The 5 Different Types of Psychology Degrees
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), professionals can pursue master’s degrees in psychology in order to get more training and credentials to qualify for a doctoral program or to acquire skills and knowledge for advancement in a specific career or organization.
Graduates that have earned master’s degrees can get jobs in a variety of sectors, such as private business, government, education and healthcare. However, they can decide to further by pursuing doctoral programs for indepth knowledge and to make fresh discoveries with the aid of scientific research.
The APA explains that the two most common doctoral degrees are the Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, and the Doctor of Psychology, or PsyDExternal. While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some professions, some other career paths might require some type of graduate degree. Below is a list of different types of psychology degrees, the duration to earn, and the available career options at each degree level.
1. Associate Degree in Psychology
This is an undergraduate-level degree with a duration of two years to complete. Community colleges often offer an associate degree option and in most cases, students then transfer to a state university to complete a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree is the fastest degree in psychology and most programs take just two years which also makes it the most affordable psychology degree.
The requirements include a high school or GED diploma and a specific GPA may be needed for community colleges that offer an associate degree.
To be honest, there are not so much available jobs at the associate level because majority of entry-level psychology professions demand a bachelor’s degree at the very minimum. This degree is a good way to acquire a background knowledge of psychology and it’s often used as an avenue to earn a bachelor’s and more advanced studies.
Regardless, there’s a variety of career options for people with an associate degree in psychology, including social and government services, sales and marketing, corporations or nonprofits, or administration in a psychology department or psychologist’s office.
2. Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
A bachelor’s degree in psychology can be earned on campus, in a hybrid program, or online. If you’re looking to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, you can use a bachelor’s degree as a stepping stone to achieve this feat. Notwithstanding, career options for someone with a bachelor’s degree in psychology include government, management, sales, human resources, and human services.
Bachelor’s degree is in two parts, Including a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology. A bachelor of arts is mostly based in the liberal arts and offers a wider area of focus while a bachelor of science focuses on research and theory.
The duration to earn a bachelor’s degree is about four years. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply and the required GPA depends on the school and its admission needs.
3. Master’s Degree in Psychology
Just like a bachelor’s degree in psychology, students can earn either a master of science (MS) or a master of arts (MA). The master of science prepares one for an academic career as it specializes more on research and theory. The duration to complete a master’s in psychology is 2-3 years and many institutions require nothing less than a 3.0 GPA for admission.
As you’d expected, there are more jobs at the master’s level than those at the bachelor’s level, explaining why this is one of the most popular degree options. While some master’s programs specialize on preparing students for doctoral-level study, other master’s programs offer a terminal degree, or an end-level degree set-up to brace students for the labor pool.
With a master’s in psychology, you can work in human services, as a consultant, or in administration or government. You can also get a job as a counselor or therapist, depending on the state.
– Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (Licensed professional counselor LPC or Licensed marriage and family therapist LMFT)
Master of Arts in clinical psychology programs mostly need a bachelor’s degree, transcripts, a minimum undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, a resume and sometimes application fee.
Career paths in clinical psychology programs include LMFT meaning licensed marriage and family therapist or LPC an abbreviation for licensed professional counselor.
Graduates of Master of Arts in clinical psychology can become research coordinators or research assistants, building their credentials to enter a doctoral program or obtain a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Career paths include counseling, behavioral research or treatment development plans. Master of Arts in clinical psychology may apply for MFT licensure in some states.
– Master of Arts in Psychology (MAP)
Master of Arts in Psychology programs is often used as stepping stone to doctoral study in psychology. It can also be used for a career in the field of human services or professional advancement in a related field.
Master of Arts in Psychology programs mostly require a bachelor’s degree, transcripts, a minimum undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, a resume and application fee may be required.
Experts with a MAP degree may use the wide range of knowledge and skills acquired in graduate school in various settings like high-level research, which can lead to doctoral degrees. Available jobs are in areas such as behavioral counseling, human resources, advertising and market research.
– Master of Science in (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis master’s programs prepare students to work in careers involving the application of behavioral psychology, like working with individuals diagnosed with impairments such as autism, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injury.
Master of Science in ABA programs mostly need a bachelor’s degree, transcripts, a minimum undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements, a resume and application fee at times.
Master of Science in ABA programs brace graduates to write the Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) exam. Certified behavior analysts graduates can get jobs in a government sector of their choice, private industry, schools and colleges, hospitals and mental health clinics. These graduates can also work as behavior analyst, clinical director, educational consultant, instructional designer and organizational consultant.
– Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
Master of Science in forensic psychology programs prepare students for careers that merge mental health and criminal justice. Master of Science programs in forensic psychology often require a bachelor’s degree, transcripts, a minimum undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statements, a resume and application fee in some cases.
Master of Science in forensic psychology usually give access to a career in the field of law enforcement, corrections, mental health advocacy and administration, criminal analysis, victim advocacy and policy analysis.
4. Ph.D. Degree in Psychology
Students have two choices for a psychology doctorate: a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. after earning a master’s degree. If you plan to become practicing counseling or clinical psychologists, then you have to earn either degree. However, a Ph.D. degree in psychology often makes students more eligible for careers in teaching and research.
The duration to complete a doctoral degree in psychology is about 4-7 years. A minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for most programs. Some instructions admit applicants with a master’s degree in a field related to psychology, but applicants must be able to show that their master’s degree in another field prepared them same way a master’s in psychology would.
After obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology, majority of states require a post-doctoral training year in order for you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist before applying for your own license.
5. Psy.D. Degree in Psychology/Doctor of Psychology
A degree in Psychology and doctor of psychology both prepare you to work as a licensed psychologist and it’s noteworthy that all states need a doctorate for this license.
Graduates in Psy.D. may find career paths in clinics with patients than they would in academia or research. Both a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in psychology include methodology and research courses. Although, the Psy.D. doesn’t specialize much on these and focus more on day-to-day practice. Applicants can however obtain a psychologist license with either degree.
The duration to complete a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. is about 4-7 years. The requirements include at least a 3.0 GPA, skilled in both qualitative and quantitative research and very comfortable with statistics.
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