Accelerated Master’s in Psychology Programs

The field of psychology is in high demand. There are many reasons for this, including the rising need for therapists, the flexibility afforded with such a degree, and the ability of individuals to use the field of psychology in numerous careers. Earning a master's in psychology can provide a student with a wide range of options for their career. 

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Sometimes, you need to get a master's as quickly as possible. Thankfully, accelerated master's in psychology programs can help you get your degree much quicker than a regular schedule. Such a master's program will enable you to get your degree and your master's in psychology in one course and immediately apply for relevant jobs or take the next step in your educational journey. 

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What is An Accelerated Master's in Psychology Program? 

Accelerated master's in psychology programs can be started as an undergraduate and they allow you to take graduate-level classes while still in an undergraduate program and graduate with both a Bachelor's in Psychology and a master's in psychology. In many cases, such a program is also referred to as a BS + MS degree, as you earn two degrees simultaneously. 

As you can imagine, these programs are not available everywhere. To enroll in such an accelerated master’s in psychology program, you must find a school that offers both the appropriate undergraduate and graduate programs. This program can be an extensive commitment, particularly during your senior year. Therefore, students usually must apply for this program in their third year.

Why Earn an Accelerated Master’s in Psychology Degree? 

Attending accelerated master’s in psychology programs comes with many benefits.

First: It allows you to get your degree faster. master’s in psychology programs typically take two years. This accelerated time frame allows you to graduate a year after completing your undergraduate program. As a result, you can quickly get a job or continue to advance your educational career and earn a doctorate. 

In addition to enabling you to enter the workforce quicker, this can allow you to save money. Graduate school is expensive: In addition to courses, you must consider the costs of room, board, travel, and supplies. By earning your master’s in one year instead of two, you are essentially reducing a year of expenses.

Attending one of several accelerated master’s in psychology programs is viewed by employers and graduate schools as a statement of commitment to the field of psychology. Individuals who choose this pathway are dedicated to psychology, as evidenced by the fact that they are starting to work towards their graduate degree while still an undergraduate. This indicates a level of passion and interest in the field that everyone does not possess, and it may give you an advantage when applying to graduate schools for a doctorate or when on the job market. 

These advantages don’t stop at the job market or when applying to graduate school. Many internship programs will specifically seek students who are interested in an accelerated master’s in psychology, as these are individuals who have an advanced interest and passion in the field. As such, you may find yourself in a better position to earn critical work and academic experience that will benefit your career later.

How Long Are Accelerated Master’s in Psychology Programs? 

Like most degrees, the answer varies based on the accelerated master’s in psychology programs you enroll in. However, this program is typically utilized by undergraduate students who are at the start of their careers and may not have started full-time work or a family.2 As a result, program participants can usually be full-time students and put all their time and energy into school.

In total, the program takes five years. However, this is because you are earning two degrees: a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science. Furthermore, the program typically starts during your senior year. As such, you will begin earning your master’s degree during your senior year of undergraduate studies. Once you obtain your undergraduate degree, you will immediately transition into a full-time master’s program, which usually takes another year. 

Concentration Options 

One of the many benefits of earning an accelerated master’s in psychology program is that it allows you to concentrate on several specialties that can fit your interests. As a result, you can focus your studies in many areas that will better prepare them for graduate school or the job market. Sample concentrations include:

Clinical Psych 

A concentration in Clinical Psychology enables you to provide psychological and counseling services to individuals who are suffering and in need of assistance. This can perfectly position a person to provide therapy. In addition, it reviews various methods used in making assessments, developing treatment plans, and reviewing research. As a result, individuals interested in providing therapy often seek to enter the field of Clinical Psychology.

Forensic Psych

Forensic Psychology is common within the legal system and there is an extensive overlap between the legal system and individuals who suffer from various psychological disorders. People who concentrate on forensic psychology learn about the legal system and become experts in using their knowledge to assist judges, attorneys, and members of law enforcement in making clinical decisions that may impact someone’s civil or criminal cases. These include decisions in workman’s compensation cases, disability law, delinquency cases, child custody, and more.3

This field sits at the intersection between psychology and the United States legal system. As a result, it can provide an exciting career path for people who want to get more involved in using psychology from a broader law enforcement perspective. 

