Earning a doctoral degree in psychology may be on your radar if you are interested in pursuing potential careers in academics, consulting, research, and as licensed counseling and clinical psychologists[i]. Psychologists study the human brain, cognitive functions, emotional and social behaviors through various techniques and interventions.
In the U.S.A., a doctoral degree such as the Ph.D., Psy.D., and Ed.D. earned from an APA-accredited program may be translate into eligibility to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology examinations in one’s state.
You are searching for a terminal degree program in the field of psychology and see you have options including the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology, and the Education Specialist degree.[iii] While academically similar, there are differences between these degrees – somewhat like different roads, that prospective doctoral students should clarify before embarking on a doctorate in psychology program.
The Doctor of Psychology, abbreviated ‘PsyD, Psy D, or Psy.D. is an applied, clinically-focused doctorate degree somewhat like an MD in medicine. Earning a PsyD degree typically prepares a graduate to fulfill the educational requirements for state licensure; licensure is a requirement for use of the title “psychologist” in most states.[iv]
The PhD in Psychology is a research doctoral degree in psychology. Earning a PhD Psychology typically prepares graduates to fulfill the educational requirements for state licensure. That said, those who pursue their PhD in psychology may favor academic research or teaching at the university level rather than clinical practice.
|Clinical Psychology||Vanderbilt University||PhD|
|Psychology||Tennessee State University||PsyD|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Health Psychology||National University||PhD|
|Psy.D - Psychology||The University of Arizona Global Campus||N/A|
|Ph.D. in General Psychology: Performance Psychology (Qualitative Research)||Grand Canyon University||N/A|
In terms of potentially counseling clients and practicing in a clinical setting, both the Psy D and the PhD Psychology degrees have equal status and function about the same. Ultimately, your decision may boil down to whether you prefer to learn in a hands-on clinical setting or to conduct research.
The admission requirements for each psychology school and doctor of psychology program may differ. Some schools may choose candidates that they feel ‘fit’ their schools’ mission in terms of clinical and research experiences. You are always advised to check with the requirements of the specific schools on your list. Potential admission requirements may include:
DID YOU KNOW?
5,277 Research Doctorates and 1,444 Professional Doctorates in Psychology were awarded in 2014?[ii]
How long does it take to earn a Doctorate in Psychology? Program lengths for PsyD, Psychology PhD and EdD Psychology Programs may vary between schools and depend on whether you pursue your graduate study on a part-time or full-time basis, among other factors.
Browse our PsyD categories and find your specialty areas:
Earning a Doctorate in Psychology takes time and many students are juggling work and family too! If you are wondering how to manage your time – study, research, career, family – an online PsyD might be perfect for you!. There are many online PsyD programs available but it is worth a search to find out if these programs meet your needs.
How has earning a Psy.D. enhanced your career?
With my Psy.D. degree, I see patients, and have worked for groups, at treatment facilities, and now see them on my own. I teach online courses to up and coming masters and doctoral students in psychology. I review case files and write reports or testify on cases about patients' mental health history and issues. I also write for a number of publications, which brings me great joy in my ability to share useful information to help a broader audience.
Very. Especially if you are aiming for an American Board of Professional Psychology. Why? To attain board certification by the ABPP one of the requirements is that an individual has earned “A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology which at the time the degree was granted was accredited by the APA, CPA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria[vi].”
Who is the APA? The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is recognized by both the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology.
What is the Scope of APA Accreditation? The APA accredits doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling, school psychology and combination programs, internships, postdoctoral residency programs in traditional and specialty areas of psychology.
SOURCES: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] datausa.io/profile/cip/42/ |[iii] [i] |[iv] [i] |[v] apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/index.aspx |[vi] abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3290