A career as a Psychologist typically requires a graduate degree. Those students who wish to pursue a career in Psychology should consider attending graduate school! It is important to know that, in order to practice psychology (that is, to be titled a “psychologist”) in the U.S., you must be licensed in the state in which you wish to practice. In most states, a doctoral degree is required in order to be licensed. However, Master’s degree holders may find jobs as a School Psychologist (if certified) or as a psychological assistant or counselor, providing mental health services under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist. It is important to realize that the entry-level degree to work in many hospitals, clinics, universities, and private practice as a Psychologist requires a PhD.
Psychology graduates choose to continue their education for a wide variety of reasons. Some simply love learning and want to expand their knowledge base within the field of psychology, based on previous successes and fulfilling experiences. Others want to expand their professional opportunities and career options. For most, it’s a combination of many factors that are specific to the individual person.
Having an advanced degree in psychology can open many doors professionally. Holding a master's or doctoral degree in psychology increases the likelihood of finding employment in research, teaching, and human service positions. Such opportunities may be more limited for bachelor's degree holders.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, upcoming job prospects in psychology will be best for those holding a doctoral degree, particularly in applied specialties like clinical, counseling, and school psychology. Additionally, the doctoral degree is the preferred degree for many university faculty positions, particularly at research universities.
Many students enter the field of psychology in hopes of a career in applied areas because of a strong desire to help people. The mental health field is quite complex and there are a number of career paths and degree options that allow people to reach their goals.