In the field of psychology, many of the more advanced jobs (such as licensed therapist, school counselor, industrial/organizational psychologist, etc.) require, at the very least, a master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an advanced degree truly is necessary to progress in a psychology career in any significant capacity. But if the program to which an individual desires to attend is quite a distance away, uprooting and leaving one’s current job and family responsibilities to pursue that Master of Psychology degree is not always feasible. The good news is that there are many online opportunities for budding psychologists to pursue in order to obtain that necessary master’s degree. One consideration that may give some prospective students pause, however, is the question of whether or not online degrees in general, and online degrees in psychology in particular, are considered reputable in the field and by those who would hire would-be psychologists.
If this is a concern of yours, you can put your fears to rest. Whatever stigma may have been present in years past towards online psychology degrees, the attitude has shifted and online degrees are accepted quite readily now. Employers are recognizing the value not just of the online degree itself, but also of the self-motivation and dedication that it takes for a student to engage in a program through distance education. In case you do encounter any hiring managers who may not have gotten the memo on the validity of online degrees, here are some things to look for in an online psychology degree program to assure your chances of career success.
As with any online master’s degree program, the most significant factor is the regional accreditation of the parent college or university. Regional accreditation is an unbiased, outside assessment of the school both academically and institutionally. It’s a mark of approval showing that the school meets the universal standards as set forth by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). There are seven regional accrediting bodies that are recognized by the United States Department of Education, and colleges and universities voluntarily submit to these agencies to gain accreditation, which is renewed on a continual basis to assure quality throughout changing times. Another key factor in the search for a good online program–does the university exist as a brick-and-mortar institution? Some questioners of online degrees can often have their doubts allayed when presented with a degree from a school that has a physical address with on-campus programs in addition to (and in most cases historically prior to) their online programs. Institutions that have existed for many years tend to have that reputation that makes them appealing and impressive (think Harvard, for instance).
In summary, if your online Master of Psychology program is housed within a reputable, brick-and-mortar institution that is regionally accredited, the degree you earn should be just as readily accepted as any degree earned through an on-campus program. To assist you in your search for the best online program to fit your needs, have a glance at the 50 Best Online Master of Psychology Degree Programs for inspiration.