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danxthexman

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Feb 29, 2008
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  1. Psychology Student
So I graduated last year and have been looking for jobs, but it's obviously been reaaallly hard. I want to work directly with mentally ill or developmentally disabled adults or children. I want to work for a little bit to get my foot in the door and then apply to grad schools next year.

Most of the jobs I come across online in California require MAs so I was wondering if there are Licenses or Certificates I can get to make finding a job easier.

I found that some schools have Case Management Certificate courses through their extension center. Does anyone think this would help landing me a job? The course itself is $400-500 (maybe cheaper in community colleges) and I don't know if it would be worth it. Would it?

There are also Substance Abuse Counseling Certificates which would take longer to get. I wouldn't mind working with people addicted to substances.

Are there any other certificates that may help me with my job search?

I have tried networking and applying to most of the jobs I come across, but my lack of experience just doesn't cut it. I recently started volunteering everyweek, but that's just not enough. Any ideas or resources?

Thanks for your time!!:thumbup:
 

WannaBeDrMe

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Apr 14, 2008
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I'll tell you what, where I live now, they have us masters level kids doing the case management work, and I'm burnt out and finished and NEVER want to do it in this state again...

All the little things that people hate to do for themselves... doctor's appointments, food, taxes, etc, etc... I do that for 25 people... make sure it gets finished, etc... and I'm tired of it...

Now, when I worked with kids, it was a little more interesting.. and when I worked with SPMI, more interesting... half the trouble is my clients now don't need the service but are forced into it by a flaw in the system...

Case management would be good experience but why not just apply now and see what happens? Save yourself the trouble of getting burnt out before you even get started... ooops, did I say that outloud? :)

Ignore my cynical crud, I'm just tired.

I'd say w/a BA psych, if you really like working with SPMI, you could go to a local inpatient unit and try to get on as a psych tech. I refuse to do it b/c you have to deal with bodily fluids on a daily basis... but the bonus prize is that you also get to run groups, learn documentation, witness various stages of mental illness, etc... Consider it paying your dues... :)

I loved working in inpatient, greatest learning experience so far... WAY better than what I learned in my MSW program... and no, I'm not joking.

You might be able to find a psychometrics position, administering tests... but those are rare...

Maybe an RA position, some of those even are less data analysis and more testing/reporting results to people who do data analysis...

The market is competitive. Overall, employment is tricky right now... but especially for bachelor's level people b/c the market is now being saturated w/masters degree kids.... at least where I live... That's why all of us masters kids now do what the ba kids used to do... The circle of life isn't working in our favor right now...

good luck with the hunt, i'm in it with you right now
 

solar3000

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Feb 25, 2008
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in my state of utah I have been applying like crazy for all kinds of jobs, i too graduated last semester with a b.a. psych degree. it is so hard to find a job.
i applied for a case manager position with the state. i am supposed to take a case manager test i guess later today and i have to pass it with a 70%. we'll see if i pass it.

you should look up for a case manager job for the state...may be you don't have to pay for anything, just a test which it is free here in utah. good luck
 
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mftPsychSoc

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I'm not too familiar with the way things are done in California, but if you're looking for a job with a BA, then be prepared to take things with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, most BA level graduates(in psych) do not find the kind of work that they thought they would when the ink was still fresh on their college application;).

However, depending on where you focus your interests, a multitude of jobs can be found outside of the psychology-human service-social work spectrum; business & law enforcement, are two areas that definitely would snatch up a BA level grad. Truthfully, I read about this extensively while I was still in school and it helped me do a good deal of research into what "other" options are available outside my field of study. What do you have you degree in if you don't mind me being nosy:D?

Getting a substance abuse certification will increase your chances of finding a job where you don't feel like a tool, but then again, this is a lengthy process and, rather unfortunately, not everyone has the patience that is needed in dealing with those who have substance addictions.


