The Disadvantages of a Career in Psychology
While a career in psychology can provide the personal satisfaction of helping others, interesting and varied challenges, and the opportunity to be your own boss, this career also has some disadvantages. Few who consider this career path anticipate the enormous amount of paperwork required to complete assessments, develop treatment plans and comply with insurance billing.
Opportunities are limited for those who have only a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and many graduates find that a master’s degree or doctorate is required to qualify for good jobs. Finally this profession, like all helping professions, presents a high risk of emotional burnout.
Psychologists and Paperwork
The paperwork required to assess and treat a client, including compliance with government regulations and billing issues, can consume a great deal of time and energy. Insurance billing on each client is detailed and time-consuming, and a person in private practice will either do this themselves or hire someone to do it.
While a person may have envisioned working with people as the primary daily activity of a career in psychology, they may be frustrated when they find they spend a large part of their day alone, filling out forms.
Salary and Education
A bachelor’s degree in psychology is seldom enough to apply for job opportunities treating clients directly. While a bachelor’s degree can qualify a person for jobs in social work or human resources, for example, to work as a school psychologist or clinical psychologist, a master’s degree or higher will be required.
The median salary for an entry-level employee holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology is $35,300, while an engineering major can earn up to $93,000 right out of college. Obtaining professional licenses and ongoing training will also be required for most professionals working in the field of psychology.
Psychologists are in constant contact with people who are in emotional distress. Some conditions respond readily to treatment and some are chronic and can never be cured, only managed. While many clients will be helped, some will not.
A sense of helplessness and failure can overtake the psychologist when clients deteriorate. A client who commits suicide can have a particularly big emotional impact on the person who was trying to help them.
Finally, the long hours and isolation can negatively impact the psychologist’s personal and family life.