BY Dawn RzeznikiewiczMay 26, 2022, 1:20 PM
Illustration by Martin Laksman
The COVID-19 pandemic has put mental health in focus, and that’s driving an increase in opportunities to work in mental and behavioral health. The number of mental health-related jobs has spiked during the pandemic, as LinkedIn data showed a 23.7% one-year increase in job openings for mental health professionals and professional and personal coaches in 2021. Over the next decade, the outlook for psychologist jobs is projected to grow 8%, the same as the average for all occupations, while marriage and family therapists could grow twice as fast, at 16%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Likewise, the opportunities for higher education have also steadily increased over the last two decades. The number of master’s degrees in psychology nearly doubled in two decades—from about 16,500 in 2001 to nearly 30,000 in 2020, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Getting a master’s degree in psychology can be a powerful tool for those people looking to advance in their careers. This is true for students already pursuing a career in psychology or mental health, as well as those people working outside of the field. Graduates from online master’s degree programs in psychology can find jobs in mental health services, government agencies, or within HR departments. For many people already working within the field, a master’s degree can be a way to earn more money, become a licensed counselor, qualify for a better job, or prepare for a Ph.D.
The career paths may vary widely among students in an online master’s degree program in psychology, but there’s a generally agreed upon altruistic goal for those people pursuing this degree, according to Samantha Stanich, a first-year student at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.
“It’s people that are really passionate, and really care about other people,” she says. “Whatever capacity they’re doing that in may be different, but the desire to help people and be involved in other people’s lives in a humanitarian way is pretty consistent.”
One of the most important things to do when considering a psychology program is to check the training and potential licensure …….