Online psychology degrees are the most popular social science degrees. There are 13 main branches of psychology to consider.
- Abnormal psychology – is essentially the study of what is normal and abnormal, but it also entails a search for psychological or biological causes. (Is it your upbringing, or your genes?)
- Behavioral psychology – or behaviorism, is more akin to a philosophy degree. Behaviorists tend to be writers who publish their experiments from an almost philosophical standpoint.
- Biopsychology – otherwise known as behavioral neuroscience, this is a research profession, which entails dissecting animal brains and viewing under a microscope the effects of experimentation. There is a lot of grant money available for this field of work.
- Cognitive psychology – the study of consciousness, some consider this a hard degree, because of the additional studying involved. However, finding a working model of consciousness that is widely accepted by psychologists would be a great historical achievement.
- Comparative psychology – is the study of how animals compare to humans, or other species.
- Cross-cultural psychology – is the study of how cultures compare in terms of common behaviors.
- Developmental Psychology – or child psychology, is the study of how childhood decisions affect adult behavior.
- Educational Psychology – the psychology of teaching, entails finding the most effective teaching methods.
- Experimental Psychology – is where you use humans as guinea pigs to see what makes them tick.
- Forensic Psychology – involves spending the majority of time exploring the minds of criminals and testifying in court as an expert witness.
- Health Psychology – is the study of how an unhealthy body can affect an otherwise healthy mind.
- Personality Psychology – a broad list of theories, this is the study of what makes people different as well as alike.
- Social Psychology – when people are present you act differently, this is the study of why you act differently. (Not to be confused with sociology)
Without a doubt, the above summaries are gross generalizations. I recommend picking two or more of these main branches and then follow the Wikipedia links to find out more. After researching the topics most interesting, try picturing yourself doing the work involved.
When choosing a degree, there are three main bases to consider; 1) searching for truth, 2) creating a product, or 3) providing a community service. Throughout our lives, we spend time thinking about all three of these. The trick is to find which one suits you the most.
The studies involved in (1) “search for the truth,” may be more philosophical or scientific, and involve more writing and publishing. This pursuit may be more academic and teaching related, rather than corporate job related.
If you are more of a truth seeker who is interested in psychology, then you may want to consider something a bit more broadly like – Sociology – the pursuit of understanding social processes.
(2) “Creating a product,” or manufacturing, in the field of psychology may involve a secondary degree, for example: creating electronic equipment for biofeedback therapy, or writing a program for step-by-step addiction recovery software. Even getting a business degree with a psychology degree can be valuable to a corporate human resources department.
The third basis however, (3) “providing a community service,” is where the field of psychology is wide open. Counseling services of all kinds provide valuable services to the community.
Being a licensed therapist however, may require a graduate degree. Many states require at least a master’s degree to become a licensed counselor. I suggest doing any graduate work at a campus-based university simply for the lab and fieldwork required.
Contact the Psych department at whichever university you want to study at and ask them if they accept online degrees as a prerequisite for their graduate program. In other words, the best online psychology degree will be the one your graduate school recommends.
Most Psychologists have a PhD. or a Psy.D. In addition, to a two-year internship/residency, so think about the possible ten-year commitment that it takes when pursuing the route of a therapist.
It is best to be prepared for these following requirements.
Aside from the GRE or the GRE Psychology Subject Test, some universities will require you to take a number of classes and/or have a certain GPA from such classes before admittance to their graduate program.
Beyond having good grades and test scores, you may be required to submit three letters of recommendation as well as a resume of your psychology related work. Be prepared for that as well.
Another thing to consider is the potential income. If you are looking for wealth, then attending medical school and becoming an MD psychiatrist may be a better option. For more information, I suggest researching the Bureau of Labor Statistics when considering online psychology degrees.