Online Master's Degree in Psychology
Many colleges and universities now offer online master’s degrees in psychology. Distance learning is a good option for older, non-traditional students who want to pursue or continue their education. Online master’s degree programs in psychology vary in quality and accreditation so it is important that you thoroughly research these programs before investing the time and energy it takes to obtain a master’s degree in psychology online.
It is also important to note that in order to acquire an online degree in psychology; you will need to commit a considerable of dedication, discipline, patience and financial resources to your academic success.
The following steps may help you obtain a master’s degree in psychology online:
- Graduate with a bachelor’s degree: The first thing you will need to do is: graduate from an undergraduate program, preferably with a degree in psychology. You will need a bachelor’s degree (in any area) to enroll in an online graduate psychology program.
- Research a variety of online graduate schools: After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, you will need to research colleges and universities that offer online graduate psychology programs. Take note of the cost and academic requirements associated with the different online master’s degree programs.
- Look for accredited online colleges and universities: It is also important that the educational institution you choose be accredited. If you attend an online college or university that is not accredited, your degree may prove useless when seeking employment. Moreover, you can only receive financial aid from accredited schools. Once you have picked out a couple of schools that interest you, contact them to discuss the applications and admission process.
- Take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE): Once you have an idea of which online colleges and universities that offer psychology programs that match what you are looking for, you will need to register and pass the GRE. It is important to note that not all online graduate psychology programs require you to take the GRE to enroll in their online programs, but many do. Make sure you understand what score you need to make on the GRE to be accepted to your chosen online master’s psychology program.
- Decide your area of study: If you are focused on a specific area of psychology (child, family, geriatric, etc.), choose an online program that meets your wants and needs.
- Narrow down your list: Once you have graduated from an undergraduate program and taken the GRE, you will need to decide the online master’s degree program in psychology that is best for you. You will need to ask yourself the following questions: Is the program affordable for me? Do I have the self-discipline to complete a master’s degree program without direct interaction with my teacher and peers? Will I have the time to log-in to my online courses several times a week?
- Apply to several online graduate psychology programs: Apply to the online graduate programs that interest you. Include all required materials such as: the application fee, transcripts, GRE score, college essay (if required) and reference letters.
- Apply for financial aid (if needed): Once you have applied and/or been accepted to an online master’s degree program in psychology, you can apply for financial aid. Request that your information be sent to the school or schools that interests you.
- Choose an online master’s degree program in psychology: Once you have found the perfect school for you, accept the offer to attend. Make sure you go carefully review your acceptance paperwork and submit any additional paperwork. This will also be a good time to make sure that your computer meets all of the requirements for online courses.
- Officially enroll in the graduate psychology program: Register for classes and start taking online courses. Choose courses that correspond with your psychology degree program.
- Participate in course room assignments and discussions: Once enrolled in your chosen master’s degree program in psychology, participate in the online discussions, maintain your studies and connect with your college instructor and peers through email, course room posts and/or telephone calls.
- Enroll in the web-based orientation session: If you have never taken online courses, it may be beneficial for you to take a web-based orientation session. Web-based orientation sessions are generally offered to all new online graduate students. These orientations help you get adjusted to an online setting and typically do not have credits and/or grades assigned to them. Understanding how to successfully navigate the online community will help you obtain a master’s degree in psychology online.
- In order to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, candidates have to be familiar with the many different specializations offered in this field. Only when they choose a particular specialty and decide if they want to work in a business, clinical, educational, or research setting can they seriously begin the hunt for the right master’s degree program for them.
What Masters Degree One Might Opt for?
Students may opt for a specialty program according to interest and talent. Such programs may include an MS or MA in child psychology, experimental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology, clinical psychology, or social psychology.
Other common specialties in the field of psychology include abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, sports psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, and paranormal psychology.
Many of these topics are covered in a basic psychology education, but students can choose to specialize in any one area for a more in-depth study.
Areas to Work after Pursuing a Master’s Degree
Most professionals who hold a master’s degree in psychology become mental health workers in some capacity. They might work in the fields of health sciences, counseling, social work, education, and school psychology. It is not important for candidates to have prior educational experience in the field of counseling or psychology.
Master’s Program in Social Work (MSW)
Although not strictly a psychology degree, many MA and MS psychology students find work as social workers to address various social issues like illness, family strife, unemployment, poverty, disability, violence, and drug and substance abuse.
Psychology students are especially well-suited to taking on the role of a social worker, as they can help address the psychological roots of many problems which plague society. For this reason, students will need to also take courses in topics like urban studies, social work, sociology, and political science.