Psychology Degrees and Career Options

Psychologists observe and evaluate the behavior of individuals — including their cognitive, emotional, and social processes — in order to conduct research, provide mental health care, and offer counseling services. Data gathered by psychologists is vital to our understanding of human brain function, emotion, and behavior patterns, and is often used to diagnose disorders and treat patients. Individuals with inquiring minds who demonstrate strong observational, analytical, and communication skills would be well suited for this career path.

Employment in this field is projected to grow nearly 20% from 2014 to 2024.

Job prospects are particularly good for professionals holding an advanced degree in an applied specialty. With a greater emphasis placed on mental health in schools and in the workplace over the past decade, services provided by psychologists are in high demand. A growing number of aspiring professionals opt to earn their psychology degree online as an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar learning.

Did You Know?

Psychology isn’t just for humans. Professor Brian Hare of Duke University has dedicated his career to studying the psychology of dogs and their relationship with humans. Though Dr. Hare’s focus in evolutionary anthropology, he often draws from theories and techniques taught in traditional psychology to inform his research. The study of psychology can cover all manner of topics. Learn more about your degree options, which can serve as the foundation for your own unique research.

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What Can You Do with a Degree in Psychology?

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

$77,000 Avg Annual Salary
Master's Degree Required

Industrial/organizational psychologists are employed by companies and organizations to carry out research, assessments, and survey work. These professionals perform counsel management, conduct focus groups, and analyze the data collected to help improve aspects of an organization. Aspiring psychologists in this career path should be innovative, with strong analytical, organizational, and verbal/written communication skills. Generally, they should hold at least a master’s degree, although a doctoral degree is sometimes required. Experience in research methods and statistics is also a must.

  • Licensure Required: None
  • Time Commitment: 2 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $61,900
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): N/A
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): N/A

Psychology Teacher (Postsecondary)

$50,000 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor's Degree Required

Psychology teachers at postsecondary institutions teach about psychology history and theories ranging from basic to complex. Many teachers at these institutions are expected to provide their own curriculum and lesson plans, and it is their duty to grade assignments, tests, and quizzes, and to evaluate whether all of the material is being properly absorbed by students. Some universities and colleges require only a bachelor’s degree in psychology, however, an advanced degree is typically preferred. Previous teaching experience is also needed.

  • Licensure Required: None
  • Time Commitment: 4 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): N/A
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): N/A
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): N/A

Clinical Psychologist

$75,000 Avg Annual Salary
PhD Degree Required

Clinical psychologists observe and evaluate patients to diagnose and help treat psychological issues such as schizophrenia, dementia, and eating disorders. These professionals should be compassionate and should enjoy working with others. They must also demonstrate strong communication skills. Currently, clinical psychologists working in the states of Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico are allowed to prescribe medication to patients. Clinical psychologists are required to hold a PhD in clinical or counseling therapy, and many positions require previous experience that can be fulfilled through internships or employment. Aspiring professionals in this field must become licensed through their state’s licensing board, and requirements for this vary by state.

  • Licensure Required: Yes
  • Time Commitment: 5-7 years
  • Median Annual Salary (Entry-Level): $65,684
  • Median Annual Salary (Mid-Career): $74,437
  • Median Annual Salary (Late-Career): $89,703

Psychology Careers by the Numbers

If you’re most interested in the salary that comes along with a degree in psychology, check out the information below.

Top Early Childhood Education Careers by Income and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Job Outlook
Industrial-organizational Psychologist $76,950 + 19%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist $68,900 + 20%
Psychologist, All Other $92,110 + 10%
BLS employment projections data, 2014-2024

Highest Paying Psychology Careers by Sector


What Does it Take to Succeed in Psychology?

Students will develop certain skills depending on the degree path and specialization they choose to pursue in psychology. These are some of the general skills required for students considering this career path:

  • Analytical

    Psychologists must be able to draw logical conclusions from the data they have collected.

  • Communication

    Psychologists’ main work functions are to listen to and speak with patients, so strong communication skills are a must.

  • Observational

    Everything a patient does, from facial expressions to bodily movements, could be important for a psychologist to note, so professionals in this field must have a keen eye.

  • Trustworthiness

    Psychologists can only help patients who trust them, and they must keep patients’ problems in confidence.

  • People Skills

    Psychologists work with clients, patients, and other professionals.


