This is Part 2 of a guest post by Eric Landrum, were he discusses careers for Psychology Majors, and how we can better support them. In Part 1, he covered some of the basic groundwork for how we should approach this conversation (with our colleagues AND with our students). Check out Part 1, but here are some of the highlights:
1) According to the APA, out of the 3.5 million people in the US with a Bachelor's in psychology, 56% went straight into the workforce after completing their undergraduate degree.
2) If we know that the majority of our students are going straight into a career, we need more detailed data on where they are going and what they need when the get there.
In Part 2 of Eric´s guest post, he presents some new data about how students utilize career resources. This data is from a study he and his student conducted and presented at the 2019 Eastern Psychological Association meeting (Abellera & Landrum, 2019).
Cierra Abellera (an undergraduate student at Boise State University) and I have been thinking about how students utilize career resources and campus resources for some time. As you can see from the table provided, we asked students about their usage of the APA Graduate Study in Psychology (American Psychological Association, 2018) resource, O*NET (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.), and CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor, 2019). For each resource, we first asked about existence; for those answering yes, we then asked about usage. Finally, for only those reporting they had used the resource, we asked three questions:
There was a total of 235 participants, 144 participants attended Boise State University, 66 participants attended James Madison University, 17 participants attended Texas A&M University–Kingsville, and 8 participants attended the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. Of the participants, 53% identified as female and 17% identified as male. There were 156 participants between the age range of 18–29 and 9 participants between the ages of 30–53. Twenty-two percent of participants self-identified as first-generation students. Participants were also asked their first pathway after receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology in which 15.0% intended to enter the psychology workforce, 45.5% intended to pursue graduate school in psychology, 18.3% intended to graduate or professional school in an area outside of psychology, and 17.0% were undecided at the time of the survey (Abellera & Landrum, 2019). Note that there was much more to the study, and only a small portion of it is presented here.
From my perspective, each of these three resources is woefully underutilized (and even student users of these resources report modest helpfulness and self-efficiency). It’s like there are tools available, and only a few individuals know about the tools. Of individuals who know about the tools, the usage rate varied from one-third to three-fourths. But even of those who elect to use the tools, when asked to rate helpfulness on an agreement scale, the average rating falls between neutral and agree for all three resources, and the rating for self-efficiency on an agreement scale for all three resources also falls between neutral and agree.
Just as we engage with our students with the content of psychology, it appears that we may need to explicitly adopt a strategy of embedding the usage and optimization of career-enhancing tools into the undergraduate psychology curriculum. If an educator values the role of statistical or numerical literacy, then perhaps practices with SPSS or R software is designed into Statistics, Research Methods, and other key upper-division courses. The same thoughtfulness will likely need to be applied if we want students to become proficient with career resources like O*NET and CareerOneStop -- multiple exposures over multiple courses will be necessary for true beneficial outcomes to occur, and for the helpfulness self-efficiency of these resources to be ultimately maximized.
Guest Post Written by Eric Landrum, PhD
Eric is a professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Boise State University. His research focuses on identifying educational conditions that best promote student success and utilizing SoTL research to advance fellow scientist-educators. Apart from his extensive publications (including this book and this book on careers options for psych majors) and presentations, he has also served on numerous psychological committees, including (but not limited to) serving as the President of Psi-Chi (2017-2018), President of Society for Teaching of Psychology (2014), and President of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (2016). Eric also hosts the Psych Sessions podcast with Garth Neufel, where they discuss teaching (n' stuff) with professors from across the country. This year Eric was awarded the 2019 American Psychological Association Charles L. Brewer Award (congrats, Eric!!)
References for Part 1 and Part 2
Abellera, C., & Landrum, R. E. (2019). Development of the Campus and Career Resources Inventory. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association, New York City, NY.
American Psychological Association. (2018a). Degree pathways in psychology [Interactive data tool]. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/workforce/data-tools/degrees-pathways
American Psychological Association. (2018b). Graduate study in psychology 2018. Washington, DC: Author.
Landrum, R. E. (2003). Graduate admissions in psychology: Transcripts and the effect of withdrawals. Teaching of Psychology, 30, 323-325.
Landrum, R. E. (2004). New odds for graduate admission in psychology. Eye on Psi Chi, 8(3), 20-21, 32.
Sanders, C. E., & Landrum, R. E. (2012). The graduate school application process: What our students report they know. Teaching of Psychology, 39, 128-132. doi:10.1177/0098628312437697
U.S. Department of Labor. (2019). CareerOneStop: Your source for career exploration, training & jobs. Employment & Training Administration. Retrieved from https://www.careeronestop.org/
U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). O*NET OnLine. Employment & Training Administration. Retrieved from https://www.onetonline.org/