Choosing a Professional Role

The field of psychology is vast. With an advanced psychology degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including a university, a veterans’ hospital, a prison, a school, or a private practice. Knowing what you would not like to do is just as important as knowing what you would like to do.

To prepare:

For this Assignment, think about the various occupations within the field of psychology, and choose one that most interests you. Refer to Appleby, Millspaugh, and Hammersley (2011) and Appleby (2015), as well as your own research. If you are interested in an area not mentioned in the referenced articles, please discuss this with your Instructor before moving forward.

To Complete this Assignment:

By Day 7

Submit a 3-page paper that introduces your chosen professional occupation, explaining what it is and why it interests you. Using information gathered from your research, provide a description of the knowledge, skills, schooling, and characteristics one would need to be successful in this position. Summarize some of the tasks you might be expected to perform. Discuss what additional schooling, if any, is needed for this occupation.

Next, consider what steps you would need to take to continue to grow in your chosen profession. Van der Heijden (2002) used three predictor variables to study how employees might achieve professional expertise. Using van der Heijden’s definition of professional expertise, describe what would make you an “expert” in your field. Explain how the three predictor variables relate to opportunities for you to continue your professional development (e.g., social networks that could be beneficial to you). These ideas should be your own; do not copy text from the article. Rather, take the ideas discussed in the article and explain how you might implement them.



Appleby, D. C., Millspaugh, B. S., & Hammersley, M. J. (2011). An online resource to enable undergraduate psychology majors to identify and investigate 172 psychology and psychology related careers.Retrieved from

Document: An online career-exploration resources for psychology majors (PDF).
Appleby, D. C. (2015) (PDF). An Online Career-exploration Resources for Psychology Majors. Retrieved from Used with permission of Drew Appleby.

Van der Heijden, B. I. J. M. (2002). Individual career initiatives and their influence upon professional expertise development throughout the career. International Journal of Training and Development, 6(2), 54–79.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Zimbardo, P. G. (2004). Does psychology make a significant difference in our lives? American Psychologist, 59(5), 339–351.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.
Note: This is a seminal article.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Occupational outlook handbook. Retrieved from
This website provides information about various jobs, including descriptions of the type of work performed, educational requirements, and job outlook. From the main menu, under “Occupation Groups,” click on Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations and then Psychologists.

Optional Resources

Buzinski, S. (2016). The college student’s guide to pre-professional psychology opportunities. Retrieved from…

American Psychological Association. (2015). PsycCareers: APA’s online career center. Retrieved from

O*net online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from (n.d.). Psychology job resources mega-list. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Dr. Kit. (2011). Psychology. Retrieved from

Walden University. (2015b). Common course assignments: Abstracts. Retrieved from…

Walden University. (2016). Career services: Achieve your professional goals. Retrieved from…

Walden University. (2015d). Self-knowledge: Home. Retrieved from…

Walden University. (2015e). Social and behavioral sciences: Psychology. Retrieved from…

Optimal Resume. (2016). Retrieved from
Note: This resource includes 5 modules and over 100 resume and cover letter samples by career field.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Career opportunities in Psychology [Video file]. Available at:

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