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How and Why to Get a Masters in Psychology Degree
Master’s degree programs in the field of psychology are intended to prepare students for working in psychology, or working as assistants to psychologists who hold doctorate level degrees. If you’ve ever been interested in the way that the human mind works, or you’ve long had an interest in psychology in general, then you may find that a career with a master’s in psychology is preferable for you. Most of the time, programs for a master in psychology degree will last for a period of two years and often permit students to choose their own specialization. According to the American Psychological Association, individuals who possess a master’s degree in psychology are also well prepared to continue their graduate studies to obtain a doctorate in this particular field.
What’s a Masters in Psychology Degree?
Simply put, a masters in psychology degree expands the knowledge of students in this particular field and boosts their chances of getting into managerial or executive level positions. Those who take a masters of psychology degree will often take a combination of core psychology classes, alongside with a number of electives within a particular specialty such as industrial organizational psychology, family psychology, or child psychology. Some students will also take steps to improve their research skills, and often a thesis will be required in order to receive an end degree.
Most of the time, a master’s program in psychology will require at least 33 credits of work, and psychology courses are divided into personality, basic psychology, social psychology, and biological psychology. Some of the available courses that students can take to enhance their education might include:
• Social psychology
• Behavioral therapy
• Criminal psychology
• Personality disorders
Why Earn a Master’s in Psychology Degree?
There are plenty of great career options available for students who have a master’s degree in psychology. For example, graduates of master’s degree programs can work as counselors or psychological assistants, though they will need to work under supervision with a licensed psychologist before they receive their doctoral degree.
Career opportunities can also be found in government bodies, universities, and private behavioral health companies. Graduates of a master’s degree program are also well-equipped to move on to a doctorate program. PhD programs take around four to six years to complete, and graduates will be able to work as licensed psychologists. Some of the master’s degree programs available in psychology make up part of a full doctorate program, and students will be able to earn their master’s part way through their doctoral program.
For those who obtain a master’s in psychology degree, there is a bright outlook for job growth in the sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this professional area is predicted to see a growth of around 22% from 2020 to 2020. On top of that, the salaries can vary depending on which area of psychology you specialize in, but for those who have a master’s degree in psychology the median income was approximately $68,640 in 2020. For some individuals, this number can go as high as the six-figure range depending on specialization.
Besides the advantages of a stable job and a good income, psychologists also benefit from having a career that they can be proud of. After all, psychologists have the opportunity to make a real difference in someone else’s life and help them move on after they have encountered difficult experiences. There are many different areas of specialization to pursue and many areas of growth to explore to.
Often, people who get a master’s in psychology degree find that they’re never bored in their job, and they often feel a deep sense of personal and professional satisfaction with the work that they do. Not only that, but they also have a great chance to start earning an impressive income as a professional.
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How to Get a Master’s in Psychology
To get into a master’s program in psychology, you will need to begin by earning your bachelor’s degree. In most cases, it’s preferred if the degree in question is within the area of psychology, and this will require you to complete four years of training within an accredited school. Usually, you should be able to find a range of different schools offering opportunities for undergraduate courses in psychology, and some may even be available online to those who struggle to schedule classes around their hectic lifestyle.
Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you will be able to continue your education by applying to take a post-graduate course. During this degree, you will learn how to work directly within the field of your choice, and your program will teach you:
• How to evaluate the sociocultural implications of choices that are made in the field of psychology, as well as their implications on legal and ethical levels
• How to analyze various theories associated with psychology so that you can develop more effective strategies for a professional practice
• How to apply a range of contemporary theories within the psychological sector to circumstances in the real world, and how you can perform various different forms of research.
One of the factors that will determine exactly what you learn during your education, and how long it will take for you to receive your masters of psychology degree, is which specialization you choose to focus on. There are many different areas of specialization in psychology at a master’s degree level, but some of the most common areas are:
• General psychology: Within the area of general psychology you should find that you can complete your master’s degree program in as little as one year. During that time you will complete coursework that teach you about all aspects of behavioral and cognitive psychology, as well as other issues within the field.
• Applied behavior analysis: If you would like to work with patients who are disabled, then you might find that you benefit most from specializing in applied behavioral analysis. This form of master’s degree will take you anywhere up to three years to complete.
• Addictions: People who specialize in addictions will find that their master’s degree takes between two and three years for them to earn. During this time of study you will learn more about different treatment methods that are used to help people who are suffering from addictions, as well as solutions that can assist people with overcoming their addictions such as co-occurring disorders and group therapy.
Deciding whether or not you should earn a master’s degree in psychology will depend on your goals in life and as a person interested in the field of psychology. For most people who are interested in earning large-figure salaries, or expanding their knowledge in the area of psychology so that they can apply for more executive-level job positions, a master’s degree in psychology will be a very good place to start.
Often, this degree will simply be a part of your path to further education, which is usually a doctorate in your chosen specialty. Psychologists with doctorate degrees can often achieve a great deal more in their chosen field.
What Can You Do With An Applied Psychology Degree?
What is an Applied Psychology Training Program?
An applied psychology training program focuses on teaching how to relate basic psychological practices (theories, principals, methods and techniques) to everyday life. In other words, the purpose is to apply these practices to various situations (both at home and at the workplace). A training program in applied psychology provides an opportunity to work with psychologists in a variety of different settings (treatment centers, social service agencies, businesses, manufacturing and distribution centers, colleges, hospitals and clinics, etc.).
It normally takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology, although it can take much longer if you want to obtain a master’s degree or doctorate in the field. If you wondering what you can do with a degree in applied psychology – this article can help you. Listed below are some helpful suggestions of how to best utilize an applied psychology degree.
What Type of Classes Do Applied Psychologists Need?
Applied psychology training depends on what field of psychology you enter. For instance, if you decide to pursue a career in family psychology, you may be required to take courses in family relationships, sociology, human development, child and family relationships, marital counseling, family counseling, counseling theories, research methods, etc., while on-the-other-hand, if you decide to pursue a degree in clinical psychology, you may be required to take courses in abnormal psychology, counseling theories, child psychopathology, cognitive behavior therapy, research methods, psychological assessments and family counseling.
Most undergraduate applied psychology programs take at least four years to complete. If you decide to further your education, it will take an additional two and a half years to earn a master’s degree and an additional five to seven years to obtain a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D). Moreover, depending on your specialty, you may be required to complete an internship and/or obtain licensure and/or certification before using your degree to seek employment.
Applied Psychology Careers
An aviation psychologist serves many important functions in the aviation industry. On the one hand, they might draw on their understanding of human development and human behavior to help airlines screen potential pilots, flight attendants, and other personnel. Doing so serves the function of finding the most highly qualified applicants that can fulfill their job duties in a fast-paced and high-stress environment.
On the other hand, aviation psychologists often specialize in providing counseling services to people that have experienced trauma, such as surviving a plane crash or losing a loved one in an aviation incident.
A career counselor is someone who helps you figure out what you want to do for a job or career. They help you explore your preferences and define your personality, so you can see what kind of jobs you would be best suited to. Then they help you narrow down your choices and figure out which job would be most suitable for you. Whether you are starting out, or wanting to make a career change, a career counselor can help you.
A career counselor considers your background, your strengths and your values as they guide you through the process of making challenging choices. As a career counselor you could be working with adults, or with teens in schools. Currently, here is no regulation for career counseling, and although the number of degrees in career counseling is increasing, you could have a degree in a field such as psychology, educational science, sociology or public administration.
Another field you can enter into with an applied psychology doctoral degree is clinical psychology. In fact, clinical psychology is the most popular career choice in the mental health field. Your main task will be to provide services (treatments) to individuals, children, families, couples and groups who are experiencing psychological distress. You may treat people with psychological disorders like depression, phobia, anxiety disorders and/or schizophrenia.
