Confused Psych Student--any advice is appreciated!


Hi everyone, I just posted something over in general nursing but I was advised to also post over here for more specific advice.

I'm currently a 21 y/o senior in psychology and I've just recently decided that I would like to go into psychiatric nursing. I really enjoy psychology and helping others, but I've come to the realization that job prospects/financial pay-off for graduate level psychology degrees/professions is not that great. (Not that I'm doing it just for the money, but that is definitely something I need to think about). I was also thinking about becoming a clinical psychologist, but honestly, I am not interested in research or being in school for at least 7 more years.

My plan was to take another year in undergrad to take pre-reqs (my current psych degree didn't require me to take any hard sciences), graduate with a BA in psych, apply (and hopefully get into) an ABSN program. I know that nursing school involves every aspect of nursing so I have a vague idea of what I'd be going through just from reading these forums and doing my own research.

I would really like to be able to still be involved in psychology within nursing--could anyone give me any advice on what opportunities are out there?

Thanks so much for all of your help! :)

maybe you can apply for a mental health tech position in a hospital? that would give you mental health experience, work under the direction of a nurse, and get your foot in the door while your in nursing school!!!


53 Posts

Agreed. I have had many MHWs that were Psych majors. Some decided to go on to nursing school, others not. It's definitely a good intro to in-patient psych and we always need MHWs who are educated and interested.

Thanks for your help! I'm not sure if either of you would know the answer to this, since I'm sure it varies by state, but would I need to become a CNA first? I'm not sure how to become a mental health tech.


26 Posts

Every facility is different, but mine requires a bachelors in a human service related field (psychology, social work, etc). A nearby facility only requires current coursework in one of these disciplines. Definitely use your interest in psych nursing to market yourself in an interview. It's always nice to have passionate techs working!

allnurses Guide

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

AFAIK you do not need to become a CNA in order to work as a mental health tech. However, see the facility's requirements are as those can vary.

Orca, ADN, ASN, RN

2,066 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC. Has 28 years experience.

I had a BA in psychology before I started nursing school, and IMO it helped me to get my first nursing job on an adult mental health/chemical dependency unit. It is wise for you to pursue something in addition to the bachelor's degree in a social science. I enjoyed the course of study, but it didn't qualify me to do much employment-wise. You usually need a post-graduate degree to make a living within a social science, and the salary often isn't commensurate with the time and expense necessary to obtain the degree.


13 Posts

Specializes in psych.

Hello! I am a current ABSN student graduating this December. I was working in mental health at a women's abuse shelter with two degrees and for little more than minimum wage. I was inspired by a psych nurse and decided to peruse that path! I'm also working three shifts as a tech at a psych hospital and I love it. There is a mix of people at my psych hospital- some are CNAs and some have a BA in psych. It's totally worth looking into. Good luck!


377 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health.

I would go for a PMHNP degree if I were you. Better pay, working conditions, job security, etc. than BSN. Since you'll have a bachelors, you can apply for Direct Entry programs, like BC, MGH, Yale, Vanderbilt, UCSF, Northeastern, Seattle U, and some others. They are expensive, but starting salary is $80-90k, so it's a good investment.