SGPsychStud: Money vs Passion - Will being in this field get big bucks for me?

The question for this post is on whether being a social worker/counsellor/psychologist or any related job in this field provide you lots of money. The definition of "lots of money" here would be  having a good enough life with money to spare, a nice car, a nice house, etc of materialistic value. This might be a little extreme, as these might not be the desire of some to have these materialistic stuff. However, this is just to set up this illustration of this comparison between the need of materialistic gains vs the passion to work in the helping field.

This story starts with the initial thoughts of getting the salary when you start work after your studies. How much are you getting to get paid for your services? Probably your salary would be proportional and matched to your years of education?

Let's have a current look at the median monthly gross salary rates of June 2010 as published by the Ministry of Manpower. Please skip forward to Appendix 1 (page 51) in the attachment. Social workers/counsellors and psychologists are of the 5 lowest paid professionals at $2700 and $2850 respectively. But this might not be an accurate reflection of your current wages as they are the median (50th percentile) wages of everyone who participated in the survey, which included 197 social work and counselling professional and 52 psychologists. Hence we are not very sure of what the average wage or starting wage would be like for people who wish to join this field. Please understand that I am not trying to discourage you to continue pursuing psychology, but just here to show you the real picture of what is really happening.

UPDATE: Here is the new excel tables from MOM, based from the Report of Wages in Singapore 2011 (full report). Still one of the lowest paid health and social service professions at $3150 (psychologist) and $3180 (social work/counselling professionals). This is based on 317 social work and counselling professionals and 131 psychologists.

After sacrificing at least another 2-3 years of your life studying the honours degree and  Masters program, you may expect that your salary would be similar to that of your peers who graduated 3 years ago and been working since then. However this might not be the case.

But is this going to stop you from pursuing this field? Is your love for psychology larger than the materialistic gains? Have a think about it. I know I have my answer. Do you?

SGPsychStud: Merge of Psychology with Self

Everyone does things for a reason, and this can be tied down to the person's personality, background, etc. However have you thought of how studying psychology may have affected your life and who you are as a person?

This may involve some introspection and looking back at yourself, how you may have evolved through your years of training in psychology and how much you have changed from the days of not doing psychology to today.
Here is my experience:
As for myself, I noticed my changes and initially attributed them (such as being more extrovert, changes in thought processes, etc.) to occupational needs, as required by the future profession of being a psychologist.
But I question myself: am I really just taking on these changes to become another person in order to become a psychologist? Or am I developing these changes and becoming a psychologist through the real me?

Those changes that were made - some may resonate with who we are, and some might not. And those that resonate may actually stay with us and develop further. What we might eventually find is that we are actually "summoning" out that psychologist profile in us, and hence becoming more and more like a psychologist in terms of personality, thought process, and behaviour. Please do not be mistaken (if you are) to think that there is only one type of profile for a psychologist. We are all different and hence our personalities, etc. will be different, but we might have similar personality traits, display similar behaviour and think similarly.

So what was meant by the title "Merge of Psychology with Self"?
Reading to this point, it could be understood that we do change as we study and train in psychology. What may eventually happen is that psychology may unknowingly and unconsciously become part of us - part of how we think, part of how we behave, part of how we portray ourselves to people, etc - and appear in the different aspects of our lives.