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Frequently Asked Questions About Earning a Degree in Psychology

Questions About Psychology

If you were born with a burning desire to figure out what makes people tick, it’s natural you’d gravitate to a psychology degree. Exploring the inner workings of the complex human mind and the often-puzzling heart can certainly be an engaging career.

Following are some of the frequently asked questions that come from students considering a B.S. in Psychology program.

Why should I pursue a psychology undergraduate degree?

1)  Earning your undergraduate degree in psych provides you with a flexible skill set that can be applied in a variety of professions and industries. It’s a versatile and practical degree. Psychology is routinely listed in the top five undergraduate majors in the U.S.

2)  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects opportunities in psychology to grow 14 percent over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations.

A recent survey by the American Psychological Association shows that the top three industry categories for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are sales, professional services and management.

3)   At Abilene Christian University, the faculty views psychology as a scientific and applied profession through which you can provide service to both your local community and the community of faith. In your coursework, you’ll examine the nature and needs of humankind from a biblical perspective.

4)  A bachelor’s degree in psych lays the foundation for your master’s or doctoral degree. About 25% of psychology baccalaureates go to graduate school in psychology, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

What character traits and skills would make me a successful student in this major?

While psychology majors are a diverse group, one thing all psychologists have in common “is a shared interest in the minds and behaviors of both human and nonhuman animals,” notes the APA. Other skills you need include:

  • Empathy, compassion, and patience
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Keen observational/intuitive skills
  • Integrity and the ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality
  • Collaborative, team-oriented interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving skills

Can I get my degree 100% online?

Yes! You can study at your own pace, log in when you want to, and schedule your homework around your personal and employment commitments. ACU’s online undergraduate programs are intended for nontraditional students interested in gaining a bachelor’s degree in an online modality.

In fact, ACU requires that online undergraduate students be out of high school for at least four years. It’s a great way to earn your bachelor’s from a top-ranked, Christian university without the need to commute or relocate.

What should I look for in an online psych degree program?

Four key things to examine:

1)  Make sure the school you affiliate yourself with aligns with your personal goals and philosophies. Will you be comfortable studying there? Is it a community you want to be affiliated with?

2)  If your ultimate goal is to attend graduate school, you’ll need good undergraduate grades as well as research experience, explains the APA. Explore the kinds of research opportunities available to you as an undergrad student.

3)  Look for a program that has faculty members who are experts in their fields and immersed in their communities.

4)  Accreditation is an important thing to evaluate when considering an online University as it ensures the quality standards for degree programs are met. Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

I plan to go to graduate school. Is it better to have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in psychology?

According to the APA, there is often little difference between the two degrees. “The more important consideration is taking courses that will prepare you for the program you want to enter as a graduate student.”

When considering careers in psychology, are there specialties I can focus on?

Just as there are numerous industries not related to psychology in which you can use your degree, there are abundant ways to narrow your focus if you do decide to pursue a career as a psychology professional.

Here’s just a sampling of those specialties to give you an idea of the breadth of psychology’s applications:

School Psychologists 
These mental health professionals will be increasingly in demand, “driven by a growing awareness of how students’ mental health and behavioral problems, such as bullying, affect learning,” states the BLS. Additionally, school psychologists will be needed to work with students with disabilities or special needs as well as those abusing drugs or going through personal crises.

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists
As it becomes more common for people to seek help in dealing with their problems, these mental health professionals will enjoy increased job opportunities. The BLS adds, “Psychologists also will be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Psychological services will also be needed for veterans suffering from war trauma, for survivors of other trauma, and for individuals with autism.”

Other career track options include:

  • Developmental Psychologists
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Engineering Psychologists
  • Environmental Psychologists
  • Evolutionary Psychologists
  • Forensic Psychologists
  • Social Psychologists
  • Sport Psychologists

What kind of jobs outside of psychology can I get with a B.S. in psych degree?

Your undergraduate program will equip you with good writing and research skills while teaching you to think critically and analytically. You’ll also hone your soft skills. All of this training prepares you to be successful in roles such as:

  • Sales Manager
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Social and Human Service Assistant
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Probation Officer
  • Market Research Analyst

Ready to start earning your psychology degree? With an undergraduate degree in psychology, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior, as well as history, theory, concepts, and skills in the application of psychology to industrial, clinical, and other settings. Whether you’re seeking immediate career options or want a solid foundation for graduate school, a degree from ACU can lead you into a rewarding future. Contact us today at 855-219-7300 or acu.edu/online to learn more.

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