-09-10 10:21:23 AM  

Witness99: sendtodave: So, we have arts, and subjects where you need masters or doctorates, compared to engineering.

I'm shocked by the outcome.

Anyway, seems that engineering is the only good field any more. How long before its flooded, and wages go down.

China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.

The particular business I work for in GE just closed all their China and Mexico plants, and brought all the jobs back to the US. Giving me a massive headache, but sense of pride.


Good on them.

But what I was trying to say is that engineering and IT isn't necessarily universally lucrative. Especially when you have a large supply of workers.

So, how long before engineers are considered just another mid-pay grade office grunt, instead of six figure big deals?
 
2013-09-10 10:22:51 AM  

mbillips: Relying on a degree alone to get you a job is a sucker's game unless you're in a technical specialty like engineering. You want to work in the arts or people-skills field, you need to start working while you're studying it. Internships, free-lance work, extracurricular school organizations, anything you can get. Some young people do become well-compensated writers/editors/non-profit execs, but they don't get there by just going to class and doing the homework. Buddy of mine parleyed his election as university band captain into a business producing halftime shows at bowl games, and used that to get hired as an NFL team's entertainment director. Now, he's a TV music producer. His degree was in business management, and if all he'd done was get his degree, he MIGHT have been able to get into some kind of management training program out of school, making peanuts and working 80 hours a week trying to wrangle code monkeys.

I can see why psychological counseling is so low-paid right out of school. Who wants to be counseled by a 22-year-old?


Is she hot?
 
2013-09-10 10:22:51 AM  

Bolebuns: Everybody knows that college is all about vocational training.  All that stuff about learning how to think is for pussies.


This is largely true. Back when college was all about exploring the great masters and freeing your mind, most college students had a guaranteed income waiting for them on the back end, either in civil service or daddy's company. Only about 5-10 percent of the population went to college, so they could dick around and be dilettantes all they wanted. This was a good thing to some extent, as educated, enlightened elites are better than boorish, ignorant ones.

Now that college is just 13th-16th grade, and more than half the population goes there, most college students quite reasonably look at it as vocational school. You can subsidize your own enlightenment by reading outside school, or you can just plug away at job-training. But learning how to think, and nothing else, when nobody is going to pay for you to live is not a very practical way to approach life.
 
2013-09-10 10:24:04 AM  

sendtodave: So, how long before engineers are considered just another mid-pay grade office grunt, instead of six figure big deals?


Whenever the Business majors decide they are.
 
2013-09-10 10:24:21 AM  

Bolebuns: Everybody knows that college is all about vocational training.  All that stuff about learning how to think is for pussies.


Depending on where you go to school, that seems to be the case. Not so much at a good school. However, if you can't get into a good school, you probably aren't cut out for thinking anyway.
 
2013-09-10 10:24:57 AM  

sendtodave: China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.


China is a hundred times the degree mill that America is.  That's not to say some Chinese engineers can't be brilliant but they care too much about appearances and control to benefit from it.

waterrockets: Jobs that require a clearance won't be shipped out ever.


The question is which jobs require clearance; if you remove the requirement the job's gone.  There's always going to be an intact core but the military's been fighting off attempts to offshore parts.  IIRC there was a bit of a fume over a decision (I think it was eventually reversed -- I don't trust my memory here) to have a communications part manufactured in China.  The contentious issue led to a slew of new regulations under arguably legit concerns that China would engineer security backdoors to U.S. military comm equipment.  So military's always a bit of a safe haven but who knows how close we are to the high-water mark.
 
2013-09-10 10:25:43 AM  

PunGent: doyner: I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.

The churches that make the real dough have very little interest in theology.


Funny thing about religion: you can just make it up as you go! Sure, it might not have the gravitas of a two thousand year old religion, but I'm sure some people would follow and give you money, if you were charismatic enough.

So who needs theology? Do they teach charisma in theology class?
 
2013-09-10 10:25:55 AM  

Bolebuns: All that stuff about learning how to think is for pussies.


Dropping hundreds of thousands on college to get acces to what you can get 99% of the time for free in order to "learn to think" is stupid.
 
2013-09-10 10:26:34 AM  

Gonz: sendtodave: So, how long before engineers are considered just another mid-pay grade office grunt, instead of six figure big deals?

Whenever the Business majors decide they are.


