BA,BS, MA, MSc, PhD, PsyD, EdD. If you think that these is some kind of secret code, it means that you are not familiar neither with academic titles in general, nor the various types of degrees in psychology. So, let us take a closer look at all these types of degrees in psychology and the respective career paths that each one can open for you.
The simplest psychology title is the associate degree, which usually refers to a two-year educational program. The associate’s degree, which is offered by community colleges, does not really hold any educational value on its own, neither can it give you professional rights to work as a psychologist. Nevertheless, it can function as a precursor for further studies, since it gives you the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree given that you transfer to a university.
The bachelor’s degree is the most common of all types of degrees in psychology. In this underground level, a student can choose between a BA in psychology (which stands for Bachelor of Arts) and BS (which stands for Bachelor of Science). The former provides a more liberal arts education, while the latter is more science-oriented. Both titles, however, are considered more as a general educational basis for psychology students, rather than a specialized degree that will immediately allow you to pursue a career as a professional psychologist.
If you wish to do so, you have to continue your studies to the more advanced types of degrees in psychology, which is that of a master’s degree., or a doctorate. Again the master’s level can be subdivided into two types of degrees in psychology: the MA and the MS; in other words a Master of Arts or a Master of Science. At this level you must have already decided what kind of career path within you wish to follow; as the word suggests, a master’s degree signifies that a student has mastered some of his skilsl and has acquired specialized knowledge of certain aspects of psychology. The truth is that those with a master’s degree are far more likely to find a job that is relative to their studies, but still you cannot have your own office and work as a licensed psychologist.
The way to become a licensed psychologist is by acquiring the highest of all types of degrees in psychology, which are the PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy), the PsyD (Doctorate of Psychology), and the EdD (Doctorate of Education). Of these three types of degrees in psychology, the PsyD is a program which deals almost exclusively with the practice of counseling psychology; in other words, if you wish to become a psychotherapist, this is the way to go. The PhD, on the other hand, is more of a research oriented degree; although you can practice psychotherapy, those who become Doctors of Philosophy usually devote themselves to research and publication. As for the PsyD, it is more like the middle ground between the two, since it is provides both the critical thinking and advanced research skills, as well as the tools to become a successful psychology counselor.
It is really up to you to decide what is best for you.