What Degree Do You Need to Be a Psychology Professor?


Martha Robinson

Are you considering a career as a psychology professor? If so, you may be wondering what degree is required for this profession. In this article, we’ll explore the educational path to becoming a psychology professor.

What Do Psychology Professors Do?

Before we dive into the educational requirements, let’s take a closer look at what psychology professors do. Psychology professors are responsible for teaching courses in psychology at colleges and universities. They may also conduct research in their field and publish scholarly articles and books.

Educational Requirements

To become a psychology professor, you typically need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology. There are several types of doctoral degrees in psychology, including:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.)
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.) with a concentration in psychology

Ph. in Psychology

The Ph. in Psychology is the most common type of doctoral degree earned by aspiring psychology professors. This program typically takes 5-7 years to complete and includes coursework, research, and clinical training (if applicable). Students typically specialize in one area of psychology, such as clinical or social psychology.

Psy. in Psychology

The Psy. in Psychology is another option for aspiring psychology professors.

This program focuses more on clinical training than research and typically takes 4-6 years to complete. Students who earn this degree often go on to work as licensed psychologists or provide clinical services.

Ed. with a Concentration in Psychology

The Ed. with a concentration in psychology is less common than the Ph. or Psy., but it can still lead to a career as a psychology professor. This program focuses on education and may include coursework in areas such as curriculum development and instructional design.

Additional Requirements

In addition to earning a doctoral degree, aspiring psychology professors typically need to gain teaching experience and publish scholarly articles in their field. Many universities also require professors to have a license to practice psychology in their state.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary psychology teachers is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for psychology teachers was $80,370 in May 2020.


Becoming a psychology professor requires a doctoral degree in psychology, typically either a Ph. Students can also earn an Ed.

with a concentration in psychology. In addition to earning a degree, aspiring professors typically need teaching experience and scholarly publications in their field. If you’re passionate about psychology and enjoy teaching others, becoming a psychology professor may be the right career path for you!