Monday, March 31, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification.

Education
Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Psychologists can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that culminates in a comprehensive exam and a dissertation based on original research. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation.

School psychologists need an advanced degree and certification or licensure to work. The advanced degree is most commonly the specialist degree (Ed.S. degree, which requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours and a 1,200-hour supervised internship), a doctoral degree in school psychology, or in some instances, a master’s degree. School psychologists’ training includes coursework in both education and psychology, because their work addresses education and mental health components of students’ development.

Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists. When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, master’s graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Master’s degree programs typically include courses in industrial-organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate major in psychology, but do require coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Some doctoral degree programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology; others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a major in psychology.

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure or certification. In all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed. Licensing laws vary by state and type of position. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Information on specific requirements by state can be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Licensing Boards. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 13 areas of psychology, such as clinical health, couple and family, psychoanalysis, or rehabilitation. Although board certification is not required for most psychologists, it can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area; however, some hospitals and clinics do require certification. In those cases, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology, state license or certification, and any additional criteria of the specialty field.

Training
To become licensed, psychologists must have completed one or more of the following:
  • pre-doctoral or post-doctoral supervised experience
  • internship
  • residency program
Important Qualities
 
Analytical skills. Psychologists must be able to examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions from them.
 
Communication skills. Psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with patients.

Observational skills. Psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must be able to watch people and understand the possible meanings of people’s facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.

Patience. Psychologists must be able to demonstrate patience, because research or treatment of patients may take a long time. They must also be patient when dealing with people who have mental or behavioral disorders.

People skills. Psychologists study people and help people. They must be able to work well with clients, patients, and other medical professionals.

Problem-solving skills. Psychologists need problem-solving skills to find treatments or solutions for mental and behavioral problems.

Trustworthiness. Psychologists must keep patients’ problems in confidence, and patients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive problems.

To learn more about what psychologists do click here!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Historian

Although most historian positions require a master’s degree, some research positions require a doctoral degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level positions, but most will not be traditional historian jobs.

Education
Historians need a master’s degree or Ph.D. for most positions. Many historians have a master’s degree in history or public history. Others complete degrees in related fields, such as museum studies, historical preservation, or archival management. Many programs require an internship or other onsite work experience as a part of the degree program.

Research positions, including many jobs within the federal government, typically require a Ph.D. Students in history Ph.D. programs usually concentrate in a specific area of history. Possible specializations include a particular country or region, period, or field, such as social, political, or cultural history.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in history may qualify for entry-level positions at museums, historical associations, or other small organizations. However, most bachelor’s degree holders usually work outside of traditional historian jobs—for example, jobs in education, communications, law, business, publishing, or journalism.

Many people with an educational background in history become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.

Other Experience
Many historians benefit from previous history work, internships, or field experience when they look for positions outside of colleges and universities. Most master’s programs in public history and similar fields require an internship as part of the curriculum. Internships offer an opportunity for students to learn practical skills, such as handling and preserving artifacts and creating exhibits. They also give students an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge in a hands-on setting.

Those without internship experience can benefit from volunteering or working in an entry-level position to gain similar practical experience. Positions are often available at local museums, historical societies, government agencies, or nonprofit and other organizations.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Historians must be able to examine the information and data in historical sources and draw logical conclusions from them, whether the sources are written documents, visual images, or material artifacts.

Communication skills. Communication skills are important for historians because many give presentations on their historical specialty to the public. Historians also need communication skills when they interview people to collect oral histories, consult with clients, or collaborate with colleagues in the workplace.

Problem-solving skills. Historians try to answer questions about the past. They may investigate something unknown about a past idea, event, or person; decipher historical information; or identify how the past has affected the present.

Research skills. Historians must be able to examine and process information from a large number of historical documents, texts, and other sources.

Writing skills. Writing skills are essential for historians as they often present their findings in reports, articles, and books.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Economist

Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

Education
A master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for most economist jobs. Positions in business, research, or international organizations often require a combination of graduate education and work experience.
Students can pursue an advanced degree in economics with a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields, but a strong background in math is essential. A Ph.D. in economics requires several years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, including completion of detailed research in a specialty field.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree qualify for some entry-level economist positions, including jobs with the federal government. An advanced degree is sometimes required for advancement to higher level positions.

Most who complete a bachelor’s degree in economics find jobs outside the economics profession as research assistants, financial analysts, market research analysts, and similar positions in business, finance, and consulting.

Other Experience
Aspiring economists can gain valuable experience from internships that involve gathering and analyzing data, researching economic issues and trends, and writing reports on their findings. In addition, related experience, such as working in business or finance, can be advantageous.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions. For example, some economists analyze historical employment trends to make future projections on jobs.

Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work to others. They may give presentations, explain reports, or advise clients on economic issues. They may collaborate with colleagues and sometimes must explain economic concepts to those without a background in economics.

