Career Spotlight: Diabetes Educator

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “diabetes affects 8.3% of the U.S. population.”  There are many healthcare professionals who assist patients with diabetes, but one profession has these patients and their families at the center of what they do.  Diabetes educators are described by their professional organization, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, as

“healthcare professionals who focus on educating people with and at risk for diabetes and related conditions achieve behavior change goals which, in turn, lead to better clinical outcomes and improved health status. Diabetes educators apply in-depth knowledge and skills in the biological and social sciences, communication, counseling, and education to provide self-management education/self-management training.”

Clinical psychologists, registered nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians, podiatrists, dietitians, physician assistants, exercise specialists, exercise physiologists, and social workers are all professionals who could pursue certification as a diabetes educator.  More information on certification eligibility can be found here.

Teach for America

Teach for America is a non-profit organization that provides recent college graduates the opportunity to teach for 2 years in a low-income community in urban and rural public schools.

Here is their stated mission posted at their website :

“ All kids – no matter where they live, how much money their parents make, or what their skin color is – deserve access to a great education. But in our country today, a significant achievement gap exists between low-income children and their wealthier peers. It’s not easy to close this gap, but hundreds of proof points show that it’s possible. It takes committed leaders in our classrooms today who will continue to fight for students tomorrow. Teach For for America’s mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by developing such leaders.”

Teach for America recruits a diverse group of leaders and provides them with intensive training and career development. All corps members attend a pre-corps training institute, receive ongoing coaching and professional development throughout their two years.  They also have access to countless online resources to help them be effective classroom leaders.

Corps members teach grades pre-K through 12, and more than 10 different subjects in 43 regions across the country.  Corps members are not required to have completed any education coursework prior to applying, but they must receive a teaching certification before they are hired by a school.

Corps members are full-time teachers, and receive a full salary and comprehensive health benefits. They also receive an education award of $10,700.

According to the Teach for America website, alumni work at every level of education, policy and other professions, to ensure that all children receive an excellent education.

Teach for America was named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 best companies to work for in 2011. If you have a desire to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education and want to work to close the achievement gap, Teach for America may just be for you!

Keeping Focused

Can you believe that we are a month into the spring semester already?  Taking a glance at your planner and noticing several upcoming tests and papers will certainly remind you that we are in the thick of things.  Though the focus of this blog is career and major exploration, we would be foolish to ignore the fact that low grades will significantly limit the career and academic options that you can choose from.  Hectic schedules and daydreams of Spring Break can interfere with plans to study.  If you have noticed yourself becoming distracted when you really need to focus, check out this article full of tips from the fine folks of Academic Support Programs.

If you think your trouble focusing could be due to a lack of motivation or interest in your current major, consider going through the Career Counseling process to explore your alternatives.

What Can I Do with a Major in Mathematics?

In my experience, students who have a natural talent for mathematics seem to recognize the importance of these skills in today’s world.  They often express a desire to use their talent in their work, but say they are unsure of how they would like to incorporate those skills.  With mathematics skills being so key to many industries, students of all personality types can find a way to use math in their careers.  Take a moment to consider the possibilities available to those students who choose to major in mathematics.

Dr. Lance Littlejohn, Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Baylor, recently wrote an article on the advantages of majoring in mathematics.  You can find the article here and further information about careers that use mathematics at math job opportunities.  The department also sponsors three major lecture series, all aimed at undergraduate students. One of these series is the Life Experiences in Mathematics lecture series which brings alumni of Baylor’s mathematics program back to campus to discuss how their math degrees prepared them for career success. 

The National Science Foundation predicts that 80% of all new jobs created in the US within the next ten years will require a significant amount of mathematical knowledge. In a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employees comparing salaries of graduates in mathematics, biology, chemistry, economics, English, history, political science, psychology, and sociology, mathematics was ranked No. 1. As for job satisfaction, The Wall Street Journal listed being a mathematician as the top job in a comparison of 200 occupations in the US.

For other sites that describe careers with a mathematics degree, please check out What Can I Do with a Major in Mathematics? (Duke University), Why Major in Mathematics?  (Louisiana State University), and Major WebLinks (Northern Illinois University).

As always, the staff of Career Counseling is happy to talk with you personally about how to identify a major and career that will fit you best.

Questions and Answers About Mental Health Careers

Q:  What are the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A:  A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who goes through a residency after medical school to specialize in the field of psychiatry.  They focus on helping patients manage the medications that they take to treat mental disorders.

A psychologist is trained in a doctoral program in psychology, typically resulting in a PhD or PsyD.  Some programs emphasize research only (i.e., experimental psychology, developmental psychology).  Others, such as clinical and counseling psychology programs, train scientist-practitioners.  That means that they are required to learn about research and conduct their own research, as well as learn how to provide therapy to clients with mental disorders.  The completion of a doctoral dissertation is required to earn the degree.  Clinical and counseling psychology programs also require their students to complete a pre-doctoral internship, which is a year-long work experience that usually takes place in a city other than where the student is attending school.

You can expect medical school plus a psychiatry residency to take you eight years to complete, whereas a PhD in psychology will probably take five to six years to complete.

Q:  I want to be a therapist, but I don’t want to be in school that long.  What else can I do?

A:  Consider professions such as licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed specialist in school psychology, school counselor, or pastoral counselor.  This article, from the Sanger Learning and Career Center at the University of Texas at Austin, gives an excellent explanation of some of the different mental health professions.

The National Association of School Psychologists has an informative website, as does the American School Counselor Association.  You can click here for information from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Q:  How do I select an appropriate graduate program?

A:  There are two main things to keep in mind when selecting a program.  First, you want to make sure that the program provides at least the minimum amount of course work and practicum/internship to be licensed in the state where you would like to practice.  Second, explore whether there is a body that accredits graduate programs in your discipline.  Choosing an accredited program will position you for better career opportunities, since some positions require that a person has a degree from an accredited program.  Examples are:

Q:  What should I major in as an undergraduate student?

A:  That depends on many factors.  It is best to research the graduate programs that interest you to determine admissions requirements, such as specific course work.  Majors at Baylor that are relevant to graduate study in mental health are psychology, social work, and child and family studies.  In Texas, school counselors must have teaching experience, so an education major is most appropriate for those students who aspire to be school counselors.  It is also good to consider your skills and abilities, so you can choose a major in which you can excel.  A psychology major is a science, meaning that a student will need to take courses in neuroscience, statistics, and research methods.  It is important to do well in these classes to maintain a competitive grade point average for graduate school.

Obviously, there are many nuances to graduate study and careers in mental health.  If you have questions about selecting the path that will suit you the best, please contact us to schedule a Career Counseling appointment.


It’s That Time Again–Practice GRE, LSAT, MCAT and DAT

On Saturday, February 11th, DEI and Kaplan are hosting a FREE opportunity for students to take a practice entrance exam for graduate & professional school.  Check in will begin at 9:30am in the Atrium of the Baylor Sciences Building, with the tests starting at 10:00am.  Each test will last up to four hours and be proctored like an actual exam.  After the test, expert instructors will give a short workshop on test-taking strategies & answer questions.

This is a great opportunity to see realistic exam questions and get an idea of how you might score on test day.  Scores will be returned the same afternoon with computerized feedback about individual performance.  Students will also have the opportunity to get exclusive savings for attending.

To register:

GMAT, OAT, and PCAT practice tests are available live online at the above site.

If you have any questions, email or click here to make an appointment!! à

So You Want to Be a Professor?

Students who enjoy teaching others about a subject and also enjoy the act of learning in itself might find a career as a professor particularly interesting.  Professors teach every subject you can imagine, and they are found at many types of educational institutions.  Professors serve students at two-year institutions (i.e., community colleges), four-year institutions, and research universities.  Professors are distinguished by rank.  Full-time, tenure-track faculty are expected to conduct research and publish their findings, in addition to teaching courses.  They usually hold the title of Assistant Professor.  After a number of years, tenure-track faculty are evaluated based upon their publications, teaching, and professional/community involvement.  If granted tenure (a permanent teaching position), the faculty member usually holds the title of  Associate Professor or Professor.  Tenure-track positions typically require the faculty member to possess a Ph.D. in the subject that they wish to teach.

Similar, yet different, are the roles of instructors and lecturers.  Traditionally, instructors and lecturers focus primarily on teaching, without the expectations of conducting research and publishing.  Often, these are not permanent positions.  They can be full-time or part-time positions.  A Ph.D is not always required, but it is sometimes preferred, particularly when there are more qualified applicants than there are available positions.

If you would like to learn more about this flexible and meaningful career path, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  It is also a good idea to talk with some of your favorite professors about their decisions to pursue a career in higher education.  They could help you to evaluate if it is a profession that you would like to pursue, too.

Additionally, students who participate in Career Counseling take the Strong Interest Inventory.  This assessment will allow you to see how similar your interests are to both university professors and college instructors.  Contact us if you would like to take advantage of this process.