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Top Career Opportunities for Someone with an Online Psychology Degree

by South University
September 24, 2012

For someone who attended one of South University’s online programs, in particular the online psychology degree program, the worlds holds a bright future in various prospective career paths. In fact, it is a common misconception that a person who holds a degree in the social science of psychology must earn a doctorate and inevitably become a psychologist. Although this is an option, even someone who has a bachelor's degree has plenty of entry level career options to select from.

  1. Counselor
    The most common career choice is to become a counselor. As a counselor, your main responsibility is to assist individuals by listening and offering advice. There are numerous types of counselors, and each one deals with a certain group of people or focuses on a particular problem. For instance, a child counselor identifies issues with children and treats them, while a drug and alcohol abuse counselor provides assistance to those who are suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse. Corporate offices may hire a person with a bachelor's degree in psychology to supply employees with advice and guidance in order to increase productivity.
  2. Human Resources Manager
    A human resources manager, or an HR manager, does the hiring process within a company. An HR person is also responsible for training and evaluating the staff. An HR person is also in charge of dismissing employees and resolving employee issues. In some cases, this job title may include clerical duties.
  3. Working in Mental Health
    The psych unit or the mental health ward in a hospital or even a facility that centers around psychiatric patients is in need of individuals who understand the physiology of the human mind, as well as the diseases and other issues that plague it. Working in a mental unit gives you the ability to choose from various careers, such as a mental health technician, a mental health counselor or a mental case manager.
  4. Social Workers
    Social workers may be either a direct-service social worker or a clinical social worker. Those who classify as a direct-service social worker tend to help individuals with everyday problems. This includes finding work and intervening during child abuse. A hospital may hire a social worker to work with patients to ensure that pregnant women are taking care of themselves and are looking out for the best interest of the unborn baby, and these individuals may also help those with financial issues to locate medical assistance to cover hospital expenses. A social worker will also listen to patient's problems and provide advice, when needed. On the other hand, there are clinical social workers who address mental health issues, since these individuals understand how environment affects a patient.
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Five Reasons to Study Criminal Justice

by South University, Online Programs
September 21, 2012

Whether you are going to college just out of high school or going back to school, you have most likely chosen a field of study. If not, consider criminal justice. With a criminal justice degree, you can enter many different professions, including the five professions listed below. South University offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees online in Criminal Justice.

If you choose the A.S. degree, you have the potential to gain insight into court, security, police and corrections operations. The associate degree gives you a great background to go into entry-level jobs or to form a foundation for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Choosing the B.S. degree in criminal justice gives you a program in one of the following fields:

  • Corrections
  • Juvenile justice
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Law enforcement
  • Cyber crime

You will also have the potential to learn how to handle the legal, social and technological challenges in the criminal justice field.

Some students prefer an accelerated curriculum. South University’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree provides an accelerated curriculum to quickly help you get into this high-demand field. As a student, you will have the potential to learn skills that will allow you to move into law enforcement, political jobs and legal jobs, such as a paralegal or judicial assistant.

Prosecutor: The criminal justice program at South University is a good basis for the advanced degrees it takes to be a prosecutor. If you want to work for the government in the legal profession, a prosecutor is a great position. You definitely won’t be bored with it as you’ll see different cases every day. Many prosecutors move on to a private defense practice.

Criminal Defense Attorney: If you don’t want to work for the government, you can use a criminal justice degree from a South University online program for a basis for the advanced schooling needed to become a criminal defense attorney. You have a lot of options if you become a criminal defense attorney. You can work for yourself, work for a small firm or go big. If you combine legal knowledge with investigative skills, you may even be able to solve mystery cases throughout your career.

Private Investigator: A private investigator may be used by many people for many different reasons. You may have to find a long lost friend or relative or you may be called upon to determine whether a spouse is being unfaithful. State or local governments may even call upon you to help solve a crime. Online programs such as South University’s criminal justice program helps you gain the knowledge needed to run a profitable and successful private investigation business.

Jail/Prison Guard: While you don’t necessarily need a degree for some jail or prison guard positions, a degree definitely helps get the position. It also gives you knowledge in the criminal justice system and puts you a step or two ahead of someone else vying for the same position.