Associate Degree in Psychology: An Overview

An associate degree in psychology is a common choice of program for individuals who want to transfer from a two-year program to a four-year program. It provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the basics of the field without making the full commitment of a four-year degree.

Who should pursue an associate degree in psychology?

Students looking to explore psychology or work their way towards a higher degree are well suited for an associate degree in the field.

How many years will it take to complete?

Typically, an associate degree in psychology will take two years to complete.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

No.

What types of jobs does this degree prepare you for?

An online associate degree in psychology prepares graduates for positions in counseling and healthcare, such as Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, Home Care Aide, Youth Counselor, and Case Technician.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average starting salary for someone with an online associate degree in psychology is approximately $28,000.

Core Concepts

An associate degree in psychology covers foundational concepts and terms in the subject, and gives students a broad understanding of the human mind and behavior patterns.

  • Research: Students learn how to access information from various relevant print and electronic sources and how to apply them in their research.
  • Foundational Knowledge: Students learn general terms and concepts, along with key findings and figures in the field.
  • Critical Thinking: Students apply basic concepts of the scientific approach to assess social, cognitive, and behavior patterns.

Course Highlights

General Psychology

Description Providing a general overview of the scientific study of human behavior, this course covers some of the most important topics of psychology. This includes the history and methodology of psychology, the foundation of behavior, memory, learning, problem-solving, motivation, gender and sexuality, sensation and perception, and more.
Job Skill Critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Psychology in the Community

Description This course explores psychology and its place within a social/cultural context. Students will examine the complex factors underlying public health, structural violence, and mental illness, among other topics.
Job Skill Critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Child and Adolescent Development

Description This course examines the stages of human growth from infancy to adolescence. Students will become familiar with the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive factors that affect the development of a child, and concepts such as nature vs. nurture.
Job Skill Critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Abnormal Psychology

Description Students will study the classification, symptomology, assessment, development, and treatment of major psychological disorders, including anxiety, psychotic, sexual, personality, and dissociative disorders.
Job Skill Critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Affordable Schools With Online Associate Programs

25 Most Affordable Online Associate Degrees in Psychology
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1

Allen County Community College

Value Score 7.41
Average Tuition $1,950
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $4,342
Graduation Rate 37%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 54%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 53

In addition to Allen Community College’s campus locations in Iola and Burlingame, Kansas, the college offers associate degrees through its online programs. Its associate of arts with an emphasis in psychology is a 64-credit program offered through Blackboard that leads to careers in clinical psychology, counseling, or social services. Allen's library and writing center are accessible online, and in the event that students encounter technology issues, they have access to 24/7 email support. Allen is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). As California, Florida, and Massachusetts are not members of SARA, students residing in those states are not eligible for Allen’s online degrees.

In this affordable online associate degree in psychology program, Kansas residents and non-residents pay the same tuition. Online students are eligible for financial aid but must pay an additional $25 per-credit-hour technology fee. Most textbooks are rented, which is included in the tuition cost, and textbooks can be mailed to students for a small fee.


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2

Holmes Community College

Value Score 7.40
Average Tuition $2,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $4,502
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 58%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 48%
Number of Online Programs 57

As a member of the Mississippi Virtual Community College, Holmes Community College students can take courses from any member of MSVCC, which uses the Canvas platform. The school's associate of arts in psychology program is a 62-credit program that consists primarily of general education courses but also includes nine credits of electives in the social and behavioral sciences. Most coursework is asynchronous but Holmes courses require at least two proctored exams. Out-of-state students are responsible for any additional testing fees.

All Holmes students benefit from access to student services and academic support services, which includes advising, disability services, and the school's career center. Most classes in this affordable online associate degree in psychology use pre-loaded e-books that are synched with courses, eliminating the need to purchase textbooks. Online classes may be full-term or accelerated, and last from four to eight weeks. Residents of Maryland are not currently eligible for Holmes’s online programs.


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3

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Value Score 6.33
Average Tuition $18,300
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $22,216
Graduation Rate 21%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 74%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 8

Affiliated with the pentecostal Assemblies of God, Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Online courses do not require visiting the school's Waxahachie, Texas campus but online students nonetheless have access to all on-campus services and resources. Students utilize the Blackboard platform to complete course requirements and the school provides access to video lectures through Tegrity, a video tool. This affordable online associate degree in psychology provides both financial aid and the opportunity to apply for scholarships, as well as per-credit tuition that is lower for online students than on-campus students.

