I recently started hosting career panel discussions with our coaches, so we could share our knowledge and experiences to learn from each other. Today’s career panel topic is psychology. Included on our career panel were three coaches with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Coach Chelsea, Coach Trish, and Coach James), one coach who minored in Psychology (Coach Vanessa), and one coach who is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Psychology (Coach Iris). Here are some interesting points from our discussion:

How did you first become interested in psychology?

Coach James wanted to study music, but the competition was so intense that he decided to switch majors. He wasn’t sure what to study, and psychology seemed like an interesting choice. Coach Vanessa minored in psychology, because she thought it would be helpful for her study of criminology. Coach Chelsea was interested in social work. A couple of the coaches took a psychology class in high school.

Did you participate in any organizations that you would recommend? Coach James recommended American Psychological Association (APA).

How did your college major compare to what you thought it would be like? They all thought it was more difficult than they expected, especially the statistics class.

What did you like most about studying psychology? Coach James said that his abnormal psychology class was really interesting. He said that as you study psychology, you start to see all of your own issues. Several of the coaches enjoyed their case studies.

Were you interested in a certain type of psychology or specialty? Coach Vanessa and Coach Iris were interested in criminology and the psychological aspects of it. Coach Chelsea was interested in social work. Coach Trish was more interested in the counseling side of psychology.

I asked Coach Vanessa how this minor related to her major in criminal justice. She said it was helpful with understanding the criminal mind.

I asked Coach Iris why she choose psychology for her master’s degree. She said she wanted to have a better understanding of human behavior and combine her research to criminal behavior and their factors.

Did you do an internship or job shadowing in this field? Coach Trish did study abroad and studied machismo in South America. She also did a study at a local mall on how much personal space people need and how they react when people get in their “bubble.” Coach James did a study regarding perceived parental influence and religiosity.

Why didn’t you pursue a career in psychology? Most of the coaches said they needed a master’s degree to have a good career. Some said that continuing their education was too expensive, and they had to start working. Others were tired of school and needed a break but never went back.

What would you tell someone considering this major? Get a minor in something useful, so you will have a backup plan. Know that you really must have a master’s degree for this field. Don’t do it if you don’t have the time, money, or energy to continue your schooling. If you are only wanting to pursue your bachelor’s degree, then you should consider a major like nursing or engineering which pays well and only requires a bachelor’s degree.

Has your training in psychology helped you as a coach? The coaches agreed that their training has helped with understanding different types of people and communicating more effectively. It has also helped with responding to emotional people.

Did you like the psychology program at your school? Coach Chelsea liked the small size of the Psychology Department at Virginia State University, because it was easy to make personal contact with the professors. Coach James wasn’t thrilled with East Texas Baptist University, because it is a small private school that didn’t have enough professors trained in the field. Coach Trish liked her program at a larger private school, Abilene Christian University.


Coach Kristine