Probation Officer: Being a probation officer is something else you may not need a degree for, depending on the state or county where you choose to work. If you do need a degree, then South University’s criminal justice online program will give you the knowledge you need as a probation officer, along with other professions in the legal and penal system.

Online Degrees: Even if you have no idea what you want to do “when you grow up,” you can’t go wrong with choosing a criminal justice degree from South University. The knowledge the degree imparts is very versatile and could be used as a basis for many advanced programs. If you know you want to work in the legal profession or penal profession, you can start the criminal justice degree and choose your profession later.

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5 Tips for Being an Effective Communicator

by South University
September 17, 2012

What is one quality that every leader – business, political or any other – share? They’re all very good at communicating effectively with whoever they engage with. Being able to send across the right message is key to a successful personal or professional relationship. Many issues can be avoided with good communication. This blog post will cover tips for enhancing your communication skills with your colleagues, clients or bosses in the workplace.

  1. Be a good listener
    Everyone will tell you this, but why is it important? Analyzing another person’s feelings, not just the meaning of the words, can help you understand what they actually mean. This cannot happen if you’re not a good listener. Grasping the feeling behind the words that are coming out of the mouth of the other person will help you respond better and address those feelings. While listening, put your focus on the speaker, avoiding cutting him/her off in the middle and show your interest. Remember that sometimes the message is encoded in the words.
  2. KISS – Keep It Simple and Straightforward
    Be clear. Don’t beat around the bush, but don’t confuse clarity with rudeness. Instead of saying the same thing from three different angles, be very clear in sending across the message in as few words as possible. You’ll get better at it when you practice it. Perhaps this was the inspiration behind the character limit of Twitter?
  3. Craft your message
    In the context of the workplace, it’s not advisable to use slang or humor that might be offensive to some. This applies to both written and oral communication. When speaking with your boss or a client, the choice of words can make a lot of difference. Put some thought into what you really want to say and then choose the right words to encode it with. Avoid sentences that may have double meaning. Crafting also involves selecting the right tone based on who you’re interacting with.
  4. Emotional Intelligence Matters
    Recent studies have shown that EQ (Emotional intelligence quotient) matters just as much as IQ. It’s argued that IQ cannot be learned, but EQ, on the other hand, is something that can be learned and mastered. Deciphering the body language of the other person is part of understanding their emotions, the nonverbal cues. But the first step in understanding other person’s emotions is to understand what your own feelings and emotions are and how you can communicate them to the other person. The key here is to empathize with the other person.
  5. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
    Last, but definitely not the least, prepare well before you communicate. This may not hold true for your day-to-day communications but it definitely holds true for even moderately important communications. You may have seen that star presenters are very relaxed while communicating with their audience. This does not mean that they haven’t burned their midnight oil preparing for the presentation. In fact, on the contrary, they’re the ones who spend most time preparing for the communication. This is very significant in an age where our electronic communication habits have badly impacted our effective spoken and written communication skills.
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Top 7 Jobs for Nurses

by South University
September 14, 2012

At South University, our online programs can help you transition into a more fulfilling nursing career. As an RN, you have many opportunities to enjoy a flexible, rewarding career. Our BSN completion program or Accelerated RN to MSN can give you even more choices, allowing you to grow as a nurse in leadership and management.

Here are our top seven jobs for RNs who have completed a BSN or MSN degree:

  1. School Nurse: You’ll need at least a BSN degree to work in most schools as a nurse, where you’ll get to interact with children on a daily basis. School nurses also enjoy better hours, and most even get summers off work!
  2. Clinical Instructor: Enjoy helping new nurses learn? With a BSN degree, you can often get clinical instructor positions at both community colleges and universities. You’ll be helping nursing students on the floor during clinical rotations, giving advice and teaching the next generation of nurses.
  3. Surgical Nurse: While some nurses are able to break into surgical nursing without a BSN, you’ll have a leg up on the competition with a BSN degree. Many hospitals now are giving preference to nurses with a BSN, and if surgery is your calling, you’ll want to have every advantage you can to beat out the competition with an advanced degree.
  4. Nursing Informatics: Nurse I informaticists help hospitals and other healthcare agencies to integrate technology into nursing care. Our MSN in Nurse Informatics can help you get into this quickly growing specialization.
  5. Nurse Education: With a Master of Science in Nursing, you can specialize in teaching new nursing students. These nurses help to prepare students in both the classroom and clinical setting.
  6. Nursing Administration: Have a love of leadership and management? Obtaining an MSN Nurse Administrator degree might be for you. These nurses help organizations with everything from policy making to technology.
  7. Family Nurse Practitioner: The need for Nurse Practitioners is expected to grow tremendously in the next decade. You’ll need an MSN degree to be able to work as one of these independently practicing nurses.

