American Psychology Degree Programs
Psychology Degrees
To become a psychologist, therapist, or counselor, you must earn a clinical degree in psychology — one that prepares you to practice. With a Ph.D. in psychology, you can become a psychologist, but there are other options.

A master's in psychology can prepare you for a career as a therapist or counselor, depending on the state. Each state has different licensing requirements.

You can also use psychology schooling in other careers, such as management, marketing, education, or law, or as an assistant to a psychologist. These careers do not often require a master's in psychology. Some may not require even a bachelor's degree.

Associate Degree in Psychology
With an associate degree in psychology, you have a variety of career options. You can work in social and government services, sales and marketing, corporations or non-profits, or administration in a psychology department or psychologist's office.

This is the fastest degree in psychology. Most programs take just two years. This also makes it the most affordable psychology degree. You need a high school diploma or a GED to apply. Most community colleges that offer an associate degree are open admission. They may recommend a specific GPA.

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
A bachelor's degree can start you on the path to eventually earning a Ph.D. in psychology, and a career as a psychologist. With a bachelor's degree in psychology, you can also apply for law school, an MBA, or other graduate programs.

Common careers for someone with a bachelor's degree in psychology include government, management, sales, human resources, and human services. You can earn your degree on campus, in a hybrid program, or online.

You can earn either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA). A BA is often based on the liberal arts and offers a broader area of focus. A BS focuses on research and theory.

Most master's in psychology programs and employers accept either degree. Earning a bachelor's degree takes around four years. You must have a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply.

The recommended GPA depends on the school and its admission requirements.

Master's Degree in Psychology
Depending on the state, you can become a counselor or therapist with a master's in psychology. With this degree, you can also work in human services, as a consultant, or in administration or government.

Many master's students plan to continue their graduate studies with a doctoral degree in psychology, with the goal of becoming a psychologist.

Like a bachelor's degree in psychology, you can earn either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA). The MS focuses more on research and theory and is therefore good preparation for an academic career. A master's in psychology takes around two to three years. Most schools require at least a 3.0 GPA.

Ph.D. Degree in Psychology
After you earn your master's, you have two choices for a psychology doctorate, a Ph.D., or a Psy.D. In general, students who plan to become practicing counselors or clinical psychologists earn either degree. A Ph.D. often makes students more eligible for careers in teaching and research.

A doctoral degree in psychology takes four to seven years to complete. Most programs require at least a 3.0 GPA. Many accept applicants with master's degrees in fields related to psychology, as well as those with psychology degrees. You must be able to show that your master's prepared you as well as a master's in psychology would.

Once you earn your Ph.D. in psychology, many states also require a post-doctoral training year where you practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist before applying for your own license. Specific requirements vary according to the state.

Psy.D. Degree in Psychology
Both a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in psychology prepare you to work as a licensed psychologist. All states require a doctorate for this license.

Clinical psychology programs focus on diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Counseling psychology programs emphasize ways for psychologists to help patients address mental health issues within the context of their environments as well as social justice advocacy.

Psy.D. graduates are more likely to work in clinics with patients than in academia or research. Both degrees include methodology and research courses. However, Psy.D. focuses less on these and more on day-to-day practice. You can earn a psychologist license with either degree.

Like a Ph.D., a Psy.D. takes four to seven years to complete. Most applicants have at least a 3.0 GPA. You must be skilled in both qualitative and quantitative research and very comfortable with statistics.