If you've recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology and you're thinking about going to graduate school for your Masters – you're probably no stranger to the abundance of online master’s in psychology programs. While an online degree offers unprecedented flexibility to graduates so they can work while they pursue their graduate degree, you still have to decide: is an online master’s in psychology the right choice for you?
Like any other decision that we take, there are various factors that you're going to have to consider before you decide to enroll in an online master's in psychology program. What are they? And how could these factors redefine your online learning experience?
Let's find out!
Factors to Consider Regarding Online Master’s Degrees
The flexibility factor of online degrees makes them an immensely attractive option for students who can't attend a class on campus or are working full-time. If you're working a job and if you're noticing some stagnation in your career, you should consider getting a master's degree, but then again – would enrolling in a masters program be a wise choice?
Apart from the additional knowledge that you'll acquire, a traditional master's program requires you to attend classes physically every week. Imagine rushing to a classroom right after a 9-hour job, and if you can't make it on time, you get marked absent, and you lose your course. Even if you decide to enroll in a weekend program, it can get pretty exhausting.
Everyone wants a day or two's rest after an exhausting week of work, and if you have to spend those two days studying for a master's degree – you can run out of energy pretty quickly. Online degrees, on the other hand, are an attractive option if you're considering getting an online master's degree. Nowadays, you can find online masters in psychology degrees in a wide range of academic institutions. Some of them are fully online, while others operate a lot like traditional universities. If you're thinking of getting an online master’s in psychology – there are a number of factors that you need to consider:
- What type of degree should you get?
- Will your degree help you achieve your career goals?
- Will your degree help you move ahead in your profession?
How You Can Find Legitimate Online Master's Programs in Psychology
There are a few aspects you should look for if you're looking for an online master's in psychology. First and foremost, don't be deceived by diploma mills. There are various "institutions" online that offer non-accredited diplomas and provide inferior education or no education at all.
When you go for a job interview, there are various factors that your employer will consider when they find out that you studied online. One of them will be the accreditation that your educational credentials have. Accreditation is what ensures if your program is legitimate. If the school you've decided to go to has gone through an accreditation process – you can be sure that it has met all standards that qualify for the industry you're looking to get a job in. You can start by checking if the program you're willing to enroll in has an accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting bodies. The U.S Department of Education also has a database that can tell you which institution is accredited and which isn't.
What Can You Do With an Online Master's in Psychology?
Before you decide to invest your money and time on a degree, ask yourself this question: how will this degree help me? For many people, getting an online master's in psychology might mean that they'll be a better fit for a job. They might have the opportunity to earn more money, and other times people are just eager to learn.
No matter what your motivation is to get an online master's in psychology, start your pursuit for your master's degree by outlining your goals. When you've done this, analyze each potential program and weigh its pros and cons. What you ultimately decide to do with your online master's in psychology will depend on various factors. Some of those factors are:
- Geographic location
- The type of degree you earn
- The demand for jobs
Graduates from psychology degrees are often able to find jobs in sectors like the government, businesses, and mental health services. Before you enroll in the program, check whether it provides the training and any potential license that you may need to work in your chosen field.
Reasons You Shouldn't Pursue an Online Master's in Psychology
While distance education might seem like the ideal option for almost anyone, there are many factors that make it less than ideal for many people. Before you choose to enroll in an online master's, make a real assessment of yourself and your goals. Are you comfortable with technology? Many programs will require you to have considerable knowledge of online communication tools. There are different technical requirements for different programs, but you should be able to send emails, email attachments, take part in online discussions, and look for information online.
In some cases you can also be required to take part in podcasts or use an instant messaging service. Apart from these factors, an online degree might not be the perfect choice for you if you:
- Are Poor With Time Management: If you struggle with managing time, you should consider sticking a traditional degree. An online degree has, on average, more coursework than a traditional degree, and you also have to be self-motivated to take your classes on time by yourself. If you can't wake up every morning on your own without the fear of attendance policy, don't enroll in an online master's in psychology.
- Think Online Education Is Easier: Don't make the mistake of thinking that an online degree is easy. Many students make the mistake of assuming that an online degree is easier than a traditional degree. If you're under the same assumption, you can't be more wrong! While there is unlimited flexibility with an online program, there is also more coursework.