Psychology Degrees – Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Psychology is all about studying the relationship between the brain and our behavior. As this is such an in-depth topic, psychologists have to study for years, learning all of the techniques and specializations of this expansive area of expertise.

There are also many different psychology fields such as clinical psychologyindustrial-organizational psychologyschool psychology, and other kinds of practitioners. Depending on the type of psychology role, the entry requirements and qualifications may differ.

If you want to become a psychologist, then there is a lot of education and training that you need to undergo in order to qualify and be a licensed psychologist. So, let’s take a look at some of the psychology degrees available.

Psychology degrees are offered at the best universities. Both undergraduate and postgraduate courses train students for psychology or psychology-related careers. These degrees are also available in online universities, and there are many students who prefer to earn their degree from a psychology school. No matter where you plan on pursuing your degree, below you’ll find important information to help you make an informed decision regarding your psychology education and career path.

What Can You Do with a Psychology Degree?

A major in psychology can lead to many different careers. In addition to the traditional route of providing therapy, you will be able to follow many career paths that apply knowledge of the mind and theories regarding behavior. With a psychology degree, you can conduct research, work for government facilities or in administration, or provide counseling or psychotherapy in a number of different settings.

What are the Different Types of Degrees in Psychology?

There are several different degree types in the field of psychology.

An Associate’s Degree in Psychology will often be considered the starting point for those wanting to learn more about psychology. This course is often the most affordable way to start your career in psychology, and will provide you with an introduction or general course about psychology.

The next level is the Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. A Bachelor’s Degree will typically take around 4 years to finish, and this level of study can help you understand psychology more in depth, and with classes about certain specialities such as substance abuse or child psychology.

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is is completed through undergraduate education and is required prior to pursuing other degrees in psychology.

Then, you have the Master’s Degree in Psychology. This is another step up from the Bachelor’s Degree and will take around 2 years to complete. With this degree, you will have more hands-on experience with internships, and you can choose a speciality or sector of psychology in which you want to work, or one that you are very interested in.

A Master of Science (MS) focuses on one or two specific areas of psychology for those with the ultimate goal of practicing counseling or clinical psychology. A Master of Arts (MA) also focuses on a narrowed subset of the field but is intended for those interested in industrial or research psychology.

Finally, there’s a Doctorate Degree, or a PHD in Psychology. This is a long-term degree that can take up to 8 years to finish, which requires extensive research and study into the world of psychology. Students completing this degree will also have to conduct their own research in the form of a dissertation, however a PHD is considered the highest of qualifications, and one of the most impressive, which makes job prospects much simpler.


Doctorates are the terminal degrees in the field of psychology. Similar to the master’s degrees, the different doctoral degrees are intended for different career paths within the field. The traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is ideal if you are considering teaching or conducting research. A Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) allows you to practice clinically through counseling or psychotherapy. If your focus is on working in schools or hospitals, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in psychology will provide you with the most relevant skills. If school psychology is your particular interest, an Education Specialist (EdS) degree will allow you to practice in this field.

FAQs about Psychology Degrees

Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

A degree in psychology leads to many successful careers. The field has many specialized areas of practice, including research, school psychology, health administration, and even corporate settings developing, for example, employee training. Careers in psychology allow you to help others directly, engage in research that leads to a greater understanding of human cognition and behavior, and employ problem-solving skills.

What Major is Required to Become a Psychologist?

To become a psychologist, students are required to complete a major in the field of psychology. The coursework typically includes courses in general psychology, experimental psychology, and more specialized areas such as developmental or abnormal psychology.

What is the Highest Degree for Psychology?

A doctoral degree is the highest awarded in the field of psychology. Doctorates in psychology include the degrees of Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Education Specialist (EdS). Each degree is intended to lead to different career paths in the field of psychology.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Psychology Degree?

A psychology degree allows you to pursue many different careers. If you are interested in clinical psychology, you can work as a school psychologist, counsel in private practice, or provide therapy in a hospital setting. With a degree in psychology you can also conduct research, teach in universities, or work in government agencies.

Can I Major in Psychology and Become a Doctor?

A major in the field of psychology can allow you to become a medical doctor. Upon obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you can enter a medical doctor (MD) program to become a Doctor of Psychiatry. An advanced doctoral degree in other areas of psychology will allow you to obtain the title of doctor and to practice in hospitals or other clinical settings, but you will be unable to prescribe medication.

If you look at the data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an increase in competition for entrance to graduate psychology courses. It is possible that many students are interested in the lucrative careers that having psychology degrees can get them.

How Much Money Does a Psychologist Make?

Generally, psychologists make a good living. How much psychologists make will vary depending on the specific field and the geographic area they practice in. Jobs requiring more advanced degrees will also pay more. A psychiatrist, which requires an MD, is the highest paying field of psychology, earning around $216,000 annually.

ExperienceEntry-level (0-5 yrs.)Mid-career (5-10 yrs.)Experienced (10-20 yrs.)Late-career (20+ yrs.)Average
Clinical psychologist $69,000 $78,000 90,000 $94,000 $76,000
Forensic psychologist $61,000 $73,000 $83,000 $118,000 $64,000
School psychologist $54,000 $60,000 $66,000 $72,000 $60,000
Industrial psychologist $61,000 $94,000 $112,000 $131,000 $72,000
Clinical psychologist
Entry-level (0-5 yrs.) $69,000
Mid-career (5-10 yrs.) $78,000
Experienced (10-20 yrs.) 90,000
Late-career (20+ yrs.) $94,000
Average $76,000
Forensic psychologist
Entry-level (0-5 yrs.) $61,000
Mid-career (5-10 yrs.) $73,000
Experienced (10-20 yrs.) $83,000
Late-career (20+ yrs.) $118,000
Average $64,000
School psychologist
Entry-level (0-5 yrs.) $54,000
Mid-career (5-10 yrs.) $60,000
Experienced (10-20 yrs.) $66,000
Late-career (20+ yrs.) $72,000
Average $60,000
Industrial psychologist
Entry-level (0-5 yrs.) $61,000
Mid-career (5-10 yrs.) $94,000
Experienced (10-20 yrs.) $112,000
Late-career (20+ yrs.) $131,000
Average $72,000

Median Salary by Years of Experience and Specialty Area. Source: PayScale

On average for all degree levels, a psychologist makes about $77,000. It is important to adjust for cost of living in an area when assessing the salary to determine how good the pay is. For example, a psychology position in Los Angeles with a salary of $100,000 comes with a high cost of living. A similar job in Charlotte, North Carolina may pay slightly less, but the lower cost of living makes it an excellent salary.

Careers requiring a degree in psychology can be found in both the public and private sectors, ranging in positions from mental health counselors at nonprofits to private university professors. The expertise gleaned from studying psychology can lead to stimulating, meaningful careers.

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