Students who have a BA in Psychology can attend graduate school in any number of areas including doctoral degrees in psychology, Ph.D., PsyD, EdD. Masters in Social Work, MD, RN, JD, Masters in Counseling, Applied Behavior Health, School Psychology, Masters in Public Health, MBA, etc.
M.Ed., M.A., or M.S. in Counseling
These programs usually are two years. There are specialties within these programs. The Counseling Master’s programs often have a number specialty areas including: school counseling, rehab counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, child and adolescent counseling, health counseling and career counseling. The training includes a practicum placement while you are in school. Upon graduation you will do some additional clinical hours and then take a test to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). (Depending on the state).
M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy
These programs are similar to Master’s in Counseling programs except that they focus on marriage and family therapy. The master’s program requires two years to complete and requires a year-long practicum placement. After graduation, you need a number of supervised hours before you can sit for the state exam to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (number of hours and title depend on the state).
Master’s in Social Work (MSW) or Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Social work master’s programs usually have two tracks: 1) macro-practice, which addresses broad social issues and institutional interventions and, 2) a clinical track that focuses mental illness, emotional or behavioral problems. The MSW program is two years and usually requires a practicum placement each year. One becomes eligible for the LCSW license soon after graduation from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited School of Social Work. The LICSW license, however, requires a set period, often two years, under the supervision of someone who is currently licensed as an LICSW. The LICSW is required for private practice – and for independent practice in other settings.
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology are based on the scientist/practitioner model and emphasize research and teaching, as well as clinical practice. Most Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology require three years of course work and one to two years of writing a dissertation. Student spend at least one year placed in an internship as part of the program. Students applying to Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology should have research as well as clinical experience. After graduation, student must receive additional hours of supervised practice before they can sit for the licensing exam..
Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology
The doctoral programs in Counseling Psychology are very similar to those in Clinical Psychology. In broad terms, Clinical Psychology programs focus on mental illness while Counseling Psychology programs focus on mental health. Doctoral level Counseling Psychology programs are based on the scientist/practitioner model and require a research-based dissertation. They also take approximately 5 years to complete. Students complete at least one year of internship while in the program. After graduation, students must receive additional hours of supervised practice before they can sit for the licensing exam.
Psy.D. in Professional Psychology
Also called, “Schools of Professional Psychology,” Psy.D. graduate programs focus on educating clinicians with less emphasis on research than doctoral programs in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. Psy.D. programs are often completed in 4 years. Students complete some practicum placements as well as internships in their final year. After graduation, students must receive additional hours of supervised practice before they can sit for the licensing exam. Most practicing mental health psychologists have a Psy.D. degree.