Child Protection Specialist
Child protection specialists are trained professionals whose primary job is to investigate reports of child neglect or child abuse. In that regard, child protection specialists draw on knowledge and skills not just from the human services realm, but from investigations and police work as well.
In many instances, child protection specialists work with families and agencies like child protective services to develop a long-term plan for mitigating neglect and abuse. This might include connecting the family of the abused child with proper counseling or identifying interventions that reduce the risk of neglect or abuse occurring in the future.
Workers in the field of developmental psychology specialize in studying the growth and development of humans from birth until death. In many cases, a developmental psychologist specializes in studying or working with a particular group of people, like adolescents or the elderly. Many developmental psychologists work exclusively in the research realm, seeking to answer questions about how and why we develop the way that we do.
Other developmental psychologists work in the clinical realm, using their understanding of growth and development as a means of assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders and other psychological problems.
An educational counselor acts as a bridge between the student, the student’s family and the school or other academic setting. Services provided may include such diverse things as helping the student learn to take better notes in class, providing coping skills for a child with learning disabilities, interface between the child and child’s parents if there are emotional or financial issues involved that are interfering with a child’s development, and the like. Educational counselors are in invaluable part of en educational team to ensure a child’s success.
Educational counselors are required to complete graduate studies in education, counseling, assessment and testing, and psychology. Most graduate programs also require that an educational counselor complete more or more internships under the guidance of an experienced educational counselor.
If you have a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in applied psychology degree, you can seek employment in the educational field as an educational psychologist. The majority of your time will be devoted to studying how people learn. You will more than likely be located at an educational setting (elementary, middle school, high school and/or college/university) and your main tasks will be to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom curriculum and educational interventions and develop educational programs to improve the learning experience for students.
You will also be able to use your applied science degree to teach college-level educational psychology courses. These courses will consist of cognitive-behavioral psychology principles, theories, methods and techniques.
You can become a forensic psychologist with a degree in applied psychology. With this degree you will primarily work within the criminal justice system. Your main tasks will be to determine whether or not a defendant is legally responsible for his/her actions during a crime. In other words, you are mandated by law to give an expert testimony on whether the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime.
You will also be responsible for handling any legal and competency issues that may arise during the course of a trial. It is important to note that you may be required to work with rapist, murders, child abusers and/or mentally ill defendants. You may also be asked to help select jurors for the trials. Ultimately, your main task will consist of analyzing the mind of an offender in order to determine if he/she is a threat to society.
If you have a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in applied psychology, you may also become a health psychologist. If you decide to pursue this career with your degree, you will use your expertise to analyze the relationship between genetics, environment and personal choices to get a better understanding on how these factors influence health and well-being.
You will primarily work with a team of psychological and medical professionals in a clinical setting, although you may also be required to supervise health-related research studies and/or teach health-related college courses and training modules. Your main goal will be to help people improve the quality of their lives by teaching them how to make better lifestyle choices.
Human Factors Psychologist
The field of human factor psychology lies at the intersection of psychology and engineering. In that regard, this field of psychology is concerned with the interaction between people and technology, people and their environment, and people and the tasks they have to perform as part of work or daily life. For example, a human factors psychologist might work with engineers that are designing a new kind of computer keyboard and offer insights regarding how to best design the keyboard to maximize a person’s ability to use it in an intuitive manner.
You can also use your doctorate in applied psychology to enter the business world. With a degree in applied psychology, you will be able to work at a company as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Your main tasks will be to analyze employee attitudes, morale, satisfaction and behaviors. In other words, you will work with a company to improve employee performance and increase company revenue.
A school psychologist works mainly with school students to identify, diagnose and treat or refer emotional, cognitive or behavioral issues. Students suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or suicidal ideation, for example, would visit the school psychologist for help and support. A school psychologist may also help those on the autism spectrum, or those with challenging behavioral or social issues such as anger management, social phobias, or students with mental disabilities or other mental disorders.