SAGU's online associate of science in psychology program includes 46 hours of general education, six hours of electives, and 12 hours of major studies, yielding a total of 64 program credit hours. Major courses include "Psychology of Selfhood and the Christian Faith" and "Theories of Personality". Online learners must be at least 22 years old.


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4

Liberty University

Value Score 6.22
Average Tuition $19,569
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $23,150
Graduation Rate 21%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 75%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 90%
Number of Online Programs 11

Christian institution Liberty University offers students around 250 online degrees. This total includes 12 associate degrees and the school's associate of arts in psychology focuses on psychological theory and practice, research approaches, and the value of ethics. This 60-credit program is entirely online and includes 21 credit hours in psychology. Liberty's asynchronous courses are provided through Blackboard in mostly eight-week formats, with several eight-week sub-terms offered within each fall, spring, and summer semester. The online student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1, and all online faculty members hold a master’s or doctorate degree in their field.

Academic support in the affordable online associate degree in psychology includes the online library, writing assistance, study aids, and IT help. This Lynchburg, Virginia university features a dedicated office of online student life that offers a video library of devotionals and ministry tools, and online students can watch events happening on campus or connect with other virtual students through Yammer.


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5

South Texas College

Value Score 5.91
Average Tuition $2,330
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $1,497
Graduation Rate 21%
Student to Faculty Ratio 24:1
Retention Rate 61%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 17%
Number of Online Programs 16

Students enrolled in South Texas College's online associate of arts in psychology program begin taking psychology classes in their first semester and, if enrolled full-time, continue to take at least one course in the field each term for the program’s entire 60- to 61-credit duration. As program curriculum is similar to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in psychology program, this affordable online associate degree in psychology program is a particularly good option for students interested in transferring. Most of the program's courses are asynchronous and students are never required to visit the school's McAllen, Texas campus.

Online student services include virtual advising and career counseling, which includes an interactive program to help students find their best-fit career and a handbook that provides in-depth information on specific jobs. Tuition varies based on a student’s district and state of residency. South Texas offers financial aid, scholarships based on merit and need, and funds offered by specific departments, outside donors, or the state of Texas.


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Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology: An Overview

Graduates holding a bachelor’s degree can find a career in education, business, or sales. Sometimes, professionals at this degree level work as psychology teachers in postsecondary institutions, but usually a master’s or PhD is required. Some professionals with a bachelor’s degree are able to teach at a community college as they pursue their master’s degree online.

Who should pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology?

Students looking to land entry-level employment in a healthcare, business, and education setting and those who plan on earning an advanced degree are good candidates for bachelor’s degree in psychology.

How many years will it take to complete?

Most undergraduate psychology degree programs require a four-year commitment.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

No.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary for someone with a bachelor’s in psychology is $54,379.

Core Concepts

A bachelor’s degree in psychology provides a comprehensive study of the field, and students pursuing this degree path will hone their skills in research, writing, evaluation, and applying theories to explain learning, emotional, and behavior patterns.

  • Research: Students learn how to access information from various relevant print and electronic sources and how to apply them in their research.
  • Foundational Knowledge: This degree level offers a comprehensive foundation of terms, concepts, and findings.
  • Critical Thinking: Students apply concepts of the scientific approach to assess social, cognitive, and behavior patterns.

Course Highlights

Psychological Statistics

Description Students taking this course will begin learning how to analyze and interpret research data. The course covers descriptive statistics and concepts such as variability, correlational measures, and frequency distributions; as well as statistical inference and concepts such as sampling theory, normal curve, analysis of variance, and more. This course may also require a lab component in which students learn to graph data.
Job Skill Data entry and analysis.

Research Methods

Description An introduction to research methodology in psychology. The course covers quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research, ethics in research, the relationship between theory and research, and the construction of a research proposal, among other concepts.
Job Skill Critical thinking, reading, writing, and research skills.

Social Psychology

Description Social psychology examines the relationship between the individual and society, and covers topics such as social self-concept, social judgement, prejudice, conformity, helping behavior, and interpersonal relationships.
Job Skill Critical thinking, reading, and research skills.

Personality Theories

Description The course introduces and evaluates major personality theories as established in the field of psychology.
Job Skill Application of major theoretical perspectives, critical thinking skills, and communication skills.

