ETSU Psychology working to meet national needs

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The results are consistent, as well as troubling.
For three straight years, psychologists across the United States report seeing patients enduring an increase in mental health symptoms, often resulting in longer treatment time.
The gist: Psychologists aren’t sure they can meet the incredible need, according to the annual survey from the American Psychological Association.
Prizing hands-on learning and relevant research, East Tennessee State University is working to produce students well prepared to meet this nationwide concern.
“There are several ways in which our department is helping our students enter the workforce in order to make a real-world impact in the area of mental healthcare,” said Dr. Ginni Blackhart, interim chair of the Department of Psychology.
There’s the doctoral concentration in clinical psychology, directly training and preparing students to deliver mental health and assessment services, particularly in rural settings.
“For our students earning their Ph.D. in clinical psychology, students gain direct hands-on experience by delivering supervised mental health services through the Behavioral Health and Wellness Clinic on campus and through other community agencies,” she said. “Our students are directly supervised by Ph.D. clinical psychologists in our department and in the region.”
At the undergraduate level, the department offers students several concentrations, including clinical psychological science and pre-health.
The Departments of Psychology and Social Work also provide a program that enables students to earn, simultaneously, bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work. That happens all in four years.
Think an undergraduate degree in psychology isn’t worth it?
“Do not listen when people say that a bachelor’s degree in psychology is a worthless degree. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” said Blackhart. “Yes, if you wish to become a mental health provider, students will likely need at least a master’s degree in psychology or in a related field, such as counseling.”
She added: “That said, there are many other ways to help others with a degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology is highly versatile, allowing students to go to medical school, law school, and graduate programs in several fields.”
A range of careers are available to those who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Entry-level positions include a psychiatric technician, expected to grow 5% through 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or a clinical laboratory technologist, expected to grow 5% by 2032.
“Employers also seek out students who have earned a bachelor’s in psychology as they have a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, understand science and the scientific method, and often have strong critical thinking skills, experiences and skills that are highly sought after my most, if not all, employer,” said Blackhart.
Learn more about the department here.

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