You may be wondering whether pursuing Online Psychology Graduate Programs is a good idea. All you know is you want to advance your knowledge in the field, open yourself to a variety of potential careers in Psychology and start to narrow down a concentration area that has become important to you in your undergraduate years.
If you are already working, you may also be questioning how to do all of the above, maintain your job, and excel in university. Perhaps taking a look inside an Online Psychology Graduate Program will help you make your decisions.
The word ‘online’ means that instead of attending courses on a college campus, your courses are available via a computer and Internet. If the program is called ‘asynchronous’, it means that your seminars are prerecorded with audio and video. Otherwise, if the program is ‘synchronous’, it means that you need to be present to log in at a specific time for live-streaming classes. Now, some programs may be ‘partially online’, requiring some on-site work, especially as you may be learning how to apply psychology principles and theory to direct patient care, and real patients. In other words, not all online Psychology Graduate programs are the same, although they involve distance-learning.
If you are a prospective psychology grad student, it is highly recommended to attend a degree program that is accredited, and meets high standards. At some point, when you go forward with continued education or applying for jobs, this will be important too. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides accreditation for doctoral psychology programs. Other regional and national agencies provide accreditation for other graduate psychology
programs. Just keep this in mind when you initiate a search.
Also, in the day of online searching, you might want to see if the program you are considering gets positive feedback in terms of tech support and student resources. Is career counseling available to online learners? How do you stay connected to faculty and classmates? In some cases web chats, online group discussion boards and emails are used. It is also common to gain access to online libraries and publications, so you want to make sure all this is spelled out. We recommend you request info directly from the Psychology Graduate School you are interested in, make your list of notes, and then see if one stands out as the ‘right’ fit for you. Interested?
Since many Psychology Grad Schools offer both campus and online formats, you can find Graduate Certificates, Masters and Doctorate Degrees in distance-learning programs, although we hope to convey that just because a program is called ‘online’ doesn’t mean they all have the same curriculum or coursework. Furthermore, within each program there may be different degrees awarded, including programs ike online clinical psychology graduate programs, online forensic psychology graduate programs, online school psychology graduate programs, industrial organizational psychology graduate programs online, and many more, each with different outcomes.
If you are looking into an online Masters degree in psychology, you should consider whether you are:
Why? You want to make sure that one decision supports the other. If you want to work as a clinical psychologist, for instance, this career requires licensure, and a doctoral psychology degree. Thesis options are usually considered good ideas if you are looking towards a PhD or PsyD. On the other hand, if you wanted to work as an Industrial Organizational Psychologist, a Masters degree might be adequate.
Just so you know: A Master of Arts degree might indicate a stronger focus of study on the liberal arts and practitioner model, whereas a Master of Science degree might indicate a stronger focus on research and the science behind the brain, behavior, and psychological processes.
Some of the listings for Online programs you might consider may include: Master of Arts in Psychology, Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (M.A.I.O.P), Master of Science in Psychology, MS in Educational Psychology. Take a look inside Online Psychology Masters Programs.
Here too, there are choices based on what you aspire to do with your career. By this stage in your education, likely you know what your area of concentration is. Perfect. Expect to research it! Remember for doctoral programs, the APA does accredit programs (not schools) and this is important. Keep in mind that
A Doctor of Philosophy - Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that is obtained after taking a comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation based on original research
A Doctor of Psychology - Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation.
An Education Specialist degree -Ed.S. is the advanced degree needed by school psychologists.
Some of the listings for online programs might include: PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development, PsyD, PhD in General Psychology with an emphasis in Performance Psychology. Take a look inside Online Psychology Doctorate Programs.
Maybe you already hold a Masters degree. If so, you might pursue a Post Graduate Certificate, which is usually earned to delineate a specific focus for practicing Psychologists. Or, maybe you are applying for a Master's program in Psychology. In that case, adding a certificate displays your commitment to the field, your focus and may enhance your application.
Some of the listings you might find for online grad certificates in psychology might include Graduate Certificate: Applied Behavior Analysis, Graduate Certificate of Completion in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Take a look inside Online Graduate Certificates in Psychology
Educational technology has made many degrees accessible to students who have limited time or need a convenient study format. Some people suit the independence and self-pacing, and some people just live too far from the grad school they want to attend. There are many reasons why online study is popular. Just keep in mind that you should be as prepared for the next step as possible; whether this means making sure your computer is in good shape, checking that you have all the prerequisites in place for a graduate degree, or that your program is actually a path to the career you aspire to succeed in.