Types of Masters Degrees in Psychology
Types of Masters Degrees in Psychology
The Masters in Psychology as a terminal degree is a relatively recent development for many universities. For many years the PhD in Psychology was the only acceptable degree for a practice in psychology and for the few variations in the field that involved work outside the academic arena. Today there are many Master of Psychology specializations, some of which have become commonplace and some of which are more esoteric and remain academic in nature. Today it is possible to obtain state licensure as a counselor with a Masters in Psychology or a related degree. All counseling degree require well over a thousand hours in field work, which means doing counseling under supervision. The standard for Marriage & Family Counseling is three thousand hours. Many of the other options in the field require substantial internship hours as well.
Masters in Psychology Degrees:
- Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology are terms for the Master in Psychology degree that can lead to licensure as a counselor. The degree is among the most challenging of psychology specializations because of the academic requirements for licensure and the number of hours required for field training.
- Educational Psychology is the study of how people learn. It is a research and academically oriented degree, but there are job opportunities in the public sector working in evaluating learning systems or curriculum and instruction methods.
- Evaluation, Research, and Measurement is the application of behavioral psychology methods of analysis to studies and surveys. This is another academic field that finds many students moving on to a doctoral degree, but there are also career paths in consumer research and polling, two activities that seem to have an insatiable market.
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology is an established field, one of the standard areas of study for PhD in Psychology candidates. The emphasis these days is on organizational, but work in the field can focus on all sorts of organizational issues. It's an excellent degree for work in human resources.
- School Psychology is an area where a state license is generally required for professionals who want to work in schools. The degree can be a Masters in Psychology or a Masters in Education with specialization in school psychology. Most states will honor either degree from an accredited university.
- Sports Psychology has become an interesting niche that has developed credibility among professional and Olympic athletes that devote major segments of their lives to training. Sports psychologists work one on one as counselors or sometimes in a team environment at the invitation of the coaching staff.
- Crisis Management and Response sounds like a public safety issue but it is in fact an increasingly important business niche. Companies that have major economic problems, an internal scandal, a product liability problem or a political issue turn to professionals for guidance in handling the issue both internally and publically. Professionals with a psychology degree in this specialty often work as consultants.
- Health Psychology is a field for students who want to work at promoting healthy life styles, rehabilitation enhancement, and community based health prevention and treatment. It's an excellent degree for work in public health or gerontology.
- Leadership Development and Coaching has become a management consulting niche that many businesses find important today. The enormous internal changes that companies have undertaken to survive the economic downturn have required trained leaders to work with puzzled or discouraged personnel; leadership development is a valuable training program for changing and growing companies.
- Organizational Psychology and Development Organizational psychology is an established field, but organizational development is an important professional track that has emerged in recent years. A degree in organizational psychology can lead to a management position or a senior role in human resources.
- Program Evaluation and Research mixes quantitative and qualitative research into organizational studies, taking a behavioral science approach to organizational analysis. Work in this field may be research or may be a form of consulting that uses statistics as the basis for behavioral recognition.
- Psychology of Culture is an enormous issue in this country and any other that is experiencing major immigration - which includes virtually every western nation. This degree can be meaningful in public jurisdictions struggling with an influx of immigrants who need assimilation help with cultural differences as well as language assistance.
- Social Psychology is similar to sociology in that it involves the study of individuals and how they function within a group. Social psychologists may work on a consulting basis with public agencies struggling with community group behavior or may be employed by non-governmental organizations working in the U.S. or overseas with community based services.
- Marriage and Family Counseling is not technically a degree in psychology, but it is a masters program that results in a counseling license similar to that granted professionals working in clinical psychology. It is also a rapidly growing profession, although the requirement for three thousand-plus hours of field work can be intimidating.
- Gerontological Counseling is a branch of clinical psychology that is becoming more important as our senior population swells and more individuals require more services. A degree in this field may lead to a career working in extended care facilities, hospital settings or public health clinics.
- Child & Adolescent Psychology is another area of specialization for clinical psychologists or those working in counseling roles for school districts or for juvenile justice agencies. Adolescent psychology is a mystery to far too many law enforcement personnel.
- Rehabilitation Counseling for substance abuse is one of the fastest growing job categories in the nation. There are several levels of licensure for this work, and the most senior licenses go to master's program graduates.
- Media Psychology is a relatively new field that is primarily devoted to research, but media research is a major endeavor for many advertising and marketing firms. It is a combination of sociology, traditional psychology and communications studies with the emphasis on the impact of various media forms on the individual.
- Forensic Psychology is the science of reconstructing mental processes, often in a criminal justice setting for testimony before a court. This field is instrumental in many criminal investigation efforts today; professionals that hold the degree may work for a law enforcement agency or may consult for defense attorneys.
- Business Psychology is a modernized version of the industrial/organizational field, focusing on the psychology behind various business behaviors and the degree to which they are predictable, and how to change them. This degree is common in graduate programs found in the UK and is making inroads in the U.S.