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5 Great Reasons For Pursuing A PhD in Psychology


It doesn’t matter whether you are a recent college graduate or a professional who has been in their career for years - planning ahead for your future is extremely important to take your life in the direction you’d like. In a number of situations, the biggest thing holding us back from reaching our dreams and goals is the level of education that we’ve obtained. Although the psychology field is growing rapidly, having less than a PhD in psychology can drastically limit the number of career options that you have available. Securing your future through obtaining your doctorate degree is a great idea in most cases and can open up a whole new world of opportunities.

Here are five great reasons that you should consider pursuing a PhD in psychology:

1. You Want To Become A Research Psychologist

For many people, one of the biggest reasons that they earn their PhD in psychology is to become a research psychologist.

While images of a scientist in white lab coats slaving away all day behind closed doors may pop into the mind when thinking of the career, this is often far from the case. Research psychologists’ main goal is to learn all that they can and discover more about ourselves and the human mind. Projects for a research psychologist can vary greatly from field to field, such as finding new treatments for mental health issues or discovering more effective methods of teaching. If you’re looking to become famous, this may not be the career for you, but getting your research and studies published in scientific journals across the field is a distinct possibility.

Many research psychologist positions are at universities and centers of higher learning, but that does not mean that there are not a number of opportunities across the private sector as well. Many times, large companies hire research psychologists to help develop training programs and improve processes.

2. You Would Like To Teach One Day

Let’s face it – in today’s world, simply obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology will not get you very far. Sure, there are a number of different counseling positions available to those with a four-year degree, but getting a PhD in psychology will open up a myriad of different career opportunities for you. One career path which you almost always need a PhD to enter into is teaching at a higher level. Being charged with teaching children through the high school age is possible with less of a degree, but in order to truly enter the world of academia, earning your doctorate is a necessity. Teaching at a university level not only gives you the opportunity to greatly expand the minds and knowledge of your students, but also provides you with the opportunity to perform research and studies and acquire both government and private grants.

3. You’ve Already Earned Your Master’s Degree

Because of the competition between intelligent and qualified graduates, advancing your career in a psychology field with just a master’s degree is more difficult than ever. If you have already put in the time and effort needed to get this far, another couple of years of schooling is commonly a smart choice. In fact, a number of the most respected psychology programs in the country require their applicants to have already obtained their master’s degree prior to even being considered for entry. Although more opportunities are open professionally for those who have completed a master’s program than lesser achievements, many of the more desirable jobs in the psychology field will be holding out for applicants with even more education in order to fill those positions with “the best of the best”.

4. You Have A Determination To Complete The Program

There is no doubt about it – getting a PhD in psychology is not an easy process. With more students going for an advanced degree than ever before, many people are beginning to think that it is a feat that anyone can complete – that is far from the truth. Getting your PhD is going to be difficult, involve years of research and studying, and more than anything else, will take personal dedication and determination on your part. If you’re looking for a laid-back, easy to complete degree, this is not it. If you have the determination and drive to finish what you start and commit the countless hours to your education that you’ll need, then getting your PhD in psychology is a wise step. If you are lazy, un-motivated, or just looking for a way to bump up your salary a little bit, then this may not be the educational path for you to follow. Less than half of the students who begin their PhD programs end up graduating, with those less dedicated being systematically weeded out along the way.

5. You Love To Help Others

Helping others is an integral part of psychology. Your goal is to learn as much as you can about the human mind and how we interact with ourselves and each other. Your focus may be developing educational programs to help people learn better or conducting research to develop treatment methods for mental illnesses and problems. No matter what field you venture into, helping others and society should be your main goal. Many jobs in the psychology field aren’t the highest paying careers out there, so therefore many of the people in those positions are there for one reason – to do good and improve the lives of others. If you’re solely considering obtaining a PhD in psychology for the money or prestige, then there may be better choices for you peruse that involve less of a personal sacrifice and commitment.

The psychology field is huge, and there are countless different career paths that it encompasses, even for people with just a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you want to take your life and career further though, pursuing a PhD in psychology is needed for the most desired jobs. Whether you want to conduct scientific research developing substance abuse treatment plans, or just want to expand the minds of others through teaching at a collegiate level, a personal dedication to completing a PhD program in psychology is the most important step you can take to reaching your goals.