How long it takes you to become psychologist will be determined by the career field you want to work in as well as your specialty. For example, to become a School Psychologist can take a little as two years of graduate-level education, and only requires a master’s degree. On the other hand, if you want to become a Child Psychologist you’ll need to earn a doctorate degree, which can require up to 7 additional years of graduate school. Regardless of your career field or specialty, most psychologists will need to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field such as sociology, social work or education. However a bachelor’s degree, in and of itself, is not typically sufficient to qualify for entry-level positions in psychology. Most students who major in psychology and then immediately enter the workforce upon graduation end up working in a non-psychology field. These days, the minimum requirement for most entry-level psychology positions is a master’s degree in psychology, and most employers are looking for candidates who hold a doctorate.
A doctorate degree in psychology typically requires 4 to 7 years of graduate-level education following the completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. While some doctorate programs require candidates to first obtain a master’s degree in psychology others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree. Before you enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, you may want to figure out if you’re going to earn a doctorate degree in psychology, and if so where. There are several psychology programs offered by accredited universities that will allow you to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology simultaneously, whereby preparing you for entry into a doctorate program. These accelerated programs can enable you shorten the overall amount of time it takes to complete the education requirements to become a licensed practicing psychologist.
In addition to extensive schooling, a few psychology specialities, such as licensed clinical psychology, also require students to fulfill a 1- to 2-year supervised residency program before they can qualify for state licensing. As requirements vary by state, you’ll want to research your state’s licensing requirements before applying to any graduate program.
The following are the 12 most popular psychology careers and the minimum educational requirements in these fields.
- Clinical Psychologist: Doctorate Degree in Psychology (4 to 7 years of graduate school)
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: Master’s Degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school)
- Forensic Psychologist: Master’s Degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school); a doctoral degree is recommended.
- Social Worker: Bachelor’s Degree (4 to 5 years of undergraduate school)
- Licensed Counselor: Master’s Degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school)
- School Psychologist: Varies by state (2 to 3 years of graduate school)
- Health Psychologist: Doctorate Degree (4 to 5 years of graduate school)
- Sports Psychologist: Master’s Degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school)
- School Psychologist: Master’s degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school)
- Social Psychologist: Doctoral Degree (5 to 7 years of graduate school)
- Child Psychologist: Doctoral degree (5 to 7 years of graduate school)
- Criminal Psychologist: Master’s degree (2 to 3 years of graduate school); a doctoral degree is recommended.
Psychology, in general, is an industry where education, knowledge and expertise are highly valued. Job opportunities and pay are typically greater for those psychologists who have obtained advanced training.
Featured Psychology Schools
|University of Phoenix At University of Phoenix, we understand that you're juggling the demands of family and work while you earn your degree. That's why we provide working learners like you the tools you need to succeed. Our commitment to you begins even before you enroll with a one-on-one personalized consultation in which we answer your questions and develop the right plan to help you reach your educational goals. Learn More >|
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. NCU utilizes a One-to-One Teaching Model-one student paired with a member of NCU's 100% doctoral faculty in each course- to create a more personalized education experience for adult students who share a passion for excellence in higher education. Learn More >|
Other Featured Schools
|Everest University Online Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, makes career education convenient and accessible. With courses tailored for working students and others who need a more flexible class schedule, Everest University Online allows students to learn from home and offers the same well-respected curriculum available at our traditional campuses. Learn More >|
|American Intercontinental University (AIU) AIU is the Serious U, and with your busy schedule, we understand that it's hard work finding the time to work hard. At AIU you get pacing options that work around you and a 24/7 support system by phone, email or live chat. Our classes are taught by industry specialists who bring their real-world perspective to students and will work with you one-on-one when you need it. Learn More >|
|Colorado Technical University (CTU) A degree from Colorado Technical University can connect you to what matters most – a powerful professional network, real-world faculty and accessible, innovative technology. So once you earn your degree, you can hit the ground sprinting. Learn More >|
|Strayer University After 120 years of educating working adults, Strayer University has become the expert in helping students like you continue your education in a timely manner by giving you many choices regarding when, where, and how to take your classes. We schedule our campus classes during evening and weekend hours to make continuing education possible for hard-working professionals. Learn More >|
|Grand Canyon University (GCU) Grand Canyon University, in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, is a private, for-profit Christian university that offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Though boasting a traditional college campus with all the spirit and sports to go with it, GCU also offers a wide variety of courses online. Learn More >|
|The Art Institutes The Art Institutes is a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Learn More >|
|Westwood College Westwood College's degree programs provide you with the knowledge, tools and support you need to earn your associate degree in as little as 17 months, your bachelor's degree in as little as three years, or your master's degree in just over a year. Learn More >|
|Virginia College Graduates of Virginia College can be confident in the skills and training that they've received because programs are designed for their success. Virginia College focuses on the needs of the job market of each industry, creating programs that meet the needs of students and future employees alike. Learn More >|
|Brown Mackie College At Brown Mackie College, you don't need to wait for a traditional 'Fall Start.' Because our students aren't always living 'traditional' lives we offer new starts each month with day or evening classes that fit your schedule. We keep the focus on one course, one subject at a time to help you succeed. Learn More >|
|South University As a student at South University, you will learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them. Learn More >|
National American University (NAU)
National American University is about personal development and community. When you choose to attend NAU, you don't just join a group of diverse students and faculty; you join a group of people from all walks of life sharing a unique experience.
Our staff is devoted to helping you balance your education with your personal and professional obligations – it's our commitment. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student. Learn More >
|Liberty University Liberty University offers more than 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Such diversity allows you to focus on exactly the program of study you want, as well as add minors to round out your educational portfolio. Learn More >|