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Is getting a Doctorate in Psychology the best way to make more money and be able to get more jobs in that field?

I am going to be a freshman in college this fall and I plan on majoring in Psychology but I want to plan a little more of my future out to have a goal on what I need to do to have the highest achievement. I know I am going for a Master's but is a Doctorate worth it? college psychology doctorate-degree clinical-psychology masters counselling guidance-counselor child-psychology

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BluJean Casey, M.A.,’s Answer

Hi Ellie!


It really depends on what you want to do when you get into the working world. There are many psychology Ph.D. programs which focus mostly on research, such as social psychologist or cognitive psychologist. Usually though, when people say 'psychologist' they mean clinical psychologist who works with patients or clients on issues of mental health. Psychology is very broad, so first narrow down which area of the field you'd like to be in, in order to help you know which terminal degree you will need.


Additionally, many psychology Ph.D. programs are master's inclusive, meaning that students obtain a M.A. or M.S. while in their Ph.D. program. These students apply to the program usually in their Jr. year of undergrad and then enter the graduate program directly after their undergraduate degree. For some though, who do not get into the program, they will pursue a master's degree in order to be a more competitive applicant.


As far as clout and authority go, the Ph.D. is still king in the psychology world, and many clinical jobs (psychotherapy) require a Ph.D. level degree in psychology or counseling, especially in a supervisory role. However, the difference in money is usually not all that much between a master's degree and a Ph.D.(http://www.wesstudentadvisor.org/2014/07/salary-difference-between-masters-and-phd.html), especially in private practice.


So the question about if it is worth it depends on who is asking. If you want more money, probably not worth it, but if you want to be an expert in your field, become a professor, or publish research, then a Ph.D. is well worth it.


Of course, there is no need to have it all figured out right now. Enjoy your Freshman year and leave yourself open to other careers or possibilities that may arise. The best of us change our majors at least 4 times! ;)

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Ellie B.
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Jo’s Answer

I would say it depends on what field within psychology you are going into. Some fields may not require a doctorate, and you can find great jobs with just a Master's. However, other fields you'll want the PhD (I've heard this is true for counseling.) I have psychology degrees in human factors, which is an awesome field that mixes psychology and engineering to figure out how people interact with everyday items and technology to make them easier and safer to use. I got my PhD, but there are many other successful people in my field that have a Master's and do not feel limited by it.


There are a lot of options to weight when considering degree paths.

Thank you comment icon THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND WISHES Hajira N.
Thank you comment icon thank you! Ellie B.
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Penny’s Answer

Absolutely! I have a college friend who pursued her doctorate in counseling after receiving her masters and she now has her own counseling practice and also teaches courses at the university where she received her degree. The more education you have the further you can go! Good Luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you! Ellie B.
Thank you comment icon THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND WISHES Hajira N.
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Dr. Ray’s Answer

Dear Ellie,


In a word, the answer to your question is yes. Almost all states require that you have to have a doctoral degree to be full licensed as a psychologist. In Texas, where I live, people with master's degrees are licensed as psychological associates and can only work under the direct supervision of a doctoral level psychologist. You are not going to get rich even with a PH.D. but you definitely will make more money and have more job choices with a doctoral degree.


Good luck with your career pursuits.


Ray Finn, Ph.D.

Thank you comment icon Thank you! Ellie B.
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Dr. Ray’s Answer

You are welcome!

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