A school psychologist will work as part of a team, and liaise with parents, teachers and the broader community, to support the student’s success in learning. Aside from in the school system, a school psychologist might practice privately or in a university, in mental health centers, day treatment centers or residential clinics. A specialized graduate degree or doctorate which focuses on psychology and education is usually required.
A social worker is a mental health professional who takes a bio-psychosocial approach to help people improve their lives by addressing concerns relating to housing, finances, mental health, general health, relationship and substance abuse. They act as advocates, educators, and counselors for their clients, providing links to community resources as necessary.
A social worker might help in the medical system for those with terminal illnesses and their families. They might become advocates for child welfare, or for those people navigating the criminal justice system, or for people dealing with addictions or mental health issues.
Social workers work in hospitals, or in the community, for addictions services, mental health clinics, schools, non-profit or government agencies, or in private practice. In order to become a licensed social worker, you will need an undergraduate degree in either social work or psychology, before going on to obtain a Master’s in social work.
An employer may hire you as a sport psychologist, if you have a doctorate in sports psychology. Your main tasks will be to examine factors that may be affecting an athlete’s performance (endurance, tolerance, team participation and/or physical activity). You will also examine the athlete’s mental processes and address any issues that appear to be hindering him/her from doing his/her best.
Your main goal will be to get the athlete to focus on winning; not on personal issues. You will also be responsible for treating athletes with emotional distress and/or psychological disorders. In other words, you will teach athletes how to block out negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor is a compassionate, patient person, who is trained to diagnose and assess people in the field of addictions. You may be helping clients in crisis or in their on-going recovery from their addictive behavior.
In counseling you will help them uncover what causes them to choose addictive behavior and what they can do to stop it and make different, healthier choices. You may refer them to recovery programs such as a 12-step program and support them as they continue their journey to wellness. You will put together a customized treatment plan according to the individual needs of each client. You may choose to specialize in who you help, for example, gamblers, teens, or veterans.
Masters in Psychology Degree Programs in New Jersey
Masters in Psychology: Essential Information
Masters in Psychology programs are either terminal degrees for those who are interested in entry-level jobs in fields such as mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology or are earned within a doctoral program or to prepare a student to apply for a doctoral program.
A masters in psychology is a graduate level-degree that generally involves two to three years of study beyond the undergraduate degree. Admission to psychology masters programs typically requires that you have completed the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (although online psych masters programs that don’t require the GRE are available), demonstrating the required passing score, while keeping a solid grade point average (GPA) at an accredited university for undergraduate work. In some cases you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, so it is best to do some inquiring with any graduate school on your list.
While one may pursue a Master’s degree in psychology if the Bachelor’s is in another area, it is important to have undergraduate psychology classes on your college transcript. These might include introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Once accepted into a program, expect close to 60 hours of coursework, which will vary by institution and state standards. Many universities require at least a 1-year internship, while some will also expect a master’s thesis. Some universities stipulate both.
Masters in Psychology Programs are available in a wide variety of specialized areas within the field of psychology itself. When you are ready to pursue your Masters degree in psychology, it is important to choose an area of specialization and determine whether you want to work in the clinical, educational, research, or business setting. There are masters in counseling psychology, masters in clinical psychology, sports psychology and forensic psychology masters programs to choose from, so read on to find out which graduate program in psychology aligns with your goals and interests!
Popular Schools with Psychology Masters Degrees in New Jersey
|Master of Industrial Organizational Psychology||Saint Peter’s University||N/A|
|Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders (M.A.)||Kean University||N/A|
|Master of Arts in Counseling||Stockton University||MAC|
|Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology||Northcentral University||MS|
|MSPY – Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization||Purdue University Global||MS|
|Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology||Liberty University Online||MS|
FUN FACT: Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments [i] .
Types of Masters in Psychology Degrees
The two most common types of psychology master’s degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.). A Master of Arts in Psychology degree may be a sign of a stronger liberal arts focus, while a Master of Science in Psychology may indicate a stronger emphasis on research and the sciences. The type of degree offered depends upon the graduate school and Psychology Masters program since the academic requirements are often very similar.
