Specific Doctor of Mental Health degree programs were offered during the 1970s and 1980s, but are less common now. Interested students might instead consider earning an advanced degree in psychology, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology program.
Before applying to a doctoral program in psychology, students must already possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education. Schools usually require some undergraduate courses in psychology, and preference may be given to students with previous study in biology or statistics. Potential candidates are typically asked to meet with faculty members for an admissions interview.
Once accepted into doctoral programs, which typically are five years in duration, students can expect to complete a research project and dissertation in order to successfully graduate from the program.
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Doctorate Degree in Mental Health
The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits many doctoral psychology programs in the areas of clinical, counseling and school psychology. Doctorates in psychology require students to study statistics, biochemistry, and professional ethics. The program might include courses in the following:
- Psychological research methods
- Assessment techniques
- Diagnostic testing
- Gender psychology
- Human sexuality
Some colleges and universities offer psychology doctoral candidates the opportunity to teach introductory courses to undergraduate students.
Popular Career Options
Psychology graduates can find work in general practice or in specialized areas of psychology, such as substance abuse counseling and family therapy. Most psychologist roles require state licensure. A doctoral degree in psychology can lead to a career such as one of the following:
- School psychologist
- Rehabilitation counselor
- Mental health therapist
- Clinic supervisor
- Behavior diagnostician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for mental health counselors to grow by 20% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for these professionals is $41,880, as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
A doctorate is the highest level of education available for anyone interest in psychology and mental health. Some graduates with psychology doctoral degrees may consider a career in psychiatry by earning a Doctor of Medicine. An additional graduate degree in chemistry or biology can lead to a career in research or pharmaceuticals.
Because doctoral degrees in mental health are less common, students may alternatively seek a Ph.D. in psychology after completing an acceptable undergraduate degree. Career options include counseling and therapy, as well as additional schooling to earn more professional degrees.