PsyD vs PhD: What Is The Difference?

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There are two types of doctorates that one can earn in the field of psychology, there is the Doctor of Psychology or PsyD, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, which is better known as a Ph.D. But what is the difference between these two credentials? Find out in this article.

PsyD vs. Ph.D.

Both types of doctorate programs are great options for those of you who want to pursue your education to its fullest extent, but it might be confusing to choose which one is best for you. The choice starts with understanding the differences between a PsyD and a PhD; the main difference is how you will apply your degree professionally after you graduate. A PsyD is a more practical degree, this clinical focus is ideal for a career where you deal directly with patients. A PhD is a research degree, which is the better decision for those of you who want to teach, conduct your own scientific research, or work in a highly specialized branch such as forensic psychology. For the best schools, check out our list of top online doctoral programs in psychology.

A doctorate in any field is going to open up a lot of professional doors for you upon graduation, but in the field of psychology, the demand for people trained to this extent is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for psychologists will increase by 12% over the next decade. There are many reasons why you might feel like a doctorate is the clear next step for you, but once you have made up your mind in that regard, you’re faced with another fundamental decision that many people are unsure about. Now you have to look at the process and outcome of earning your PsyD vs. Ph.D. The factors that should determine your decision include your needs, whether that’s financial, flexibility, or something else, and; your goals for the career that this degree will be the foundation for.

If you would like to have a more clinical career, one that is more straightforward in terms of what you would be doing all the time, which is dealing with patients, then you may want to consider a Doctor of Psychology. The PsyD degree was first awarded in the 1960s as an alternative to the PhD. A PsyD degree is comparable to an MD in medicine. The core curriculum is centered on practice in the field. This type of program is generally shorter than a Ph.D. program and has a lot more clinical experience built into the curriculum so that students receive as much hands-on training as possible. A Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology degree program takes longer than that of the PsyD, but if you are someone who wants to conduct research, teach aspiring psychologists, or perhaps you want the opportunity to conduct in-depth research while you’re studying to prepare you to enter a specialized clinical practice, then you should pursue this option.

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