REMEMBER: It’s important to note that the American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit master’s degree programs in psychology, but “accredits doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling, school psychology and combination programs; internships, a required component of doctoral training; and postdoctoral residency programs in traditional and specialty practice areas of psychology”.
Some psychology masters programs offer what is known as a ‘terminal degree’. This type of degree is designed to prepare graduates for professional practice in their specialty area. In other cases, a master’s degree may serve as preparation for further study at the doctoral-level. Many Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs actually do not require a master’s degree, and students are able to begin these doctoral programs immediately after completing their bachelor’s degrees.
FUN FACT: Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice [ii] . On the other hand, most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Students can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. [iii]
Helpful Ways to Find the ‘Right’ Psychology Masters Program For You
Since specific course requirements tend to vary considerably, it is wise to take a careful look at the course outline of any program you are considering. You may also have to choose between a thesis and non-thesis option. For students interested in further graduate study, completing a thesis is a good choice. The non-thesis alternative might be ultimate if you are more interested entering the workforce immediately after graduation.
If you are unsure if a PhD or PsyD degree is right for you, a master’s degree might be a good option. Most colleges and universities want to see you succeed. Spend some time talking to a college advisor and/or faculty member to determine which path is the best choice based on your educational interests and career goals.
Online Masters in Psychology or Traditional On-Campus Graduate Program?
Busy working students may prefer the convenience of an Online Masters in psychology Program; typically access to courses is 24/7. If you work well independently and the program you are choosing will give you the credentials you need, distance-learning is a great option. This does not mean that campus Psychology Masters programs are inconvenient. Many graduate schools schedule courses for busy adults during evenings and weekends. On site learning is more hands-on and interactive, for sure, but again, finding a program that is accredited and provides the academic backbone to your career is quite important.
Ready to get started reviewing some of our listings? If you have a sense of wanting a Psychology graduate school with a campus-based master’s program, use the GradSchools.com search tabs to find colleges and universities by location; there are city, state and country tabs. If an online Masters in Psychology degree is what you seek, scroll through that section.
Use the ‘subject selection’ to find specific programs, either online or on-campus. Really straightforward, right? You can request information from the school directly, and open several windows in your browser.
Choose from Master of Arts in Psychology, Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology, Masters in Applied Social Psychology, Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Forensic Psychology, MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Listings abound, so the right one for you is a mouse-click away!
Masters in Psychology: Potential Curriculum and Specializations
Students in Psychology Masters Degree programs take core psychology classes and select a set of electives in a psychology specialty, such as family psychology, industrial-organizational psychology or clinical psychology.
Students also develop their research skills, and, as per above, a thesis is generally are required. Psychology courses are separated into basic psychology, personality, social psychology and biological psychology. Some courses may include the following:
- Child psychology
- Personality disorders
- Neuropsychology and memory
- Behavior therapy
- Social psychology
Our directory has a full list of Specialized Masters in Psychology Programs, depending on what type of career you are interested in:
- Clinical Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
It is worth spending some time to determine whether the objectives of the program you are interested in matches your career goals and your capabilities as a graduate student.
Potential Career Paths For Masters in Psychology Graduates
While earning a Masters in Psychology degree means you may find more job opportunities than you would with an undergraduate degree, job options are still limited if you are interested in entering the field of professional psychology.
A terminal master’s program, however, does open the door to entry-level jobs in fields such as mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists is extremely positive; employment growth is projected at 19% from 2020-2024. The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists was $48,040 in May 2020. [iv]
If you are interested in a career where you will be practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist”, most states requires licensure. Furthermore, n all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work. According to the BLS, overall employment growth for Psychologists is estimated at 19% from 2020-2024, though employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to increase by 20%. The median annual wage for psychologists was $70,700 in May 2020. [v]
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