The Types of Psychology Degrees

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The Types of Psychology Degrees

If you are thinking about majoring in psychology there are a few degree options to consider both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Before you choose the type of degree you want to pursue, you should fully understand how much education you need to pursue the career of your dreams. Some careers in psychology only require a bachelor’s degree while others require a graduate degree.

Below are 5 types of psychology degrees.

1- Associate Degree in Psychology
 An associate degree in psychology requires two years at a junior college in order to complete it. It is considered an undergraduate degree. Usually, students transfer to a 4-year university after completing an associates degree. There are not many job options for an associate degree graduate in psychology. Most jobs require a minimum of a bachelors degree. There are two possible job options for an associate degree psychology major.
  • Psychiatric technician
  • rehabilitation worker (Note: this may require an associates degree plus 32 hours of social service.)
2- Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
A bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to complete at a university. There are two options: a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. A bachelor of arts degree usually has more liberal arts general education classes. The Bachelor of science has more general science education courses. 

With a bachelor’s degree in hand, you have a limited selection of entry-level career options. Some common jobs for bachelor degree holders are:

  • case managers
  • psychiatric technicians
  • career counselors
  • rehabilitation specialists

Many times people who hold a degree in psychology find jobs in other areas like sales, marketing, teaching, child care and advertising. About 27% of those who graduate with a bachelors in psychology pursue a job in their field.

A bachelor’s degree is a good foundation for an individual to pursue a graduate level degree.

3- Master’s Degree in Psychology
A master’s degree in psychology is a graduate degree that usually takes two to three years to complete. Just like bachelors degree options, masters also have the choice of a masters of arts or a masters in psychology.

There are more career options at the masters level than at the bachelors level. This is why it is beneficial for psychology majors to pursue a master’s degree. There are two types of masters degrees available for psychology majors:

  • Terminal degree – which is an end level degree that is structured to prepare an individual for the workforce.
  • Doctoral degree – Which focuses on preparing an individual for the next level of study.
 Those who hold a graduate degree in psychology have a wide assortment of job opportunities. The fields include:
  • government agencies
  • business fields
  • mental health services.
  • social services manager
  • drug and alcohol specialist
  • behavioral counselor
  • child protection worker
  • human resources manager.
  • Teaching at the college or university level

There are not many positions and it tends to be highly competitive

4- Ph.D. in Psychology
 A Ph. D. in psychology is a doctor of philosophy in psychology. It is considered a doctoral-level degree. This degree can take five to seven years of graduate study and research to complete. This degree is more research driven. It does have quite a bit of theoretical and applied training.

There are a number of specialty areas that a Ph.D. in psychology can pick from. The choice you make is dependent upon what you wish to do after you graduate. For example, if you are interested in working in psychotherapy or opening your own private practice, a Ph.D in clinical or counseling psychology would gear you up for this career path.

Careers in research, teaching or an applied area require a Ph.D. in a specialty area of study like developmental, industrial-organizational, social or experimental psychology.

5- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

The Psy.D. (doctor of psychology) is an alternative to the traditional Ph.D. program. Those who participate in a Psy.D program in clinical or counseling psychology and pass the required licensing exam are able to diagnose and treat mental disorders, provide psychotherapy, and conduct psychological tests.

In many cases, the Psy.D degree takes between four to seven years to finish. The course entails extensive training in topics like diagnosing mental illness, conducting clinical interventions and performing psychological assessments.

Psy, D candidates are required to complete a supervised practical and internship in a clinical setting. The practical usually requires working part-time under a licensed psychologist. The internship required is a full-time position and is year long.

After completing coursework, an internship and a practical, students can take the national licensing exam.

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