How Long Does It Take to Get a Psychology Degree?
- March 20, 2018
- Posted by: Amber Bobnar
- Category: Student Resources,
Updated on Jan 29, 2021
Assuming that you’re attending school full-time, you can expect to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology within four or five years. If you decide to go for your master’s degree, expect another two to three years. A doctorate degree in psychology can take anywhere from four to seven years.
If you still have concerns about earning your psychology degree, keep reading for more in-depth answers to the most frequently asked questions:
What are My Psychology Degree Options?
When first enrolling in a psychology program, you will have the option of completing your associate degree or bachelor’s degree. An associate program is typically completed within two years and includes the introductory courses needed to complete a bachelor’s program in psychology. There aren’t many jobs in the psychology field available for those with an associate degree, but you may qualify for some positions with social welfare agencies struggling to find affordable help.
If you’re attending school full-time, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology within four or five years. If you decide to go for your master’s degree, expect another two to three years. A doctorate degree in psychology can take anywhere from four to seven years.
You will have a larger field of job opportunities if you earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Depending on your geographical area and your willingness to commute or relocate, you may work in research, marketing, education, forensics or engineering. From mental health counselors to social workers, there are many potential career paths for someone with a bachelor’s degree.
What’s the difference between a BA and BS in psychology?
Bachelor of Arts – The field of psychology is explored with a wide focus. You may learn about all aspects of the mind and how it applies to children, the elderly and other special populations. You will receive a well-rounded education that can apply to many different career paths.
Bachelor of Science – A more scientific or technical approach is taken. Your coursework may relate more to clinical applications of the degree, including neuroscience and cognitive psychology.
A master’s degree in psychology will allow you to pick a specialty, giving your career a narrower focus. Some of the highest-paying jobs in the field will require this degree, and a doctorate degree will allow you to specialize to an even greater extent. You don’t need one of these higher degrees to work in the psychology field successfully, but you are more likely to earn more money with an advanced degree.
If you start with a bachelor’s degree, you can get your career started and then determine whether a higher degree is necessary to reach your professional goals. Not every psychologist needs to become a doctor to succeed.
What is Expected of a Psychology Student Beyond Academics?
Associate and bachelor’s degree programs are strictly academic. You can expect to complete 60 credit hours for most associate programs, and a bachelor’s program typically requires around 130 credit hours. You don’t need to complete clinical credits for these entry-level degrees, and most states won’t allow you to apply for a license until you have completed at least your master’s degree.
Many states, however, reserve licensing for doctorate-level psychologists. Completing your master’s or doctorate degree will require you to work as a resident in a medical environment, and you will most likely have other clinical requirements based on your chosen specialty. Requirements for testing and licensing may also vary from one state to another.
Do Some Psychology Specialties Take Longer than Others?
Some psychology specialties do take more time to complete than others. Each student may also move through a specialty program at different rates, depending on restraints from their personal lives and professional careers. Most students are actively working in the field while earning these advanced degrees, so it’s important to think about all responsibilities and limitations when determining how much time a program may take to complete.
Many psychologists also complete multiple specialties. The American Psychology Association makes a strong case for psychologists seeking out specialties that are in high demand within certain geographical areas. Each new specialty may bring in additional streams of income.
Can Online Psychology Degree Programs Save Time?
There are many accredited psychology programs offered online today. These courses require you to complete the same number of credit hours as programs offered at your local community colleges and universities, but the convenience of studying online may allow you to take classes full-time regardless of a busy schedule. Since you don’t have to leave work or your family to get to class at a certain time, you can take more classes at times that are convenient to you.
Some online psychology programs are partially online while others are 100% online. You may also find accelerated programs that allow you to complete credit hours in a shorter period of time. While these classes allow you to finish your degree faster, they also require a more substantial investment of time while completing the degree. Accelerated programs also move at a much faster pace, and not all students are comfortable learning at a rapid pace.
Instead of focusing solely on the amount of time that it takes to complete a degree program in psychology, try to determine your ideal career path. What type of career you want to build will tell you which degrees you will need. Your career path will also help you determine the most beneficial specializations. From there, you can start educating yourself on the details related to your chosen career field.