How and Why to Get a Masters in Psychology Degree

Master’s degree programs in the field of psychology are intended to prepare students for working in psychology, or working as assistants to psychologists who hold doctorate level degrees. If you’ve ever been interested in the way that the human mind works, or you’ve long had an interest in psychology in general, then you may find that a career with a master’s in psychology is preferable for you. Most of the time, programs for a master in psychology degree will last for a period of two years and often permit students to choose their own specialization. According to the American Psychological Association, individuals who possess a master’s degree in psychology are also well prepared to continue their graduate studies to obtain a doctorate in this particular field.

What’s a Masters in Psychology Degree?

Simply put, a masters in psychology degree expands the knowledge of students in this particular field and boosts their chances of getting into managerial or executive level positions. Those who take a masters of psychology degree will often take a combination of core psychology classes, alongside with a number of electives within a particular specialty such as industrial organizational psychology, family psychology, or child psychology. Some students will also take steps to improve their research skills, and often a thesis will be required in order to receive an end degree.

Most of the time, a master’s program in psychology will require at least 33 credits of work, and psychology courses are divided into personality, basic psychology, social psychology, and biological psychology. Some of the available courses that students can take to enhance their education might include:

• Pathology
• Social psychology
• Behavioral therapy
• Neuropathy
• Criminal psychology
• Personality disorders

Why Earn a Master’s in Psychology Degree?

There are plenty of great career options available for students who have a master’s degree in psychology. For example, graduates of master’s degree programs can work as counselors or psychological assistants, though they will need to work under supervision with a licensed psychologist before they receive their doctoral degree.

Career opportunities can also be found in government bodies, universities, and private behavioral health companies. Graduates of a master’s degree program are also well-equipped to move on to a doctorate program. PhD programs take around four to six years to complete, and graduates will be able to work as licensed psychologists. Some of the master’s degree programs available in psychology make up part of a full doctorate program, and students will be able to earn their master’s part way through their doctoral program.

For those who obtain a master’s in psychology degree, there is a bright outlook for job growth in the sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this professional area is predicted to see a growth of around 22% from 2010 to 2020. On top of that, the salaries can vary depending on which area of psychology you specialize in, but for those who have a master’s degree in psychology the median income was approximately $68,640 in 2010. For some individuals, this number can go as high as the six-figure range depending on specialization.

Besides the advantages of a stable job and a good income, psychologists also benefit from having a career that they can be proud of. After all, psychologists have the opportunity to make a real difference in someone else’s life and help them move on after they have encountered difficult experiences. There are many different areas of specialization to pursue and many areas of growth to explore to.

Often, people who get a master’s in psychology degree find that they’re never bored in their job, and they often feel a deep sense of personal and professional satisfaction with the work that they do. Not only that, but they also have a great chance to start earning an impressive income as a professional.

How to Get a Master’s in Psychology

To get into a master’s program in psychology, you will need to begin by earning your bachelor’s degree. In most cases, it’s preferred if the degree in question is within the area of psychology, and this will require you to complete four years of training within an accredited school. Usually, you should be able to find a range of different schools offering opportunities for undergraduate courses in psychology, and some may even be available online to those who struggle to schedule classes around their hectic lifestyle.

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you will be able to continue your education by applying to take a post-graduate course. During this degree, you will learn how to work directly within the field of your choice, and your program will teach you:

• How to evaluate the sociocultural implications of choices that are made in the field of psychology, as well as their implications on legal and ethical levels
• How to analyze various theories associated with psychology so that you can develop more effective strategies for a professional practice
• How to apply a range of contemporary theories within the psychological sector to circumstances in the real world, and how you can perform various different forms of research.

One of the factors that will determine exactly what you learn during your education, and how long it will take for you to receive your masters of psychology degree, is which specialization you choose to focus on. There are many different areas of specialization in psychology at a master’s degree level, but some of the most common areas are:

• General psychology: Within the area of general psychology you should find that you can complete your master’s degree program in as little as one year. During that time you will complete coursework that teach you about all aspects of behavioral and cognitive psychology, as well as other issues within the field.
• Applied behavior analysis: If you would like to work with patients who are disabled, then you might find that you benefit most from specializing in applied behavioral analysis. This form of master’s degree will take you anywhere up to three years to complete.
• Addictions: People who specialize in addictions will find that their master’s degree takes between two and three years for them to earn. During this time of study you will learn more about different treatment methods that are used to help people who are suffering from addictions, as well as solutions that can assist people with overcoming their addictions such as co-occurring disorders and group therapy.


Deciding whether or not you should earn a master’s degree in psychology will depend on your goals in life and as a person interested in the field of psychology. For most people who are interested in earning large-figure salaries, or expanding their knowledge in the area of psychology so that they can apply for more executive-level job positions, a master’s degree in psychology will be a very good place to start.

Often, this degree will simply be a part of your path to further education, which is usually a doctorate in your chosen specialty. Psychologists with doctorate degrees can often achieve a great deal more in their chosen field.


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