Customize Your Online Psychology Degree: Choose a Psychology Specialty
Your online master degree in psychology can open doors to a variety of career paths. So before you choose an online psychology major, evaluate your options and choose the path that makes the most sense for your interests and goals.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes specialties in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, and industrial or organizational psychology. However, there are several other areas of concentration that you may choose to focus on in an online psychology degree program. Here are a few popular subfields of psychology that you may find interesting:
Social Work Degree Online
Social psychologists analyze how individuals interact with each other in a social setting. They address a wide range of topics including:
- Group behavior
- Social perceptions
- Gestural behavior
- Aggressions and violence
To advance their career, most social psychologists opt for a PhD or PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree, which takes roughly four to five years of study. A doctoral degree is a requirement if you are looking to build a career as a university or college professor. However, even if you don't choose an academic career, many employers prefer doctoral degrees. If you are considering a career as a social psychologist, consider the benefits of earning your doctorate or master degree in social work online.
Clinical Psychology – Online Training
Clinical psychologists evaluate and treat individuals with psychological difficulties or psychiatric disorders. They are also likely to work with people going through difficult emotional situations such as grief or anxiety.
While some clinical psychologists are generalists who deal with a wide variety of people, others work as specialists, dealing with specific groups of people, such as children, the elderly or those with serious mental disorders. Clinical psychologists often work in the following environments:
- Academic institutions
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Community health centers
An online master degree in clinical psychology involves course work and field experience that will prepare you for a doctoral program, such as a PhD or PsyD. With one of these degrees, you will be qualified to obtain a license and take up private practice—opening up far more job opportunities than a bachelor or master degree in psychology.
Counseling psychologists share some commonalities with clinical psychologists, but counseling psychologists concentrate more on a patient's ability to adjust to life situations than on psychological disorders. They usually work in schools, colleges, community health centers or private practice.
Among other things, counseling psychologists help clients with issues related to career development or marriage and family relationships. They use techniques such as organized tests, structured interviews, and monitoring and observation to gather data that enables them to recommend treatments or solutions to problems.
An online master degree in counseling psychology focuses on topics such as counseling theory, individual and group counseling treatments, testing and assessment, research and diagnosis. If you intend to become a counseling psychologist, a PsyD or PhD is required.
Developmental / Child Psychology
Developmental psychology or child psychology is the scientific study of psychological changes that take place as people grow older. Originally, developmental psychology was only concerned with infant and child behavior. Today, however, developmental psychologists study people throughout their lifespan.
Many online psychology schools offer degree programs that range from associate to doctoral-level degrees in developmental psychology. Graduates with a PhD or master in child psychology will have many exciting career options open to them.
Choose Your Online Psychology Education and Career
The human brain is complex, so it's not surprising that psychology is a multi-faceted field that allows students and professionals a wide variety of avenues to explore. If you're ready to take the next step in your career, evaluate your interests and career goals and choose a school with the right online psychology degree program for you.