Critical-thinking skills. Economists must be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems. For instance, they might identify how economic trends may affect an organization.

Detail oriented. Economists must pay attention to details. Precise data analysis is necessary to ensure accuracy in their findings.

Math skills. Economists use the principles of statistics, calculus, and other advanced topics in mathematics in their economic analyses.

Writing skills. Economists must be able to present their findings clearly. Many economists prepare reports for colleagues or clients; others write for publication in journals or for news media.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Anthropologist or Archeologist

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology. Experience doing anthropological or archeological fieldwork is also important. Bachelor’s degree holders may find work as assistants or fieldworkers.

Education
Anthropologists and archeologists may qualify for many positions with a master’s degree in anthropology or archeology. Most master’s degree programs are 2 years in duration and include field research.

Although a master’s degree is enough for many positions, a Ph.D. may be needed for jobs that require leadership skills and advanced technical knowledge. To direct projects outside the United States, anthropologists and archeologists typically need a Ph.D. to comply with the requirements of foreign governments. A Ph.D. takes several years of study beyond a master’s degree and completion of a doctoral dissertation. Ph.D. students typically spend between 12 and 30 months doing field research for their dissertation.

Those with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or archeology and work experience gained through an internship or field school can work as field or laboratory technicians or assistants. However, anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree to advance beyond entry-level positions.

Many people with a Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology become professors or museum curators. For more information, see the profiles on postsecondary teachers and archivists, curators, and museum technicians.

Other Experience
In order to get a job, graduates of anthropology and archeology programs usually need work experience in these fields and training in a variety of research methods. Many candidates fulfill this requirement through field training or internships with museums, historical societies, or nonprofit organizations.

Anthropology and archeology students typically spend part of their graduate program conducting field research, often working abroad or in community-based research. Many students also attend archeological field schools, which teach students how to excavate historical and archeological sites and how to record and interpret their findings and data.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need knowledge of scientific methods and data, which are often used in their research.

Critical-thinking skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must be able to draw logical conclusions from observations, laboratory experiments, and other methods of research.

Investigative skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must seek and explore all facts relevant to their research. They must be able to combine pieces of information to try to solve problems and to answer research questions.

Writing skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need strong writing skills because they often write reports detailing their research findings and publish results in scholarly journals and public interest publications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Physicist or Astronomer

Physicists and astronomers need a Ph.D. for most jobs. After receiving a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy, many researchers seeking careers in academia begin in temporary postdoctoral research positions.

Education
A Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or a related field is needed for most jobs, especially jobs that do basic research or for independent research positions in industry.

Graduate students usually concentrate in a subfield of physics or astronomy, such as condensed matter physics or cosmology. In addition to taking courses in physics or astronomy, Ph.D. students need to take courses in mathematics, such as calculus, linear algebra, and statistics. Computer science classes are also essential, because physicists and astronomers often develop specialized computer programs that are used to gather, analyze, and model data. 

Those with a master’s degree in physics may qualify for jobs in applied research and development for manufacturing and healthcare companies. Many master’s degree programs specialize in preparing students for physics-related research-and-development positions that do not require a Ph.D.

Most physics and astronomy graduate students have bachelor’s degrees in physics or a related field. Because astronomers need a strong background in physics, a bachelor’s degree in physics is often considered good preparation for Ph.D. programs in astronomy, though an undergraduate degree in astronomy may be preferred by some universities. Undergraduate physics programs provide a broad background in the natural sciences and mathematics. Typical courses include classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, and electromagnetism.

Those with only a bachelor’s degree in physics or astronomy typically are not qualified to fill research positions. However, they may be qualified to work as technicians and research assistants in related fields, such as engineering and computer science. Those with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy may also qualify to work as an assistant at an observatory. Students who do not want to continue their studies to the doctorate level may want to take courses in instrument building and computer science.

Some master’s degree and bachelor’s degree holders may become science teachers in middle schools and high schools. For more information, see the profiles on middle school teachers and high school teachers.

Training
Many physics and astronomy Ph.D. holders who seek employment as full-time researchers begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Their initial work may be carefully supervised by senior scientists, but as they gain experience, they usually do more complex tasks and have greater independence in their work.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Physicists and astronomers need to be able to think logically to carry out scientific experiments and studies. They must be precise and accurate in their analysis because errors could invalidate their research. They must also be able to find and use funding effectively.

Communication skills. Physicists and astronomers present their research at scientific conferences, to the public, or to government and business leaders. Physicists and astronomers write technical reports that may be published in scientific journals. They also write proposals for research funding.

Critical-thinking skills. Physicists and astronomers must carefully evaluate their own work and the work of others. They must determine whether results and conclusions are based on sound science.

Curiosity. Physicists and astronomers work in fields that are always on the cutting edge of technology. They must be very keen to learn continuously for their career. In-depth knowledge must be gained on a wide range of technical subjects, from computer programming to particle colliders.

