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What is Psychology?

Are you interested in pursuing a degree in psychology in Ohio? This is a popular major among higher education students and is an optimal choice for those planning to enter community and social service or mental health occupations. College and university curriculums vary, but students can expect to study various aspects of human behavior such as cognitive, emotional, and social processes. Those enrolled in these programs are also likely to learn how to observe, interpret, and record the ways people relate to one another and to their environments. Graduates should also be proficient with various research methods and often strive to utilize their findings to further improve the field.

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior. It is a relatively new science, which began in the late 19th century. Psychology is divided into two main branches: clinical psychology and experimental psychology. Clinical psychology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, while experimental psychology focuses on the scientific study of human behavior.

Psychologists use a variety of methods to study the human mind and behavior, including experiments, case studies, surveys, and observations. They often work with other scientists from fields such as medicine, psychiatry, and neuroscience to better understand the complex workings of the human brain. The ultimate goal of psychology is to improve our understanding of ourselves and others so that we can live happier, healthier lives.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for psychologists is expected to increase by 8% nationwide from 2020 to 2030. This about as fast as the average for all occupations and will account for approximately 13,400 job openings each year. Other community and social service occupations are expected to fair slightly better, with an overall increase of 12% within the same time period. Some professions are projected to fair particularly well, such as genetic counselors and marriage and family therapists. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor occupations are expected to see a rise of 23%, resulting in roughly 41,000 openings each year. These projections ultimately show great promise for overall job outlook in this and related fields.

Most of the growth in these sectors is likely due to a continually increasing demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies. Qualified professionals will also be needed to work with and care for aging populations, especially those dealing with the mental and physical changes associated with growing older.

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Online Psychology Education in Ohio

Educational services, healthcare, and social assistance is the fourth largest industry in Ohio, accounting for $65.2 billion in revenue each year. As of May 2021, there were 2,010 clinical and counseling psychologists and 2,110 school psychologists employed in the state, making it among the top ten regions for employment in the field. These professionals made annual mean wages between $74,200 and $105,460, which is well above Ohio’s annual mean wage of $53,170. Additionally, there were 78,290 community and social service professionals working in the state with an annual mean wage of $50,550.

Most colleges and universities in the nation have psychology and related degrees available, making it relatively simple for prospective students to find appropriate academic programs. Online learning also offers flexible scheduling and allows those enrolled to attend classes from nearly anywhere with consistent internet access. Those who plan to seek employment in Ohio, however, may benefit from enrolling with an academic institution within the state. There are a few reasons for this, including that these schools tend to have the best understanding of the region’s employment landscape. Not only do Ohio colleges and universities tailor knowledge and skills development to meet employer needs and expectations, but they also often strive to establish mutually beneficial relationships with nearby companies and organizations. This makes it easier for current students to secure internships, as well as can help alumni secure professional employment after graduation.

It’s important to realize that earning a psychology degree can actually lead to a wide variety of engaging careers in Ohio and elsewhere. While many who choose this major pursue employment as psychologists, it’s also possible to obtain positions in counseling. In both cases, professionals often utilize their knowledge to identify and address problems. This can include, but is not limited to, treating mental illnesses and conducting psychological studies. Notably, many experts in the field do work with scientists to conduct research that has a huge impact on society.

Those who want to become psychologists will find that there are actually a few different types. There are applied psychologists, research psychologists, and mental health psychologists. While these professions all share similar philosophies, they are unique and require drastically different skillsets. Mental health psychologists, for example, work with people experiencing mental disorders or psychological distress, whereas applied psychologists utilize psychological principles and research to solve real-world problems. Research psychologists, on the other hand, conduct studies and experiments using humans and/or animals to advance knowledge in the field.

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This means that professionals in this field could be responsible for a wide variety of tasks, depending on the specific job attained. Activities can range from conducting scientific studies of behavior and brain function to establishing possible treatment plans for patients. Other common expectations include observing individuals during surveys and identifying emotional patterns, as well as writing articles and research papers in order to share important findings with other experts. As supervised internships and practicums are usually required for state licensure, many experienced individuals in the field also spend time supervising interns, clinicians, and other counseling professionals.

