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Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind, conscious and unconscious, and has many sub-fields of study ranging from human development to social behavior. Psychology degrees are available at multiple levels, including associate, bachelor, and graduate levels. Ideal candidates have excellent observational, analytical, and communication skills, as well as patience. To become a licensed clinical psychologist, a doctoral degree is required, totalling out at a 10-year commitment.
Choosing a branch of psychology becomes much more important for graduate education, but knowing early on in education can help pave the best path towards the ideal career. Clinical psychology is the archetypal form that most think of when referring to psychologists—it’s the combination of theory, science, and clinical knowledge to treat psychological distress or dysfunction. Industrial and organizational psychology, on the other hand, is something put to use in most offices every day but is much less well-known. It’s goal is to create an efficient workplace through finding the most well-suited employees or office arrangement. Other fields include developmental, cognitive, educational, quantitative, evolutionary, personality, social, and sports psychology.
An associate’s degree in psychology generally takes two years and includes an introduction to the major, as well as an introduction to sociology. Core topics will likely include addiction counseling, childhood development, research methods, and family and group dynamics. Completion of an associate degree gives access to entry-level positions in the psychology field, including: Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, Youth Counselor, Case Technician, Home Care Aide, and Addiction Rehabilitation Assistant.
The Bachelor in Psychology curriculum goes deeper than the associate’s level. It will include developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as sexuality and human behavior. It will delve deeper into abnormal psychology, as well as how society and culture influence psychology. There’s also a clinical component.
When it comes to what type of degree, though, there are two to choose from. A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology will include the above-listed core classes paired with a liberal arts education, whereas a Bachelor of Science in Psychology will lean more heavily on mathematics and science.
Careers for psychology majors at this level include: Psychiatric Technician, Case Manager, Rehabilitation Specialist, Social Work Assistant, Career Counselor, Probation and Parole Officer, Market Researcher, Child Care Worker, Laboratory Assistant, Social Service Specialist.
Master’s in Psychology are typically 2-year programs offered with a number of subject focuses and they will heavily influence job options. Earning a Master’s in Clinical Psychology won’t allow you to become a licensed psychologist but, in some states, graduates can provide psychotherapy and work under the supervision of a licensed individual.
A Master’s in Experimental Psychology opens the door for research opportunities in the studied focus, while a Master’s in an Applied Psychology Area is preparation for fieldwork, such as forensic psychology.
Doctoral degrees in psychology last anywhere from 4 to 7 years and come in two different forms. A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is typically obtained to put into practice, face-to-face with patients, while a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD) is mostly used to indicate an intention to research.