Frequently Asked Questions | The Psychology Program at College of DuPage

 

What type of psychology degree programs are available at College of DuPage?

COD offers an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in Psychology for students who are interested in transferring to a four-year institution. The Psychology program also offers students the opportunity to explore a wide range of psychology courses that can lead to career enhancement or personal fulfillment.

Will the psychology courses I take at COD transfer to a four-year school?

Most College of DuPage psychology courses are completely transferable to all Illinois colleges and universities, as well as most baccalaureate-granting institutions nationwide. For more information, visit the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) web site: www.itransfer.org.

Is there a separate application process to enter the Psychology program?

No. Students who fill out the Admissions Form for College of DuPage can enroll directly into these classes. Some psychology courses do have prerequisites that must be completed before registration. It is recommended that students meet with an advisor if they have questions about course or transfer requirements.

What is meant by "faculty advisors?"

College of DuPage has a Counseling and Advising Services office to assist students with less than 33 semester credits with their course and schedule decisions. In addition, all full-time Psychology faculty members also serve as advisors for students with more than 33 semester credits in this discipline.

What do psychologists do?

Psychologists study the human mind and human behavior. Research psychologists investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior. Psychologists in health services fields provide mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools or private settings. Psychologists employed in applied settings, such as business, industry, government or nonprofit organizations, provide training, conduct research, design organizational systems and act as advocates for psychology.

What types of job opportunities are available for someone with a degree in psychology?

Generally, a bachelor's degree (and beyond) is necessary for a successful career in psychology. Related jobs include those in private practice, health and human services, management, education, law and sports.

Psychologists usually specialize in one of a number of different areas. For example, clinical psychologists help mentally and emotionally distressed clients adjust to life and may assist medical and surgical patients in dealing with illnesses or injuries. Some clinical psychologists work in physical rehabilitation settings, treating patients with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain or illness, stroke, arthritis, or neurological conditions. Others help people deal with personal crisis, such as divorce or the death of a loved one.

Health psychologists study how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness. Neuropsychologists study the relation between the brain and behavior. They often work in stroke and head injury programs. Geropsychologists deal with the special problems faced by the elderly, and counseling psychologists use various techniques, including interviewing and testing, to advise people on how to deal with problems of everyday living, including career or work problems and problems faced in different stages of life.

School psychologists address students' learning and behavioral problems in early childhood and elementary and secondary schools, collaborating with teachers, parents, and school personnel to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students. Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the workplace in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of a person's work life. Developmental psychologists study the physiological, cognitive, and social development that takes place throughout life, and social psychologists examine people's interactions with others and with the social environment.

Lastly, experimental or research psychologists study the behavior of both human beings and animals, such as rats, monkeys, and pigeons to shed light on subjects such as motivation, thought, attention, learning and memory, sensory and perceptual processes, effects of substance abuse, and genetic factors affecting behavior.

Where do psychologists work?

Depending on their area of specialization, psychologists work in counseling centers, independent or group practices, hospitals or clinics. They also work in substance abuse centers, correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, schools, assisted living centers, universities, private research centers, business and industrial settings, and in nonprofit and governmental organizations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, psychologists hold about 166,000 jobs in the United States. Educational institutions employ about 29 percent of psychologists in positions other than teaching, such as counseling, testing, research and administration. About 21 percent are employed in health care, primarily in offices of mental health practitioners, hospitals, physicians' offices, and outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers.

In addition, approximately 34 percent of psychologists are self-employed, compared with only 8 percent of all professional workers.

What is the job outlook for this profession?

According to the BLS, faster-than-average employment growth is expected for psychologists. Job prospects should be the best for people who have a doctoral degree in an applied specialty, such as counseling or health, and those with a specialist or doctoral degree in school psychology.

In addition, employment of psychologists is expected to grow in the next decade for all occupations. Employment will grow because of increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics, consulting firms and private companies.

In addition to the continued need for clinical and counseling psychologists to help people with depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, job stress, and addiction, a growing awareness of how students' mental health and behavioral problems will increase demand for school psychologists to offer student counseling and mental health services. Also, a continued rise in health care costs associated with unhealthy lifestyles has made prevention and treatment more critical, and an increase in the number of employee assistance programs, which help workers deal with personal problems, also should lead to employment growth for clinical and counseling specialties.

A fast-growing elderly population will also increase the demand for psychologists trained in geropsychology to help people deal with the mental and physical changes that are a result of aging. Lastly, industrial-organizational psychologists also will be in demand to help to boost worker productivity and retention rates in a wide range of businesses.

Do I have to be enrolled in the Psychology program to take these courses?

No. Psychology courses are an integral component of most occupational and pre-professional programs.

COD offers more than 100 sections of its core Intro to Psychology class and more than 400 total sections of psychology courses each year. Psychology courses completed at COD may be fully transferable, based on Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) standards (www.itransfer.org).

Where can I get more information about COD's Psychology program and available courses?

Contact a Psychology faculty advisor (please link to this page) for scheduling and transfer guidance and information, visit the online Catalog for course descriptions, and the Class Schedule for course offerings each term.