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help decide which career path is the best for me... psychology or accounting - pros and cons for each

(17 Posts)
juicychops Fri 30-Aug-13 22:55:27

I have spent 6 years studying for my psychology degree whilst working part time in accounts payable and being a single parent

PLAN A: my plan until now was to start my Masters next September for 2 years part time whilst working, then after the 2 years find an assistant psychologist job and do a doctorate to then become a qualified psychologist.

Pros - its what I have wanted to do for the last 8 years and worked hard in my degree to get one step closer. good prospects once ive finished all my studying

cons - the Masters next year will be £7000 plus up to £5000 in travel and childcare expenses for the 2 years. It will be tough finding an assistant psychologist job, and more of a risk

PLAN B: to stay in my part time accounts payable job and do AAT qualifications for the next 3 years. after the 3 years my son will be at secondary school so can get a full time job maybe at my workplace in financial accounts as id be qualified for that by then. Then work towards my Cima to become a qualified accountant.

pros - my work will pay all the course fees and exams. I have a secure job in the field so easier to work my way up internally when jobs become available. good future prospects after all my studying. Its a safe and secure option and family friendly.

cons - its boring! my job isn't horrible but its not exciting. It may get more exciting the further I go, and I might learn to love and enjoy it

so.... what do you recon? what would you do if you had to pick one?

rubyflipper Sat 31-Aug-13 04:09:58


cupcake78 Sat 31-Aug-13 04:18:49

Psychology jobs are few and far between! Depends how boring B really is. Life is short, you work alot of hours.

Why couldn't you do both? Train as an accountant then use that to fund part time psychology phd.

rootypig Sat 31-Aug-13 04:34:42

A. Life is short, do what you love. My dad became an accountant for the income and security - he's now unemployed, unfulfilled and deeply depressed. Sorry for the bum note, but I think it's important. You've shown massive grit and commitment to do paid work, child rear, and study - I have no doubt you can be Dr Chops grin

Go for it!

Salbertina Sat 31-Aug-13 14:16:47

With cupcake, do both. But why the phd for psychology? Masters enough, surely??

juicychops Sat 31-Aug-13 22:25:02

thanks guys. Never even considered doing both - wont I be too old??

Salbertina, I would defo have to do a doctorate to become a qualified psychologist, but could get an assistant job with a masters.

been thinking all day today and I think im going to at least do the 3 years AAT. maybe then I could think about starting my psychology Masters

Rootypig, im also of the opinion life is too short to do something you don't love, which is why I started studying in the first place. Its a shame that a lot of things come down to money

Salbertina Sat 31-Aug-13 22:35:21

Agree with your philosophy on life being too short but doesn't need to be your career which is your main focus, does it? accounting could buy you the time to follow your interests in a way psychology maybe never could?

staticlunge Sat 31-Aug-13 23:00:22

It will not take you three years to do the AAT. You already work in accounts so have a good working knowledge. You could in theory skip level 2, it will only be teaching you what you already know. Level 3 and 4 could be easily completed in twelve months. Go onto the AAT forums, there are some lovely posters on there could offer you advice.

I'm currently work full time and am studying my ACCA, so know how hard working, studying and looking after a family is, but it is doable. It does get more interesting once you get more involved in management accounts.

Good luck whatever you decide smile

Jewelledkaleidoscope Sat 31-Aug-13 23:07:47

Quite frankly, how good are you at your degree?

If you're definitely on track for a first, go for the psychology route with bells on.

It will make all kinds of difference- you will be able to get scholarships etc.

If you're a 2:1-er or below, I would do the accountancy option. Get qualified, get a good standard of living- it doesn't have to be forever- you can switch when your kids are older.

TheFarSide Sat 31-Aug-13 23:12:15

What kind of psychologist are you hoping to be? For most, you would need work experience to get onto the Masters.

juicychops Sun 01-Sep-13 15:52:45

Stati up have a look on the AAT forum then and see. Can u do more than 1level in an academic year then?

I only got a 2.2 on my degree but have already started gaining work experience to give me a better chance of getting onto the course I want. And some have said they would consider lower than a 2.1

I think I have decided that accounts is the way to go for the near future. I've got to now speak to the college to see if I can push an application through for this month's intake so that I don't have to wait a whole year to start. And AAT registration

staticlunge Sun 01-Sep-13 18:56:51

If you go to college, no you will have to follow their programme. If you study via a distance learner such as BPP you can go at your own pace and take your exams when you are ready

Queazy Mon 02-Sep-13 06:44:21

Hi, I had a grad job as a corporate tax consultant but 'lost it' back in the Enron fallout. I ended up pursuing Occ Psych, which I'd always wanted to do. I'm really glad I did. I knew I wasn't an accountant and that this was more of a need-the-money job for me (lots of respect for the profession by the way - I'm just not cut out for it).

I think your choices really depend on what type of Psych you want to get into, and where you want to do your Masters. Being very honest, most clinical psych jobs and courses will be competitive and be looking for 2:1 or 1:1, and Masters will be 2:1 unless you have very strong work experience. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm being a killjoy - just, if you do go the psych route, you'll need to really, really want it and need to stop comparing the two potential salaries. Yes, I could earn more at a big consultancy as an accountant, but I wouldn't change the path I've taken.

Queazy Mon 02-Sep-13 06:47:31

p.s. I have re-read and seen you're doing the tax qualifications and then entering for management accounts certification. Both great to achieve, but a long slog to get somewhere you don't really want to be. My work part sponsored me through Psych qualification - this is an option in some orgs. Very best of luck whichever option you take - you sound like you have built a solid base in both which is a good place to be in

Buggeritsraining Mon 02-Sep-13 06:57:10

Could you go straight into CIMA /ACCA -the route you're looking at is quite a long one. Also accounts payable can be a bit repetitive but other accounting not so much, you could use this a route into other areas. I wouldn't say I love my job (lots of things I'd rather be doing each day!) but I'm happy, busy and of course it pays really well. I studied whilst working too.

Roshbegosh Mon 02-Sep-13 06:58:48

You are comparing studying something interesting with the day to day grind of a job in accountancy. Psych jobs are a grind too, really tough, relentless and it all becomes run of the mill in time. I also think a 2:2 isn't great tbh. Like other posters I have to be negative but it is a hugely competitive field.

trilbydoll Mon 02-Sep-13 17:51:20

Accounts payable isn't massively exciting. Moving into management accounts and doing CIMA would give you more variety but the nature of accounts is fairly repetitive. Any of the professional qualifications (I am ACA) are a lot of work, if you aren't 100% set on it, I think it would be difficult.

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