Education Requirements for a Psychology Career
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a psychologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and other requirements to find out if this is the career for you.
There are jobs within the psychology career field that require different degrees. The majority of these jobs require graduate training and many require a doctoral degree. In addition to coursework, experience is incorporated into many of these programs.
|Career||Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists||Industrial-Organizational Psychologists||Psychologists, all other|
|Education Requirements||Specialist degree||Master's degree||Master's or doctorate degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||11%||53%||11%|
|Average Salary (2013)*||$72,710||$87,960||$88,400|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational Requirements for Psychology Professions
While jobs in most psychology professions require graduate education, psychological assistants may find work with a bachelor's degree. These individuals assist psychologists with research, treatment and administrative duties. With experience, psychologist assistants may take on jobs with greater responsibility, like managing a laboratory.
Bachelor's programs include coursework that may range from neuroscience to social behavior. Some programs require students to select courses from major concentration areas, including clinical and social psychology. Basic prerequisite courses in math and foundation-level psychology may need to be completed before a student can declare psychology as their major.
Industrial-organizational psychologists are concerned with improving quality and productivity in workplaces. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, Inc., these professionals apply psychological principles to areas relevant to business, such as talent management, assessment, organizational development and performance (siop.org). They may work directly with the employees through training or counseling.
Prospective industrial-organizational psychologists need a master's degree to practice. Most colleges and universities offer a master's degree program in industrial-organizational psychology. These curricula educate students to recognize, diagnose and plan strategies to solve organizational problems. They combine advanced coursework in cognitive behavior and psychology and behavior development with research in organizational psychology.
School psychologists identify children with learning difficulties or behavioral problems and plan programs for them. Typically, they work with students, their parents and school personnel to create an efficient learning environment. Outside of schools, they may work for clinics, hospitals or juvenile justice centers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require school psychologists to earn a specialist degree or its equivalent (www.bls.gov). Educational specialist (Ed.S.) degrees in school psychology include topics in counseling, child development and assessment. Ed.S. programs typically last three years and include a 1-year internship, in which they work with students, faculty members and licensed school psychologists.
Clinical psychologists use their knowledge in science and experience with patients to help people of all ages cope and adapt with hardships. These professionals may work in a concentration, such as health or neurology, as well as give interviews, conduct group sessions or administer diagnostic tests. As such, clinical psychologists work in many industries, including rehabilitation, substance abuse and general consulting.
The BLS indicates that most state licensing boards require clinical psychologists to have a doctorate. Individuals may enter a doctoral program directly after undergraduate school or earn a master's degree and transfer credits toward their doctorate. When pursuing a doctorate, students may choose from Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) programs. The difference is that Ph.D. programs are research-based and Psy.D. programs are geared more toward the practice of psychology.
Both Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs typically have research or experience requirements. Ph.D. programs include research-based coursework, while Psy.D. programs largely require courses in applied psychology. Topics may include substance abuse, neuropsychology and counseling. The BLS reports that some psychology Ph.D. programs require one additional year of supervised clinical experience.
Career and Salary Information
The BLS estimates a 12% job growth for all psychologists in the years 2012-2022. In May 2013, the BLS stated that counseling, school and clinical psychologists earned a mean annual wage of $72,710. Industrial-organizational psychologists earned $87,960 as a mean annual salary in 2013.
Related to Education Requirements for a Psychology Career
- Recently Updated
Have you ever wondered what taking an online college course might be like? So did we, so we took one! But the course is now...
Well, it's all come down to this. The studying is done, the practice test is complete and the lessons are finished. It's the...
Things are coming down to the home stretch now. Time to step up the studying and really make these last lessons count! With...
For the last few weeks, we've been taking advantage of free college course material online thanks to the Open Course Library's...
- Learn Psychology in the Blogosphere: Top 10 Psychology Blogs
- Careers in Forensic Psychology: Overview of Options
- OCL Psychology Student Diary: Back to School
- Associate Degree in Dental Management
- Criminology Consultant: Job Description and Requirements
- Military History PhD Program Information
- Salary and Career Info for a Master Welder
- Forensic Psychology Certification and Certificate Program Summaries
- List of Free Online Psychology Courses, Classes and Learning Materials
- Holistic Care for Companion Animals: Education and Career Options
- Addictions Worker: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- Commodity Trader: Job Description, Duties and Requirements