Psychology is a broad field of study, so it offers countless opportunities. While it can be difficult to narrow things down when you’re presented with career and study options like clinical psychology, counseling, occupational therapy and other domains, learning more about the field can help point any student in the right direction. These five online resources are great places to start.
1. American Psychological Association
The APA provides a lot of information for up-and-coming students. In addition to revealing easily-overlooked procedural details, like the standardized format your letters of recommendation must adhere to, it also maintains databases of accredited internships at the doctoral, postdoctoral residency and other levels.
Because psychology is such a specialized area, this is a good resource for students who want to know how their academic careers might pan out. The APA features typical timetables and funding resources for those applying to grad school as well as rules for the ever-present APA Style you’ll need to master for your research work.
2. Professional Publications
As with any research-driven field, it helps to learn more about the academic culture you’ll be immersing yourself in. Fortunately, professional publications aren’t just targeted at established practitioners. Many also address the trials of student life. APA publications like Psychology Student Network and the gradPSYCH blog publish regular articles in which students, educators and others share their unique perspectives. Common topics of interest include how students adjust to the field, how they balance their personal and professional lives and even ways to maintain healthy study routines in the face of intense graduate curricula.
3. National Association of School Psychologists
For those seeking insight into more specific subdomains, NASP’s graduate student portal is an important resource. In addition to providing easy access to information concerning the typical professional development of school psychologists, this website shares podcasts, fact sheets and professional membership discounts.
School psychologists work with teachers, parents, students and educators to help these groups succeed in academic and social life at different levels. Many professionals who go on to work in other areas spend some time performing school psychology during their grad school residencies. As such, NASP offers good examples of not only career specializations but also typical graduate school academic practices.
4. University Psychology Departments
Even if you’re uncertain which university you’ll ultimately attend, you ought to take a look at the program options offered by a range of colleges. If you’re thinking about focusing on a specific concentration, for instance, learning about the different clinical internships offered by each school can help you determine which might be able to help you pursue the career you desire. Most institutions also post their clinical student publications and curricula online, so it’s easy to get a good feel for what kind of work you might get to participate in at different colleges.
5. Psychology Journals
Psychologists commonly publish their findings and research, and such peer-reviewed material is of great aid to students. By reading a broad variety of journals, you’ll gain exposure to the many ways psychologists effect lasting changes in the lives of those they treat and work with. You may even learn about new fields that you hadn’t considered. Staying in the loop with what’s cutting edge in psychology is a must for new students as well as those who have taken their first steps into actual practice.
Pursuing a psychology degree is a major step in your career path, but it doesn’t have to be a leap into the unknown. Arming yourself with knowledge about how this science is applied and developed will let you direct your professional progress far more precisely.