As someone who has completed some formal education in the subject of psychology, or at least someone who is interested in the field, you have probably considered the benefits of completing a doctoral degree in counseling. Chances are good that you've heard contradictory advice from different sources. The truth is that there certainly are both pros and cons of going on to earn your doctorate. What's important is that you base your decision on solid information that applies to your specific interests and career goals. There is no one right answer, so you shouldn't necessarily allow others to dissuade you from pursuing a terminal degree if that is your aspiration. Read on to learn about the considerations that go along with making an informed choice when it comes to whether or not to pursue further education.
Types of Doctorate Degrees
The first thing you should know is that there are a few different types of terminal degrees you can receive within the broad field of psychology. Which one you may be interested in applying for depends upon the career goals you hold and the type of psychology you wish to focus on. Thus, it's important to have a strong idea of yourself and the avenues that are available to you prior to researching programs. Talk to your current academic adviser or do some online reading to begin the process of narrowing things down. There are definitely no rewards to entering a program that isn't a good fit.
The PhD is probably the most widely known. A Doctor of Philosophy program emphasizes both research and clinical practice. A Doctor of Psychology, or PsyD, is geared toward the practical end of the spectrum. Finally, the EdD provides an emphasis on the educational aspects of psychology. Keep this in mind with regard to whether you'd like to pursue research, clinical practice or teaching.
One of the primary benefits students seek when it comes to a counseling doctoral degree is increased earning potential. It is true that advanced education can net you a better paying job in the end. Just be sure to take into consideration factors such as the cost of your educational program and the expected salary of the career you hope to pursue.
If you have a passion for the field of psychology and a genuine desire to contribute in a particular way, obtaining a terminal degree may be the only way to see that dream come to fruition. For example, if becoming a college professor is your goal, most institutions only hire professionals with both a doctorate and experience working within their industry.
Some advanced psychology degrees are quite specific in nature and may prepare you to work in a very limited number of jobs. However, with the knowledge and life experience you attain at the doctorate level, chances are good that you can utilize your unique combination of skills and experience to find a job in a variety of arenas.
While there are a number of considerations to keep in mind, proper planning can go a long way toward helping you to choose an academic path that will lead you to a fulfilling career. There are certainly benefits of receiving a doctoral degree in counseling that cannot be measured in terms of concrete rewards.
Related Resource: Top 10 Best Master's in Psychology Degree Programs