When it comes to pursuing a career in psychology, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is: What degree do you need? Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

The field of psychology offers various career paths, each with its own educational requirements. Whether you aspire to become a clinical psychologist, a counseling psychologist, or an industrial-organizational psychologist, here’s a breakdown of the degrees typically required for each specialization.

Clinical Psychology

If you are interested in working directly with individuals who are experiencing psychological distress or mental health issues, then clinical psychology might be the right path for you. To become a licensed clinical psychologist, you will typically need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

Counseling Psychology

If your passion lies in helping individuals navigate life challenges and improve their overall well-being, then counseling psychology might be the right fit for you. Similar to clinical psychology, becoming a licensed counseling psychologist usually requires earning a doctoral degree.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

If you are more interested in applying psychological principles in the workplace and helping organizations improve their productivity and employee satisfaction, then industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology might be the right field for you. While some I-O psychologists hold doctoral degrees, others can find employment opportunities with a master’s degree.


So, what degree do you need for psychology? It ultimately depends on your career goals and the specialization you are interested in pursuing.

Clinical and counseling psychology typically require a doctoral degree, while industrial-organizational psychology offers opportunities with both master’s and doctoral degrees. Whatever path you choose, remember that obtaining the necessary degree is just the beginning of your journey towards a fulfilling career in psychology.