Master Degree in Psychopharmacology: Program Overview

Healthcare professionals who want to learn more about the medications used to treat mental health disorders can opt for a graduate program in psychopharmacology. Find out what to expect from these programs, as well as job outlook for the field.

Essential Information

In a master's degree program in psychopharmacology, students study the use of psychotropic medications in the mental health field and the impact of these drugs on patients' conditions. These programs require incoming students to be licensed health care providers, such as licensed nurse practitioners, licensed pharmacists or licensed advanced practice nurses. Some courses may be offered online, but students must conduct hands-on clinical work prior to graduation.

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Master's Degree in Psychopharmacology

Because psychopharmacology programs are designed for medical professionals from several different backgrounds, they often provide a broad overview of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, as well as patient assessment and treatment techniques. Some programs split up courses depending upon the professions of the students, while others offer general education in pharmacology, professional ethics, and DSM-5 diagnostic procedures to all students regardless of their backgrounds. Core coursework includes:

  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Legal and ethical issues in pharmacology
  • Clinical psychopharmacology
  • Integrative methods of care

Popular Career Options

A master's degree in psychopharmacology is a form of continuing education for working professionals in the health care field. Some professionals who might benefit from this program include:

  • Psychologists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Pharmacists
  • Child psychologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Clinical researchers

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $70,580 as of May 2015, with employment expected to grow 20% from 2014 to 2024. For all other psychologists, the median annual wage was $94,590, with an expected growth of 19% over the same decade.

The BLS also reported that the median annual wage for nurse practitioners was $98,190 in 2015, with employment expected to grow by 35% between 2014 and 2024. For pharmacists, the median annual wage was $121,500, with expected job growth of 3%. Medical scientists (except epidemiologists) earned a median annual wage of $82,240, with employment projected to grow 8% between 2014 and 2024.

By earning a master's degree in psychopharmacology, these professionals can greatly enhance their knowledge of the use of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of mental health problems.

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