Psychology is one of few fields in which most students know that a doctorate degree is an essential part of their professional success. There are a variety of careers that a Bachelors or Masters degree will qualify you for in this field, but a doctorate degree is the strong preference when it comes to working in healthcare, social services, government agencies, and school systems. In light of that, many people choose to pursue their PhD in Psychology, which is a lengthy (but worth it!) process. On average, it takes between eight and ten years to earn this degree.

The average student will take just over eight years to earn their Doctor of Philosophy or PhD in any field, which is twice the typical amount of time it takes to earn a Bachelors-level degree. But, that doesn’t mean that you will take eight years to complete yours. There are a number of factors that contribute to the length of time it takes someone to earn a PhD, such as desired career, the area of specialization you might be interested in, and even obligations outside of school. Colleges and universities also work to implement different options for their students based on their needs and goals that ultimately affect the time it takes to graduate. Accelerated degree programs can help you to graduate sooner, even taking years off of the projected amount of time; part-time programs offer a slower pace for the student that has a demanding schedule in other areas of their life, stretching programs out across longer periods of time. Because the circumstances for every student are going to be different, it is hard to offer a perfect answer to a question like ‘how long does it take to get a PhD?‘ Many students take between eight and ten years, but many students do not, it comes down to the decisions that they make in regards to their education and the amount of time and effort that they put into it.

The first thing that you would do if you’d like to earn your PhD in Psychology is complete your undergraduate education, which can be done in psychology or another related field of social science. It is a widely held belief that a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, and that is generally true for the average student. It can take as long as much as six years if you choose a part-time degree track, but the truth is that with the convenience of online degree programs and the dedication of an ambitious student, it can be done much faster. Accelerated courses condense the usual 16-week classes down to eight weeks, sometimes even five. A fast-track program is going to be extremely rigorous because it is all the same material and the same amount of homework at as much as twice the pace. These programs continue through the calendar year instead of being broken into semesters and allow students to earn their bachelors in as little as a year, in some cases. If that is an option for you, then you can drastically reduce the time your education is going to take you. If you follow the traditional academic timeline, a Masters degree is generally two years, and a doctorate is two years after that. Certain specializations in the field of psychology can call for additional study as well. But, there are accelerated degree options available at any level if a student has the time and ability to study at that pace. With distance education, you can have greater control over the time it takes for you to graduate and whether it takes you six years or ten years, a PhD in Psychology is an incredible achievement and will allow you to reach your full potential professionally.