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What is Psychology?
Stress is a problem in many different ways. A person’s ability to handle stress can affect their mood, their health, and the state of their mental health. People who are usually even keeled can behave erratically when under stress. People who are normally calm might start yelling. A person who seldom becomes angry might seem angry all the time. These changes might cause people to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or other less than positive habits. Stress can truly change a person’s personality and life.
People tasked with helping those who are struggling are psychology professionals and are a vital part of our society. Without social workers and other psychology professionals, there would be even more miserable people in the world than there already are. They truly are needed by a lot of people.
There are roughly 1,000 psychology professionals working in Nebraska. If you include social workers who are also trained in psychology, the number increases significantly. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for psychology professionals is expected to increase over the next ten years. If this seems like a profession that might be of interest to you, continue reading the provided information. Psychology professionals can work with all areas of society and help with many different issues and situations.
A psychology professional is a person who works in the psychology community. They can provide a variety of services, from helping with intake at hospitals and clinics, to therapeutic and counseling services. Psychology professionals strive to help people with mental health issues cope and learn to live a productive life, even if they are suffering from mental illness. They aid in every industry and work with people of all ages, races, and genders. They work in hospitals, clinics, social service agencies, and other organizations that focus on mental health. A psychologist has many years of training up to and including a PhD, but people with less education can also find rewarding careers as psychology professionals as well.
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Online Psychology Education in Nebraska
As with most professions, the educational requirements differ depending on career goals. For example, a person who wants to be a social worker and provide services for the state might need a different level of education than someone who wants to become a clinical psychologist. As a rule of thumb, the further a person wants to go in their career, the more additional education is required. And, for those who want to enter the clinical world, a terminal degree is almost always required to attain a license. So, if you are someone who isn’t prepared to pursue at least three degrees to reach to top tier of your career, you might want to rethink either your career goals or your chosen field. Below are the various psychology educational levels and what you will study at each level.
Online Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)
A two-year degree in psychology won’t qualify a person to work directly with patients. What it can do, however, is help a person determine if this is a path they want to take as a career. With an associate degree, a person can work in a clerical position or in a group home setting. It can also be a foot in the door of an agency once the person has attained more education. With that said, a two-year degree does provide an educational foundation that can be built upon.
Students will study the following courses:
- Behavioral Psychology
- Child Psychology
- Human Development
- Intro to Psychology
- Intro to Sociology
This degree typically takes four semesters to complete.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)
A four-year degree in psychology helps an aspiring psychology professional gain the base knowledge to start their career. A bachelor’s degree helps students develop both their problem solving and critical-thinking skills. Students are also introduced to the study of behavioral neuroscience and can hone their communication skills. Once a graduate starts working, these skills will be important wherever they start their careers. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years to complete but some people need more or less time to graduate.
The program typically includes these core courses:
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Cognitive Psychology
- General Psychology
- Life Span Development
- Psychology in Everyday Life
- Sensation and Perception
Although a person can have a successful career as a psychology professional with a bachelor’s degree, students who want to work on the clinical side will have to pursue additional education.
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Online Master's Degree in Psychology (MS)
The next step for someone who wants to work as a clinician or a counselor is earning a master’s degree in psychology. Graduate degree programs usually take three to five years and consist of classroom training, an internship, and a capstone or comprehensive exam.
Students enrolled in a graduate program will study courses such as:
- Clinical Psychopharmacology
- Group Dynamics
- Learning and Cognition
- Organizational Behavior
- Principles of Neuroscience
Online PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)
There are two types of doctorate degrees psychology professionals can attain, a PhD or a PsyD. A doctorate of letters in psychology (PhD) is for people who are more interested in research and academia, i.e., they want to teach psychology. The doctorate in psychology (PsyD) is for those who want to become clinicians and counselors and work with patients. Both require five or more years to complete, and a dissertation must be written and successfully defended.
