Psychologists seek to understand individuals and groups by studying people’s behaviors, mental processes, and relationships and interactions with each other and their environments. They then use what they learn about these individuals to help them work through problems or issues they may be facing.
If you are a compassionate person, an active listener, and want to help people, you may want to consider enrolling in an online psychology degree program. Earning a psychology degree will equip you with the skills needed to actively listen to your patients, observe them, evaluate and interpret what they say and do, and use this information to help them deal with or overcome whatever problems they are having.
Classes and Assignments for Psychology Majors
Psychologists must have extensive knowledge about the human mental process, behavioral science, and causes of psychological issues, and be able to observe, assess, evaluate, and help their patients. Some of the courses you can expect to take may include behavioral science research methods, developmental psychology, chemical dependency, psychopharmacology, history and systems of psychology, and ethical, legal, and professional contexts of psychology. Typically, bachelor’s degree courses will build off of the knowledge acquired during online associate psychology degrees, and graduate degrees will build off of bachelor’s degrees.
Many of your assignments may involve researching and studying theories, assessing mock patients, and working through simulations which allow you to demonstrate your understanding of psychology. In addition to your course work, you may also be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours, in which you will gain hands-on, real-world knowledge and experience.
Degree Levels for Psychology Majors
- Bachelor’s. Online bachelors psychology degrees will introduce you to the fundamentals of psychology with courses such as developmental, social, and experimental psychology, psychology of learning, and history and systems of psychology. A bachelor’s degree will qualify you to assist a psychologist, and it can be used toward a graduate degree in psychology.
- Master’s. Online masters psychology degrees will cover specific areas of psychology and include advanced courses such as psychopathology, assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect, family therapy, theory and techniques of psychotherapy, and detection, assessment, and treatment of domestic abuse. A master’s degree may qualify you for a position as an industrial-organizational psychologist or a research assistant to a doctor of psychology.
- Doctoral. A doctoral degree in psychology program will cover advanced topics in psychology with courses such as behavioral neurobiology, psychodiagnostic assessment, behavioral medicine, and cognitive bases of behavior. A doctoral degree will qualify you to practice psychology, become a professor of psychology at a college or university, or conduct psychological research.
A Future as a Psychology Major
The majority of psychologists have a private practice, but opportunities are also available with rehabilitation centers, counseling firms, schools, and healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes. There are 13 areas in which psychologists can become certified, including forensic psychology, family psychology, rehabilitation, industrial-organizational psychology, and clinical psychology. All states require individuals to have a doctoral degree in psychology to practice, but each of these specialties has its own set of educational requirements. Also, depending on the state you’re in and the area you are wanting to practice in, you may be required to obtain licensure from your state.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is expecting to see an employment growth of 12% for psychologists through the year 2018. The BLS also shows that the national average annual salary is $72,540 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, $114,040 for industrial-organizational psychologists, and $86,510 for all other psychologists. Keep in mind, though, that these amounts will vary depending on several factors, such as the industry you’re in and the amount of experience you have.