Education, Psychology, Social Services
The Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF) Program and Harvard Undergraduate Teaching Program (UTEP) are two pathways to teaching while still enrolled at Harvard. There are various teacher residency programs to teach in public systems as well as apprentice programs to teach in private schools. There are myriad extracurricular opportunities to mentor, tutor, and facilitate groups of school age children to gain experience and see if teaching is right for you. The opportunities beyond teaching are plenty, including consulting or working in government education departments and boards, cultural institutions, human resources departments in private industry, and educational technology designers and providers.
Psychology as a field is another “helping” profession, often more research-focused than teaching or social work. Clinical and counseling psychology are popular career pathways within this field, enabling the degree-holder to engage in research, practice, or a combination of the two. A PhD or PsyD is required, followed by a year-long APA-accredited internship, in order to become eligible for licensure. Other, less time-consuming paths exist within the profession, such as helping facilitate change within business and monitoring youthful offenders.
Social workers can practice at the micro level, which entails working one-on-one with clients (most often in a clinical capacity), or on a macro level, which involves policy work. Social workers may work in private practice, schools, hospitals, private or government agencies, correctional facilities, or in hospice, to name just a few work environments. To practice as a clinical social worker, it’s necessary to obtain a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree and pass a licensing exam. Becoming a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, eligible to accept third-party payments, requires two years of supervised practice and passing a second, more advanced licensing exam.
Working with children, in structured or unstructured settings, should help you decide if you enjoy teaching. Phillips Brooks House offers numerous opportunities to work in educator roles, in school and community settings. Homework centers run by local cities, tutoring through the Bureau of Study Counsel or via Tutoring Plus, participating in a HAND Project through your House, or holding a summer job in a college-based program for secondary school students (such as Breakthrough Cambridge), are but a few of the other ways in which you might test your interest (and gain creditable experience) in teaching.
If you're interested in social work or psychology, you won't be able to find an internship that allows you to actually practice, due to academic and licensing requirements. Instead, look for internships that will enable you to develop skills working with the populations or issues in which you’re interested. For example, if you’d like to focus your social work practice on working with domestic violence survivors, intern at a shelter for battered women. If you envision a macro social work practice, consider interning at the Department of Social Services.
Although teaching in public schools generally requires state certification, there are several programs, such as the Harvard Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (UTEP), that enable those with a bachelor’s degree to teach as they work toward their certification. The National Center for Alternative Certification is a comprehensive resource for alternative routes to certification in the United States.
Public Charter schools and private schools are not bound by the same state certification requirements and will hire those with a bachelor's degree. Various independent schools also offer year-long internships for those with a bachelor’s degree
Many of the full-time jobs available to you in psychology and social work without professional licensure may be less practice-oriented than you’d prefer. Still, there are exceptions, particularly if you’re willing to be open-minded about where you work and with what populations. University-affiliated hospitals like McLean and Butler, offer entry level jobs working directly with patients. Many group-living residences hire recent grads as daytime or awake overnight staff. With some research experience as an undergrad, you can likely find work as a research assistant at a major hospital. If education is of interest, consider a program like Match Corps or Wediko, both of which encourage close mentoring relationships with students.
To find a full-time job as a social worker, you'll need to complete an M.S.W. program and pass a licensing exam. If you don't plan to go to graduate school directly after completing your undergraduate degree, look for jobs or internships that will enable you to develop skills working with the populations or issues in which you're interested.
Teaching abroad in U.S. international schools usually requires certification and two years of experience. The usual method for such hiring is for the candidate to participate in one of the teacher placement hiring fairs, which take place several times per year, in varying locations. Administrative openings abroad are often also publicized by teacher placement services, as well as by some international associations.
There are many opportunities abroad to develop the skill set necessary for a career in social work. Students looking for longer term opportunities might consider the Peace Corps or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Shorter types of opportunities can also be found.
Graduate and Professional Programs
Graduate schools of education train teachers, researchers, administrators, and policy-makers. For long-term public school teachers, a master’s degree in such an institution is usually required. While independent schools are free to hire uncertified teachers, they often appreciate some higher education, in a subject area or in education theory. Administrators train in schools of education, or, occasionally in business schools. People who work on policy matters may have degrees from education schools, from public policy schools, or from arts and sciences schools; their choice of place to train affects the type and scope of the learning they receive.
For social work, the NASW website has information on accredited programs, and is a great place to begin researching graduate programs.
You may be able to apply for public service fellowships, either for a summer internship or a post-grad, year-long opportunity. See: