Psychology Overview

Thinking about earning a psychology degree? There are many different options when choosing a degree at the graduate and undergraduate level. In order to choose the career path that is right for you, it is important to understand the different types of psychology and counseling degrees available to you. Each psychology degree has its own level of education necessary to complete the program. There are five main types of psychology degrees:

  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
  • Master’s Degree in Psychology
  • Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Online Psychology Degrees

Many students are choosing the option of an online psychology degree. It provides a high level of flexibility, accessibility, and is very affordable. is partners with some of the largest educational providers in the U.S. and if an online education is right for you, check out the recommended online psychology degree programs below.

Recommended Psychology Degrees Online

Associate Degree in Psychology

An associate degree in psychology is an under-graduate degree program that typically takes two years to complete. Part time students may require slightly longer than two years and some students can complete the degree more quickly. Many associate psychology degree programs are offered at community colleges and junior colleges. They are often the first stepping stones for a higher degrees, most commonly a bachelor’s degree. This is because there aren’t many psychology-related jobs for associate level degree holders.

Most careers require at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology. There is one common psychology career that only requires an associate’s degree. That’s the substance abuse counselor.

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is an under-graduate level degree that normally takes four years to complete. This is considered the minimal level of education for entry-level psychology-related jobs. Most universities offer students a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in psychology. The main difference between the two is that a B.A. has a higher focus on liberal arts, where a B.S. focuses more on science and mathematics. Some entry-level jobs that one may acquire with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are:

  • career counselor
  • psychiatric technician
  • case managers
  • rehabilitation specialists

Many people complete their bachelor’s degree to go on to higher degrees with more job options.

Master’s Degree in Psychology

A master’s degree in psychology is a graduate-level degree that generally takes 2-3 more years of education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Most universities offer a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) in psychology. The possibility for finding a job is much more likely for someone with a master’s degree in psychology and the salary is usually much higher.

Some master’s degree programs focus on what are called end-level degrees, where the student is prepared for the workforce. Other master’s degree programs focus on preparing the student for the highest degree path in psychology, a doctoral-level degree in of psychology. Common jobs you could qualify for with a master’s degree in psychology include:

  • therapist
  • psychologist
  • mental health services
  • providing services to government agencies

Ph.D. in Psychology

A doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology is a doctoral-level degree that typically requires 5-7 additional years of graduate study to complete. Most Ph.D. graduates tend to focus highly on research-based approaches to psychology, but there are also theoretical and applied training courses. A Ph.D. in psychology is usually required when you wan to open your own practice. It is also a common degree found amongst professors who conduct research or teach at the college and university level. One common job for a student who graduates with a Ph.D. in psychology is as a counselor.

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

The doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) degree was originally created as a clear path for students to enter the clinical psychology field. However, this degree program has expanded to include educational psychology, counseling psychology, and other areas. A person who holds a Psy.D. is able to diagnose mental disorders, conduct psychological testing, and deliver psychotherapy.

Psychology Salary

According to the BLS the average psychology salary is $90,020 per year, or about $43 per hour.

Occupation Education Average Salary
Clinical Psychologist Master’s Degree $66,810
Counselor Master’s Degree $72,220
Forensic Psychologist Master’s Degree $89,900
Industrial and Organizational Psychologist Master’s Degree $87,330
Psychiatrist Doctorate $173,330
Sports Psychologist Master’s Degree $89,900
Substance Abuse Counselor Associate’s Degree $38,120

Recommended Psychology Degree Programs