I'd just like to point out right now that many businesses are begging for qualified personnel right now, but they can't get any quality applicants because of the low pay that they offer.

Someone with the patience and drive to get a quality skill set is not going to work for peanuts.  He'll go back to school or find something else to do until the business majors open the purse strings and pay them what they're worth.
 
2013-09-10 10:26:59 AM  
-.-
Today I learned that the only reason to not be an engineer is that you can't.

There is so much suffering in the world today, especially among farmers, teachers, waitresses, counselors, clergy, artists...
I know! Let's build a planet populated entirely by petroleum and mineral extraction engineers. Then everyone will be rich!
 
2013-09-10 10:27:02 AM  

PC LOAD LETTER: 4 kinds of Psych majors in my college:

1) the ones that are interested in Psychology, are competent and good students, and hopefully will get to do something serious with it.
2) the pre-Med folks who wanted the "easy" science to major in, forgetting that Med school is insanely competitive.
3) the pre-Med folks who fail out of the program and want some sort of science to major in to placate the pissed-off parents who just bankrolled their failure.
4) crazy women (and almost exclusively women) who want to find out why they are crazy.

#4 was disproportionally represented in my college...


You left out those on the MRS program. Or do they fall under #4?
 
2013-09-10 10:27:53 AM  

dragonchild: sendtodave: China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.

China is a hundred times the degree mill that America is.  That's not to say some Chinese engineers can't be brilliant but they care too much about appearances and control to benefit from it.

waterrockets: Jobs that require a clearance won't be shipped out ever.

The question is which jobs require clearance; if you remove the requirement the job's gone.  There's always going to be an intact core but the military's been fighting off attempts to offshore parts.  IIRC there was a bit of a fume over a decision (I think it was eventually reversed -- I don't trust my memory here) to have a communications part manufactured in China.  The contentious issue led to a slew of new regulations under arguably legit concerns that China would engineer security backdoors to U.S. military comm equipment.  So military's always a bit of a safe haven but who knows how close we are to the high-water mark.


Sure, our engineers are better. But theirs are cheaper.

Who does the suits usually go with? Better, or cheaper?
 
2013-09-10 10:28:25 AM  

doyner: I would have expected Theology to do better.  The church business is booming these days.


Income? No Sir! I, as a humble pastor, draw only a modest wage from the church I minister at. The collection funds? That's church funds of course. This very nice house I live in? It's owned by the Church, I only live here as a tenant of the church. This Mercedes? Oh no, that's not mine, it's the church's car for church business, which I do a lot of as the minister here. The BMW? Oh, that's also the Church's, of course, my wife who is also constantly on Church business and assists in community outreach needed a means of transportation to do her rounds and house calls.
 
2013-09-10 10:29:18 AM  

dragonchild: sendtodave: China has a lot of engineers and IT workers, and they are cheap as chips.

China is a hundred times the degree mill that America is.  That's not to say some Chinese engineers can't be brilliant but they care too much about appearances and control to benefit from it.

waterrockets: Jobs that require a clearance won't be shipped out ever.

The question is which jobs require clearance; if you remove the requirement the job's gone.  There's always going to be an intact core but the military's been fighting off attempts to offshore parts.  IIRC there was a bit of a fume over a decision (I think it was eventually reversed -- I don't trust my memory here) to have a communications part manufactured in China.  The contentious issue led to a slew of new regulations under arguably legit concerns that China would engineer security backdoors to U.S. military comm equipment.  So military's always a bit of a safe haven but who knows how close we are to the high-water mark.


There are a limited number of people who can become engineers. I'd say no more than 5 percent of the population have the innate math ability, and the personality type to develop it. I was an engineering major for four years because I had really high math SAT scores, but I'm ADD and couldn't motivate myself to study enough to keep up. Lots of people flunked out of my college, despite studying, because they just didn't have enough of the math gene.

With corporate consolidation and global competitiveness, I can see engineering salaries staying flat or trending downward, but it's never going to be like retail or burger flipping.
 
2013-09-10 10:29:19 AM  
Social workers make LESS than art majors?

Wtf?

Damnit.
 
2013-09-10 10:29:46 AM  
My $.02
College at the undergraduate level really just teaches you how to learn

/What is really sad is how the MBA has been de-valued lately with all of these "on-line" degrees
 
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