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ECC student in psychology class

Do you enjoy helping others? Are you the person friends come to for advice? Psychology might be the career right fit for you! Psychologists enjoy helping others and seek to understand human thoughts and behaviors. They study a wide range of fields including health and human services, management, education, law, and sports. Psychologists are able to deal effectively with people and are emotionally stable and mature. Important qualities include compassion, sensitivity, the ability to lead and inspire others, and strong listening and communicative skills. They work with individuals to help them make behavioral changes, and they seek to understand thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Psychologists must be credentialed, which requires a graduate degree.

While many career options for Psychology are possible, one of the fastest growing jobs is Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counseling. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, between now and 2022, this position is expected to grow 31%, which is much faster than average! Professionals in this field recognize issues that their patients deal with regarding things like alcoholism, eating disorders, addictions, and other behavioral problems, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They counsel, treat, and provide prevention and/or relapse strategies for their patients.

Counseling-specific courses are an experiential component to your learning at Ellsworth, along with many other psychology classes that will help prepare students who wish to transfer to a four-year institution. At ECC,  Psychology studies can be tailored to either Psychology, Human Services, or Social Work, offering a whole gamut of careers in any of the three preferred fields.


Employment of Psychologists is expected to grow through 2022, with the largest growth in the field of outpatient mental health, substance abuse treatment, and aging clinics. Prospects are best for those with advanced degrees. Other careers/employers include elementary and secondary school counselors, hospitals, clinics, counseling centers, industries, universities, private research centers, nursing homes, government agencies, research organizations, social services agencies.

NOTE #1: Psychologists typically need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology, but a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some positions in Iowa. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification. ECC has a transfer agreement with Buena Vista University that allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree in Iowa Falls and be employable without pursuing a graduate degree in psychology.

NOTE #2: In Iowa, Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors are required to have a bachelor’s degree; see note above regarding transfer of ECC credits to Buena Vista University in Iowa Falls.


ECC’s Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree is designed to meet the requirements of colleges and universities to which students may wish to transfer for completion of baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees. In many instances, transfer colleges accept this degree as equivalent to their own general education requirements. (See NOTE #1 above regarding transfer to Buena Vista University’s Iowa Falls campus.)

Because the requirements for an AA transfer degree change periodically, students should check with their academic advisor or the ECC Admissions Office to confirm that they have the most current information. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they hope to obtain and for planning their schedule accordingly.

Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State, UNI and Iowa

ECC participates in the Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa to enable ECC students to transfer credits seamlessly to any of the state universities. Participants are dual-enrolled at ECC and the university with access to academic advising and student services at both institutions. The universities guarantee admission into the desired degree program, provided all requirements are met. Ask the ECC Admissions Office for more information!


  • ECC currently has the 17th highest student success rate (graduation rate + transfer rate) of any community college in the nation.
  • The College offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages, which is why our graduates have one of the lowest average student debt loads of any college in Iowa, public or private, two-year or four year!
  • What students appreciate about ECC is our smaller class sizes, which results in more one-on-one attention from the instructor and greater classroom success.