Are you considering taking an online psychology degree program? There are certain qualities to look out for in any program you have decided to do. This article is about those qualities and the various aspects of psychology which you may consider studying.
The power of the Internet is immense in all aspects of daily life. Now, you can use the Internet to shop, talk to people, meet old friends, sell your wares and even get a psychology degree.
From the comfort of your home, you can pursue a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees. Or, even a post-doctoral training in nearly any psychology specialty.
Psychological specialties include Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy and many others.
Earning a psychology degree through a 100% online program no longer carries the same stigma it used to have so long as one enrolls in an accredited program. Also, most employers see no difference between a certificate earned through an online degree program, hybrid or regular school program.
But it sure has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of an online degree course include time flexibility for students and ability to take the course even if you’re in a rural setting. It also does not affect work or family commitments of students. It’s a really cool way to get a degree. The only gaffe there is the lack of face-to-face interaction.
Qualities of an Online Psychology Degree Program
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest professional and scientific organization of psychologists in the United States. Based in Washington, DC, APA has more than 150,000 members. It is saddled with promoting the growth of psychology and establishing professional standards for psychologists.
In 2001, the association (APA) set up a task force to look at the concerns and demands of online psychology programs. The task force maintained that a quality online degree course should have the following characteristics:
- The learning community
- Faculty support
- Student support
- Curriculum and instruction
- Evaluation and assessment
- Institutional context and commitment
- Facilities and finance
- Library and learning resources
If you are therefore tinkering with the idea of taking a distance education program in psychology or another course, thoroughly look at how the program addresses each of these concerns.
But on a personal level, you need a lot of discipline and personal commitment to make your investment in an online degree course worth it. So, answer the following questions before launching out for an online psychology degree:
Is the Program Accredited? Be sure the program is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) before applying for it. This is to make sure your degree would be recognized by other schools as well as future employers. A simple check on CHEA's online database of schools and programs that are accredited will prove or disprove your school’s accreditation claims.
Can I Effectively Manage My Time? You need strong time management skills to successfully earn an online psychology degree. If you’re the type that cannot use time effectively, a 100% online course may not be for you. Most of the time, you would be expected to manage your own study and homework schedule without direct supervision from your instructor. So honestly ask yourself: am I able to set my schedule and stick to it? Am I able to start a project and finish it? With a distance education program, I would say you have a 70% role to play in attaining success. You have to read up your notes, do your assignments and stay motivated. If you realize you’re not disciplined enough to stay up with the program, you might want to take up another program that requires less of personal discipline.
Am I Comfortable With Technology? Because of the absence of face-to-face interaction, you have to be comfortable with technology to successfully earn an online degree. Basically, you should be able to browse the web, send emails and email attachments to successfully get an online degree. Instructors may also slot in other technologies, like podcasts, online videos, blogs and instant messaging but you can get through with basic computer skills and a huge interest in learning new technology skills.
What Are My Academic and Career Goals? If your goal is to continue your study in graduate school, you might want to consider if an online degree program would affect your future educational plans. Look at the specific courses being offered. Does the school offer a range of classes? Will you be able to take prerequisites needed for graduate study?
All these and many questions should be answered to make your investment in an online psychology degree program worth your while (now and in the near future).