Psychology: Online Doctorate Degree

Psychology: Online Doctorate Degree

Learn about online doctoral programs in psychology to determine if this degree is right for you. Find out the curriculum of these programs and their structure as well as careers that utilize a doctorate.

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What Does an Online Doctorate Program in Psychology Entail?

Online doctorate programs in psychology, which result in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), are somewhat rare and typically require some on-campus studies. Some programs cover only general psychology, while others are offered with specialized tracks, such as organizational psychology, health psychology, counseling psychology or school psychology. Most programs will qualify you to become a licensed psychologist.

Degree Titles Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Psychology
Course Offerings Cognitive development, behavior analysis, research methods, pharmaceuticals
Job Environments Hospitals, mental health facilities, schools, private practices
Median Salary (2018) $79,010 (Psychologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth (Psychologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Might I Learn?

Your online program may cover Freudian psychology, cognitive development, behavior analysis and counseling. Clinical psychology programs generally include in-depth study of pharmaceuticals, patient treatment plans, acute mental illness and psychology across the lifespan. You’ll develop counseling skills and use research methods to develop psychological theories and solve problems unique to the field of psychology.

As an online doctoral candidate in psychology, you’ll learn to diagnose mental illness, monitor patients and confer with medical and behavioral health professionals to develop and modify treatment plans. You’ll also be required to complete a dissertation or research project before you complete the program.

Online doctorate programs typically feature virtual libraries, electronic seminars, forums, discussion groups and collaborative research projects. All of these elements can help you feel engaged and active in your degree program. Although most of your courses may be completed online, you may have to attend seminars, work with peers in groups and complete a practicum.

What Can I Do After I Graduate?

Earning your doctorate can lead to a career as a psychologist in a variety of settings, including hospitals, mental health facilities, schools and private practice. You also might choose to focus on psychological research or education, which could lead to a career as a professor at a college or university. Although licensing laws vary, all 50 states require that you obtain a license to work as a clinical, counseling or school psychologist.


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