Is a Master's Degree in Psychology Worth It?

Jun 30, 2018

Obtaining a master's in psychology helps to expand beyond the career choices offered to those with a bachelor's. Within this article you will be introduced to five common careers and their respective salaries as well as degree information.

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Those who secure a master's in psychology will develop skills that help them to think critically and to better understand all aspects of human behavior. They will work one on one with individuals to help them overcome various issues and be able to dictate their own ours and area of focus. To assist you in deciding about this master's degree, the table below lists information on five common career choices for those with this degree.

Degree Requirements

Applicants to a master's in psychology program should submit GRE scores and have a bachelor's degree (with a 3.0 GPA) in psychology, social work, education, behavioral science or a related field. Typically, students are required to take a certain number of credit hours in approved graduate courses with several being in psychology. Students can choose between the thesis or the non-thesis option in pursuit of their master's degree. On average, it can take between two to three years to achieve at a cost of between $3,853 and $45,988 a year at top graduate programs, according to 2016 data from While obtaining their master's, most students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA within their graduate program.

Master's in Psychology Jobs/Salary

Through completing coursework to obtain a master's in psychology, students will be required to take classes like statistics, psychological research, cognitive behavior therapy and advanced personality psychology depending upon their graduate program. Students learn the ins and outs of human behavior and prepare themselves for future education and career advancement opportunities. Below are five careers that those with a master's in psychology tend to pursue.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Degree Required
Social and Community Service Manager $64,100 18% Master's Preferred
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor $43,300 23% Bachelor's
Marriage and Family Therapist $48,790 23% Master's
School and Career Counselor $55,410 13% Master's
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $87,100 8% Master's Preferred

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Behavioral Sciences, General
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  • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
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  • Community Psychology
  • Comparitive Psychology
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  • Environmental Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Family Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology, General
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Medical Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
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  • Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
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Master's in Psychology Careers

Social and Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers assist in planning, directing or coordinating all activities related to a social program as well as manage the programs budget and policies related to individuals' involvement. In addition, they hire staff and partake in employee evaluations as well as monitor and assess the needs of clients and employees as it relates to both their physical and mental well-being. Those will a master's will have a deep understanding of human behavior and can create programs that encompass the needs of every individual within a given community.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors don't typically need a master's degree, but it can be required depending on their area of focus. Their daily tasks include evaluating clients based on their physical and mental health as well as creating programs designed to help aid in their treatment and recovery. They provide clients and their families with information related to their specific problem and provide them with resources that aid in helping them to secure a job and find placement within support groups.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists help to address psychological issues within couples and families and pinpoint issues that only effect specific individuals. Upon researching and collecting information they create a program that can include in person therapy sessions and community programs along with other resources. Due to the working environment, they may encounter anger and other emotions from their clients and as a result, having a master's degree will ensure that they have the proper training to de-escalate any situation and quickly identify its root cause.

School and Career Counselor

School and career counselors work directly with students to identify problem areas that could hinder their progress and work with them to find solutions to such problems. In addition, they identify potential needs as it relates to things like mental health and attempt to provide counseling when necessary. They help students to develop skills and coping mechanisms that help them in school and in the workforce. These counselors report any signs of abuse to the proper authorities and instruct teachers and staff on the cues to look for as it relates to abusive behaviors.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists actively interview workers and observe their behavior in order to create reports which they use to determine potential problem factors. These individuals work directly with company management to create training programs and improve worker productivity. They also provide counseling management and activities for workers along with focus groups. Furthermore, they develop psychological test and rating scales used to evaluate all staff members to ensure that they are in good mental and physical health.

With a master's in psychology prospective job seekers will can quickly analyze individuals and situations to come up with solutions and preventive measures designed to aid in the promotion of good mental and physical health. They will be on the fast track for advancement within any organization and ensure that their likelihood of employment is greater than those with a bachelor's.

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