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Pros and Cons of an Online Psychology Degree

When you have your degree in psychology, you can enter into a wide range of career fields where you will work and apply your education and training. Careers in psychology make use of the training and study you will undergo of human behavior and motivation to work with real world situations and scenarios. Companies in many different professions will work with and hire psychologists to help them. Police and other law enforcement agencies will work with forensic psychologists in order to better understand and analyze criminal thought and behavior. Marketing and advertising can also benefit from psychologist input to better understand how consumers choose products, select services, and respond to advertisements.

For those individuals who hold advanced degrees, such as a Master’s or a Doctorate, will usually work in the healthcare industry as counselors either in partnership or on their own. Whatever the ultimate goals are, there are two basic options available when it comes to choosing how to take your psychology classes. There are traditional classes help on a college campus with face to face meetings, and then you have online classes where all classes, lectures, and tests and administered online through the computer. The choice that is best for you depends on a number of circumstances.

Students should cautiously investigate the pros and cons and details of the different programs that are available to them to see whether enrolling in traditional classroom setting or an online university is the best option for them.

Standard Curriculum

It is important to select an online program from a college that is accredited. This is important because an accredited program means that chances are other colleges or universities will accept the classes if you need to transfer or start your own business. Without the accreditation, you may earn a bachelors or even a Master’s and then go to transfer into another degree, only to find out that college will not accept the classes. This is a point that must be looked at whether you go with a normal in class program or one that is offered online. Accredited psychology degree programs have a core set of skills and topics they must cover. Some of these include:

  • human behavior- why humans think, feel, and act the way they do in certain situations
  • human development –  the ins and outs of how humans develop physical, mentally, and emotionally throughout life
  • cognition- what makes memory, recall, dreams, and thought processes work
  • brain function- how the brain works
  • research methods-  the theories and research that makes psychology possible
  • applications- taking the book learning and applying it to real world situations

Regardless of what specific focus you will be pursuing with your degree, there are certain core classes you will be required to take beyond the basic introduction and survey of psychology classes. Some of these include sociology, statistics, writing, communication, anthropology, and more specific classes in psychology such as abnormal psychology, personality, and cognitive development.

When it comes to looking at whether or not an online psychology program is right for you, here are some general pros and cons, beyond whether or not the program is accredited, that you should keep in mind.

 Pros of Online Psychology Programs

An online psychology program in some cases will costs less than the program offered at an actual campus, even for out of state students. When fiancés are a concern, many students carefully consider this option when choosing their college.

Students have the freedom to attend classes whenever they want and to access classes from any location. This is perhaps the most attractive aspect of online classes and is the reason why many people chose online classes over face to face classes.

It is possible to work and get your degree at the same time; there is no worry of diving an hour or more one way after work to attend classes and then drive back home later on. Online classes allow you to work on class work from home before or after work.

Online psychology programs that are offered online often have more tracks and specialized areas of focus. You have a wider selection for majors than in a regular on campus program such as criminal justice, forensics, or behavioral science.

Many of the required textbooks for classes can be bought as e-books, found online for download, or bought very cheaply online.

Cons of Online Psychology Programs

Interaction between the instructor and other classmates is very limited and communications are delayed. One must wait for an email reply or a forum post to get answers to questions.

At many traditional colleges and universities, there are greater opportunities for scholarships and grants. Online programs often do not meet the stringent requirements many grants have.

Researching online psychology degrees can be very time consuming because you need to look at accreditation, reviews, program offerings, and scholarship opportunities.

Research projects, co-ops, thesis work, and other extra activities and requirements for advanced degrees must be arranged off-campus.

Career Outlook

According to studies conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities within the field of  psychology is expected to grow by 12% or more between 2008 and 2018. The fastest growing areas of the psychology subfields include industrial psychology, marketing, medical psychology, and social services. Regardless of whether you earn your degree through a traditional face to face classroom program or one that is offered online, the average annual salary of most psychology degrees is quite high. “Industrial psychologists earn about $76,000 per year on average. This includes people who work at consulting firms or in the legal system. Clinical psycholgists earn about $68,000 per year on average. However, with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree, the median salary for clinical psychologists is much higher” (Pros and Cons).

 

Sources:

“Pros and Cons of Getting an Online Degree in Psychology.”  Had 2 Know(Website).  Retrieved from http://www.had2know.com/education/online-psychology-degree-pros-cons.html.  Accessed Oct 27, 2013.

 

About Jeff Morrow

With an English Literature degree from UCLA and a passion for career counseling and publishing, Jeff has worked at CareerPath and Microsoft. He published four editions of the World Wide Yellow Pages in partnership with Barnes and Noble. He now uses that passion for managing Psychology Online Degrees.

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