A master's in psychology prepares graduates to contribute new research to the field and provide direct care to individuals to improve their lives. The interdisciplinary study of psychology at the graduate level covers applied research methods and behavior analysis interventions. The degree also prepares graduates to pursue a Ph.D. and become a psychologist through internships and residency work. Concentrations in marriage and family therapy, addiction studies, and applied behavior analysis further prepare students for their specific career interests. Graduates work in research, academia, and clinical settings. They earn certifications in specific subfields and licenses for master's-level graduates. Employment in psychology should continue to grow as employers have a greater need for psychologists in all settings, especially in schools, where administrators hold a greater appreciation for mental health services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects occupations to grow by 3% through 2029. Learn more in this guide about what you can do with a master's in psychology and how much you can earn.
Future psychologists can choose from a master of arts (MA) or a master of science (MS) degree. The MS degree offers courses that concentrate on the sciences, such as quantitative analysis. Conversely, an MA degree features classes dedicated to the humanities, such as counseling psychology. Both degrees focus on psychology theory, research, and applied psychology.
It depends. The degree a student chooses depends on their career ambitions and interests. Schools offer various graduate degrees, including master's in clinical psychology, master's in counseling psychology, and master's in industrial organizational psychology. Students can also choose from online, hybrid, or in-person classes depending on their personal needs.
A master's in psychology comprises about 36-48 credits. Programs may require a minimum "B" average to graduate in addition to internships completed under the supervision of psychologists. Before graduation, students complete a thesis or a capstone project.
The average master's in psychology degree takes two years to complete. Students attending part-time generally take 3-4 years to graduate. Accelerated programs feature shortened semesters that allow graduate students to take more courses throughout the academic year and graduate quicker than two years.
Clinical psychologists deliver behavioral and mental health care to diverse age groups. Their work settings include hospitals, private practices, and colleges. Many work in specialized fields of child psychology or neuropsychology. They conduct assessments by interviewing clients, diagnose emotional and behavioral issues, provide psychotherapy, and create intervention plans. A core part of the job also includes conducting research and contributing to the field of psychology by publishing work.
Using psychotherapy techniques, professionals who work in counseling psychology enable individuals, couples, and families to overcome daily stresses and crisis situations. They work to help children, adolescents, and seniors. As part of the job, they may also organize group work to improve employee relations at corporations. The job requires a deep understanding of external influences that affect people, such as work, culture, and societal pressures.
School psychologists work in schools and directly in homes to ensure all students have equal access to safe learning spaces and academic and psychological care services. The occupation requires a solid understanding of state and federal laws that regulate schools. School psychologists must understand how to maintain sensitivity to cultural differences and diverse learners. Additionally, they may lead professional development programs for teachers and administrators on how to create safe learning environments.
Clinical child and adolescent psychologists specialize in delivering psychological services to clients from infancy to adolescence. This job requires making assessments and implementing behavior management or psychotherapy interventions. They also conduct preventative measures through programs that raise awareness on issues like cyberbullying or drug use.
Psychologists who work in industrial and organizational psychology help organizations create better work environments. Improving performance, work life, and productivity remain key issues they address in the workplace. This job requires a solid understanding of laws and regulations that protect employees. By analyzing research, they can aid the human resources department in creating training programs and measuring the success of existing services.
You can find behavior and cognitive psychologists in settings like hospitals, schools, and corrections facilities. Behavior and cognitive psychologists have the training to provide evidence-based psychological care to help people from a variety of age groups and backgrounds. They use cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques to address issues of substance abuse, depression, trauma, and relationship problems.
Forensic psychologists assist officials working in the courts or in law enforcement. Their clients include those involved in civil court cases, such as child custody litigation or defendants in criminal cases. They may determine whether a person can stand trial or diagnose a defendant as criminally insane. Employers need forensic psychologists to work at all levels of the courts. Insurance companies and attorney offices also hire forensic psychologists.
Couple and family psychologists use systems psychology, or the knowledge of how systemic and relationship factors influence behavior, to do their work. Their clients include individuals, couples, and families from a variety of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Besides addressing daily problems, couple and family psychologists also address issues of substance abuse, developmental disorders, abuse, and infidelity.
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