How Online Schools Deliver Psychology Degrees
Psychology is one of the most popular and sought after majors in many states around the United States. No surprise, then, that you will find a wide variety of different online Psychology Degree Programs delivered by many accredited online schools, which are colleges and universities. Practically every subfield related to Psychology is represented by at least a handful of programs, with some of the more popular ones offering dozens or even more. As a student of Psychology, you can discover more about the human mind by specializing in Developmental Psychology, School Psychology, Organizational Industrial Psychology, and many others.
Since professionals in the world of Psychology influence others to a great extent with their pronouncements and insights about mental health, the standards in the field are very high. While some professionals are able to obtain jobs with a master's degree, the Psychology job market truly opens up its horizons when you achieve a doctoral degree. All things being equal, you can expect to spend about ten years as a student in Psychology in order to gain a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a doctorate -- empowering you to teach at the college level.
Degree Levels Available
Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate: 1 year to complete
Associate Degree: 2 years to complete
Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete
Master's Degree: 1-3 years to complete
Doctorate Degree: 4-6 years to complete
An undergraduate certificate in Psychology is a one year course of study intended to introduce a student in another field to the basic rudiments of how Psychology works. It usually consists of about four classes focusing on areas like psychological theory, the history of Psychology, and the basic tenets of psychological research. On the other hand, a graduate certificate in Psychology is typically sought by those who already have a bachelor's degree and who wish to specialize in a certain area of Psychology.
An associate's degree is not sought by most of the students who enter Psychology. Instead, they will tend to skip this degree and go directly to the four year bachelor's degree. On the other hand, the two year associate's degree can be a fine choice if you would like to budget your money carefully and enjoy a general introduction to the field. An associate's degree will usually offer you about four to six psychology classes supplemented by a broad "general education" in writing, the sciences, and several electives. A bachelor's degree usually offers about twice as many classes in your major, with correspondingly higher "gen ed" requirements.
A master's degree is one of the most crucial credentials that you can possibly get in any area of Psychology. This advanced degree consists of a smattering of highly advanced classes that are intended to transform you into a verified expert in your chosen aspect of Psychology. This is the part of the education that focuses most exclusively on a subject such as Sports Psychology or Developmental Psychology. The master's degree also empowers you with the tools that you will need to research within that particular subfield, allowing you to become a published scholar and burnish your reputation.
For those who wish to become senior scholars or educators in the field, there is no better path than to acquire a doctoral degree in Psychology. Although these degrees are very challenging and can take four years or more to complete, a Psychology expert may have difficulty reaching the highest ranks of their profession without one. The doctoral degree is the gold standard when it comes to teaching at the university level, and many Psychology professors find the academic life ideal when it comes to balancing teaching and research.
Online Psychology Degree programs are a very popular major in many reputable universities. To make sure that you have a strong chance of achieving entry into the program of your choice, ensure that your admissions package includes the following:
High School Diploma
High School Transcript
Letters of Recommendation
If you want to improve your chances of being admitted to the Psychology program that appeals to you, try to take both the ACT and SAT exams. High scores in verbal reasoning and writing will bolster your chances. Good math scores are desirable, but not usually required.
Online vs. Traditional College Programs
Online Psychology programs are conducted in a very similar manner to traditional ones, usually by the same faculty. The specifics of classes will vary depending on the degree level and the specific major, but most Psychology programs require a great deal of reading, essay writing, and in-class discussion using bulletin boards and other technological tools.
Tuition and Accreditation
Accreditation is key to any successful Psychology program. If the university you select is a reputable one, it will probably have accreditation from a known regional accrediting body. These agencies are neutral third parties that evaluate the teaching, grading, and other practices of a university to ensure they are stringent enough. Likewise, a university might be endorsed by an accrediting agency that focuses on online education, or by professional Psychology groups.
Tuition covers a broad range, but it is higher for longer, more advanced programs. Luckily, online programs do tend to be the least expensive. Tuition may range anywhere from about $5,000 per year for a certificate to $8,000 and up for a bachelor's degree, with graduate degrees frequently costing $20,000 or more per year.
Choosing the Best Psychology Degree
Since you will need a master's or doctoral degree to make the most of a Psychology career, it is very important that any program you choose prepares you adequately to apply to stricter, higher level programs in the future. Most successful programs will be able to offer hard data on how many students go on to employment or further schooling. Finally, make sure that many, if not all, of your classes will be taught by individuals who have obtained a doctoral degree, because they will be more able to help you with complex ideas in Psychology.