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2021 Psychology Degree Guide

The field of Psychology involves the scientific study of the human mind and human behavior. There are a variety of majors and concentrations available for students to choose a specialization in a certain interest. Coursework involves work in the lab and the library conducting research, as well as group project assignments and time spent in the field interacting with clients and patients.

There are a few different majors that are available to you depending on what college you choose. You can choose to pursue your degree in General Psychology allows you to study behavior and research methods as you answering difficult and thought provoking questions. For more practical training, you may want to choose to study Clinical, Counseling, and Applied Psychology. This is a great choice for those who wish to pursue careers as counselors. Students can also major in Child Development and Psychology in order to learn how people develop and grow through their life.

Psychology Degrees Growing in Popularity

#7 Most Popular Major
174k Degrees Awarded
1.2% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, psychology was the 7th most popular major nationwide with 174,455 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 2,146 over the prior year, a growth of 1.2%.

There are 1,699 schools offering degrees in psychology in the United States. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Psychology ranking analyzes 782 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for psychology students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of psychology programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Psychology

The field of Psychology requires a student who is deeply interested in people and also enjoys math and science. You will be spending time writing lab reports as well as research papers. Students develop adept critical thinking skills as they analyze scientific papers, gather research and make observation. You will also work with numbers and formulas to analyze data.

Students should have a passion for working with people and a desire to help people lead better lives. Many majors involve an internship or some sort of field work. Make good use of any practical experience in order to help you find a job later on. Work in the field also helps you empathize with others and become a better listener.

Getting Accepted Into a Psychology Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional psychology certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Psychology Degrees

Psychology degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in psychology to the highest psychology degree, a . The type of psychology degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to psychology, with approximately 29.4% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to psychology tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 29.8%
Master’s Degree 22.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 17.2%
Doctoral Degree 16.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate 4.4%

61.8% of psychology workers have at least a master's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in psychology careers have.

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The education level required is different depending on the psychology career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Psychology Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$33.5k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A major in the field of Psychology is usually a stepping stone for an advanced degree. A master's degree will allow you to become a school psychologist or work in some areas of counseling. A doctorate degree is required to become a psychologist. If student choose not to continue their education they may be able to find jobs in social work, marketing, sales, human resources or any other field that involves interacting and understanding people.

Solid Growth Projected for Psychology Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your psychology degree? Psychology careers are expected to grow 9.1% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to psychology.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists 168,500 14.2%
Psychology Professors 54,000 15.1%
Psychologists 19,200 10.3%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists 1,800 5.9%

How Much Money Do People With a Psychology Degree Make?

Psychology graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $33,462 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $10,400 to as high as $93,100. As you might expect, salaries for psychology graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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High Paying Careers for Psychology Majors

Salaries for psychology graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers psychology grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists $109,030
Psychologists $95,610
Psychology Professors $88,490
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists $85,340

Getting Your Psychology Degree

With over 5,281 different psychology degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased psychology school rankings to help you with this.

Psychology Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
General Psychology 130,560
Clinical, Counseling & Applied Psychology 28,126
Child Development & Psychology 12,985
Other Psychology 2,784

View All Psychology Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Education 269,156
Social Sciences 199,377
Communication & Journalism 116,237
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 37,407
History 32,643

View All Psychology Related Majors >

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