There are many degrees in psychology which sound similar but have a lot of difference in the manifestation of the same. An example for this are the PhD and psyd programs. These two degree programs differ considerably in the emphasis, history, and logistics. A PhD corresponds to a doctorate in psychology while a PsyD corresponds to Doctor of Psychology. But you can’t neglect any of them when you want to talk about psychology careers.
The history of PsyD dates back to the early 1970s. It was set up as a professional degree, similar to the degree of a lawyer. The purpose of this degree is to provide training to the graduates in therapeutic field. The PhD is considered as a research degree. Some students opt for a doctoral degree in the field of psychology in order to become practitioners. These students have less interest in taking up research. The PsyD degree is to prepare the aspiring students for the career of a practicing psychologist. In fact, the PsyD degree program provides a lot of training in various therapeutic techniques and also offers supervised experiences to the students. In this program, the emphasis placed on research is much less when compared to a PhD program.
If you have a PsyD degree, you are expected to be thorough with research methodology and also comfortable in reading various research articles. You are also expected to make the best use of the research findings in your work. A PhD program is intended to create a psychologist who is capable of conducting research besides understanding and applying it. The PhD programs vary accordingly with the emphasis placed on practice and research.
Some of the PhD programs place stress on creating scientists. In such kind of programs, the students are supposed to spend a considerable part of their time on research, give less emphasis to practice-related stuff. In other words, the students following this mode of instruction are discouraged from getting involved in practice. While a PsyD program gives importance to moulding a practitioner, a PhD program combines both the models – a scientist and a practitioner. A scientist-practitioner excels in both the fields – research and practice.
In short, if you plan for a psychology degree, you have to be well informed about these distinctions so that it is possible for you to move forward accordingly. Furthermore, if you want to take up teaching or research as a career, it is better to go for a PhD degree rather than a PsyD degree. In fact, this offers a lot of flexibility in the career.
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