If you’ve willingly decided to be a psychology major, you’re probably already aware of the many more years of schooling that are required for most psychology career fields. Many of the possible career opportunities may only require up to a masters degree, but others will require a doctorate.
Whatever field you want to go into, there are dozens of masters degrees to choose from. From specialty masters degrees like forensic psychology to more generalized masters degrees such as clinical psychology, you have quite a lot of options. Before you dive into your masters degree, though, there are a few things you need to know.
#1. It’s Not An Easy Side-Gig
For some reason, psychology is considered easy when compared to other industries such as law or nursing. If you’ve already started or completed your undergrad degree, though, you know that psychology is not a walk in the park.
When you study psychology, you’re expected to learn all hundreds of statistics and there is, unfortunately, a lot of math involved. A masters degree in psychology will not be easier.
You may have already completed a large chunk of your education by completing your undergraduate degree, but in a masters degree, you’ll be expected to put that knowledge to work while also continuing to grow and expand your skill set.
#2. You Have Lots of Specialization Options
Perhaps you were a simple psychology major back in undergrad. Now, though, you get to choose a masters degree and it isn’t as straightforward as you might have expected. There are all sorts of options and specialities to choose from. Between the different types of psychology masters degrees, you can get as specific as you want with your studies.
Depending on what type of specialization you choose for your masters degree, you’ll need to brush up on biology, chemistry, or statistics. While you’ll certainly learn more during your program, glancing over your old notes can give you a little extra boost at the beginning.
Psychology is an incredibly large field of science which means you can do a lot with it. Even if you specialize in developmental psychology, you can find work in a school, through the government, or even with adoption agencies. Choosing to specialize your masters in psychology won’t limit your prospects but instead grant you access to a wider world.
#3. You’ll Have a Wide Range of Job Opportunities
Psychologists may need doctorates or even M.Ds in order to meet certain job requirements, but there are also job opportunities available for those with only a masters in psychology.
There are many common psychology related careers that you can do without anything past a masters degree. Career choices such as mental health counselor, behavioral therapist, clinical psychologist, and social service worker can all be achieved with a masters degree as well as many other psychology based job options.
Psychology isn’t limited to the stereotypical jobs you see on TV, either. As someone with a masters in psychology, you can find work in pretty much any industry you’re interested in: healthcare, business, marketing, teaching, government, or advertising. Every industry has their own use for psychologists and if you get creative, you might find that you work almost anywhere you want.
#4. Your Classes Won’t Be As Full
When you were an undergrad majoring in psychology, it’s pretty likely that all your classes were as full as they could be. Most psychology classes are held in large lecture halls during your undergrad years and you get used to sitting in a room with over 200 students at one time.
Having full classes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With more students in your program, you have more diverse perspectives and make lots of friends. During a masters degree program, however, things will be very different.
Whether you choose a more obscure specialization for your masters in psychology or you go with something fairly well known, your classes are going to be small. Expect about 30 students in your program.
Just because your masters program isn’t overflowing with students like your undergrad program was doesn’t mean you aren’t at a good school. Many students simply decide not to pursue further education after they earn their bachelor’s degree and are content with the job opportunities available to them now.
With smaller classes, you’ll likely get to know your classmates and your teacher better. You’ll spend all your time with them and without the distraction of over 200 other students, you can focus more on your studies and have fewer problems trying to meet with your teacher if you don’t understand something.
#5. The Job Outlook is Good
If you want to have a job in the future, it’s important to take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get an idea about how in-demand certain careers will be in the next ten years. Certain jobs such as accounting clerks and pharmacists are starting to decline, meaning there are fewer and fewer workers needed to fill the demand. Fortunately, psychologists are not in decline.
Psychologists are one of the few careers fields that has always had and continues to have a positive growth rate. In the next ten years, jobs for psychologists are expected to increase by about 8% which is good news for any aspiring psychologist. While the BLS does not specify between the different types of psychologists, it’s safe to assume that you won’t be wasting your time by earning a masters in psychology.
A Word of Good Luck
Masters degree programs in psychology won’t be easy by any means, but the job opportunities that await you once you graduate are numerous and very few people choose to pass them up. If you want to further study psychology and specialize your skills to the point of earning a doctorate or M.D, a masters degree is the first milestone to achieve.
You’ll face challenges during your masters program, but a rewarding career and valuable knowledge awaits you on the other side. Whether you choose an online program, an on campus program, or a part-time program, earning a masters degree in psychology is a great way to open new doors and gain valuable experience.