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Education And Career Overview For Psychology

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, and it provides an opportunity to investigate outstanding questions about the brain, such as how it performs under stress, how it acquires language, how it recalls data, and how mental illness might alter how it functions. You can specialize in a variety of fields of psychology during your psychology degree including health, clinical, educational, research, occupational, counseling, neuropsychology, sport and exercise psychology, and forensic psychology.

How many years will it take to become a psychologist?

That is entirely dependent on your job objectives and the extent to which you are willing to further your education. There are various different sorts of psychology degrees, each of which builds on your existing knowledge and skill in the field.

Bear in mind that obtaining a graduate degree and more training hours is required to become a registered psychologist capable of treating clients. Psychology degrees include undergraduate and graduate programs, but many careers in the field require that you have at least a master’s.

What can a psychology degree prepare you for?

At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, psychology majors have a variety of degree possibilities. To operate as a practicing psychologist with patients, you will typically require a doctoral degree and a state license, while many jurisdictions allow persons with master's degrees to provide psychological services as counselors. However, this is simply one of the several professional paths open to persons with psychology degrees. Some psychology graduates pursue careers in related fields, such as research or teaching, while others work in fields where psychological knowledge is practical, such as human resources. One of the many reasons psychology is a popular undergraduate major is that it produces well-rounded, analytical students capable of working in a variety of fields that require an in-depth understanding of human behavior such as social services, management, administration, marketing, sales, and social work.

Between 2020 and 2030, psychology graduates should anticipate an overall 8% rise in employment, with considerably faster growth rates for clinical, counseling, school, and industrial-organizational psychologists. This page discusses the many types of psychology degrees available and the educational requirements for professions in child psychology, clinical psychology, sports psychology, and other in-demand disciplines.

Associate's Degree

An associate degree in psychology, which typically requires two years of full-time study to complete, provides a faster road to employment than other degree options, though you won’t be able to work as a counselor. Graduates find work in a variety of entry-level or support positions in the sectors of social and human services and mental health. The 60-credit associate degree provides a springboard for many students to pursue bachelors and master's degrees, as well as more advanced employment prospects. While the majority of associate degrees stress verbal and written communication, mathematics, and analytical abilities, psychology programs also introduce students to the profession by addressing important theories and themes such as cognition, personality, and developmental methods.

Should You Consider Earning an Online Associate Degree in Psychology?

Candidates for an online associate degree in psychology should be self-motivated and organized individuals who wish to further their education without jeopardizing their existing employment or lifestyle. Online education is an excellent choice for working professionals or individuals who are unable to relocate or commute to a campus due to family responsibilities. Earning an associate degree in psychology online is a handy method to earn prerequisite courses before committing to a graduate program in the area.

How Long Does an Associate Degree in Psychology Take?

The majority of online associate degree programs in psychology include 60-65 credits of instruction. Students enrolled full-time generally complete the degree in two years. However, the duration of a program is determined by several factors including its format, the availability and taking of summer terms, and course load each semester. Certain programs permit students to study asynchronously and at their own speed, which could result in an early graduation. Others are cohort-based, with students progressing through their curriculum at the same rate as their colleagues. This restricts the rate at which they may accrue credits.

A psychology associate degree can prepare you for a variety of vocations. Psychology careers are available in a range of settings including hospitals, police enforcement, penal institutions, schools and colleges, and local, state, and federal governments.

Depending on your planned professional path, you may opt to engage with the public in a service capacity or to undertake research at a university. Additional education can help you grow in your job and companies may offer continuing education or certifications in some situations. Let's take a look at ten distinct careers that you may obtain with an Associate Degree in Psychology, ranked from bottom to top in terms of compensation.

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Assistant in home Care
  • Family Advocate
  • Youth Counselor
  • Research Assistant
  • Officer of Corrections
  • Assistant in Social Services

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is the most effective way to prepare for a number of psychological careers. Graduates may pursue careers in social and community services, human resources, rehabilitation, or in non-psychological disciplines such as business, criminal justice, and teaching. A bachelor's degree also serves as the intellectual basis for pursuing a graduate degree necessary for advancement in the area. The majority of bachelor's programs require students to finish 160 credits over four years. While programs vary in their course offerings, the majority of psychology majors take courses in theory and research methods, addictions, and developmental psychology. Clinical experiences are a critical component of the psychology curriculum since they provide students with hands-on career preparation.

A large part of the attractiveness of a bachelor's degree in psychology is that it prepares graduates for a diverse variety of employment options. Career counselors, rehabilitation experts, psychiatric technicians, and case managers are just few of the jobs available in the mental health and social services industries. A bachelor's degree in psychology can also serve as an excellent foundation for careers in business, sales, management, marketing, human resources, or any other field in which an understanding of human behavior is vital for success.

Typical Career Paths for Bachelors in Psychology

The majority of psychology graduates go on to work in human or social services. Here are just some of the possibilities.

  • Career Counselor
  • Psychiatric Technician
  • Rehabilitation Expert
  • Case Manager

All of these positions involve abilities that a bachelor's degree in psychology teaches, such as the ability to assess a client's requirements, maintain correct and organized records, convey empathy and compassion, and act in the client's best interests.

Master's Degree

A master's degree can introduce you to an entirely new universe of professional possibilities. You can begin by learning about the requirements to assess if this is the proper educational path for you. You might consider the length of the program, the employment choices available after graduation, and other degrees that you may choose to investigate.

A master's degree in psychology is a graduate-level degree that typically takes two to three years to complete after earning a bachelor's degree. The two most often awarded master's degrees in psychology are:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MS)

An MA degree may reflect a greater emphasis on liberal arts, while an MS degree indicates a greater emphasis on research and the sciences. The sort of degree given varies by institution and program, although academic requirements are usually comparable.

Types of Master's Programs

  • Research or Experimental Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Child Development
  • And More


While a master's degree provides more work opportunities than a bachelor's degree does, job opportunities remain restricted for those interested in entering the area of professional psychology. A terminal master's degree, on the other hand, does provide access to entry-level positions in disciplines such as:

  • Mental Health
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Additional career opportunities exist in colleges, universities, private enterprises, and government.

PhD Degree

To acquire a PhD in psychology, you must first complete a bachelor's degree. While an undergraduate degree in psychology is advantageous, students with bachelor's degrees in other fields can also apply their skills to psychology doctoral programs. Some students may additionally get a master's degree in psychology; however, this is not required for many doctoral programs.

After admission to a graduate program, it typically takes at least four years to get a PhD, plus an additional year for an internship. However, it can take as many as seven years to complete a PhD program. After meeting the requirements, you can sit for state and national tests to get a license to practice psychology in the state in which you intend to work.

What Career Options Are Available with a PhD in Psychology?

  • Psychologist in Clinical Practice
  • Psychologist, Industrial-Organizational
  • Forensic Psychologist

Potential Career Options

There are several choices accessible to psychology graduates, based on their expertise and interests, including the following:

  • Psychologist\Counselor
  • Psychology Roles in Research
  • Manager of Human Resources
  • Psychologist in Education
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • Teacher

Psychology Occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on March 2, 2022 from:

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