School Psych 

A concentration in school psychology can enable you to become a fully certified school psychologist. In addition, this concentration allows individuals to be hired to work in a school and with students. In this capacity, psychologists will conduct psychological evaluations, enable students to access treatment, and provide critical risk assessments. The rise of mental illness among today’s youth has made this position more important, increasing the need for school districts to hire school psychologists.

Typical Accelerated Master’s in Psychology Curriculum 

Attending one of many accelerated master’s in psychology programs means you will be expected to take graduate-level courses. While the courses you take will likely vary based on the concentration they pursue, some courses are almost certainly required to earn a degree. Examples include:

  • Psychological statistics or statistical analysis
  • Psychometrics
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Learning, memory, and cognitive analysis
  • Health psychology
  • Research and systems
  • Physiological or biological psychology

Psychologist Licensure 

While there are different laws governing licensure across the country, individuals who choose to become practicing Psychologists must ultimately be licensed by the state where they practice. To obtain their license, you will likely be expected to do the following:

  • Obtain the appropriate education, usually at least a master’s degree.
  • Submit an application. 
  • Complete a certain number of supervised training and experience, usually done under the care of another licensed psychologist.
  • Pass the relevant licensing exam.

Many states are part of a psychological compact, meaning that someone licensed in one state is then approved in another. This compact enables psychologists to move and practice elsewhere easily. 

Master’s in Psychology Careers 

One of the most significant benefits of completing accelerated master’s in psychology programs is that it is a highly flexible and in-demand job. Individuals who make a master’s in psychology can likely engage in many careers, including:

  • Therapist or clinical psychologist.
  • Forensic psychologist.
  • School psychologist.
  • Any number of human resources fields, working within the workforce to help companies operate in a manner that is both efficient and respects the needs of employees. 
  • Professor.
  • Social services fields.
  • Organizational consultant.
  • Any number of government roles.

As you can see, there is a wide range of fields in which you can work with a master’s in psychology.

Salary 

There is good news if you are interested in attending one of many accelerated master’s in psychology programs: The salary for jobs that require such a degree is often substantial.

Many factors can alter the expected salary of people who earn a master’s in psychology, including where you will work and what specific psychological field you enter. However, according to the BLS, the median pay for many professions that require at least a master’s in psychology is relatively high. For example, according to the BLS, as of May 2021:

  • Clinical psychologists earn a median pay of $81,040.
  • School psychologists earn a mean pay of roughly $83,160.

Payscale notes that forensic psychologists earn a median pay of roughly $73,000.

Job Outlook 

The job outlook for individuals who earn a master’s in psychology degree is also relatively strong, creating an excellent opportunity for individuals who want to apply to accelerated master’s in psychology programs. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that this field will grow by 8% every year for the next eight years, which is roughly on par with the development of other areas in the country. As a result, an estimated 13,4000 jobs will open every year.

However, some factors may create additional job openings, increasing the demand for accelerated master’s in psychology programs. As has been noted by numerous studies and news reports, mental illness is on the rise across the world and in the United States. These pressures have created additional demand for therapists and psychologists that can help people battle depression, anxiety, addiction, and many other disorders. As a result, the demand for mental health practitioners may increase, creating more opportunities for individuals interested in mental health to enter the field. 

Sources:

https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-psychology/resource/what-can-you-do-with-a-masters-in-psychology

https://bestaccreditedcolleges.org/articles/accelerated-psychology-graduate-programs.html 

https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/forensic 

https://www.marshall.edu/psych/programs/accelerated-graduate-degree-psychology/

https://www.psychologydegree411.com/licensure/pennsylvania/ 

https://www.towson.edu/cla/departments/psychology/grad/psychology/clinical/

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193034.htm 

https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Forensic_Psychologist/Salary

https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health#tab=tab_1

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