The Career Doctor™

Dear Career Doctor:

Do you think it's a bad idea for someone to become a clinical psychologist in this medical climate? And is it possible to get into good Ph.D. clinical psychology program with a major in English and a minor in psychology? 2 weeks at a law firm has made my son (who just graduated from college) want to be a psychologist.


Dear Janet:

I can answer the second part of your question with personal knowledge: I was admitted to a good doctoral program (Columbia U.) with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, so I know a psychology major is not always required. But usually there are tests that require a solid knowledge of psychology (I studied some basic text books) and some history that demonstrates an interest and capacity in the field (I had a long history of volunteer work with disadvantaged children.)

So, I would advise your son to look for a job in a setting that will give him exposure to the field as well as some experience and possible letters of recommendation. For example, he might try to be an aide at a psychiatric hospital or a child care worker at a residential treatment center for troubled youth. Also, a number of psychologists have previously worked as teachers.

As for whether I would advise anyone to enter the field given the mess that HMO's have caused -- yes, but only if he cares more about the interesting work than a large income.



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