Is Earning a Psychology Degree Worth It?
If you are interested in studying Psychology, chances are you have heard mixed reviews on the future of those who have this degree. Some may say that this degree has earned its reputation for low employment opportunities. Others may find that Psychology opens the door for them to pursue lifelong passions.
In reality, the broad nature of this field of study can lead to many different careers – you just need to have a plan!
One of the first questions students ask when considering this major is, “Is it worth it to graduate with a degree in Psychology?” The answer to that question depends upon a number of factors, and ultimately the worth of this major hinges on the commitment the student has to pursuing their end career goals.
In the sections below, we will cover a number of topics related to earning a Psychology degree to help you make the decision on whether this is the right major for you.
Factors to Consider when Deciding to Major in Psychology
Choosing your major is a big decision, and students need to consider long-term goals as well as the short-term reality of entering into a specific degree program. Psychology is unique in that it covers an expansive range of topics that students can use in a variety of different career fields or translate into a graduate degree.
When considering if a Psychology degree is worth it for you, start by asking yourself the following important questions:
- Am I passionate about the field?
We’ve all heard the saying that “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”, and there is truth in that philosophy. While you obviously want to translate your degree into a successful career, you also should enjoy the work you do each day.
Those who have the greatest success with Psychology degrees are dedicated students that are passionate about understanding the inner workings of society and the human mind. Psychology is a fascinating field, but without a strong desire to pursue your long-term goals it will be difficult to take your broad spectrum of knowledge and turn it into a viable career.
- How long am I willing to commit to school?
Earning a bachelor’s level degree typically takes around four years, and graduate programs can add an additional two to four years onto that timeframe. While there are careers in Psychology available at a bachelor’s level, most professionals in the field hold a master’s or doctorate level degree.
It is important to ask yourself about the timeframe you are willing to commit to before entering into a degree program. Do you expect any major life changes in that timespan? Are you able to receive financial assistance to help with expenses? Have you considered online classes? For some students, online degree programs can be a good option to work at a quicker pace on a more flexible schedule in order to finish the degree in a faster timeframe.
- What is my end goal?
This is an important question to answer before entering into any degree program, and it determines the course of action you will need to take to realize your dreams. If you are interested in Psychology as a gateway to business, human resources, or other fields, a bachelor’s level degree may be adequate for your needs. You can also check out this article: What can you do with a Psychology degree?
However, if you wish to assist clients with private counseling or work with specialized populations in therapy, a graduate degree is necessary. Most states require that professional counselors meet the requirements of licensure before practicing, so it is also a good idea to look into your region’s regulations.
- How is the career outlook for my chosen career?
The professional workforce is constantly evolving, and as new technology and needs develop in society, the outlook for various occupations can shift. Reputable sources, such as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, offer valuable information on the projected outlook for a wide variety of careers.
For example, between the years 2014 and 2024, employment for psychologists, mental health counselors, and marriage therapists is expected to grow 19%. This growth rate is much faster than the national average across all occupations and is a positive factor for those who are considering earning a degree in Psychology.
Bachelor’s Degrees vs. Graduate Degrees
When it comes to deciding if a Psychology degree is worth it, you have to take into consideration the type of degree you plan on earning. Bachelor’s degrees are the minimum educational level to enter into professional employment within this industry, and many positions require a graduate degree to practice.
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
A bachelor’s level degree can give students a good starting point to excel in a number of different industries. However, if you wish to practice psychology as an independent therapist or become a psychologist, a graduate level degree is required for licensing.
You can also earn your Bachelor’s degree in Psychology online from a number of universities.
The skills learned throughout a bachelor’s degree in Psychology program cover a broad spectrum of topics that help the student develop critical thinking skills useful in a variety of job settings. Common careers that you may wish to pursue after graduation from a bachelor’s level program include:
- Case management
- School counseling
- Career and admissions counseling
- Human and social services
- Psychiatric technician
- Education specialist
The broad scope of topics covered in this type of Psychology degree program can also prepare students to take on jobs that involve business, real estate, customer service, and marketing. To make the process of earning a degree easier, many accredited schools also offer this level degree program in an online environment.
Graduate Degree in Psychology
If you are interested in providing one-on-one therapy to clients or securing top-level psychology positions, then it is essential to look into a graduate degree program in Psychology. After completion of your bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in Psychology is the next step. Some students also go on to receive their doctorate degree within a specialized psychology field.
You can also earn your Graduate degree in Psychology online from a number of universities.
Careers that are available with a graduate degree in Psychology include the following:
- Social service manager
- Licensed clinical therapist
- Drug and alcohol counselor
Throughout the course of your graduate degree studies, you will be able to choose a field of psychology in which to specialize. The path that you choose is based on your unique goals and interests, and working with an academic advisor can be helpful to outline the classes you will need to reach your goals.
Choosing the Right School
So you’ve decided that you are passionate about Psychology and interested in pursuing a degree in this field. but now what?
The next step is choosing a reputable school to complete your studies! There are many factors that go into choosing the college that is right for you, and it is essential that your chosen school meets specific standards of the industry to ensure that your degree will be recognized in the professional workforce.
When choosing a college or university to complete your Psychology degree, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the school accredited?
Accreditation is a vital component to choosing a school that meets high standards of quality for their curriculum and educational offerings. There are many different accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and names that you should look for include the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS).
- Does the school offer flexibility in scheduling classes?
Attending full-time classes isn’t always a viable option for working adult students, and more schools are recognizing the need for flexibility in their student body. One way that schools cater to the needs of non-traditional students is through online classes. With the option of online courses, students can log-in at a type that fits into their schedules and work at a pace that suits their busy lives.
- What type of student services are available at the school?
Beyond accredited curriculums and quality professors, having the support of student services at your school can make a big difference in helping you reach your potential. When choosing a school, speak with an advisor about the various services available. Many schools offer free tutoring, career advisement, and extensive resources to help students make the most of their degree program.
Is a Psychology Degree Right for me?
The question of whether or not it is worth it to earn a Psychology degree depends on many different factors. Most importantly, it comes down to the individual student’s desire to reach their goals. If you enjoy learning about human behavior and have a passion for helping others, then this degree may be the ideal starting point for a rewarding career.
From sales and business to human resources and science, the skills learned in a Psychology degree program extend to countless career paths. If you are willing to put in the time and hard work needed to pursue a degree or take graduate-level studies, the rewards that can come from a Psychology degree are well worth the effort!