By now, most of us have heard what Jeb Bush said in October about a psychology degree only preparing students to work in the fast-food industry. While behavioral scientists know that a psychology degree is in fact excellent preparation for a wide variety of jobs, Bush’s comment may reflect a broader lack of awareness about the incredibly diverse applications of degrees in psychological science. The Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP) and APS have partnered to develop a searchable mentorship database that helps junior scientists connect with more established scientists to learn how psychological scientists can use their skills.
Even teaching at the graduate level, my colleagues and I often bemoaned how challenging it can be to effectively advise our graduate students on professional development issues when they are seeking nonacademic jobs (or even academic jobs outside psychology or psychiatry departments). Many of us try to put our students in touch with people who work outside our own sectors — I’m thankful to friends in policy, industry, private practice, and science writing who have kindly talked with my students. But this solution provides grossly inadequate coverage of the available career options and requires lots of repetitive effort.
What if instead of each of us trying to help students make connections based on our own limited pool of contacts, we enabled our students to easily connect with hundreds of psychological scientists with diverse interests and professional backgrounds?
The database developed by SSCP and APS supports career mentorship for our graduate-student, postdoctoral, and early-career members.
Now it’s time to start connecting!
I encourage all psychological scientists (even if they work in traditional academic settings and especially if they work in less traditional settings) to complete a very brief form describing their position. Students can then search the directory and contact those psychological scientists who have jobs that they would like to learn more about.
Completing the form should take no more than 3–5 minutes, and the time commitment will be minimal (e.g., an occasional email or phone call — you can decide how much you want to be involved). But it can make a big difference for a student to be able to connect with someone actually working in their field of interest.
Let’s show Jeb Bush — and the rest of the world — just how valuable a degree in psychological science is.