In the field of psychology, your education can definitely make a lot of difference when it comes to getting the job of your dreams. If you want a highly successful career in psychology, then you may need to be willing to put a great deal of work into your future, including building on your education with a Ph.D.
In psychology, most experts are expected to have a doctorate degree in psychology or a closely related field before they will be able to obtain a license that will allow them to move upwards and start practicing their profession. In addition, most teaching positions and research areas at government agencies or universities will also require a degree at a doctorate level.
What Is a Ph.D. in Psychology?
Although a master’s degree or even a bachelor’s degree in psychology may qualify you for an entry-level position within psychology, if you effectively want to compete with other psychologists for good jobs in your area, then you will need to consider obtaining your doctorate at some point. In simple terms, a doctor of philosophy or Ph.D. degree in psychology is one of the best and highest levels of degree that you can obtain in the area of psychology.
Simply put, a bachelor’s degree will take four years of study, while a master’s degree will take another two or three years of study beyond the initial four. Furthermore, a doctorate degree can take four to six years of additional study at a graduate level. In other words, you need to be willing to devote a large portion of your life to your education if you want to pursue your doctorate. It’s no surprise that many individuals considering getting a Ph.D. in psychology would want to know more about the salary and job outlook before they go about pursuing a Ph.D.
What Kind of Jobs Can You Get with a Ph.D. in Psychology?
A doctoral degree in psychology is essential for anyone who is considering opening a private practice. Additionally, in many scenarios, you will need to obtain this level of degree if you want to conduct research or teach at the university or college level. Although there may be some opportunities available for people who have already gotten their master’s degree in various fields of specialty, those who have a doctorate-level degree will often find that they have access to higher levels of pay, greater job opportunities and further solutions for growth within their industry.
Though there are many different jobs you can get with a Ph.D. in psychology, some of the most popular positions include:
- Clinical Psychologist: Clinical psychology is one of the most popular and most stable areas within the psychology industry. Most of the time, clinical psychologists are almost always in demand and can work a variety of capacities. These professionals treat and diagnose individuals that are suffering from mental illnesses, and can also work in direct settings for patient care. Almost all clinical psychologists have a Ph.D. in psychology, or they may also hold a PsyD degree.
- Counselor: Counselors can also work in direct settings for patient care, and often strive to help different people improve their quality of life through a range of different treatments. However, while clinical psychologists are responsible for treating disorders and mental illness, counselors are responsible for addressing negativity and emotional issues that might impact a person’s life on a personal level. Often, counselors will have a doctorate degree.
- Social Worker: A large number of psychology majors may end up working as social workers within the government, public, or non-profit sectors of the industry. These individuals are responsible for helping to care for people who suffer from emotional or mental illnesses. Although entry-level positions are available in social work, it’s important to remember that most people will require social workers to have a doctorate DSW degree if they want to earn the highest possible salary.
How to Get Your Ph.D. in Psychology
To earn a Ph.D. in psychology, you will need to begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. Although earning an undergraduate degree in psychology is preferred, students who have undergraduate degrees in other areas can also apply for a psychology Ph.D. program. Although some students may also obtain a master’s in psychology, various doctorate degrees will not require this level of education.
You will often have to learn for a period of at least four years to get your Ph.D., and then you will need to take part in an internship. Once you have fulfilled these requirements, you will be able to take exams at the national and local level to become licensed to practice.
For a graduate degree program in psychology, you will have to choose an area of specialization such as counseling psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, or health psychology. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits graduate programs in areas of school psychology, clinical psychology, and counseling. If you’re interested in going into one of these specialty areas, it’s important to choose a school that has received some manner of accreditation through the APA.
For many students, the biggest concern is deciding whether to do a clinical psychology program or a counseling psychology program. There is a host of similarities between the two Ph.D. programs, but the biggest thing to remember is that clinical programs focus more on research, while counseling programs are often more focused on professional practice.
Outlook and Salary for Ph.D. in Psychology Grads
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted in 2015 that the demand for psychologists will grow at a rate of 19% from 2014 to 2024. This growing demand is in part due to the psychological services in schools, hospitals, and mental health clinics. As time progresses, psychologists can expect to see an increased demand in employment within a range of areas.
The job outlook may change according to the specific area of psychology professional works in. Today, the opportunities are generally more plentiful for those with doctoral degrees in applied areas of specialty such as health psychology and counseling.
As people begin to grow more aware of the importance of psychology services and the need for these services in our society, the demand for professional psychological experts should be expected to grow even further. Such professionals may be needed to provide services to aging adults and treat mental and emotional stresses in a host of different areas. Additionally, the average salary for psychologists with a doctoral degree is approximate $76,040 per year.
- Career Options with a Doctorate Degree in Psychology. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.psychologycareercenter.org/graduate-degree-career-options.html
- Kendra Cherry. Master’s Degree in Psychology. (2016, Apr. 28) Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/masters-degree-in-psychology-2795672
- Clinical Psychologist: Career Outlook and Job Opportunities. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://study.com/articles/Clinical_Psychologist_Career_Outlook_and_Job_Opportunities.html