Master's Degree in Psychology

Master’s Degree in Psychology

The human psyche consists of six things – love, fear, joy, hatred, boredom and sexuality. What makes a person unique from everyone else on the planet is the degree to which they focus on one or more of those aspects. 

Those most fascinated with the human psyche find themselves seeking out ways to fulfill their urge to learn more about it, while at the same time, earning a living off of their passion. 

What is Psychology?

Psychology can be defined in one of two ways. First and foremost, it is the mental characteristics or attitude – as defined above – which defines a person or group of people. It also can be defined as the scientific study of the human mind and its function, particularly those which affect human behavior in certain situations. People who study psychology, and earn a master's degree in psychology, are called psychologists. 

It is the goal of psychologists to both understand and treat the human psyche, which includes treatment for mental health, enhancing the performance of the human brain, self-help therapy and other mental health issues that affect one’s daily health and living. 

Psychology is the joining of philosophy and biology, using both sciences to help decode, enhance and treat the human mind. Psychologists, after pursuing a master's in psychology, learn to use objective scientific methods, which help them to understand, explain and predict human behavior, as well as to diagnose and treat mental health issues. 

Aspects of and Education in Psychology

Psychological study in today’s world consists of two aspects: academic psychology and applied psychology. Academic psychology is the study of various sub-topics within the field, including personality, social behavior and human development. Applied psychology is the use of psychological principles to solve problems. 

Before a degree program can be chosen, students of psychology must first ask themselves what is their ultimate goal?  Does working as a substance abuse counselor appeal to them? Or would they prefer to work in the research field? The type of degree required for each is different. 

About 75 percent of those who earn degrees in psychology do not go on for graduate or doctorate degrees. They choose careers which use their background in psychology as an advantage without necessarily working in the field of psychology. 

For those who wish to pursue a career in the field of psychology, a master in psychology or doctorate degree will be necessary. Earning a master’s in psychology takes an additional two to three years of schooling beyond a bachelor’s degree. Some colleges and universities have a program at this level which prepares students to enter the workforce upon completion. Other programs offer training which prepares the student to continue on toward earning a doctoral degree. Many programs offer both online components and traditional program settings for earning this kind of degree. However, the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) recommends choosing an accredited college or university for your studies, whether it is through an online program or a traditional college classroom setting. 

Among the jobs those who directly enter the workforce are trained to do include working in mental health services, government agencies, social services, drug and alcohol treatment centers or behavioral counseling. Many companies also hire those who possess a master degree for research and clinical studies. Students who think they may be interested in performing these tasks should declare a concentration in clinical psychology. However, those who wish to practice as a licensed psychologist will need to go further in their studies, earning a doctorate degree and then becoming licensed through their state of practice. 

Future Outlook

As with other health careers, qualified psychologists with psychology masters are expected to be in high demand over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for trained professionals in this field is expected to increase by 24 percent by 2020. As of March 2012 – when the most recent salary figures were available – psychologists who possessed a psychology graduate degree were averaging $67,880 annually. 

Article by Shari Berg, PsychologyCollegeFinder.org

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