Hybrid Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs

Some universities and psychology schools offer hybrid clinical psychology graduate programs which offer a flexible and low residency learning alternative to fully residential or fully online programs. While graduate schools differ in their formats and curriculums, hybrid programs blend online courses with on-campus courses so working students might be able to fit advanced learning into a busy schedule.

Hybrid Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs

If you are drawn to the broad field of psychology, clinical psychology integrates science, theory and clinical knowledge with the goal of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychological distress or dysfunction and promoting behavioral well-being. Since a graduate degree is required by most of the career paths associated with clinical psychology and counseling,[i] if you are looking for convenience, blended online clinical psychology programs warrant consideration.

Hybrid Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs: Basics

Since a graduate degree is required by most of the career paths associated with clinical psychology and counseling,[ii] if you are looking for convenience, blended online, or hybrid clinical psychology programs warrant consideration. These may be offered as clinical psychology master’s degrees, doctorate degrees or graduate certificates. In terms of prerequisites, a Bachelor’s in Psychology degree from an accredited university may be necessary, however some programs may admit students who have majored in counseling. Similarly, clinical psychology doctorate programs may require students to have earned a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree. Students who work towards a Master’s in Clinical Psychology as a platform for continuing education might choose a thesis option.

FACT: Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Psychologists in independent practice also need a license[iii].

Are You Ready to Major in Clinical Psychology?

One of the defining features of clinical psychology is that it is one of the largest specialty areas within psychology.

[iv] Although nearly one in three psychologists was self-employed in 2014, being trained in clinical psychology could allow you to further specialize, whether in practice or research. Some clinical psychologists may choose to focus on specific issues (depression, anxiety, stress), while others may choose to use psychological science to help patients manage a health concern (diabetes, chronic illness). Still others specialize in a specific age group (children, the elderly, college students). If you have a strong pull towards learning about human behavior, the field of clinical psychology has a lot to offer. [v]

How to Choose a Hybrid Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

Deciding on what type of clinical psychology degree you are looking for should reflect your career ambitions, as not all levels of study lead to the same type of practice within the broad field of clinical psychology. Anyone working within the field of psychology with a master’s degree is typically supervised by someone with a doctoral degree; in most states the independent practice of psychology requires state licensure which is predicated on having earned a doctorate degree[vi]. A master’s in clinical psychology could also be a step on the way towards clinical mental health counseling[vii].

Masters or PhD in Clinical Psychology Degree?

Consider a few points before you proceed;

  • Some clinical psychology master’s programs are considered ‘terminal’ degrees in that they may not require a thesis, and graduates could be prepared to sit for National Board of Certified Counselor exams. [viii] This could be the case with a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling Degree program;
  • Some clinical psychology master’s programs could be used as a stepping stone to a doctoral degree and for eventual practice as licensed clinical psychologists; these may include a thesis and may be offered as Master of Science in clinical psychology;
  • Doctor of Philosophy in clinical psychology could include writing a dissertation based on original research and studying topics such as statistics and experimental procedures;[ix]
  • Doctor of Psychology in clinical psychology could involve more practical work and examinations as well as a 1-year internship;[x]

Why Choose a Hybrid Clinical Psychology Graduate Program?

The Online College Students 2016 Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences recently reported that online students are likely to choose a campus close to home because of the desire or ability to visit the campus[xi] and this could help explain the appeal of a hybrid clinical psychology degree. As a human centered field, it could be a plus to have the mixture of web-based courses and research with the aspect of getting to know and learn from your faculty in person.  Potential highlights of partially online programs could include:

  • Developing a sense of community with your college during the on ground courses
  • Interacting in person with classmates to possibly expand your networks
  • Learning directly from professors for the classes where demonstration or group discussion is important
  • Access to campus and virtual libraries
  • Access to campus facilities (gym, career counseling, academic advising, laboratories)
  • Possibility of access to pre-recorded lectures and courses so you only have to be on campus during set scheduled periods
  • Campus courses may be minimal with classes scheduled at intervals, on weekends or during the summer so that you do not have to relocate
  • Convenience of study format could be advantageous for graduate students with job or family responsibilities
  • Could be attractive to out of state applicants due to the low residency component

About Accreditation

Any college, university or psychology school that you choose below the doctoral level should be accredited by a regional accrediting agency. These are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Any hybrid clinical psychology graduate programs above the master’s level should be accredited by the American Psychological Association unless you know that this is not required. Counseling programs may be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.[xii] Accreditation standards at the programmatic level ensure coursework meets industry standards.

Take the Next Step

Hybrid clinical psychology graduate programs can offer you the best of two learning formats! Browse our directory to find the program that meets your unique needs. Sponsored listings could include an option such as Master of Arts in Clinial Mental Health Counseling. We suggest you use the ‘request info’ tab to contact prospective schools to see how they format their curriculum and it might benefit you to enroll.

sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[iv] apa.org/action/science/clinical/education-training.aspx |[v] apa.org/action/science/clinical/education-training.aspx |[vi] apa.org/action/science/clinical/education-training.aspx |[vii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm |[viii] nbcc.org |[ix] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[x] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[xi] Online College Students 2016: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences |[xii] nbcc.org/Footer/Accreditation

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