Choosing the right degree program can be a daunting task for students. The right degree program is vital for both career development and success. Students who are interested in becoming licensed psychologists may choose a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). APA-accredited PsyD programs can equip learners with the skills and knowledge to prepare them for clinical psychology practice.
Depending on your budget and work-life balance, you may choose to obtain your PsyD degree online or on campus. While students should take several factors into account to determine the mode of study, many have opted to seek a PsyD degree online due to the programs’ flexibility, availability, and cost-effectiveness. Online students can receive a quality education and supervised clinical training like their peers attending in-person learning. However, the APA currently doesn’t evaluate fully online PsyD programs.
Students enrolled in APA-accredited on-campus programs are assured of receiving quality education and training that meets certain standards and guidelines in the psychology field. Another crucial aspect to consider is licensing requirements. A few states require PsyD graduates to have graduated from an accredited institution before gaining licensure.
Graduates of PsyD programs can work in several fields of clinical practice as either psychologists or counselors, including in the social work industry. They can work in learning institutions, government agencies, or private practices. The right degree program will expose you to several career opportunities. In other words, your degree program can impact the career opportunities available.
What Is a PsyD Degree?
PsyD, short for Doctor of Psychology, is a professional doctoral degree in psychology. The PsyD is designed primarily to train psychologists to be clinicians able to work in various clinical settings. It focuses more on the practical and clinical applications of psychology. Students can learn and understand how to apply scientific knowledge of psychology and work with patients in a professional clinical environment.
A PsyD degree differs from other psychology degrees like a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Both degrees equip learners with skills and knowledge in psychology. The notable differences between the degrees are in the training and career plans of students earning these degrees. According to the APA, PhD degrees are intended for students interested in generating new knowledge through scientific research or gaining teaching experience.
What Are APA-Accredited PsyD Programs?
The APA ensures students receive a quality education by evaluating PsyD programs against certain criteria. Accreditation is the process of thoroughly evaluating higher education institutions to determine whether they meet specific standards of quality and effectiveness. Generally, accreditation is helpful for many purposes, including quality assurance for professional licensure.
Students can check the accreditation status of PsyD programs through the official APA website. APA has a record of APA-accredited psychology programs, allowing you to search by criteria such as state, program type, or degree type.
Students can also reach their school to confirm the accreditation status of a PsyD program. Institutions have detailed information about their accreditation that can help students make informed decisions when pursuing a PsyD degree.
Are PsyD Online Programs APA Accredited?
Unfortunately, online APA-accredited PsyD programs don’t exist. The APA does not accredit online-only PsyD programs, but only those offered on campus. However, the APA may accredit some on-campus programs that offer online classes or other distance education methods. To determine whether a program has been accredited, check on its status through the APA website or contact your school to learn more about the accreditation.
In addition to APA accreditation, schools often have regional accreditation that applies to all of their programs. Some online programs may also be affiliated with an APA-accredited on-ground program. Some schools offer hybrid PsyD programs, combining online coursework with on-campus components such as supervised clinical experiences.
How Do Accredited PsyD Programs Apply to Social Work?
Primarily, accredited PsyD programs focus on training clinical psychologists instead of social workers. However, there are some intersections between the two fields. PsyD graduates can find opportunities in social work settings, especially if they have relevant skills and experience.
PsyD programs provide extensive training in psychology assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy. Social workers with clinical skills can offer specialized therapeutic services in social work, helping individuals and families cope with mental health challenges.
Since PsyD programs stress psychological research and assessment methods, PsyD graduates can get involved in social work by conducting assessments on patient needs, evaluating and determining a program’s effectiveness, or contributing to research projects.
Specific roles in social work, such as clinical social worker, may require a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, while other roles may require a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. For positions that focus on counseling and clinical psychology, a master’s in counseling or PsyD degree may be necessary.
Why Earn a PsyD Degree?
Earning a PsyD degree is usually influenced by personal and career goals. Obtaining this degree is often a step toward becoming a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist. You can get this degree for several reasons such as the following:
- Career development: A PsyD degree can open more opportunities for career advancement in psychology. As a licensed psychologist with immense clinical skills, you also have the potential for higher salaries than individuals with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in psychology.
- Desire to work as a psychologist: You may choose to get this degree because you specifically want to practice as a licensed clinical psychologist. With extensive training programs in clinical assessment, a PsyD will prepare you to work with individuals and groups facing mental health challenges.
- Desire to help others: Mental health is a serious problem affecting many people. You can earn your PsyD degree because of a strong passion to help improve individuals’ and families’ mental and emotional well-being.
Benefits of an APA-Accredited PsyD Program
With a PsyD degree, you are considered an authority in psychology. This degree can increase your employment opportunities since you have the skills necessary to practice in clinical settings.
The benefits of an APA-accredited PsyD program include the following:
- Career advancement: An APA-accredited PsyD program can be important in your career growth. These programs increase your eligibility for licensure to practice psychology. PsyD-accredited programs ensure you get quality education and training that meets the set standards for obtaining a license to practice. PsyD graduates also have access to job opportunities in clinical settings, including hospitals, government agencies, and academic institutions.
- Specialization opportunities: Pursuing an accredited PsyD program exposes students to various courses and training experiences that allow them to specialize in their areas of interest. Whether it’s specialization as a private practice psychologist or counseling psychologist, learners can tailor their education to align with their professional goals.
- Increased earning potential: PsyD graduates are usually viewed as having more clinical skills and competitive qualities by employers. These graduates have a higher chance of landing a well-paying job in a competitive market.
Reasons to Enroll in a PsyD Online Program
Both on-campus and online PsyD programs offer the same syllabus and training. However, the duration of completing these programs can vary depending on the learning format and the students’ schedules.
Online learning can be an effective and suitable mode of study for students who are experiencing challenges such as living far from a school, having roadblocks to attending in-person classes, or maintaining their work-life balance.
For most students, a PsyD online program is suitable due to the following:
- Flexibility: These programs are ideal for students for several reasons. PsyD online programs are often location-independent. This means learners can study from anywhere with an active internet connection. Online coursework also can typically be accessed at any time, allowing students to work around other responsibilities.
- Accessibility: Students can travel from great distances, from rural areas to urban places, to pursue a PsyD program. Online PsyD programs eliminate geographic barriers, allowing students in remote areas to access quality education that meets standards without having to relocate.
- School-work-life balance: Managing school, work, and other responsibilities can be a very challenging experience for students. This can make it difficult for students to attend in-person learning. With PsyD online programs, learners efficiently manage their schoolwork and work.
How Much Does a PsyD Program Cost?
The cost of a PsyD program can vary from school to school and state to state. Before enrolling in a program, consider the tuition fee and whether it meets your budget. Also, evaluate whether you will have to spend extra money to relocate or commute to your institution.
- Average tuition fees for PsyD programs: According to a 2021 report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of non-PhD doctorate degrees, including PsyD degrees, was about $132,000. However, other factors, such as purchasing required books, software, and other resources, can increase tuition fees.
PsyD Program Curriculum
A PsyD program curriculum combines core courses, electives, practicum, and internship requirements. Here is a brief overview of the components of a PsyD curriculum:
- Core courses: Core courses are important in clinical psychology and provide a broader understanding of psychological theories and professional ethics. Core courses in online and APA-accredited PsyD programs include professional ethics, consultation and supervision, psychotherapy, and counseling theories.
- Electives: These courses allow learners to specialize in specific areas of clinical psychology that fit with their career goals and interests. Electives can cover health psychology, child and adolescent psychology, and more.
- Practicum and internship requirements: Clinical training is a requirement that students have to fulfill to get a PsyD degree. Learners must complete a series of supervised clinical practicum experiences, followed by a full-time internship in any clinical setting. This helps them to gain hands-on experience in psychology.
While education is the same for a PsyD program, how it is delivered distinguishes between online and on-ground learning. For online learning, PsyD programs are offered through virtual platforms, while on-ground students have to attend full-time, in-person learning. Online and on-ground programs allow students to interact with their peers and professors and engage in discussion boards.
