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Begin a Psychology Career

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Earning an online psychology degree serves as the first step to beginning a career in a rapidly growing industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs in psychology to grow by 14% from 2018-28, which is much faster than other occupations.

Pursuing an online program provides enrollees with the flexibility to continue balancing other obligations while earning psychology degrees. A psychologist must hold at least a graduate degree to earn licensure. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from an online psychology degree, along with how to earn credentials in this lucrative industry.

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Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Advertisement Psychology.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology Degrees Online

  • Can you get a psychology degree online?

    Yes. Many schools offer online psychology degrees. However, while a program may offer online coursework, all graduate psychology programs require in-person internship or practicum experiences. Typically, online students complete these at sites in their home communities. Students should seek out regionally accredited online psychology degree programs.

  • Why is accreditation for online psychology programs important?

    To earn licensure in psychology, you must hold a degree from an accredited institution. Psychology licensing exams require candidates to graduate from an accredited program. Additionally, credits earned at an unaccredited institution do not transfer to accredited schools, and employers often will not recognize degrees from unaccredited institutions.

  • Should I get a BA or BS in psychology?

    Generally, these degrees offer similar foundational courses in psychology. Graduate programs in psychology often look for those foundational courses. Occasionally, graduate psychology programs will look specifically for a BA or BS, but more often, they require a bachelor’s in psychology. BS degrees tend to require more general education courses in the sciences, while BA tracks emphasize the liberal arts.

  • What job can I get with a master's in psychology?

    Although most states require a doctoral degree in psychology to earn clinical licensure, many states allow those with a master’s degree to practice in certain areas, such as counseling. Some students may choose to pursue an educational psychology degree, which would allow them to practice as a school counselor in many states. Industrial and organizational psychology positions also often require a master’s degree rather than a doctorate.

  • How long does it take to earn a psychology degree?

    This depends on which degree track you select, whether you enroll full or part time, and the individual program requirements. For example, a bachelor’s in psychology may take 3-4 years, and a doctorate can take an additional 6-8 years beyond the bachelor’s degree.

  • Which psychology degree makes the most money?

    Typically, higher degrees earn higher salaries. Those with a bachelor’s in psychology earn an average salary of $59,000, while master’s degree-holders earn an average of $61,000, and doctoral-level graduates earn an average of $88,000 per year. These numbers can vary based on experience, geographic location, employer, and other factors.

Types of Online Psychology Degrees

Students can pursue degrees in psychology at all levels. Each degree builds on the one before it to prepare students for clinical positions.

  • An associate degree in psychology generally requires about 60 credit hours or 1-2 years to complete. These degrees consist primarily of general education courses and serve as a stepping stone toward a four-year degree in the field.
  • A bachelor’s program in psychology requires about 120 credit hours or 60 hours beyond the associate degree. These programs offer foundational courses in psychology, preparing students to pursue some entry-level careers or enter graduate school. Graduates who enter the job force with this degree often pursue careers in other fields.
  • A master’s degree in psychology can take 2-3 years to complete. This degree allows graduates to practice as counselors in some states or work as industrial-organizational psychologists.
  • Most states require a doctorate in psychology to earn clinical licensure. This degree can take anywhere from 4-6 years to complete and serves as the minimum requirement for practice.

Degree Type Length of Program Median Salary
Associate Degree in Psychology Two years $47,000
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Four years $59,000
Master’s Degree in Psychology 2-3 years $61,000
Doctoral Degree in Psychology 5-7 years $88,000

Careers For Psychology Degree Graduates

Depending on your chosen degree track, you can pursue many exciting and lucrative careers in psychology. Jobs in psychology should continue to grow substantially in the coming years, which includes many of the subfields outlined below. Career options vary by education level, professional experience, and individual credentials.

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Marriage and Family Therapist

These therapists work with couples and families to overcome emotional and relationship-based issues, using cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, and other methods.

Recommended Degree: Master’s
Required Credentials: State license

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School and Career Counselor

These counselors work in schools, helping students deal with academic, personal, and career issues. They collaborate with school administration and teachers to provide student support.

Recommended Degree: Master’s
Required Credentials: State license; some states require additional teaching license

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Social Worker

Social workers provide crucial support to families and children in need, connecting them with available community resources. Those with a master’s degree sometimes offer counseling services.

Recommended Degree: Master’s
Required Credentials: State license

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Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

These counselors work with clients dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, and other addiction and behavioral disorders. They often work in mental health and rehabilitation centers.

Recommended Degree: Master’s; bachelor’s minimum requirement
Required Credentials: State license

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Psychologist

General psychologists work with many different patients, providing mental health counseling and behavioral therapy, and diagnosing and treating mental illness.

Recommended Degree: Doctorate
Required Credentials: State license

What Psychology Degree Concentrations are Offered Online?

While pursuing an online psychology degree, students often explore concentrations and specializations, depending on their interests and career goals. Degree concentrations allow learners to specialize their coursework. These concentrations may require additional coursework beyond the core curriculum or special placements for required internship and practicum experiences. The list below provides more information about available concentrations.

  • Child Psychology

    Courses in this concentration emphasize child development, with an internship experience working with young people. These psychologists primarily work with patients under 18 and must possess doctorates.

  • Clinical Psychology

    Clinical psychology often emphasizes treatment and assessment models, aimed at providing these clinical services to patients. These psychologists work with patients dealing with behavioral and mental health issues and must possess doctoral degrees.

  • Counseling Psychology

    Counseling psychology emphasizes talk therapy and interpersonal skills, with courses in counseling techniques and multicultural counseling. Some states allow counselors to hold master’s degrees, but many require doctorates.

  • Educational Psychology

    These psychologists study aspects of learning, memory, motivation, and cognitive psychology. They generally possess an Ed.D. or another doctorate-level credential.

  • Forensic Psychology

    A concentration in forensic psychology generally includes courses in law and criminal justice, as these psychologists work alongside law enforcement in the legal system.

  • Health Psychology

    Health psychology examines the intersection of mental and physical health. Courses in this concentration emphasize physiological development and health, health promotion, and health disparities in different communities.

  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

    Industrial-organizational psychologists work in the realm of human resources, management, and employee training and competency. This concentration includes courses in organizational behavior and group psychology.

  • School Psychology

    School psychologists assess student behavioral health by working alongside school administration, teachers, and parents to support students. This specialization may include an internship in a school setting.

  • Sports Psychology

    Sports psychologists work with athletes, coaches, and sports organizations, applying psychological principles to sports and athletics. This concentration emphasizes studies in exercise science, nutrition, and sports performance.

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