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When pursuing a major in Psychology, is earning a Doctorate in this particular field where the actual jobs come in?

I've always been interested in the field of Psychology, and I was thinking of taking that up as a minor. So while weighing my options, it was only natural that I question what degree is required to reap the greatest opportunities. #college #psychology #higher-education #medical-education


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Seth Daniel’s Answer

Before answering your question about psychology careers and graduate degrees, I noticed you are minoring in Psychology. While there are graduate programs in the psychology field that will admit candidates without a psychology major, they may make your acceptance contingent on completing certain undergraduate courses in Psychology. Other programs will admit you and allow you to take any additional required courses while you are enrolled in a psychology program. Personally, I majored in Political Science and did have to take an undergrad Abnormal Psychology course before enrolling in my M.S. Counseling program.


Now for the answer about whether you need a doctorate (PhD or PsyD) to work in Psychology. If you want to be a Clinical Psychologist you will need a PhD or PsyD. The PhD is best for careers in higher education emphasizing professorships or research and can also be used to become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. A PsyD may require less academic research training and emphasizes licensed clinical practice with clients (as opposed to research and teaching). Depending on licensure requirements in each state the PsyD can be used to qualify as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.


That said, there is a hierarchy in Psychology, and with a Master's in Psychology or a Master's in Counseling or Counseling Psychology, you can begin licensing requirements (such as internship hours) to become a Licensed Personal Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor and mental health counseling designations.


Salaries and hourly fees you can charge clients are generally higher with the job designations that require the PhD or PsyD. Jobs requiring a Master's Degree will generally have lower but quite adequate compensation.


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Linda Ann’s Answer

Seth Bernstein's response is very good for defining the educational path to a terminal degree in psychology. To his response I would add the following.


Only about 1/3 of psychologists are clinical psychologists. The field has many paths to follow, e.g., School Psychology - working with K-12 students. There are specialized programs for School Psychology which lead to certification; one can practice with just a masters degree.


I would strongly recommend reviewing all of the sub disciplines in our field by going to the website of the American Psychological Association and going to the pull down menu for "divisions " Read about each of about 40 divisions to find out if something resonates for you. The website is: www.apa.org.


Jobs for psychologists are advertised in numerous publications, but especially professional periodicals and professional associations websites. We work in a variety of sectors including academic, government, non-profit, private business, corporate business and the military.


I wish you the best with your career exploration.


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