As a field of work or study, psychology is a practice that highly values a master’s degree. It is difficult to get many positions of choice, or advance in your career, without one. Whether you’re interested in pursuing research positions, practicing clinically, teaching, or pursuing other types of positions within psychology, a master’s degree will open opportunities to you that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pursue.
Earning a master’s degree in psychology sets you and your career up for success in a few distinct ways.
A master’s degree makes you more eligible for jobs
Many positions within psychology – even entry-level jobs in some cases – require a master’s degree at a minimum. Without a master’s degree, some psychologists that only have a bachelor’s degree aren’t able to secure any jobs within their field.
Master’s degree requirements can be almost ubiquitous across the psychology career landscape. And depending on your geographical location, applying to psychology positions with only a bachelor’s degree even when they don’t explicitly require a master’s can often be an exercise in futility because oftentimes most of your competition will already have earned their master’s degrees and be automatically more qualified for the position.
A master’s degree increases your earning power
Adjacent to being able to secure a job is the question of how much you’ll be able to earn in said position. Candidates with master’s degrees are eligible for better compensation and higher salaries than those without. Earning a master’s degree is an investment that returns a career length’s increased salary.
A master’s degree positions you for further advancement and study
Many individuals who enter the field of psychology dream of roles and responsibilities that can often only be secured with postgraduate degrees. Earning a ,aster’s degree in psychology is the first step in advancing towards further research, responsibilities, or specialisation. A master’s degree can also help you hone your interest areas and determine what direction would best suit your career interests and goals.
The process of getting a master’s degree in psychology
If you decide that a master’s degree in psychology is the right step for your career, there are several ways you can go about pursuing one. These options should be carefully weighed to determine what might be the right step for your personal life situation, needs, and career aspirations.
The most conventional option for earning a master’s degree is to look for an in-person psychology graduate programme. This can be a superior choice if your learning style benefits from being in a classroom setting and interacting with classmates and professors in a face-to-face environment. Some individuals learn best in this format.
It’s important to determine how you’ll best thrive and be able to most effectively absorb the material you’ll need to complete the programme. This direction works well if your life situation would allow you to relocate if necessary or you happen to live within a reasonable distance of an institution at which you’d be interested in studying.
However, this option isn’t optimal for everyone. If your current circumstances would make regularly attending classes difficult, if you are currently working another job and would like to continue in this role, or if you do not wish to relocate to attend the school of your choice, there are other options available to you.
Online master’s programmes have undergone steady gains in popularity and reputation over the past 5–10 years and continue to prove a highly advantageous option for some. Many online programmes still require taking the GRE to be considered, which is an important consideration as you apply and plan. GRE requirements necessitate planning well in advance and allowing ample time for studying in order to do well and earn a score that will aid you in your application process.
Finally, a third option that is rising in popularity is to pursue an online Master’s program that does require completing the GRE to apply. There are an increasing number of programmes that provide an online master’s in psychology, no GRE required. These programmes rely on alternative means of vetting candidates and remove the time and expense of completing the GRE in order to be considered.
If you’ve decided to pursue a naster’s degree in psychology, the process of choosing the optimal degree for you and your unique circumstances can be aided by reaching out to trusted colleagues, professional mentors, admissions counselors, and individuals who currently hold the professional roles you would be interested in pursuing. The process can actually be much less daunting than some people think. Being proactive and completing your master’s degree can help you more quickly and effectively pursue your ideal psychology career.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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