Advanced psychology degreeWhen it comes to getting a job in the field of psychology, one of the things you can do to increase your career options is to earn an advanced degree. Though you can get started with a bachelor’s degree in the field, master’s degree programs in psychology as well as doctoral programs provide the best opportunity for higher wages and salaries and more career options overall.

Master’s and Doctoral Psychology Programs

After you graduate from a four-year university, you can enroll in a master’s degree psychology program in any number of concentrations. For example, you can choose a master’s program that specializes in child and adolescents, clinical psychology, gerontology, organizational leadership or even industrial/organizational psychology. Master’s programs in psychology are typically two to three full-time years in length. You’ll graduate with the experience necessary, depending on your specific concentration, to administer psychological tests, conduct clinical assessments, counsel clients and carry other responsibilities within your specialty field.

On the other hand, doctoral programs in psychology are usually anywhere from five to six years in length, including a one-year, full-time internship that gives you hands-on training in the psychology specialty of your choice. The two most popular doctoral programs in psychology are the PhD and the PsyD graduate programs, the first one typically focusing more on research and the latter on clinical training. A third major doctoral psychology program option you have is to earn a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology.

Career Options in Psychology

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of earning an advanced degree in psychology, whether you’re enrolled in a master’s or doctoral psychology program, is the fact that your degree is versatile according to your career goals. For example, you can choose to become self-employed whether you have a master’s or doctorate in the field. In fact, the United States’ Bureau of Labor reports that approximately 34% of all psychologists are self-employed. You can manage your own business and practice, which almost always gives you the chance to increase your earnings than if you accepted a salaried position.

While both the master’s and doctorate degrees gives you the ability to work in a variety of work settings, doctoral programs in psychology are more flexible in this regard. If you have a PhD or PsyD degree in psychology, you can work in a psychiatric hospital, community mental health center, university as a professor or researcher, government or private-sector research facility, pharmaceutical company, or even your own private practice. If you have an advanced specialty in industrial/organizational psychology, you can work as a management or human resources consultant for a business or corporation.

In addition, one of the positive aspects of earning your doctoral degree in psychology is the fact that you can work in more than one capacity in the field, if you wish. For example, you could be providing consulting services to businesses or organizations while working part- or full-time at a college or university or running your own psychotherapy practice. Of course, the type of work you take on naturally depends on your specialization in psychology.

As you can see, there are enormous benefits to completing a graduate program in the field of psychology. Whether you’re interested in clinical work and wish to counsel people at the master’s level, or you wish to learn advanced psychotherapy techniques, almost anything is possible. A graduate psychology degree not only allows you to earn more money, but gives you flexibility and freedom when considering your career options.

There are many schools that offer psychology courses. To see these and other related degrees, visit the Psychology Schools directory today.