Those who decide to pursue careers as counselors tend to be more concerned with helping other people live healthier and happier lives. Depending on degree level, they may find work as social workers, human resource specialists, therapists, and more. These professionals often strive to assist people with a variety of social, emotional, and mental health problems. Specific responsibilities often vary based on patient demographics and facility specifications.

There are many colleges and universities in Ohio that offer degrees in psychology and related subjects. Students can choose from programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Many academic institutions also have undergraduate and graduate professional certificate options.

The type of degree needed is often dictated by the ultimate profession sought. Those interested in social work may only require associate degrees, while those seeking Ohio state licensure as professional psychologists will need doctoral degrees. As a result, it’s important to always research education expectations for your preferred job before selecting an academic program.

Online Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

Associate degrees in psychology generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that can be completed by full-time students in approximately two years. Those enrolled part-time may require a few more years to complete requirements, however. While class descriptions can vary slightly, most programs are comprised of both general liberal arts education and subject-specific instruction. Students can also expect to receive a broad introduction to the fields of psychology and counseling. Some common course options include child psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, psychology of aging, and counseling.

It's important to realize that graduates at this level will not qualify for Ohio state licensure as professional psychologists. In fact, this type of degree is generally insufficient to obtain many jobs related psychology, especially in competitive job markets. The most common employment outcomes include entry-level jobs as psychiatric technicians and aids or social and human services assistants.

In most cases, associate degrees in psychology function as good foundations for future learning. Many graduates transfer credits earned to other institutions before enrollment in bachelor’s degree programs. Most colleges and universities accept up to between 60 and 90 undergraduate credit hours from accredited schools. This means that incoming students with associate degrees may be admitted as juniors instead of freshmen and only have about two years of full-time education remaining.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in psychology typically consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. This degree in psychology is still an undergraduate degree, which means general liberal arts classes are required. Students will also enroll in many major-specific courses such as social psychology, biological psychology, sensation and perception, criminal psychology and behavior, and instruction to addiction theories. Instruction is often a combination of psychology coursework, labs, and electives. Those enrolled may also be given opportunities to select concentrations in related sub-fields.

Some of the most common specialties are:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Research / Experimental Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Graduates often possess the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a wide variety of careers in social service. They cannot, however, qualify to apply for Ohio state licensure as professional psychologists, though they may be able to work as addiction counselors if they have completed the right courses. Those with this type of degree also tend to do well in business and management.

Alternatively, graduates can qualify for enrollment in master’s degree programs. Undergraduate credits will not transfer, but those who meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores expectations can apply for graduate school. Notably, many who studied psychology as undergraduates choose to pursue other majors as the graduate level.

Online Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)

Online Master’s degrees in psychology generally consist of between 30 and 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Program specifics vary, but students are no longer required to take general liberal arts education classes. In most cases, classes focus solely on important topics in psychology, such as the cognitive process and personality theories. Other common courses include social psychology, development psychology, evolutionary psychology, research methods, and theories of personality. Instruction also consists of a combination of classroom learning, research, and practical applications, with some programs delving deeper into research, theory, or clinical work than others.

As with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, many colleges and universities offer students opportunities to specialize in certain sub-fields.

Some of the most common options at this level include:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Research
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • School Psychology

This type of degree can lead to many employment opportunities related to psychology and counseling. While graduates can qualify for jobs as school psychologists, the state of Ohio does not offer professional psychologist licensure to individuals with this degree.

Online PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)

Doctoral degrees in psychology generally consist of between 60 to 90 credit hours that take full-time students five to seven years to complete. Many students begin these programs by taking relevant classes in behavioral assessments, professional ethics, research methods, cognitive development, and neuroscience. After satisfying all instructional requirements, enrollees typically conduct independent study. Prior to graduation, students must write and defend dissertations before a board.

Prospective students will need to choose between the doctor of psychology (PsyD) degree and the doctor of philosophy in psychology (PhD) degree. The PsyD degree is best suited for those interested in clinical work, while the PhD tends to be more appropriate for professionals pursuing careers in research.

Graduates will qualify to apply for licensure through the Ohio Board of Psychology. They can also pursue other employment opportunities in research and education. Only those with doctorate degrees are permitted to teach higher education classes at regionally accredited academic institutions.

