Psychology Schools Colleges & Universities

If you're considering different psychology colleges, then consider this information about degrees in psychology. The competition is steep, but if you have a desire to help people improve their quality of life, it may be worth the rewards you reap.

Students at Psychology Schools Have Long Yet Rewarding Road in Front of Them: A career as a psychologist is for the person who would enjoy helping people. Being emotionally stable is important, not just because you could help people with their own emotional problems, but degrees in psychology don't come easy and the process in psychology schools is a long one.

Psychology Schools and Admissions: To start, you must first graduate with your four-year degree. After that, you can pursue a master's degree or you a doctorate. Expect to spend about five years in a Ph.D. program. Specialization is highly encouraged for degrees in psychology, as there are several areas within psychology schools. You can focus on:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Counseling
  • Clinical work

Admissions at graduate psychology colleges are very competitive. The University of California Berkeley's school psychology program receives 65 to 70 applications yearly, but only accepts 10. The doctorate program at Florida State's Department of Psychology has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. However, the student average is 3.7.

Several characteristics can help you as you hunt for psychology colleges. For counseling and clinical work, count maturity, sensitivity, and compassion as pluses. For research, you need to be able to work alone and in a group, and have patience and perseverance.

Certification as a specialist could help. The American Board of Professional Psychologists offers certification in 13 different areas, such as psychoanalysis, school, forensic and group health.

The Importance of Education: Higher education makes up for the high costs with better and more secure money, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. For example, weekly pay and unemployment rate by education level for 2009:

  • High school graduate: $626, 9.7 percent
  • Some college, no degree: $699, 8.6 percent
  • Bachelor's degree: $1,025, 5.2 percent
  • Master's degree: $1,257, 3.9 percent
  • Doctoral degree: $1,532, 2.5 percent

Typically, the further you take your education in psychology colleges, the more specialized you become. That's a good thing, as specialization usually pays better.

Psychologists at Work: Your daily activities as a psychologist will vary depending on what you studied in your psychology colleges.

  • Clinical Psychologists: The largest segment, you would be responsible for the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of various mental disorders.
  • Counseling Psychologists: You would directly help patients deal with various mental and emotional problems and help them improve the quality of their lives.
  • School Psychologists: You would help students with behavior and creating supportive environments for learning. The median wage in 2009 for clinical counseling and school psychologists was $66,040, according to the BLS.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: You would apply psychological principles to improve the workplace, or screen applicants or counsel employees. Their 2009 median wage was $102,570.

Between 2008 and 2018, the BLS predicts psychologists to see 12 percent growth, or about average of all occupations. Prospects will be limited to those with bachelor's degrees in psychology, tough for those with master's degrees, and optimal for those with doctorates. Expect the most growth to be in elementary schools and in the offices of other health practitioners.

The writer Matt Riddle is a freelance writer based out of Reno, Nev. A journalism graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno, Riddle was a newspaper reporter and then an account coordinator for a political consultant in Reno where he worked for several successful campaigns. His interests are many, but CrossFit, rock climbing, reading and writing, skiing, snowboarding, fatherhood and acting round up the list.

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