Interpersonal skills. Physicists and astronomers must collaborate extensively with others—in both academic and industrial research contexts. They need to be able to work well with others toward a common goal. Interpersonal skills should also help researchers secure funding for their projects.

Math skills. Physicists and astronomers perform complex calculations involving calculus, geometry, algebra, and other areas of mathematics. They must be able to express their research in mathematical terms.

Problem-solving skills. Physicists and astronomers use scientific observation and analysis to solve complex scientific questions. Creative thinking may be needed to solve these complex scientific problems.

Self-discipline. Physicists and astronomers spend a lot of time working alone and need to be able to stay motivated as well as accurate in their work.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some positions with the federal government, such as those involving nuclear energy and other sensitive research areas, may require applicants to be U.S. citizens and hold a security clearance.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Environmental Scientist or Specialist

For most jobs, environmental scientists and specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science.

Education
For most entry-level jobs, environmental scientists and specialists must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, or engineering. However, a master’s degree may be needed for advancement. Environmental scientists and specialists who have a doctoral degree make up a small percentage of the occupation, and this level of training is typically needed only for the relatively few postsecondary teaching and basic research positions.

A bachelor’s degree in environmental science offers a broad approach to the natural sciences. Students typically take courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Students often take specialized courses in hydrology, waste management, and fluid mechanics as part of their degree as well. Classes in environmental policy and regulation are also beneficial. Students who want to reach the Ph.D. level and have a career in academia or as an environmental scientist doing basic research may find it advantageous to major in a more specific natural science such as chemistry, biology, physics, or geology, rather than the broader environmental science degrees.

Students should look for opportunities, such as classes and internships, that allow for work with computer modeling, data analysis, and geographic information systems. Students with experience in these programs will be the best prepared to enter the job market.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Environmental scientists and specialists base their conclusions on careful analysis of scientific data. They must consider all possible methods and solutions in their analyses.

Communication skills. Environmental scientists and specialists may need to present and explain their findings and write technical reports.

Interpersonal skills. Environmental scientists and specialists typically work on teams with scientists, engineers, and technicians. Team members must be able to work together effectively to achieve their goals.

Problem-solving skills. Environmental scientists and specialists try to find the best possible solution to problems that affect the environment and people’s health.

Self-discipline. Environmental scientists and specialists may spend a lot of time working alone. They need to be able to stay motivated and get their work done without supervision.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Some environmental scientists and specialists begin their careers as scientists in related occupations, such as hydrology or engineering, and then move into the more interdisciplinary field of environmental science.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Pharmacist

Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. They also must be licensed, which requires passing licensure and law exams.

Education
Prospective pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, a postgraduate professional degree. In July 2012, there were 124 Doctor of Pharmacy programs fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

Admissions requirements vary by program, however all Doctor of Pharmacy programs require applicants to take postsecondary courses such as chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Most programs require at least 2 years of undergraduate study, although some require a bachelor’s degree. Most programs also require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Pharm.D. programs usually take 4 years to finish, although some programs offer a 3-year option. Some schools admit high school graduates into a 6-year program. A Pharm.D. program includes courses in chemistry, pharmacology, and medical ethics. Students also complete supervised work experiences, sometimes referred to as internships, in different settings such as hospitals and retail pharmacies.

Some pharmacists who own their own pharmacy may choose to get a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) in addition to their Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Others may get a degree in public health.

Training
Following graduation from a Pharm.D. program, pharmacists seeking an advanced position, such as a clinical pharmacy or research job, may need to complete a 1- to 2-year residency. Pharmacists who choose to complete the 2-year residency option receive additional training in a specialty area such as internal medicine or geriatric care.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states license pharmacists. After they finish the Pharm.D. program, prospective pharmacists must pass two exams to get a license. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) tests pharmacy skills and knowledge. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or a state-specific test on pharmacy law is also required.

Pharmacists may also choose to earn a certification to show their advanced level of knowledge in a certain area. For instance, a pharmacist may become a Certified Diabetes Educator, a qualification offered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators or earn certification in a specialty area, such as nutrition or oncology, from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Certifications from both organizations require varying degrees of work experience, as well as passing an exam and paying a fee.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Pharmacists must provide safe medications efficiently. To do this, they must be able to evaluate a patient’s needs, evaluate the prescriber’s orders, and have extensive knowledge about the effects and appropriate circumstances for giving out a specific medication.

Communication skills. Pharmacists frequently offer advice to patients. They might need to explain how to take a medicine, for example, and what its side effects are. They also need to offer clear direction to pharmacy technicians and interns.

Computer skills. Pharmacists need computer skills to use any electronic health record (EHR) systems that their organization has adopted.

Detail oriented. Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the prescriptions they fill, because improper use of medication can pose serious health risks. Pharmacists must be able to find the information that they need to make decisions about what medications are appropriate for each patient.

Managerial skills. Pharmacists—particularly those who run a retail pharmacy—must have good managerial skills, including managing inventory and overseeing a staff.
Have a nice weekend!