Ethics in Psychology

Description In this course, students identify and examine the ethical standards in psychology and other mental health professions. Students will evaluate case studies and apply learnings of ethical principles to determine the best course of action.
Job Skill Critical thinking, research, and communication skills.

Affordable Schools With Online Bachelor’s Programs

50 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology
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1

University of Central Florida

Value Score 7.46
Average Tuition $4,478
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $11,028
Graduation Rate 70%
Student to Faculty Ratio 30:1
Admissions Rate 48.57%
Enrollment Rate 37.92%
Retention Rate 37.92%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 52%
Number of Online Programs 15

UCF is a public research institution that was founded in 1963 in Orlando, Florida. The school offers a variety of distance learning programs through UCF Online, including an online bachelor's of science degree in psychology. This online degree completion program is open to students who have completed UCF's general education requirements, one year of foreign language courses, three science classes, and one statistics class.

Students can choose from one of the following concentrations: clinical, experimental, general, human factors, industrial, or neuroscience psychology. The 120-credit curriculum includes 48 credits upper-division coursework and a capstone project requirement. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers as a career counselor, higher education administrator, psychiatric technician, researcher, and more. Students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 throughout the program. Transfer credits are accepted, but 30 of the final 39 credits in the program must be completed at UCF to graduate. UCF recommends that all prospective students check their state authorization page before applying.


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2

University of Florida-Online

Value Score 7.40
Average Tuition $3,358
Students Receiving Financial Aid 88%
Net Price $9,009
Graduation Rate 45%
Student to Faculty Ratio 35:1
Admissions Rate 55.92%
Enrollment Rate 91.88%
Retention Rate 91.88%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 11

UF is a public research university that was founded in 1853 in Gainesville, Florida. The school offers a variety of distance learning programs through its online learning branch UF Online, including a bachelor's of arts in psychology. This affordable online bachelor's of arts degree is ideal for students who want to pursue careers in social behavior, human resources, therapy, or continue to graduate or law school.

This 120-credit online BA in psychology includes 30 credits of required major coursework. Of the 30 major credits, 18 must be completed at UF and 24 must be in upper-division courses. Students must choose one of the following concentrations: behavior analysis, counseling psychology, developmental psychology, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, and social psychology. Students also enroll in four foundational classes, one lab course, and 12 psychology electives. This program can be completed in four years of full-time study, and all major classes must be passed with at least a "C" grade to graduate.


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3

Florida International University

Value Score 7.15
Average Tuition $4,721
Students Receiving Financial Aid 88%
Net Price $9,785
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Admissions Rate 50.40%
Enrollment Rate 38.89%
Retention Rate 38.89%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 53%
Number of Online Programs 13

FIU offers a variety of distance learning programs, including the cheap online bachelor's of arts in psychology. The bachelor's of arts degree prepares students for graduate school or an entry-level career in a variety of sectors. Online students at FIU can choose from five specializations: experimental, social, applied, personality/abnormal, and developmental psychology.

Students must complete 12 credits of prerequisite major courses in psychology and statistics prior to enrolling in the remaining 36 credits of major coursework. The curriculum also includes 15 credits of courses in the chosen concentration area and 12 upper-division electives. Online students at FIU are paired with a success coach who helps them navigate requirements and receive the same education as on-campus students. This program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Applicants must submit an online application, high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores to be considered. Transfer students must also submit proper transfer documents.


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4

Fort Hays State University

Value Score 6.95
Average Tuition $3,574
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $8,911
Graduation Rate 42%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 85.88%
Enrollment Rate 47.93%
Retention Rate 47.93%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 77%
Number of Online Programs 22

FHSU offers a wide variety of online degrees through the school's Virtual College. The school offers both a bachelor's of science and a bachelor's of arts in psychology. The dual degree options allow students to earn a degree that is tailored towards their career goals. The BS program is ideal for scientific research, while the BA may be better for human resources. Both tracks include 124 total credits.

The BA track requires 10 credits of foreign language study, while the BS degree includes 20 credits of math and science requirements. Each degree track features 55 credits of general education requirements and 42 major credits. All online students at FHSU pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants must submit an application, transcripts, and standardized test scores to be considered. The standardized test score requirement is waived for students over the age of 21.


