What is Psychology?
Oklahoma is primarily a state for miners, ranchers, and manufacturers. Its #1 industry is in mining, quarrying, and oil & gas exploration. In fact, Oklahoma is #2 in the nation for this industrial sector. The state also has a very strong transportation and warehousing sector, which ranks #16 in the nation. Other industrial sectors such as real estate, business services, and social services like education and healthcare also fill the top five economic drivers for Oklahoma.
Since mental healthcare is a part of the social services sector, psychological professionals are seen as a vital part of Oklahoma's economy. Since human beings constantly are running into problems related to their inner lives, as well as their relationships, Oklahoma needs a strong psychological community to offer support to its population.
A psychology professional is a worker whose expertise lies in human nature. We most commonly think of psychology professionals as therapists who work in dimly lit offices where they listen to people's troubles. However, there are many sorts of psychology professional. Some perform research at universities, or maybe they are professors who instruct graduate and/or undergraduate students. Others work in corporate America as organizational psychologists. Some also apply their knowledge of social science to work in marketing or human resources.
Psychology professionals are primarily white-collar workers who conduct most of their work on computers and in offices. Many who hold the appropriate Oklahoma state licensure work as independent business owners or contractors. In fact, many seek the profession for the autonomy it offers. Meanwhile, there are even psychologists who work in environments that are as rigid as the military.
Online Psychology Education in Oklahoma
To achieve this, Oklahoma supports a network of colleges and universities that offer psychology degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Psychology departments statewide seek out the very best faculty members to prepare students to support Oklahomans.
Psychology departments seek faculty members from far and wide. They hope to attract professors who have the strongest academic credentials possible. They also seek to attract psychology professors who have practical experience in the field. This is particularly vital when they fill faculty positions in a master’s psychology program, especially for the clinical psychology track.
Clinical psychology faculty from Oklahoma may be sought to provide insights into the state's regulatory environment. These clinicians may also have a special insight into state-specific demographics. Since the state has a low average pay rate, clinicians who understand how that sort of economic and financial pressure impacts a person's psyche will be very helpful for students who wish to become Oklahoma-based therapists.
The state's universities also support research faculty who help move the profession forward. Not only do these researchers bring accolades to their schools but they advance our knowledge of the human mind. When Oklahoma's universities are able to produce groundbreaking research, they elevate their entire psychology department and thus attract top students and faculty members alike.
Online Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)
A two-year online psychology degree can be a strong foundation for a career in another field or a more advanced psychology degree. Students who select psychology for their associate degree receive an introduction to human behavior and social science that will be helpful later on. Many with this degree decide to take entry-level positions in marketing, human resources, management trainee programs, or sales.
An online associate psychology degree is also a great idea from a purely pragmatic, financial perspective. Online community colleges tend to charge far less per credit hour than their four-year counterparts. Thus, those who desire a full bachelor’s psychology degree can complete the first two years of their degree at a steep discount. Further, since an associate psychology degree includes all of the core curriculum required by a bachelor’s degree, students can transfer to a university and not have to worry about paying full price for core courses like composition, college algebra, or lab science courses. Just make sure that, if you choose to follow this route, you are attending a fully accredited program. Otherwise, you won’t be eligible for full financial aid, and you likely won’t be able to transfer most of your credit hours.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)
A four-year online bachelor’s degree in psychology is probably the best degree to start a career with. Over the course of the four years it takes to complete an online bachelor’s degree, students have the opportunity to dive deep into the field. The upper-level psychology courses allow students the time to dive deep into areas such as personality, cognition, developmental psychology, and research psychology. They can also explore complimentary fields that help broaden their knowledge and overall view of the field.
Bachelor’s psychology degree students may also be able to land internships that will help inform their later careers. Some states even allow bachelor’s psychology degree students to work toward a state licensure in addiction counseling. While they won't likely be able to practice one-on-one psychotherapy, they will be able to help people overcome drug addiction while simultaneously working on the underlying causes and conditions of their substance abuse disorder.
Online Master's Degree in Psychology (MS)
Psychology is one of the professions that requires a master’s degree for many, if not most, jobs. Oklahoma requires a master’s degree for those who wish to work as independent counseling professionals. While many will earn a master’s degree in clinical psychology, there are other routes. For instance, many therapists earn a master of social work and then become licensed clinical social workers who conduct one-on-one psychotherapy with their clients.
A master’s psychology degree may also open the doors for work in the commercial sphere. Those who earn a master’s psychology degree and focus on psychological research might decide to use their skills in the field of marketing. Others might even apply their ability to analyze data to work in survey firms or other research opportunities.
