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How to Earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Higher Education Articles August 12, 2013

If you are browsing around a college site, you might wonder just how long the road is for a Ph.D. degree. It’s understandable why you would be considering this road. If you are competitive and ambitious, then you don’t want to be someone’s assistant—you want to be the best in the field. You want to reach the pinnacle of the profession, which is commendable.

Your Responsibility and Obligation as a Doctor

However, it’s important to understand the responsibility that will be put on you should you go this route. Not only will you be an authority on psychology, but one of psychology’s trusted spokespersons. You will be expected to know about the profession and the science, and will be well qualified to educate others. If you are wondering how to earn a doctoral degree in psychology, then you can rightly assume the educational progress will be rigorous.

The first point of order is to decide whether you want a Ph.D. in psychology, a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D), or Doctor of Education (Ed.D). What’s the difference? A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy degree and focuses on research oriented career choice. This will allow you to work in a wide variety of fields, usually in an educational capacity. You can apply to universities, hospitals, colleges, government agencies and other facilities. The Psy.D degree is a practitioner degree, and this also involves teaching work, but is more oriented towards applied settings and direct mental health services rather than an academic setting. The Ed.D degree will allow you to work as a school psychologist.

How Long Does a Doctoral Degree in Psychology Take?

Now the question is, which of these degrees will take the longest to acquire in a school setting? It’s not an easy question, since you have to consider the individual curriculum, as well as your own educational background. On average, students with a background in psychology can finish their Ph.D. programs in just five years. However, others will take seven years, if more training is required for the curriculum and school. In addition to educational requirements, you must complete an internship and supervised residency program. On average, Psy.D degrees take less time than Ph.D’s to complete, approximately one year less. Ed.D programs take about two years less than PhDs. The reason being, however, is that most students who pursue this route are coming in with a master’s degree in a similar field, whereas students going after the other degrees will often start with only a bachelor’s degree.

What kind of career path can you expect should you earn a high-level degree? Most doors would be opened to you, provided you go on to become officially licensed and certified. You can choose between clinical psychology and even counseling. There are also areas in school psychology and health psychology, which are becoming even more imperative in recent years because young adults are experiencing emotional problems.

Why not make your education count by trying a field that inspires you to help people overcome obstacles and change their life in a positive way?

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Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Does the Human Mind Fascinate You? Study Psychology! Choose Your Degree:
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology
  • Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Convenient online program options available for the master's and bachelor's degree.
  • Speak to an enrollment counselor today and find the degree that is right for you!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 87% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Customize your coursework - select a concentration or specialization to best suit your individual and career goals.
  • Learn from renowned faculty with real-world experience and expertise in their respective fields.
  • Experience dynamic and engaging content through video conferencing and podcasts to engage in real-time conversation and learn to express ideas succinctly and confidently to a diverse group of peers.
  • Receive robust, comprehensive career support services to help you define your career goals and leverage your new degree to the fullest.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Learn how you can make a difference in the Human Services field with a degree from Post
  • 100% online Human Services BS degree
  • Find concentrations in Counseling, Management, Psychology & more
  • Ranked in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the US News & World Report
  • Post University earned the 2017 Military Spouse Friendly School® designation
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Understand the Human Experience with a Psychology Degree from Saint Leo University!
  • Whether you're interested in general psychology or clinical practices, earn your Psychology degree from one of the top-ranked Universities in Florida!
  • Receive an Accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in any of our multiple Psychology programs from Saint Leo University!
  • Saint Leo University provides academic excellence, flexibility, affordability, and a wide range of educational programs with financial aid and scholarships available to those who qualify.
  • Learn on your schedule with our 6 convenient available start dates throughout the year. Get started on earning your accredited Psychology degree today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

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