Online Psychology Students: Is Graduate School For You?
Great advice for online psychology students who are ready to choose a graduate school program.
The reason so many students choose psychology varies. Not only is the study of human behavior fascinating, but psychology is a versatile degree of study and great preparation for work in more diverse settings than just about any other degree program.
While many psychology graduates put the skills and knowledge they have attained during their undergraduate program to use in the workforce right away, graduate school is a common pathway for those interested in a counseling or research career in psychology.
If you're interested in applying to a graduate psychology program, here are some thoughts to guide your decision-making process.
A bachelor's degree in psychology can take you in a number of directions (even some you may not have originally considered). The same is true for an advanced degree in the field. A professional with master's degrees in psychology can become a school psychologist, behavioral counselor, child protection worker, drug specialist, psychologist assistant, or social services manager.
Nancy Cheek, career services advisor for the Center for Online Learning at Saint Leo University, says you should research job qualifications (as well as licensure and certification requirements) so you know the appropriate education to pursue.
For example, not only do psychologists need a doctorate, they must also obtain an internship or clinical experience and pass an exam for licensure. Psychiatrists, who can prescribe medication, go to medical school and complete a four-year residency program. Counselors typically have a master's degree and certification in a specialty.
Dr. Tammy Zacchilli, associate professor of psychology at Saint Leo, encourages students to reflect on basic, but important, questions when deciding which program is the best fit.
As you organize your thoughts, you'll likely realize that pursuing an advanced degree is possible in a variety of situations, especially when you factor in the flexibility of online programs.
While alumnus Dew Blackwell was a student in Saint Leo's online psychology degree program, he knew he wanted to work with people with disabilities in underprivileged populations; so graduate school was definitely in his plan. Today he's enrolled in a clinical psychology program specializing in health psychology and is well on his way to achieving his goal.
Here's what Dew suggests for students thinking about graduate school:
Building a network and personal brand is important no matter where you are headed in your career. When it comes to graduate school, networking can lead you to great opportunities.
Want more helpful suggestions? Check out these webinars.
What do you want to do with your psychology degree? Share with us in the comments.
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