Psychology

Psychology is one of the most popular majors for undergraduate students in the world, and with good reason. Learning about people's behavior and mental processes means exploring one of the world's most fascinating mysteries: the human mind. Psychology courses are also often taken for general education studies, personal advancement and general interest.

At Oakton, you can develop a strong foundation in many of psychology's different fields. Here, you'll study learning, development, group behavior, brain processes and functions, and psychological disorders.

Studying psychology opens many doors for your professional life. You can seek advanced degrees and work as a psychologist or marriage and family therapist for example. You can also bring your skills to careers in substance abuse counseling, education, human resources and more.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), people with bachelor’s degrees in psychology often possess good research and writing skills, are good problem solvers and have well-developed, higher level thinking abilities when it comes to analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information. Many find jobs in administrative support, public affairs, education, business, sales, service industries, health, the biological sciences and computer programming. They may also work as employment counselors, correction counselor trainees, interviewers, personnel analysts, probation officers and writers.

By APA policy and licensing laws, the term psychologist is reserved for individuals with doctoral education and training. Master’s degree holders may find jobs in government, universities, or the private sector as counselors, researchers, data collectors, and analysts.

Degrees and Pre-Major

If you plan to pursue a four-year degree in psychology, we recommend our psychology pre-major, which provides the smoothest transfer experience. The pre-major is recommended for students who are considering completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology after transferring to a four-year institution. It will help students to deepen their knowledge of psychology while completing the general education requirements for an associate degree.

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Oakton offers an associate in arts (A.A.) for students who wish to pursue a bachelor of arts at a four-year college or university. Once you have selected your transfer school, consult the Office of Advising, Transitions and Student Success, as well as the transfer institution's catalog. This will help you select courses that will meet both Oakton's and your transfer school's requirements.

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Job Outlook

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 13,400 openings for psychologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for psychologists was $82,180 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Meet Your Faculty

Oakton's psychology courses are taught by an experienced, credentialed team of professors and lecturers. 

Meet our full-time faculty:

Michelle Naffziger-Hirsch
Co-chair, Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Sociology & Social Sciences (ACEPSS)
Professor of Sociology
B.A. Northwestern University
M.A. Northwestern University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
mnaffzig@oakton.edu
847.376.7269
Office: 3604, Des Plaines

Katherine Schuster
Co-chair, Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Sociology & Social Sciences (ACEPSS) 
Coordinator, Education and Global Studies
Distinguished Professor, Education
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College
M.S. Minnesota State University
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
schuster@oakton.edu
Homepage: www.oakton.edu/~schuster
847.376.7118
Office: 2526, Des Plaines

Eva de la Riva
Professor of Psychology
B.A. University of Texas at El Paso
M.A. University of Texas at El Paso
Ph.D. University of Texas at El Paso
delariva@oakton.edu
847.376.7434
Office: 2614, Des Plaines

Michelle James
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
B.S. Howard University
M.S. Howard University
Ph.D. Howard University
mjames@oakton.edu
847.376.7604
Office: B229, Skokie

Mary Johannesen-Schmidt
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
B.A. Haverford College
M.A.T. University of Chicago
M.S. Northwestern University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
mjohanne@oakton.edu
847.635.1918
Office: 2604, Des Plaines

Paul Johnson
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
A.A. Oakton Community College
B.A. Eastern Illinois University
M.S.Ed. Eastern Illinois University
pjohnson@oakton.edu
847.376.7088
Office: 3612, Des Plaines

Joan Warmbold Boggs
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
A.B. University of Illinois
M.A. Western Michigan University
jwarmbol@oakton.edu
847.635.1855
Office: 2536, Des Plaines

 
Meet our part-time faculty:

Laura Campbell
Lecturer
B.A.S. University of Guelph (Canada)
M.S.W. Loyola University of Chicago
lcampbel@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Sabine Gourgue
Lecturer
B.A. National-Louis University
M.A. National-Louis University
sgourgue@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Kathy Greenberger
Lecturer
B.A. Kalamazoo College
M.A. Middlebury College
Psy.D. Illinois School of Professional Psychology
kgreenbe@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Marcia Kiraly
Lecturer
B.S. Ball State University
M.A. Ball State University
mkiraly@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Steven Kushner
Lecturer
B.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.A. National Louis University
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
skushner@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Youngock Lee
Lecturer
B.S. University of Maryland at College Park
M.S.C.E. University of Maryland at College Park
M. Ed. University of Illinois at Chicago
ylee@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Kristine Lefeber
Lecturer
B.A. Carthage College
M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison
klefeber@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Sarah Moses
Lecturer
B.A. University of Texas at Austin
M.A. Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Psy.D. Adler University
smoses@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Cari Paterno
Lecturer
B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
M.S. University of California, Santa Cruz
cpaterno@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Mary Antoniette (Toni) Surdo
Lecturer
B.A. DePaul University
M.A. National-Louis University
tsurdo@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Sandra Villanueva
Lecturer
B.A. DePaul University
M.A. University of Illinois Chicago
Ph.D. University of Illinois Chicago
svillanu@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Kasia (Kathy) Wereszczynska
Lecturer
B.A. University of St. Frances
M.A. Argosy University, Chicago
kwereszc@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Cathy Willis
Lecturer
B.A. National-Louis University
M.A. Northeastern Illinois University
cwillis@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

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