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5

Midway University

Value Score 6.73
Average Tuition $22,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $17,114
Graduation Rate 53%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 45.59%
Enrollment Rate 40.33%
Retention Rate 40.33%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 84%
Number of Online Programs 18

Midway University is a private liberal arts college that is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. The school offers a variety of distance learning programs, including an affordable online psychology degree. This program prepares students for careers as teachers, social workers, psychologists, and market researchers. Graduates are also prepared for graduate studies in certain subfields of psychology, such as counseling, child development, or educational psychology.

The 120-credit degree includes 34 credits of general education, 41 credits of electives courses, and six credits of psychology electives. Students must also enroll in 39 credits of major requirements in research methods, abnormal psychology, and statistics, as well as a community service practicum. Online classes are taught during eight-week terms taught at five times during the year. Applicants must have a high school diploma and submit official ACT or SAT scores to be considered. They also recommend that students have a minimum GPA of 2.5.


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Master’s Degree in Psychology: An Overview

Professionals holding a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists, and sometimes as assistants to clinical, counseling, and research psychologists. Students applying to a doctoral degree program in psychology are typically required to hold a master’s degree in that subject, and advancing to a doctoral degree opens the door to higher salaries and more job opportunities as a clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, school psychologist, psychotherapist, and more.

Who should pursue a master's degree in psychology?

Students who want to focus on a specialized area of study or gain a foundation for doctoral-level study in psychology are a good fit for a master’s degree in psychology (a master’s is sometimes required for students applying for a doctoral degree).

How many years will it take to complete?

A master’s degree program will generally take two to three years on top of an undergraduate degree.

Is a thesis or capstone usually required?

Most master’s degree programs will require students to complete a thesis or capstone in order to graduate.

Is an internship required?

In some cases, students will be required to complete an internship or practicum to gain hands-on experience.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary for someone with a master’s in psychology is $67,197.

Core Concepts

Students pursuing a master’s degree do not necessarily need an undergraduate major in psychology, but they will build off coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Students in this degree program sometimes choose to focus on a specialization, such as cognitive, developmental, or social psychology. Graduates with a master’s in an applied area of psychology such as industrial-organizational psychology or forensic psychology have the strongest job prospects.

  • Real-world application: Students analyze and apply psychological theories in real-world environments. At this degree level they may also be required to complete a practicum or internship to gain experience.
  • Ethics: Students explore the ethical and legal implications within psychology to better prepare them for a specialized career in the field.
  • Research: Students conduct field research that will prepare them to complete a thesis.

Course Highlights

Advanced Research Methods

Description This intensive course covers principles and procedures involved in psychological scientific research, including design, methodology, and interpretation. Requires a background in research methods. Typically, this course will have a laboratory component, and is often taken by students who plan on writing a master’s thesis or applying to PhD programs.
Job Skill Critical and creative thinking skills, research skills, communication (reading, writing, oral) skills.

Life Span Development

Description The course covers the historical view of human development in an individual and in various groups across cultures, spanning from infancy to death. Students will learn about the social, intellectual, personality, and physical development of humans at different stages of life, and major theories as to why this occurs. They will be able to apply this knowledge to real-life settings, specifically in schools, businesses, and communities.
Job Skill Advanced writing and presentation skills, facilitation between groups, critical thinking skills.

Advanced Forensic Psychology

Description An advanced study of the application of psychology in the legal system. Students evaluate high-profile cases to learn about forensic psychologists’ roles in civil, criminal, and juvenile cases and gain knowledge of best practices in forensic evaluation.
Job Skill Court-related training, including forensic report writing and techniques for court testimony, critical and creative thinking, advanced communication skills, advanced research skills.

Master's Research and Thesis

Description Students will write a formal paper that applies in-depth research to a specific topic of psychology. A thesis is a requirement of many master’s psychology programs, and prepares students to apply to a PhD program.
Job Skill Advanced research and critical thinking skills.

Affordable Schools With Online Master’s Programs

48 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Psychology
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1

Fort Hays State University

Value Score 9.00
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 87%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $206

The graduate program in school psychology at FHSU prepares students for entry into the school psychology profession. Graduates from the program are eligible for licensure as school psychologists in Kansas, as well as other states.

The online master's degree in psychology is designed for busy students who are unable to attend traditional classes, and only requires FIVE days on campus for advanced workshops. The Master's program is designed to be completed in four semesters, including two summer workshops.

FHSU is located in the heart of Kansas, and is a world leader in distance education. The University offers more than 40 online degrees designed for adult learners. Online students have the freedom to study anytime and anywhere, in programs that are ranked as some of the best online.


