The school you select may depend on the various psychology careers you are considering and what your goals are. Certain school may only offer certain degrees, which may influence your decision.
One of the first things to consider is what type of psychology career school you are interested in. Various types of schools are out there and include private colleges, community colleges, and universities. Schools may be located through professional psychology associations, high school guidance counselors, and college websites.
There are several factors to think about when selecting a psychology school. Consider the type of degree or degrees offered. Some schools may only offer associate degree programs, while others may have more advanced degrees.
Pick a school that fits your current situations. For instance, some psychology schools may have part-time options. This may work well for students who have to work full time or have family commitments. Cost is another factor, which may help you decide which psychology school to attend. Determine your budget and ask if the school offers financial aid if that is a concern.
Visiting the schools you are interested in may help you when choosing a psychology school. If possible, take a walk around campus, get a syllabus for a few of the classes, and a class schedule. Visiting a school first hand helps you determine whether a particular school feels right for you.
Choosing a Psychology School
If you’re interested in working in one of the many psychology careers available, choosing the right psychology school is an important decision. Not everyone will have the same requirements when it comes to what they are looking for in a psychology school. However, there are some common factors to consider, including:
- The “feel” of the school
- Specific degree choices
- Program accreditation
- Faculty qualifications
- Student-teacher ratio
- Requirements for graduation
- Tuition costs
There are several ways to gain information regarding the factors listed above and help you choose the right psychology school. College catalogs and schedules will have a lot of useful facts. College or university websites also are a great resource, as are conversations with admission representatives at the colleges you are interested in.
A psychology school may look good in the college handbook, but an onsite visit is a good idea before applying to the program. Seeing the campus firsthand gives you a better feel for the school. If possible, try to talk with current students.
Consider what types of degrees are offered. Psychology degrees include associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. In addition to the type of degrees offered, look into what minors are available. Some psychology majors may also want to earn a minor in a specific area of interest. Minors may be areas you hope to pursue a psychology career in. For instance, people interested in working with children may want to minor in child development.
Another consideration when selecting a psychology school is program accreditation. There are a few different organizations that accredit psychology programs, such as the American Psychological Association. Accredited schools must have met at least the minimum standard set forth by the accrediting organization.
Learn about the faculty. Most college and university websites offer information about faculty members. Teachers at the college level should have a minimum of a master’s degree. Many will have a PhD.
You should also ask about class size. Some students may not learn well in very large classes, so the student to teacher ratio is important.
Look at the requirements for graduation. Consider what classes are offered and if they meet your interests. Some psychology programs require a field internship. This is a chance to work in the community with psychology professionals. It is a good opportunity to gain relevant experience, network, and determine what areas of psychology you are most interested in and have the aptitude for.
Finally, tuition cost can’t be ignored when selecting a psychology school. In addition to program cost, look into whether the school offers financial aid counseling and assistance, or special grant or scholarship programs to selected applicants.
Applying to Psychology Career School
The process of applying to a psychology career school will vary by both school and by the type of degree program you are applying for. For instance, applying to a school for an associate degree program in psychology is much less stringent than applying to a school for a master’s degree program.
The first step is to check the website of the school you plan to apply to. Most schools will have an online application process, especially at the associate and bachelor’s degree level. For more advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree, the process may involve an application sent through regular mail.
Applicants will likely need official transcripts from past schools attended. This may include high school and all colleges attended. Copies of your SAT scores are required for most bachelor’s degree programs in psychology and may be required for associate degree programs. If you are applying to a graduate program, your GRE scores will also be needed.
In some cases, a personal statement may need to be written as part of the application process. This may include writing about which psychology careers you hope to pursue and what your goals are in the field. Although it may be nerve-wracking to write, it can be an important part of your application. It is a chance to sell yourself and may be used to explain lower grades or test scores. Be sure to take your time on the application. Read the directions carefully and be sure you are answering the questions completely.
Don’t forget about awards you have won, experience you have in the psychology field and community service or volunteer work you have done. Don’t exaggerate your accomplishments, but don’t be too modest either. Finally pay close attention to all deadlines and be sure to proofread everything before you submit it.
Psychology Career School Accreditation
Accreditation for psychology schools is one factor to consider when selecting a program and school to attend. Accreditation means the school must meet certain professional standards for its psychology career programs. Guidelines and objectives are also established. Having an accreditation allows prospective students to know the school has met the standards set by the accrediting agency.
Different accrediting agencies may vary in how they perform the accrediting process. Often schools that want to gain an accreditation have to submit information on their school and its policies and procedures. In addition, the psychology program, faculty qualifications, and classes offered will be reviewed. Site visits may also be included as part of the accreditation process.
Psychology programs may be accredited by one of the six accrediting organizations of postsecondary schools in the United States. The accrediting organizations are organized by region of the United States. The American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA) is the main accreditation organization for doctorate degree psychology programs. Some schools offering a doctorate degree program may have a regional accreditation, but not an APA CoA accreditation.
Not all psychology schools are accredited, therefore it is essential when considering psychology careers to decide if school accreditation is important to your career goals. Attending a school that is accredited may be required for some professional licenses or certifications in certain psychology careers. It also may help add creditability to your qualifications. Knowing you are attending an accredited school may also give you some assurance the school has met the standards set forth by a reputable and professional psychology organization.