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Become a Psychologist Professional in Ohio

The first step to becoming a psychology professional in Ohio is identifying your ultimate career goals. While there are employment opportunities at every level, some jobs in the field have very specific requirements. Once you have determined your preferred profession, it will be easier to select an applicable degree program and begin completing any other necessary tasks.

Those seeking to become licensed psychologists in the state will need doctorates in clinical or counseling psychology. The licensure process is overseen by the Ohio Board of Psychology, which works to protect the well-being and safety of residents receiving psychological or applied behavior analysis services. Professionals can seek credentials as psychologists and school psychologists.

General psychologist candidates must obtain doctoral degrees in psychology or school psychology from institutions accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency. Programs must include doctoral internships of no less than 1,500 hours and no greater than 2,000 hours accrued over at least a nine-month period. A total of 3,600 qualifying supervised training hours are required, with post-internships and practicums serving as acceptable sources. Applicants must also achieve passing scores on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), which is produced by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Other requirements include passing the orally-administered examination on the laws and rules governing psychologists and related state laws and completing background checks.

The requirements for school psychologists are different. Those interested in this license must demonstrate good moral character and hold at least master’s degrees in school psychology from an accredited academic institution. They also must secure employment verification, which can only be achieved after four years of experience working full-time in educational settings. Additional requirements include passing the PRAXIS-II School Psychologist Exam administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), as well as passing the orally administered examination on the laws and rules governing psychologists and related state laws. Once earned, this license authorizes independent practice of school psychology outside of the education system.

Careers for Psychology Graduates

Those who graduate with psychology degrees will qualify for a wide variety of employment opportunities in Ohio. Responsibilities and salaries will vary, but some of the most common related professions available in the state include the following.

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counselor
    Substance abuse and addiction counselors provide counseling and support to patients diagnosed with alcohol and/or drug addictions. These professionals create treatment plans, implement therapeutic treatments, offer individual and group counseling, and evaluate patient progress. They are also responsible for maintaining accurate patient documentation. According to PayScale, substance abuse and addiction counselors make an average base salary of $39,950 per year.
  • Residential Counselor
    Residential counselors provide a wide variety of counseling services to residents of live-in patient facilities. These professionals must be able to create treatment plans for many different demographics, including people with disabilities or addictions, as well as troubled youth and the elderly. They may also provide individual and group counseling in order to assist with crucial situations and/or resolve conflicts between residents. According to PayScale, residential counselors make an average base hourly rate of $14.46, or approximately $39,700 per year.
  • Mental Health Counselor
    Mental health counselors diagnose and treat patients suffering from various mental health problems and illnesses. These professionals often utilize a mixture of one-on-one and group counseling sessions to help patients work through and/or resolve diagnosed conditions. They may also specialize in a particular area of care, such as eating disorders, addiction, and young adult development. According to PayScale, mental health counselors make an average base salary of $44,250 per year.
  • Grief Counselor
    Grief counselors help their clients work through the emotions commonly associated with the death of loved ones. These professionals often guide patients through the various stages of grief, providing support and encouraging healthy coping mechanisms. According to PayScale, grief counselors make an average base salary of $46,850 per year.

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  • School/Guidance Counselor
    School and guidance counselors offer information and support to high school students as they work towards achieving personal, academic, social, and development goals. These professionals often provide assistance and conflict resolution, as well as parent consultations, interventions, and service referrals. They also spend time assisting students with college preparation. According to PayScale, school counselors make an average base salary of $51,350 per year.
  • Clinical Social Worker
    Clinical social workers provide therapy-based services to clients who need mental and/or emotional support. These professionals are often responsible for communicating with patients, conducting psychosocial evaluations, coordinate care interactions, and negotiating with third party groups. They may work in various settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, residential nursing facilities, home healthcare companies, or substance abuse treatment centers. According to PayScale, clinical social workers make an average base salary of $57,600 per year.
  • Psychiatrist
    Psychiatrists evaluate patient symptoms, behaviors, and past medical histories to determine whether or not they have mental disorders. They often use various treatments and/or medications in order to provide recovery assistance. These professionals may also consult with and give guidance to other healthcare professionals. According to PayScale, psychiatrists make an average base salary of $215,600 per year.

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