Online PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)
A doctorate may not be required for a healthy career in psychology, but it sure does help. Those who work in the clinical space value their PhDs because that degree allows them deeper insights into their patients' issues while also allowing them to charge more for their services.
An online PhD also opens doors in academia. It may be possible to teach with a master’s psychology degree, but a PhD helps academics earn tenure track positions with universities. Tenured positions go not only to those who teach graduate and undergraduate students but also to those who conduct research as their sole duty. Research faculty typically need to continually earn grants in order to maintain their position and there are hardly any research grants for those with only a master’s psychology degree.
Become a Psychologist in Oklahoma
Psychology is an attractive field for many students. After all, at some point or the other we all must wonder at the motivations behind human behavior. It's also seen as a helping profession that enables practitioners to have a positive impact on society. Others may approach the field from a more strictly medical perspective and thus be intrigued with how the brain works and can be positively impacted by pharmaceuticals or therapies.
However, it's not always clear how to become a psychology professional in Oklahoma. The path usually starts in high school when students are increasingly aware of how others are developing. High schools may also offer courses in social sciences including sociology, economics, and political science which offer insights into how humans behave on a macro scale. There are also high schools that include psychology in their curriculum. Students who are interested in human behavior should enroll in these courses as a way to get their feet wet.
High school students who are intrigued by their early studies in psychology should look for college degree programs in the field. They can start with their local community college, many of which offer associate psychology degrees. If their local community college does not offer a psychology degree, they may be able to find another community college in Oklahoma that offers an online psychology degree for the same reduced price.
Students who are interested in diving into the mental health field can consider work as an addiction counseling professional. Oklahoma has been impacted by the Opioid Epidemic and thus may support students with less than a master’s degree for work in this field. A bachelor’s degree is not quite enough for licensure as a psychotherapist, but it can pave the way for valuable experience helping Oklahomans who suffer from substance abuse disorder.
Students who then go on to complete an advanced degree in psychology will find that their careers reach the next level. Licensure to conduct psychotherapy includes not only a master’s degree but successful passage of an examination and a period of supervised counseling work. Most master’s clinical psychology degree programs will help their students land internships or other experiential learning that will help them with licensure.
Careers for Psychology Graduates
- Psychiatric Technician:
This position may or may not require a unique state licensure. However, some states will require that psychiatric technicians hold a degree as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in order to fulfill their duties. The job duties of a psychiatric technician include dispensing medications, physically supporting patients, and de-escalating situations that might otherwise spiral out of control.
- Social Work Assistant:
This position doesn't often require a specific degree, but an associate psychology degree will certainly help. Social work assistants primarily work as administrative helpers who keep their social workers organized and on-track with clients. Since they also field phone calls from clients, a social work assistant will need to have a great deal of empathy and very strong communication skills since callers may be in various states of distress.
- Social Worker:
This job title can be applied to many different jobs. Some social workers have no degrees but work for social services agencies where they help clients find resources. They may also work with clients such as the developmentally disabled, parolees from prison, or the aged and infirm who need support. Social workers may also hold a master’s social work degree (MSW) that enables them to seek licensure and to then work as independent therapists.
- Human Resources Specialist:
Every commercial enterprise relies on its staff to succeed. Human resources specialists help recruit, hire, train, and compensate employees. Their job is thus vital to the success of the firm. There are specific degrees for human resources, but psychology students may also be attracted to this field.
- School/Education Psychologist:
This subset of the counseling profession works exclusively in the school system. To qualify for this position, you must earn an MEd with a focus on school counseling. School counselors also need to earn a teaching credential by passing the necessary examinations and accruing appropriate experience. Those who wish to work as a school psychologist in Oklahoma should consult the Oklahoma school board for licensure requirements.
- Psychology Teacher:
To work as a psychology educator, the minimum degree required is a bachelor’s degree from a teacher education program. That credential will allow educators to teach at the high school level. To teach psychology at the college level, it is necessary to earn at least a master’s degree in psychology, though a PhD will help candidates earn a tenure-track position.
These psychology professionals are the best compensated in the field. Psychiatrists have a degree from a medical college and licensure to practice medicine in Oklahoma. These days, a psychiatrist primarily works with patients who need psychological medications such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs.
This career is for those who have earned a PhD in psychology. Some may work in the clinical field where they practice psychotherapy with patients. Others with a doctorate in psychology spend their days conducting psychological research. Those who work in counseling are able to charge insurers more per hour than their colleagues who only hold a master’s psychology degree.