For professionals who want to work as practicing psychologists, you must at least earn your master’s degree in psychology. Once you have earned that degree and have passed your certification examination, you can practice in a variety of well-paid types of psychologist specialties. This is a solid choice of career; the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that demand for psychologists generally will increase 19% by 2024.
But what are the common types of psychology specialty degrees that require a master’s? They are:
- Clinical psychology: Assess, diagnose and treat common mental, emotional and behavioral problems. Clinical psychologists use different types of strategies depending upon their belief systems and education, but they generally interview patients, provide diagnostic tests, and offer individual, group and family therapy. Some clinical psychologists also offer behavior modification programs.
- Counseling psychology: This type of psychologist is related to clinical, but the latter is more focused on a specific clinical diagnosis, whereas a counseling psychologist is helping the patient to deal with the problems of life, such as at home, in marriage or the workplace. Through counseling, they help their patients to learn how to manage their problems more effectively.
- Organizational psychology: This type of psychology applies advanced psychological principles to the workplace by using psychology and research techniques to solve problems in the workplace. They work on things such as workplace productivity, management of work styles, employee morale, and hiring practices.
- School psychology: Focuses on the application of psychology onto education and developmental issues in children. They often address student learning issues and problems with behavior. They also design and implement plans for better academic performance. Further, they counsel students and families about how to do better in school, and deal with problems in the home.
Specifically, the demand for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is expected to increase by 20% in the next eight years. This is being driven by more demand for all types of serves in the psychological field, as people are living longer and more active lives than ever before.
A master’s in psychology is the minimum required degree for the above psychology specialties, and a doctoral degree is often preferred. For those who wish to work in their own private practice, you eventually will need to earn your Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology degree. All of these specialities require you to complete a lengthy clinical internship. Also, you need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology that is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
Also, the American Board of Professional Psychology provides specialty certification in more than 15 areas of the field, including clinical health, couples and families, rehabilitation and counseling. This type of certification may not be required for your employer, but some healthcare providers may require it.
All potential practicing psychologists have to have pre or post doctoral clinical experience that is closely monitored by a practicing psychologist with a doctoral Psyd degree. You may work as a psychologist in that professor’s practice under his or her supervision.
Master of Psychology Curriculum Overview
Graduates with a master’s degree can work with supervision as one of the above types of psychologists. Industrial-organizational psychologists can practice in their field with just a master’s degree, however. Many master’s in psychology programs are focused on preparing you for earning your doctoral degree. If you want to get a terminal master’s degree, you need to choose a program that offers that option.
Most master’s programs in psychology do not require you to have a bachelor’s in psychology. You will need to have background coursework in psychology, sociology, research design and statistics.
Any of the psychology specialties you choose will require you to do a lengthy clinical internship of 750-1000 hours.
Below are more details about online universities and curricula for the various master’s in psychology specialties.
Master’s in Clinical Psychology
If you want to be a clinical psychologist, consider the online program that is offered by Argosy University. The first year of this Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology provides you with the foundation that you need, which is followed by a one year practicum and more classes. The program stresses the development of the skills, techniques and knowledge that you need to perform at a master’s level in clinical psychology.
This two year full time program requires you to complete 50 credit hours, including these classes:
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Personal and Professional Development
- Professional Issues – Ethics, Conduct and Law
- Health and Dysfunction I and II
- Survey of Diversity and Multicultural Psychology
- Cognitive Assessment
- Personality Assessment
Master’s in Counseling Psychology
Liberty University offers an excellent online master of Arts in Professional Counseling that prepare you for professional licensure. The mission of this two year program is to provide the world with ethically and spiritually aware counselors who have the skills to promote mental wellness among the US population.
This program can be completed mostly online but there are three on campus intensives that you must attend throughout the two years. A three credit hour internship is also required. Required classes include:
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling
- Human Growth and Development
- Multicultural Counseling
- Counseling Techniques and the Helping Relationship
- Theories of Counseling
- Group Counseling
- Research and Program Evaluation
- Career Development and Counseling
- Marriage and Family Counseling
- Crisis Counseling
Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
California Southern University offers a Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology that is a great option for professionals who are interested in both business and psychology. As an organizational psychologist, you will will work to enhance office productivity, improve how teams of employees work together and work on customer retention efforts, among other things.
This type of advanced degree in psychology can open doors to some of the most lucrative psychology jobs in the country. BLS reports that the median salary in this field is $77,580.
This university offers a strong online education with its School of Behavioral Sciences, with a highly gifted faculty and dedicated administrative staff. In addition to the regular master of psychology core courses that you take, you also will take these following I/O courses:
- Interpersonal Conflict in the Workplace
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Consulting in Business, Education and Mental Health
- Organizational Psychology
- Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy
Master’s in School Psychology
John Carroll University offers a full time school psychology program that results in a Master of Education in School Psychology. Most students can complete this program in three years. This fully accredited master in psychology program employs a data driven decision making process to improve the development and monitoring of effective services to children and youth. It also uses a systematic approach to develop and model mental health services and interventions that improve social skills for children.
Course requirements for this program are:
- The Exceptional Learner
- Orientation to the Educational Environment
- Tests and Measurements
- Developmental Psychology
- Learning and Teaching
- Psychoeducational Evaluation I and II
- The Role and Function of the School Psychologist
- Counseling Theories
- Counseling Techniques and Practices
Each of these masters in psychology specialties offers strong job demand and good salaries. Whichever you choose, you will be able to have a major impact on the practice of psychology in your area.