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Employment Opportunities with a degree in Psychology


deremifri

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Hopefully this type of question has not been asked too much before, but here it goes: 

 

Although I am currently in the process of obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Psychology (still have two years to go), my real wish is to work in China after graduation. 

My interests (and hopefully someday skills) and my skills lie in Psychotherapy, Human Resources and Human-Computer Interaction. 

Now, I can imagine that Psychotherapy is not a very promising option (though there seem to be a few foreigners in Shanghai doing that), but what about the other two fields? 

Assuming I will have a decent grasp of Chinese (...someday), what are my chances to lend a secure and stable job in China? 

 

Will be grateful for any advice or experiences, thanks.  

 

Oh, and before you guys ask : I did spend a considerable amount of time in China doing volunteer work, so I know the basics of "China: How it really is"

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I'm not an expert on this field, but since no one else has chimed in here's my two cents:

 

The language skills required to do any sort of therapy in Chinese in China might be prohibitive (unless you wanted to do your Masters/Doctorate in China), I think that would take a native or pretty much near native language proficiency to be viable. That leaves HR and Human-computer, those both have business in common. Are you interested in business or management work? I have friends who have worked in business across the Pacific and language skills, HR and a Psychology degree with some business/management related class (or a minor) might be a very alluring combo on a CV.  Good luck!

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The usual problem is that outside of English teaching, well-paid entry-level positions for expats are hard to find in China. Most well-paid positions available for expats are for senior managers of multinational corporations. The question then is how to become a senior manager of a multinational corporation. The short and probably unhelpful answer is that you have to work your way up.

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There are certainly professional psychologists working professionally in China. For instance, I've met clinical psychologists who work with native English speaking populations in China. Many of those that I'm familiar with focus on child psychology as the children of expats are not generally as well served by local psychologists. Also, psychologists who can do psycho-educational testing for children who are having difficulty in school are in demand in the cities with large expat populations. Child psychologists who can work with kids on the autism-spectrum.

 

Someone trained as school psychologists could work in one of the better international shools in China, so they wouldn't have to have families go for psycho-educational testing.

 

International schools running the IB diploma program often offer psychology. If  you wanted to teach at an international school, there are a lot of IB schools popping up here. You'd need a teaching credential and probably a few years of experience if you wanted to work at one of the better schools that pays well, but that could be a career that would keep you in China.

I agree that one would need highly advanced Chinese language skills to work effectively doing counseling in Chinese. Now, folks with native level Chinese and English or Korean language skills (I'm fairly certain South Korean nationals outnumber other foreign passport holders in China) and training in clinical psychology could do quite well in China. Right now, China doesn't have much in the way of certification in these fields, so coming in with international training and credentials would be important.

 

I get the sense that a lot of the low to mid-level HR people for companies with operations in China have local folks doing HR. They have a much easier time navigating hiring and laws related to labor. I was just talking with someone who came to visit her brother in China. She works for the same company as him doing HR for a multinational, but I asked her about their workforce in China and she says they have a division just for HR in China.

 

Again, most of these things will require you to get a bit more experience and/or education before you'd be able to start pursuing one of these things are a high level.

 

I've met early career folks (people in their mid 20's to early 30's), working for companies here in China making good money. They often were transferred here after working for the company in another country first.

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