I worked as a part-time "counselor" in a group home for a year and a half while I was finishing my BA in psych and now I'm a case manager. It's not the most glamorous job in the world as the other poster truthfully explained-but it does provide a good experience in seeing how the helping profession is set up and is also, in my opinion, motivation to not become complacent in just having "a job" or settling for the BA. If you are leaning toward case mgmt though, I would also look to see what non profit agencies are in you area as well (mine provided an online certification course as a part of the training process). But do expect to be paid less than what you think you should be for this type of job:(.

Good luck with you job search!:luck: I'm sure other folks on here will provide you with some helpful info as well.
 

sparkleflower

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Aug 12, 2007
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Psych tech isn't a bad idea. Don't worry about the bodily fluids--you'll probably be exposed to them no matter what you do in this field, if you work with SMI. I'm astonished at how many fluids I'm exposed to on a daily basis--and not just in the ED. I've handled a LOT of urine for drug tests, had clients throw feces, stood in someone's urine (by mistake--didn't notice it at first, lol), had clients vomit/poop in trashcans and on the floor. It's probably better if you're not too sensitive to smells, btw ;-)

Interesting about case mgt competition/certification/testing. As far as I know there isn't any such thing in my area, and there's a real shortage of wanna-be case managers. Probably because the average caseload is 50+; and when you're talking about working with SMI and doing the amount of documentation/paperwork that's required, well, it'll drive anyone away...
 

WannaBeDrMe

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Apr 14, 2008
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Psych tech isn't a bad idea. Don't worry about the bodily fluids--you'll probably be exposed to them no matter what you do in this field, if you work with SMI. I'm astonished at how many fluids I'm exposed to on a daily basis--and not just in the ED. I've handled a LOT of urine for drug tests, had clients throw feces, stood in someone's urine (by mistake--didn't notice it at first, lol), had clients vomit/poop in trashcans and on the floor. It's probably better if you're not too sensitive to smells, btw ;-)

Interesting about case mgt competition/certification/testing. As far as I know there isn't any such thing in my area, and there's a real shortage of wanna-be case managers. Probably because the average caseload is 50+; and when you're talking about working with SMI and doing the amount of documentation/paperwork that's required, well, it'll drive anyone away...


The bodily fluids thing has been surprising to me too... I never used to be a germaphobe, I think I am now. Sneezing and snotting and urine and occasionally poop... in my car. I'm over it. ha It was different when it was in my office @ the hospital but in my car... man, I put my nephew in that car ya know?

The psych tech part, though, my techs had to give people baths and wipe bottoms and I've not done that yet, I don't think I could, I throw up a little if someone spits so I doubt I'd have the stomach for more.

I should be the only person allowed to poop their pants in my car. I'm making that a rule.
 

ProZackMI

Psychiatrist/Attorney
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Jul 27, 2005
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If you're young still, go to graduate or professional school. Do it as soon as possible and don't look back. Yes, you'll incur a substantial debt, but if you plan on working in MH with a BA in psych, you'll never make more than 30K a year, if you even get that much.

IF, however, grad/prof school is not in your future at this point, consider looking for jobs with the federal, state, or local government. Many jobs in government require a BA/BS in any field. You can't beat the benefits either. Some jobs like probation officer, parole officer, child-protective services worker, etc., prefer human services majors.

Good luck.


So I graduated last year and have been looking for jobs, but it's obviously been reaaallly hard. I want to work directly with mentally ill or developmentally disabled adults or children. I want to work for a little bit to get my foot in the door and then apply to grad schools next year.

Most of the jobs I come across online in California require MAs so I was wondering if there are Licenses or Certificates I can get to make finding a job easier.

I found that some schools have Case Management Certificate courses through their extension center. Does anyone think this would help landing me a job? The course itself is $400-500 (maybe cheaper in community colleges) and I don't know if it would be worth it. Would it?

There are also Substance Abuse Counseling Certificates which would take longer to get. I wouldn't mind working with people addicted to substances.

Are there any other certificates that may help me with my job search?

I have tried networking and applying to most of the jobs I come across, but my lack of experience just doesn't cut it. I recently started volunteering everyweek, but that's just not enough. Any ideas or resources?

Thanks for your time!!:thumbup:
 
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