The field of psychology is one of the best to work in because of its good stability compared to other jobs. It won’t fluctuate with the changing economy, can’t be outsourced to another country, and will always be a much-needed service. However, one must earn a psychology degree in order to take full advantage of this excellent career path. Even then, that doesn’t make a person a psychologist. In order to practice psychology in a professional setting, it is necessary to take a graduate or doctoral course that may last between four and seven years longer than the original four-year undergraduate coursework. Unfortunately, doctoral programs aren’t easy to get into. Many of the best colleges only accept between two and five percent of the students who apply. Students who score high on the GRE Psychology Subject Test are the most likely candidates to be accepted.
Graduate and Doctoral Degrees
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in psychology, people who are interested in pursuing clinical psychology will need to put five to seven more years into one of two graduate programs. One of these is the Ph.D., which tends to be more research oriented. The other is the Psy.D. (doctor of psychology), which is used in practical applications. Both of these degrees will enable students to work as a psychologist. Once this education is finished, an additional one to two years of supervised training is required to become licensed.
The total amount of time that the supervised training period lasts depends on the state the student wishes to practice in, but it is typically 3,000 hours. After this, students are eligible for licensure. To finish Ph.D. coursework, students must prepare and present a dissertation. Completing a Psy.D. requires practical assignments like clinical work or examinations.
Masters and Bachelors Degrees
People who don’t wish to invest in the years of difficult work, but still wish to work in the field of psychology, can obtain a master degree in the subject after about two years of study. While this degree doesn’t enable someone to become a clinical psychologist, it does allow them to work with trained psychologists in a professional setting. A master degree will also enable students to find work with organizations and industries to help those companies better understand and interact with their customers and employees.
Earning a bachelor degree in psychology increases students’ chances of getting selected for a graduate program. However, it is estimated that only one-quarter of students with a bachelor degree in psychology will find a job that directly relates to their specialization. Most of them find work in less-related areas such as human resources, which still lets them apply some of their training.
Regardless of whether students choose a master, bachelor or doctorate degree in psychology, the degree will still be useful even without becoming a full-fledged psychologist. Many of the skills gained from such an education help graduates to present convincing results, decipher data, compile reports and handle people problems, all of which are skills that are useful in many of today’s jobs.