Is there a Practical Experience Requirement to Complete a Master’s in Organization Psychology?

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Updated August 4, 2020

Obtaining a Master's in Organizational Psychology involves many different courses and credit hours from an accredited school but does it include a practical experience requirement? To gain more insight, we must first examine the differences between graduate and undergraduate psychology degrees along with their requirements and explore what qualifies as real-world experience.

Undergraduate School Vs. Graduate School

In order to be a psychologist, students would need to complete either a master's or doctoral degree depending on the desired position. With this in mind, undergraduate programs in psychology basically serve as preparation for moving on to the master's program. Although the student may complete internships with practicing psychologists in clinical settings, they generally take a back seat to the experience. A student that is in a graduate program would need to use the foundation of knowledge that was built during their undergraduate studies and apply them to real-life situations.

The requirements for experience in an undergraduate program would be quite different from those of a graduate program because having the undergraduate degree allows the student to work directly with patients and those who need assistance with their mental health. This type of work must be done under the supervision of a psychologist, but it allows the students to control the situation. Before obtaining the undergraduate degree, the student would've been limited to only assisting a licensed psychologist or handling clerical work. Although it may seem like the required real-world experiences are the same for both undergraduate and graduate programs on the surface, the hands-on approach makes a dramatic difference.

Why is practical experience necessary?

In the field of psychology, there's only so much that a student can learn from textbooks and lectures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, internships allow students to gain experience in an applied setting. Students have the opportunity to gain proper understanding by immersing themselves in the settings that they intend to work in. With hands-on experience, students can apply the knowledge that they've learned in a supervised setting. It also offers great preparation for their upcoming licensing exams.

This process also helps the student to build confidence in their craft. Being able to consult the supervising psychologist during these practicals will allow them to get immediate feedback and grow as a psychologist. This process allows them to make their own decisions and use their judgment so that they can feel comfortable in different situations that may arrive. As with most areas of expertise, trial and error is a huge part of learning. Allowing students to learn from their mistakes can provide a wealth of knowledge that simply can't be obtained from anywhere else.

Overall, gaining experience while completing a psychology degree program gives the students the opportunity to get accustomed to their future working environment. Although they may seem similar, the differences between undergraduate and graduate practicals make a huge difference in the learning process. Obtaining a Master's in Organizational Psychology requires practical experience which is meant to prepare the student for both passing the licensing examination and working in the field.

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