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2

The University of Texas at Tyler

Value Score 8.71
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 83%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $50

The online master of arts in school counseling from UT Tyler prepares students to become proficient, creative, culturally aware, and competent school counselors. Graduates will be able to assume active roles in counseling, consulting, and leadership.

Students will base their work on a fundamental understanding of comprehensive developmental school counseling programs, including learning methods for planning, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The online master's degree in psychology prepares students to be systematic thinkers with the ability to work from a theoretical counseling perspective.

Students can complete all of the programs coursework online, and have the ability to graduate within 18 months. The university also offers currently employed, full-time K-12 teachers $200 grands for their first graduate semesters through the Teachers in Excellence Scholarship.


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3

Adams State University

Value Score 8.59
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 95%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $246

The MA in counseling from Adams State is designed to provide HR professionals with the necessary skills for becoming professional counselors. The university's mental health and school counseling programs are CACREP accredited.

The program emphasizes clinical mental health and school counseling, and can be taken in online and Colorado campus formats. The online psychology master's degree provides students with the four general competencies necessary to become effective counselors: sound therapeutic skills, comprehensive theoretical knowledge of psychology, a strong personal identity as a counselor, and a self-aware, self-reflective stance as a professional.

Adams State University is experiencing an influx in enrollment, with its recent number of 3,701 students representing the university's all-time high. Founded in 1921 as a teachers' college, Adams state now offers many undergraduate majors, as well as master's degree programs and a doctoral program, most of which can be completed online.


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4

University of the Cumberlands

Value Score 8.57
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 99%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $291

The University of the Cumberlands online counseling programs through the University's School of Counseling (UCSC) provides students with the skills and knowledge to become mental health counselors, addiction counselors, and counseling leaders.

The UCSC faculty are distinguished in research, scholarship, and professional integrity, and are dedicated to impacting the counseling profession to effect greater positive change. Graduates will be prepared to promote greater human understanding, dignity, and positive relationship. The accredited online counseling programs at the University of Cumberlands track study in multiple areas within the field.

The program is designed to serve recent graduates and other professionals who hope to expand their expertise as mental health counselors. The university offers both a clinical mental health counseling and addiction counseling track. The school's accelerated eight-week bi-terms provide students with the opportunity to complete their degrees in the shortest time possible; many degree programs can be completed in as few as 10 months.


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5

Angelo State University

Value Score 8.46
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 77%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $202

The master of science in applied psychology program at Angelo State exposes students to a broad cross-section of courses, covering many of the core theories of psychology. While the program can be taken totally online, students have the option of taking on-campus electives that will count towards their degree. Classes focus on how psychology can be used to improve health, increase safety, better education, increase prosperity, enhance decision making, and promote democratic principles.

This online psychology master's degree can lead to careers in community college teaching, human services agencies, PhD studies, and advancement in related organizations.

Angelo state university was founded in 1928, and is part of the Texas Tech University System. Located in San Angelo, Texas, the university spans over 268 acres and enrolls more than 9000 students. The school's motto, "Fiat Lux," is Latin for "Let there be light."


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PhD in Psychology: An Overview

While professionals can land a job in the field of psychology with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists are required to hold a doctoral degree, whether that be a PhD or a PsyD degree. A PhD is research-based, and students must complete an exam and a dissertation in order to earn this degree. A PsyD is a clinical degree, and emphasizes practical work in a school or counseling setting.

Who should pursue a PhD in psychology?

Aspiring psychologists who want to open up their own private practice, conduct research or teach at a university, or treat patients in a clinical, counseling, school, or healthcare setting must earn a doctorate degree in psychology.

How many years will it take to complete?

Four to six years of additional study after earning a bachelor’s degree are required for a PhD. Four to seven years are required for a PsyD.

Is a dissertation required?

Typically all PhD and PsyD programs require a doctoral dissertation.

Is an internship required?

Both PhD and PsyD students must complete a supervised practicum along with a supervised clinical internship. The practicum is part-time, while students completing the internship work full-time, usually requiring around one to two years.

What's the average salary for someone who holds this degree?

The average salary for someone with a doctorate in psychology is $85,787.