With an advanced degree, you’ll have many more options opened to you as an RN. South University can help you with our online programs for RNs, either with our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion program or in our Accelerated RN to MSN program.

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Spending Time in Nature for Your Health — How Outdoor Activities Improve Wellbeing

by Jared Newnam
September 6, 2012

Many adults enjoy the serenity of spending time in nature as a way to escape the stress and craziness of everyday life. Not only can fresh air and natural scenery have a positive impact on adults, outdoor activities for children can also improve the overall quality of kids’ lives.

Dr. Susanne Preston, a Clinical Mental Health Counseling instructor at South University, Virginia Beach says being outside and spending time in nature is good for a person’s mental health, as it allows them to de-stress.

“The fresh air and sunlight have the largest benefits,” Preston says. “For example, with increased exposure to natural sunlight, incidents of seasonal affective disorder decrease. When individuals are exposed to natural sunlight, the vitamin D in their skin helps to elevate their moods.”

“Research has shown that spending time in nature has been associated with decreased levels of mental illness, with the strongest links to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, in addition to increased self esteem,” Preston says.

“Spending time outdoors is also linked to positive effects on physical health, most notably obesity,” she adds.

Preston recommends outdoor activities like taking walks around the park or neighborhood, yoga, and meditation as healthy, relaxing ways to get some fresh air.

Reasons to Spend Time in Nature

The July 2010 edition of the Harvard Health Letter lists five good reasons to get outdoors and spend time in nature:

  • Your vitamin D levels rise. Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure (don’t overdo it), supplemented with vitamin D pills if necessary, is a good regiment.
  • You’ll get more exercise. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.
  • You’ll be happier. Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.
  • Your concentration will improve. Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. It might be a stretch to say that applies to adults, but if you have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help.
  • You may heal faster. In one study, people recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications when they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) helped recovery in the hospital.

Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children

Robyn Bjorrnson, executive assistant at the Children and Nature Network, says in general, children spend a lot less time outdoors than they used to.

She says this lack of time spent playing outside in the fresh air can be harmful to a child’s wellbeing.

“It damages physical and mental health, contributing to nature-deficit disorder, which is the term used to describe the human costs of alienation from nature.” 

Spending time in natural surroundings stimulates children’s creativity.

Bjorrnson says there are many positive health benefits associated with outdoor activities for children.

“Children who regularly experience nature play are healthier, happier, and test better in school,” Bjorrnson says. “Studies indicate that direct exposure to nature can relieve the symptoms of attention-deficit disorders, improve resistance to stress and depression, increase self-esteem, stimulate cognitive development and creativity, as well as reduce myopia and lower child obesity.”

Preston agrees that outdoor activities for children offer countless benefits for kids’ overall wellbeing.

“Spending time in natural surroundings stimulates children’s creativity,” Preston says. “Spending time outdoors also encourages children to actively play, which is good for them, rather than spend time focused on electronic media, television, and video games.”

Exploring nature is a great way for a family to spend time together and enjoy some healthy activities, Bjorrnson says.

“Hiking, walking, beach play, camping, birding, tree climbing, fishing, gardening, sailing, are just a few of the endless ways to enjoy nature,” Bjorrnson says. “And there are more ways in your own backyard or neighborhood.”

Though it can be challenging for parents to convince their children that spending time outdoors can be just as much fun as playing video games and watching television, Bjorrnson says it is important to make outdoor time a priority.

For parents looking for other families interested in outdoor activities for children, Bjorrnson suggests looking for a local Family Nature Club or downloading a toolkit from the Children and Nature Network to get started.

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