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Published On: Thu, May 2nd, 2019

What Can a Graduate Degree Do For You?

A college degree is no longer as valued as it was before, nowadays, employers are looking for individuals who have graduate degrees as they are seen to be more skilled and competent in whatever field they are in. A graduate degree like a PsyD in clinical psychology for those who are working as counselors may fast-track their careers and profession as they become sought after because of their expertise and skills. Truth be told, the information and skills studied during college may become outdated in a few years after graduation and which is why enrolling in a graduate degree program is important. Also, having that master’s or doctor’s degree diploma boosts your credentials and will make you more desirable for prospective employees and even clients. It is believed that a person who has gone through the academic rigors of a graduate degree is well prepared to take on leadership and innovator roles in their profession. A graduate degree communicates to others that you are willing to invest in your education and profession and that you are not complacent about your skills and is dedicated to further learning and growth.

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Why a Bachelor’s Degree is Not Enough

We could probably remember how difficult it was to go to college and to finally graduate and earn that college diploma. After which we bravely face the real world armed with our college diplomas and raring to get into the real-world and begin our journey to establishing our careers. We may also remember our hopes and dreams at getting that dream job and rising through the ranks and gaining success along the way. Fast-forward to today and we are still in the same job that we first had right after graduation. Your friends and classmates may have already been promoted and you are wondering where your dreams went and why you are still in the same job.

The truth of the matter is that in the time you first got hired, all of the other employees or even your friends were fresh out of college, but when you felt settled in and comfortable in your job, others where already enrolling in master’s degree programs and were giving themselves the opportunity to learn more advanced skills. After a few years, no matter how good you are at your job, without a higher degree, you will always be passed over by someone who have one. Sad, but it is the reality that we live in. A bachelor’s degree is no longer enough, it might get you a job, but if you want to grow in your profession, a graduate degree is a must.

The Difference between an MS and a Ph.D.

Graduate degree programs can be a Master’s in Arts or in Science on the field of specialization, after which a Doctors degree can then be pursued. Usually, a master’s degree is the next highest educational level after a bachelor’s degree. A doctor’s degree can be taken after completing a master’s degree although there are institutions who offer doctoral degree programs with only a bachelor’s degree but has more stringent requirements and would also take longer to complete.

A master’s degree is designed to hone the knowledge and skills of the student, to provide advance training to enhance the competencies that have been learned in college. On the other hand, a doctoral degree builds upon the masters training and is designed to produce professionals who will become leaders and innovators in their fields.

Why a PsyD?

A PsyD in clinical psychology is a doctoral program for those who are involved in the practice of psychology and clinical therapy. Most professions like that of psychology require the highest educational attainment of the discipline as the minimum requirement for the granting of licenses to be able to practice as a psychologist. Thus, in terms of job opportunities, only those who have a PsyD can have their own practice and set-up their own clinics, without such license, a graduate of a bachelor’s degree in psychology will only be employed on jobs that do not require a license.

Aside from the licensing requirements, a PsyD in clinical psychology would provide the student with the opportunity to gain mastery of the principles of clinical psychology, psychological assessment and therapeutic techniques. Moreover, they are trained to become critical thinkers and develop new ways to enhance the practice of the profession, to do research and apply these to actual practice in order to facilitate transformative learning. One advantage of a PsyD program is that it develops the capacities of the students to take on leadership roles and spur new knowledge and practice in the clinical and psychopathological settings.

Where to Enrol?

Deciding where to take your PsyD or any other doctoral degree is not as straightforward as you may want it to be. One has to consider that the program is offered in a reputable university with a strong track record in the field you wish to enrol in or in this case a dynamic psychology department. The next thing is of course the school fees that you would have to pay for the degree, but there are a number of financial aids or scholarships available to the applicant. Then the courses should be taught by competent professors who are also leaders in their fields of specialization. Many universities now allow blended instructional delivery where students can attend classes in the university and online. One of the difficulty in choosing a suitable school is the location, for example the program is offered in a university far from your home or work and taking the time off from your work is not possible, going to school and working will be a complicated matter. For this, you would want a program that is also offered in the online format. Lastly, you need to be realistic about whether you can actually complete the program within the given time period or can you only do it part-time as this will all impact your decision to pursue the PsyD program.

Author: Lucy Hale

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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