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What should I do to study psychology?



QUESTION: I am interested in pursuing a career in psychology. What recommendations do you have for me? Also, what is the difference between bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees? I would like to get the highest level of training possible. Signed, Want To Study People

Dear Want To Study People: That's great that you already have a career goal and are starting to research how to attain it. Start by selecting a college with a strong psychology department. Compare psychology departments by examining the research of faculty, courses offered in the subfields of psychology and job placement and graduate school acceptance rates of the graduates. Try to speak with faculty members and students about your interest. Take into account additional factors such as size, cost, student life and location.

To become a psychologist, you will need to study psychology in graduate school. In many cases, you do not need to major in psychology as an undergraduate to attend graduate school. But you should become familiar with the requirements of graduate programs that you would like to attend. There are two options for obtaining a graduate degree, a master's degree or Ph.D. A master's degree generally takes two years while a Ph.D. takes approximately four to seven years and is the more advanced degree. After attaining your degree, you must be licensed or certified for independent practice. Because the requirements vary by state, learn more about receiving your license or certification from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards by calling (334) 832-4580 or by visiting the organization's Web site at http://www.asppb.org.

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers detailed information for high school and college students who wish to study psychology through its Web site at http://www.apa.org and through its book, "Graduate Study in Psychology," which contains information on over 500 programs.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.