Adapted from the excellent book Great Jobs for Psychology Majors
by Julie DeGalan and Stephen Lambert

B.A. Opportunities in
Residential Care, Human Services and Human Resources

Residential Care :
less institutional, more-homelike housing facilities for various client populations
residents usually more actively involved in their own care & daily activities than in a hospital
type of housing facility varies
a job where you really use your psychology

Residential Care Facilities Vary in:
residents length of stay (short vs long-term)
population served
level of independence of residents
degree of structure/programming the facility provides

Some examples:
group home for delinquents or children with other behavioral problems
group home for mentally or physically challenged
inpatient substance abuse treatment facility
shelter for abused women
psychiatric halfway house:
group home for pregnant teens
short-term residence facility for the homeless
shelter for runaways
residential facilities for the terminally ill
nursing homes; facilities for the elderly
corrections facility
school residence halls

Facilities May Be Run By:
state or county government
non-profit organizations
religious organizations
commercial businesses

Residential Care:
is a good traditional career start
relatively low-paying but some have good benefits (medical insurance, tuition support)
often challenging, demanding resident population
fairly high employee turnover; lots of training & retraining
experience very helpful but not always requirednawake overnight staff, weekend staff always needed
often includes some therapeutic interventions
often includes "transition management" when residents leave
as you move up in the organization will have more administrative and public
 relations/community education duties

Key Personal Qualities:
Patience and frustration-tolerance
Caring, empathetic attitude; motivation to help
Flexible & able to deal with change
Understanding, tact, ability to create a therapeutic atmosphere
Willingness to assist with most basic of living skills (very hands-on)
Ability to work with others
Responsive, able to deal with emergencies or conflict

Useful Background:
Volunteer or internship experience
Courses in recreation therapy, leisure activities, expressive arts help when you must program
activities for residents
Gerontology, Nursing Home Administration, Youth Agency Administration, or Conflict
Resolution Certificate; Family Life Education or Criminology Minor
Courses from the above; behavior modification
Medication management training

More Helpful Background:
Basic business skills
Problem-solving & decision-making
Communication skills
Supervisory experience

Residential Care
most agencies expect you to move on after a while
good way of getting experience
may lead to the opportunity to gain some supervisory or administrative experience
not a long-term career (unless you become an administrator)
wide range of salaries (almost identical facilities may be paying $14,600 vs $26,000) so you
must calculate what you actually NEED to live on

Human Services/Social Services/Community Services

Human Services/Social Services/Community Services
overlaps with and goes beyond residential care in the variety of clientele served
organizations, agencies providing counseling and/or assistance to all sorts of people in need
often work as a member of a team, seeking the best options in your community for a particular
Work varies with:
age of client
specific problems of clients
work hours
unding sources
personal safety (especially in urban areas)

Skills needed:
Assessing the needs of your client
Record-keeping - there's lots of paperwork
Prioritizing (clients usually have multiple problems)
Networking; must be able to "work the system"
Knowing how to refer; able to "negotiate" on the phone
Being a team player
Learning on the job about contacts/resources, paperwork
Communication/advising/counseling skills
Empathy but must maintain appropriate detachment as well
Must be flexible

Human Resources

Human Resources
your undergraduate degree in psychology, on its own, is probably not sufficient when seeking
 an entry level human resource position
you must learn about the human resource field and seek out work experiences, skills,  and courses to help develop skills/knowledge related to the human resource field
information provider - use research and data analysis skills to handle organizational data
mediator in disputes
provide training and development opportunities
counseling in personnel and career matters

Human Resource Functions
Employment and placement
Training and development
Wage and salary administration
Benefits administration
Outplacement of employees leaving the organization
Research and information management

handling details and paperwork
data manipulation; computer skills; software familiarity
business communication skills
public presentation skillsexperience planning workshops, seminars, training sessions
understanding of group dynamics
gain some knowledge of relevant current issues/topics, e.g..
- -American with Disabilities Act
- -pension planning
- -401Ks
- -arbitration, mediation
- -labor relations
- -sexual harassment
- -medical claims
- -flex-time; telecommuting
- -conflict resolution
- -affirmative action

Long-term career potential
Specialization required
More competition for jobs
Less use of your psychology