A Career in Psychology: Emma’s Story

Who says there is an expiry date on your dreams?

A lot of us put off the things we want to achieve the most until that fateful “someday…”

We tell ourselves, “The time isn’t right to change how I’m living and chase my dream.” Then five years go by and the voice in your head continues to rattle off the reasons it’s not a good time to start chasing your dreams. Those reasons then grow into the belief that “it’s too late to pursue your dream” and then that dream dies. Left to be filed under “what if” and buried in regret.

Here’s the thing: it’s never too late to start chasing dreams and Emma is proof!

Meet Emma

“I will be the first female psychologist in my local community. It’ll happen, I just know, because I believe I’m here for a purpose” — Emma.

Nearing 60 years of age and running a household full of energetic grandchildren, Emma is finally working towards a degree in Psychology. She is hoping to be the first Aboriginal woman in her local area to become a psychologist.

As a child, Emma was saved from the welfare system by her uncle and his wife – who she calls Dad and Mum. Emma speaks warmly of her Dad, who taught her the importance of education. Emma recalls him saying, “My girl, if you ever want to get anywhere in this world, you gotta have that white man’s piece of paper – that’s the only thing that will get you in the door, and put you in a position where you’re able to help other people.”

Not only was Emma motivated by her Dad’s words, but she gained a greater sense of purpose after surviving a heart attack in 2002. It became very important to her to become a psychologist, particularly within her local area, where, so far, aboriginal women have only reached the level of a counsellor. 

Today, Emma is busy working toward a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences from Swinburne, through Open Universities Australia. She already holds a diploma in indigenous counselling, which has led her to her current role – a caseworker and counsellor, helping people of the aboriginal community to work through sexual abuse issues. Her day consists of home visits, organising referrals, and talking with agencies, social workers and lawyers. Emma is also involved with a number of organisations and support groups, that allows her to travel around the country, connecting with aboriginal people.

Watch Emma tell her story in the video below:

Facts about a Career in Psychology:

Psychologists is a large occupation employing 28,800 workers. Over the past five years, there has been strong growth in the number of workers in the psychology field.

Over the next five years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to grow to 33,700 while approximately 24,000 new job openings are likely to emerge. These new positions are a mix of current workers leaving the workforce and new jobs forming.

  • Psychologists work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Education and Training.
  • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 36.2 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,934 per week (very high compared to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 41 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate for Psychologists was below average.

(Source: joboutlook.gov.au)

Top 5 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Psychology

  1. Job variety. Psychologists have plenty of options when it comes to selecting their career path. There is therapy, assessment, research, consultative services and teaching just to name a few.

  2. Flexible working arrangements. Whether you want to work independently or be part of a team, psychology careers can be a good choice as professionals in the field can do either. 

  3. Job satisfaction. One of the best reasons to become a Psychologist is the opportunity to help others. Even those who aren’t working directly with clients can find deep meaning and satisfaction in their jobs. A career as a Psychologist is centred on discovering what drives human behaviour and motivation. They are interested in improving the quality of life for a broad spectrum of people.

  4. Good earning potential. While money isn’t necessarily the driving factor for many psychologists, it doesn’t hurt that this is a career offering above-average salaries. Earnings do tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.

  5. Learning to unravel the mysteries of the mindThis last reason to become a psychologist may be the one that brings people to this field of study in the first place. The human mind can be a complex machine, and psychologists learn how it reacts and responds to different situations. While this knowledge has practical applications in everything from business to sports, it also a fascinating subject on its own.

So, if you’re looking for a career that can keep you interested, pay you well and give you plenty of opportunities to rise in the ranks, then a career in Psychology may be perfect for you.

Interested in a career as a Psychologist?

Get the skills and knowledge you need to launch or upgrade your career with a diploma or degree from Open Universities Australia. There are no classrooms and no deadlines. Simply study online, in your own time and get the qualification you need to succeed.

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