Some course in both programs include:
- Assessment, Statistics and Research Techniques
- Developmental Psychology
- Multicultural Consistencies
It’s important to note that students will work on their dissertation throughout their academic career in these programs, but there will be a final push to complete and defend the dissertation after all classwork requirements have been met. Some people choose not to finish their dissertation and these people have the classification of ABD – all but dissertation. But in many states, to achieve full licensure, the dissertation has to be completed so the full doctorate degree can be granted.
Become a Psychologist in Nebraska
One of the first things an aspiring psychology professional needs to do is decide on what areas of mental health they want to be involved in and tailor their education and work experience to that goal. Those who want to become licensed psychologists can expect to be in school for at least 10 years and will have to apply for a license to practice after passing the state boards, but there are plenty of jobs in the field of psychology that don’t require a doctorate degree.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, you will need to earn the education required to perform the job duties. For most this means a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. You will also most likely have to do an internship or two and depending on your chosen career, take an exam, and be granted a license.
After you have finished your education and have any licenses you need to work in your chosen profession, you can start working. In many cases, you might already be working in an entry-level or assistant position, so you’ll have some experience to fall back on. Many people get their first jobs with agencies where they interned.
The state of Nebraska has several psychology careers that require some sort of licensure or certification.
Psychologists are required to have a doctorate degree in psychology. They also must complete a one-year post-doctorate program to be granted a license.
- Psychological Assistants
This position requires a master's degree in psychology and must work under a trained and licensed psychologist.
- Provisional License as a Psychologist
is issued to a person who needs to obtain the required 1-year of supervised postdoctoral experience in psychology (obtained in Nebraska) to obtain a license as a psychologist.
- 30-Day Practice Authorization
Psychologists that attained a license in another jurisdiction can only provide services for 30 days before attaining a Nebraska license to practice.
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Potential Careers for Psychology Graduates
There are many different careers a person with an education in psychology can consider. Below are a few positions a person might pursue.
- Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric technicians work in mental health agencies as assistants to the mental health staff. They help with intake, admissions, and patient inventory, ensure that the patients have clean clothing and personal supplies and offer general supervisory duties of patients that are allowed to freely roam the grounds.
- Social Worker
Social workers do more than place children in foster care and help reunite families that are in crisis. Social workers work in every industry imaginable, helping people in a variety of ways. A social worker might be a career coach or an addiction counselor. They might be the yogi or the person teaching you guided meditation. They could also be the person who stops by a veteran or elderly person’s house and ensures that they’ve eaten that day and taken their medications. Social workers strive to keep an eye out for issues or problems and then find solutions to those problems.
- Community Service Manager
Community service managers are the pulse of a community. They pay close attention to the atmosphere in a community and get to know the residents as much as possible in order to identify any areas where mental health, wellness, or medical services might be needed. They work with the entire community, regardless of ages, race, or gender.
- Human Resources Specialist
Human resource specialists track the actions of employees in a company. Although they are often in charge of choosing candidates for positions in a company, it’s often more detailed than just whether or not a resume is a good match for a position. If the company performs assessments for employment, the human resource specialist is the one who administers the assessments. They are also the people tasked with maintaining programs aimed at helping employees with emotional and medical conditions that can hamper job performance. An acute attention to detail and excellent communication skills are requirements for this position. This job is a good fit for a person who wants to work as a psychology professional but isn’t ready to pursue an education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
- Victim Advocate
Victim advocates operate as the voice for victims of a variety of traumatic events. They accompany victims to law enforcement agencies, medical examinations, and court appearances. Victims are often too traumatized to speak with the agencies that could help them seek justice and closure, so the advocate can speak with these agencies on the victim’s behalf.
- Administrative Service Manager
- Social Work Assistant
- Guidance Counselor/Career Advisor
- Child Counselor/Psychologist
- School/Education Psychologist – School Counselor - Guidance Counselor
- Substance Abuse/Addictions Counselor
- Family and Marriage Therapist
- Psychology Researcher
- Psychology Professor – Postsecondary
- Career Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Counselor (Private Practice)
- Community Health Worker
- Residential Counselor
- Clinical Therapist
- College Counselor
- Family Therapist
- Group Counselor
- Marriage and Family Counselor
- Mental Health Counselor
Other careers that are an option include: