If you want to practice clinical or counseling psychology in the United States, you require a graduate degree in psychology and an appropriate license. While a master’s degree is also a graduate degree, in some cases a doctoral degree is required. A doctoral degree is also required to enter the field of academics and become a teacher, become a full-time researcher or both.
There are two types of doctoral programs in psychology in the United States. The first is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, which puts greater emphasis on research. The second is Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree, which is more focused on practice. Both types of doctoral degrees in psychology last about five to seven years and the total credit requirements range between 90 and 120 credit hours. You will have to undergo a further year or two of supervised training in order to get a license to practice independently. While PhD degree holders usually opt for a career in academics and PsyD degree holders usually select a career in therapy and counseling, there’s no rule that prevents PhD degree holders from pursuing the clinical or counseling route.
In recent years, online doctoral programs have come up as an alternative to the traditional in-campus doctoral programs. Online programs offer a greater degree of flexibility in scheduling and cost a lot lower too. You do not need to relocate to a different state, leave your job or burden yourself with expensive student loans. There are a number of accredited online doctoral programs that provide the same learning opportunities, access to study material, experienced faculty and employment opportunities that traditional doctoral programs do.
Best Accredited Online Doctoral Programs in Psychology
Keiser University offers a PhD in Psychology, which is primarily online, with a couple of offline sessions during the entire length of the program. The first offline session is essentially an orientation session, during which you will get to know how the online program will function. You will also get the time to meet and develop working relationships with both the faculty and fellow students. The second offline session is for research work. You will have greater access to the faculty during this session.
As part of the course, you will learn general psychological principles and theories. You will also learn to apply these principles via research methods to evaluate problems, develop research strategies, conduct psychological research, interpret the data collected through during the research and formulate conclusions. You will develop writing skills for preparing presentations, papers and documents to be presented in professional situations.
The best part of this online doctoral program is that students with a master’s degree and those with a baccalaureate degree can both apply for it. The ones who don’t have a master’s degree will have to complete an extra 18 credit hours. The program has 60 credit hours for those with a master’s degree.
The program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Capella University offers a number of doctoral degree programs in psychology, including Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in General Psychology, PhD in Behavior Analysis, PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, PhD in Educational Psychology, PhD in Developmental Psychology and PhD in Addiction Psychology. Capella University also offers a Doctor of Science (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology. The PhD degrees will prepare you for a career is academia and research, while the PsyD degree will enable you to get the requisite license and certification to work with patients and have a clinical practice. The PhD programs cost $530 per credit, while the PsyD program costs $540 per credit. Capella offers doctoral scholarships worth $5,000 and $10,000 to some students.
The doctoral programs at Capella are structured quite differently from other similar online programs. You will begin work on your dissertation early in the program. You will have access to writing coaches to help you learn more about academic writing. Plus, you will be able to interact with faculty members as well. A variety of online resources will also be provided, including dissertation planning tools, a library, a quantitative skills center and more.
Irrespective of which doctoral program you opt for, you will have access to your online courseroom 24×7 and on any device. This will allow you to study and work on assignments without disrupting your current daily routine. So, if you’re a working student, the doctoral programs offered by Capella University are perfect.
The doctoral programs at Capella University are all accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers several online degrees, including two PhD programs in general psychology. The first is focused cognitive psychology and the second is focused on the meeting points and overlaps across the subjects of psychology, education and technology. In the first, there’s emphasis on a research-based approach and prepares students for a career as teacher or researcher. In the second, students learn how psychological concepts and principles can be put to use to improve working and educational environments. In terms of career options, students can enter a variety of organizations, both at the private and government level, with a focus on instructional design, training, e-learning, etc. Both programs costs $670 per credit. To learn more about the online admissions procedure, you can get in touch with a university counselor. You need a GPA of 3.4 or more to be eligible for the doctoral courses. Plus, you must have studied statistics or research during your previous degree. Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
You must have a clear idea of the career path you would like to tread after the completion of your doctoral studies. This will help you select the right doctoral program. For example, if you want to practice clinically, either with an organization or independently, then you need to make sure the program you select prepares you for the licensure and certification. The program should have a robust practicum or apprenticeship. Or else you will require another year or two to prepare for the same. Plus, your doctoral degree might not be eligible for clinical practice.