If you wish to pursue a career that engages the public and operates based on public opinion and interaction, studying psychology will be of significant benefit. Depending on how far into the world of psychology you wish to take your studies, there are specific degree programs to help you reach your goals. The Associate degree provides limited depth into psychology, and most students use this degree as a doorway to 4-year programs at the university level, or to pursue a career that benefits from the study of human thought. Another undergraduate option is the Bachelor’s degree which provides significantly more career options, but the graduate degrees such as Master of Science (M.S) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) provide the greatest bounty of employment options, especially in the field of psychology itself. Those are the degrees that one should strongly consider if being a psychologist of any type is the ultimate goal.
How to Find the Top Psychology Degree Programs
Finding the right degree program requires a bit of self-knowledge and research. You will want to find out which accredited schools have the best rankings in your chosen field and do what it takes to gain entry. The student will want to ask himself which type of psychology he wishes to study and why. If gaining employment in that specific field is the reason, then he should know that a Bachelor’s degree followed by a graduate degree is the best option. The student must also consider which segment of the population she wishes to help.
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The Scope of a Psychology Career
Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviors and of the thought processes behind them, and there are many types of psychology degrees from which to choose. Strongly based in the theory of causality, which means that everything has a cause, psychology seeks to trace our behaviors back to the root cause, thereby building predictive models of behavior as well as reprogramming thought processes to the benefit of a subject‘s quality of life.
In this field of study the student will learn how we arrive at decisions, how we react to environmental stimuli and how our past experiences have come to shape who we are. There are a vast many careers that use psychology at its base. Becoming a psychotherapist is an obvious path, but less obvious are careers in marketing and advertising. These jobs require a secure knowledge in human behavior in order to predict how to create the most attractive marketing methods. Knowing how consumers think is a necessary ingredient in compelling them to action. Lawyers rely heavily on psychology when utilizing a jury because human thought processes must be taken into account in order to predict the best means of achieving a desired verdict.
Clinical Psychology aids the general public in gaining a better adjusted standard of life and achieving the goals related to personal development. Forensic psychology deals with the justice system and the profiling of criminal offenders as well as relaying expert testimony to the courts. This type of psychology has a lasting social impact and hopes to curb the instances of repeat criminal offense.
Another popular form of psychology is abnormal psychology, which is not to be confused with clinical psychology. Abnormal psychology focuses on mental disorders, mental retardation, aberrant behaviors and syndromes which require intensive treatment and a system of classification.
Political psychology is the study of politically based behaviors such as voting, social activism and terrorism. This is a very popular field of study, but most employment opportunities are in political strategy and campaign management. These positions help political leaders and hopefuls make decisions based on human psychology. Stanford ranks number one in Political Science in the country because of their leadership in the field of research, while the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor ranks number one in social psychology because of their superior facilities and graduate programs.
Careers and Salaries For Individuals With Psychology Degrees
Salaries are usually commensurate with types of psychology degrees attained. The average salary for a psychologist is just over $84,000 a year. In order to be a forensic psychologist one will need a doctoral degree, usually in clinical psychology. They can expect their starting pay to be anywhere from $60,000 – $70,000 a year. If you have your Master’s Degree, the starting pay is generally between $35,000 and $40,000 a year, and your title is usually psychological associate or assistant. One could also pursue child psychology at the Master level, but job opportunities are far more plentiful at the Doctoral level as with all forms of psychology. The average salary for a child psychologist is just over $64,000 a year. The range is from $37,900, which is entry level with a Masters degree, to a high of nearly $150,000. As with nearly all fields of study, the higher the education level, the greater the employment opportunities and the greater the starting pay.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
- Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
- Innovative Instructional Methods (e.g., experiential learning) – 1 point
- Use of Cutting-Edge Technological Resources – 1 point
- Recent Facility Additions/Renovations – 1 point
- Psychology Research Opportunities – 1 point
- Study Abroad Opportunities in Psychology – 1 point
- Psychology Internship Opportunities – 1 point
- Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
- Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
- Psychology Colloquium or Lecture/Speaking Series – 1 point
1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us