Written By Aunice Yvonne Reed, M.S., M.A.
There are many graduate schools the world over you can attend for obtaining a doctorate in psychology degree. But the focus of this website is specifically concerned with online programs in psychology. Brick and mortar schools requiring classroom, in-person attendance on physical campuses are great if that's what you prefer, and are necessary for some majors and courses. An example of this would be those requiring labs, like chemistry, architectural design or certain biology courses. And even within those majors, a significant amount of coursework can be completed online (e.g. English literature, history). It really all depends on the college and what you want to do with your education. Your educational options are determined by these two things.
Those wanting a doctorate in psychology typically desire to either teach and do research, or become licensed to work as a clinical psychologist. Some want to do both. If you are planning on a career primarily in research and/or teaching at the university level, then it's the PHD program in psychology (non-licensure track) or the PHD clinical psychology (licensure track) that you want. Either of these will get you there, but the clinical psychology PHD will also allow you to do psychotherapy. The other one, the PHD in psychology non-licensure will qualify you to do research and teach only. Good news is, either of these can be done completely online. There are also schools offering the PHD in Clinical Psychology in a hybrid format, meaning you will be doing online coursework and you'll be in a classroom for part of the time.
Can I Really Complete My Doctorate in Psychology Degree Online?
There was a time when you'd be hard-pressed to be able to obtain a doctorate in psychology online, but with advanced technology, today it is definitely something you can do. Many colleges now offer online programs in nearly every subject. Just like with many things though, there are caveats you'll need to be mindful of, like being aware of the rules in your state regarding psychologist licensing. Some states do not allow future clinical psychologists to complete any portion of their degrees online at all. If you plan to practice in a state like this, you will have to attend an in-person, brick and mortar school. Otherwise, you'll need to plan on practicing in a state that allows doing classes online towards your training. Most states do, but not all, so beware and do your research on that because there's nothing worse than completing your whole doctorate program and then finding out your state of practice doesn't accept your education!
If you want to do psychotherapy and work with clients, you'll be expected to complete an internship in the form of a clinical practicum in your local area. Schools offering a doctorate in clinical psychology will expect you to find your own clinical site, but they may provide some help with this. This is the only part of your program that takes place separately from your online classroom or portal. It is an in-person experience doing therapy with clients and also meeting for supervision with your site clinical supervisor throughout your time at the site. Your practicum requirements vary by school and state board rules. If you are going to be working with clients, the clinical internship experience is necessary whether you go to an on-campus program or online.
Top Online Psychology Schools at toponlinepsychologyschools.com is a website dedicated to providing essential information for getting an online education in psychology or other mental health related fields.