Students pursuing online or APA-accredited PsyD programs can access education that meets curriculum and clinical training standards. These programs can also improve PsyD graduates’ competitiveness in the job market and provide various career opportunities. Non-APA-accredited programs may not meet APA standards, and students may fail to be recognized by licensing agencies in some states.
What Are the Admission Requirements for PsyD Programs?
Before enrolling in a PsyD program, you must meet your chosen school’s admissions requirements. This includes:
- Academic prerequisites: You must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and many programs also require a master’s in psychology. Some programs also require students to have completed supervised training and clinical practicum.
- Letter of recommendation: PsyD programs may require prospective students to submit letters of recommendation from their professors or supervisors.
- Entrance exams and interviews: Students may need to take an exam (such as the Graduate Record Examination, GRE) and complete interview programs to test their academic abilities, work ethics, and suitability for doctoral-level study in psychology.
Some PsyD programs may have specific requirements for the type of clinical work a student has done or is interested in. This includes clinical or counseling PsyD programs, online vs. on-ground programs, or APA-accredited vs. non-accredited programs.
Social Work Career Options for People With PsyD Degrees
PsyD graduates have a wide range of career options, such as:
- Clinical psychologist: These psychologists diagnose and treat mental health conditions and emotional issues. They also provide therapy and counseling to individuals and families.
- School psychologist: These professionals work in a learning institution to help students overcome their emotional and behavioral challenges.
- Forensic psychologist: In this career, psychologists apply psychological principles and assessments to legal and criminal justice contexts. These psychologists can work in correctional facilities or law enforcement agencies.
PsyD Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for psychologists is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032. This growth is projected to be faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects about 12,800 annual openings for psychologists, on average, over the next ten years. The median annual salary for psychologists was $85,330 in May 2022, according to the BLS.
Scholarships and Financial Aid Information for PsyD Programs
While fees vary by institution, the cost can sometimes be difficult for some students to manage. Learners who have financial challenges can apply for scholarships and financial aid.
- Types of scholarships available: Students can apply for scholarships from different organizations. This can be through institutional scholarships and professional associations such as the APA.
- Federal and private financial aid options: Learners are encouraged to apply for federal student aid (FAFSA) and private student loans to finance their education.
FAQ for Online and APA-Accredited PsyD Programs
How Much Can You Earn With a PsyD Degree?
Depending on your job title and employer, your wage pay can vary from $83,519 to $112,327 annually. Also, this can be influenced by your experience level and location.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a PsyD Degree?
It can take about three to five years to earn a PsyD degree. It may take longer depending on your chosen learning mode and schedule.
Is Enrolling in an Online or APA-Accredited PsyD Program Worth it?
Enrolling in an online or APA-accredited PsyD program is worthwhile as it can result in a rewarding career. However, you should consider the costs of the program, your funding sources, and projected post-graduation earnings. A positive return on investment would indicate the financial benefits of completing the program.
Can I Earn a PsyD Entirely Online?
Yes, you can earn your PsyD degree entirely online from an institution that offers fully online PsyD programs. However, it is important to understand the availability and limitations of these programs. Licensure requirements for clinical psychologists vary by state, and some states may not fully recognize degrees earned through online programs.
What Careers Can an Individual Get With a PsyD Degree?
PsyD graduates have various career options in multiple fields. Common careers for graduates with PsyD degrees include clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, school psychologist, forensic psychologist, and social work psychologist.
Explore Your Options for Online and APA-Accredited PsyD Programs
For students who want to manage their work-life balance and schoolwork, online PsyD programs can be suitable for them. You can choose from an online or APA-accredited PsyD program for 2024. These programs offer the same quality education and clinical training as in-person learning. Also, it is cost-effective for students with financial challenges to apply for scholarships and private loans to finance their education. Before enrolling in PsyD programs, understand the admission requirements, the program’s cost, and if the programs are APA-accredited.