Online Psychology Degree Programs
An online degree in psychology provides a solid educational foundation for entering a number of entry-level career options in the psychology, mental health and related fields. Undergraduate psychology degrees provide students with a basic understanding of psychological and developmental concepts, such as identity development, cognitive-behavioral theory, conditioning and learning, and relationship development.
Undergraduate degree programs in psychology also prepare students for advancement into graduate programs in specialized areas, which include advanced psychological theories, clinical practice and diagnosis. Read more about online psychology degree programs.
Nearly 115,000 psychology degrees were conferred in 2006 alone, including 1,944 associate, 88,134 bachelor, 19,770 master and 4,921 doctorate-level degrees. (1) In that same year, around 635,000 counselors were working in the U.S., including 260,000 school counselors, 141,000 rehabilitation counselors, 100,000 mental health counselors, 83,000 substance abuse counselors, 25,000 marriage and family therapists and 27,000 counselors in other counseling positions. (2)
Prospects for psychologist jobs vary widely, depending on degree level and area of specialization, but most are increasing at above-average rates. Demand for psychologists in general is expected to increase by 15% between 2006 and 2016, while positions for certain types of counselors, such as those who specialize in substance abuse or behavioral disorders, are projected to increase by 34%, which is significantly higher than the average for all industries. (2)
Specialties available to students with an undergraduate degree in psychology include bereavement, chemical dependency or case management. Although some classes may be available in these subjects, most students who enter these specialties with an undergraduate degree do so by obtaining separate certification or through on the job experience or internships.
An undergraduate degree in psychology can also be used as a starting point for advanced, graduate-level education in psychology and related fields. Due to the breadth of psychological studies, students with an undergraduate degree are often eligible for graduate programs in psychology that focus other fields, such as social work, education, medicine and law.
Students who choose to complete a graduate degree in psychology will have the opportunity to obtain advanced education with a solid emphasis in the specialty of their choice. Students who complete doctorate programs in psychology may also enter research or academia.
What to Expect
Students enrolled in undergraduate psychology degree programs will receive a broad education including English, math and sciences, as well as psychology courses focused on behaviorism, cognitive psychology, theories of psychology and other core courses related to the field of psychology and mental health. Undergraduate psychology courses may also include introductory courses for statistics and research methods.
Students pursuing graduate degrees in psychology can expect to complete courses focused on particular specializations within the field and will likely complete a thesis, clinical practice or dissertation.
The End Result
An undergraduate psychology degree prepares students for a number of careers in psychology and mental health or related fields. Students who choose to continue their education to obtain a master or doctorate degree will be prepared to transition into higher paying psychologist careers in this rewarding field. Career options for students who obtain a degree in psychology include:
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Marriage and Family Therapist
Mental Health Counselor
Those who wish to gain understanding in human behavior and enjoy helping others will find a career in psychology a rewarding choice. With options ranging from one-on-one counseling to undertaking global research, psychology is a varied discipline with a wide range of career opportunities.
(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
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