While graduate programs in psychology vary from one school to another, they share a common trait – – completing them can set graduates up for greater success in their careers.
At the master's level
Several professions in the field of psychology, such as psychologist and therapist, require individuals to hold master's degrees. For this reason, those who have their sights set on landing these jobs typically follow their undergraduate studies with time in graduate school.
There, they can pursue either a Master of Arts in Psychology or a Master of Science in Psychology. While both credentials focus on the same subject, the MS is typically more research-based than the MA.
If students want a more focused graduate degree, they may want to choose a specialized master's degree. Such programs will not be available at every school, but may include master's degrees in clinical psychology, social psychology and forensic psychology.
At the doctoral level
Beyond the master's level, students can pursue a Doctor of Psychology, or a Psy.D.. This credential, available with a focus on clinical psychology and other topics, is designed to prepare individuals for careers practicing psychology.
Then, there is the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, which can help students who wish to open a private practice. In addition, those who earn a Ph.D in psychology may want to pursue careers teaching in higher education settings.
Putting psychology skills to use
With a master's degree in psychology, individuals will have one of the education credentials necessary to become a mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist. This line of work, which is dedicated to help people overcome their mental and emotional problems as they relate to their personal relationships, is expected to experience faster-than-average growth through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In order to practice, psychologists need a doctoral degree in psychology. Whether they choose to become a clinical psychologist or a research psychologist, either a Psy.D. or a Ph.D can help individuals work in these roles.
A Ph.D in Psychology is also considered to be an essential credential for individuals who wish to become professors and teach at the postsecondary level. Like mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, college-level psychology educators are projected to see a faster-than-average increase in employment opportunities, according to the BLS.
Find the right psychology programs
With so many graduate options available, it may be time for those interested in pursuing a career in psychology to narrow down their choices and identify the right program. GraduateGuide.com and its graduate search engine can help prospective students explore psychology programs and figure out which ones can help them achieve their academic and professional goals.
Search our full list of Graduate Psychology Programs in the U.S. and Canada