Core Concepts

A PhD tends to be more research-based, and students at this degree level typically choose a specialization to focus on. After completing the degree program, they take the relevant state and national exams to become licensed to practice. PsyD programs place a heavier emphasis on clinical practice, and professionals who want to open their own private practice may choose this degree path. PsyD students can earn a degree in clinical or counseling psychology, and after receiving proper licensure, can treat patients and provide psychotherapy services.

  • Diagnosis: Students learn psychopathology and how to diagnose mental disorders.
  • Developmental concepts: Students at this level will gain a solid understanding of mental health issues and developmental factors.
  • Assessment: Students evaluate mental health through standardized tests and assessments.
  • Consultation: Students can consult with other healthcare professionals and organizations in the field.
  • Research: Students conduct research and complete a doctoral dissertation.

Course Highlights

Developmental Psychology

Description Students receive advanced training covering cognitive, social, language, and emotional development in individuals and groups from infancy to adolescence.
Job Skill Advanced research skills, advanced communication skills, facilitation between groups.

Neuropsychology

Description Students study the brain and its relationship to cognition, emotion, and behavior. They will learn about the structure of the nervous system, brain damage, neuropsychological disorders and diseases (adult and pediatric), and rehabilitation. They will review clinical cases and research outcomes. An introductory background in neuroscience is required.
Job Skill Advanced research skills, advanced writing skills, knowledge of several subfields of medicine.

Clinical Psychopharmacology

Description Students identify medications used to treat various psychological disorders including anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. The course also covers the use drugs in special populations, drug interactions, side effects, and pharmacogenetics. Clinical practice and collaboration with professional healthcare practitioners is typical. This course is intended for prelicensure mental health students as well as professionals participating in continuing education.
Job Skill Knowledge of neurobiology and psychopharmacology required specifically for this career track.

Behavior Genetics

Description An in-depth examination of behavior genetics, including environmental influences that affect individual differences in behavior.
Job Skill Advanced research skills, knowledge of genetics and information systems.

The In-Person Aspect of an Online Psychology Degree

Due to the nature of this work, students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree online will be required to commit to a certain amount of time to hands-on learning. For example, students earning a PhD or PsyD in psychology must complete an internship or practicum in order to be qualified for full state licensure. This typically comprises 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and can take up to two years.


Next Steps: Licensure and Certification

Practicing psychology requires licensure in most states, and psychologists who want to open a private practice must be licensed in the state they work in. Most states also require that licensed psychologists complete continuing education to maintain their licensure. Guidelines for each state can be found at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Some graduates in the field also choose to get certification in a specialized area of psychology like school psychology, clinical neuropsychology, or clinical child and adolescent psychology. Certification demonstrates expertise in a specialized area, and while it is not always necessary to obtain, some hospitals and clinics require it.

Psychology students must have already earned a doctoral degree and state licensure in order to complete certification, but the American Board of Professional Psychology offers an early-entry program which allows students to begin the process before even choosing a speciality area.


Sites You May Also be Interested In

Psychology Job Boards

Psychology Blogs

  • Psychology Today Blog Index Psychology Today’s Index of Blogs provides links to hundreds of psychology blogs sorted by subject. Topics range from addiction to therapy.
  • TalkPsych This blog is a collaborative effort of psychology professors David Myers and Nathan DeWall. TalkPsych targets teachers seeking new ideas for their classes and students who want to stay informed about new research and discoveries in psychology.
  • World of Psychology Maintained by Dr. John Grohol, this long-running blog focuses on technology in the context of psychology, human behavior, and mental health and illness.

Professional Organizations

  • American Psychological Association APA is the leading professional organization for psychology in the country. APA provides extensive knowledge on all topics of psychology, and is a good resource for those who want to learn more about research, education programs, careers, accreditation, and scholarships in the field of psychology.
  • Association for Psychological Science APS was formed in 1988 in order to “advance scientific psychology and its representation as a science on the national level”. Today, APS boasts more than 26,000 members in 80 countries and works to promote scientifically oriented psychology in research, application and teaching.
  • American Board of Professional Psychology ABPP provides certification of psychologists who demonstrate competence in specialized areas of psychology, allowing professionals greater opportunities for career growth.
  • The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards This is the leading authority in regulation and credentialing of psychologist. ASPPB offers examination and credentialing programs, and extensive, up-to-date information regarding the regulation of psychologists across the US.

Psychology Continuing Education

  • APA Continuing Education APA offers programs for graduates completing continuing education programs. Students can search programs by topic, by type, or by credit.

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