Earning Your Psychology Degree Online: A Guide For Seniors

Have you always been interested in psychology, but been hesitant to go back to school to earn your degree? Who says education has to stop when you reach a certain age? Going to school for a degree is no longer a privilege reserved just for the young adult population. Perhaps you’re watching your grandchildren go off to college and you’re wondering if you should continue your education. 

Now is the perfect time to turn your dream into a reality as the field of psychology has really taken off over the past 50 years. There have been new evidence-based treatments and methodologies, and we know more about the human mind than we ever did in the past. With the advancements in this field, more and more people have become interested in psychology and earning a degree has never been easier. 

For most psychology jobs, the agencies require you to hold at least a master’s degree. But, don’t worry, your degree will pay for itself in no time; as a psychologist with a master’s degree, you can earn around $80,000 a year, which is $40,000 more than the average pay across all other jobs.

There’s actually one amazing benefit that we haven’t mentioned yet for returning to school as a senior. Are you ready to hear it? As a senior, you can actually take courses for free. Yes, you read that right – free! 

Does this sound appealing to you? If so, you owe it to yourself to continue reading this quick guide about why you should earn a master’s degree online in psychology.

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Why Should You Go Back to School?

We’re sure you’re aware that finding a job at any age is difficult, but landing the job you want is almost impossible as a senior. You can make yourself more marketable to future employees by simply furthering your education. The job opportunities will open up before your eyes.

If making yourself more marketable, is still not enough of a reason for you to return back to school, learning new things actually improves your overall mental and physical health. The mental health benefits include, but are not limited to, strengthening your memory, cognitive, and problem-solving skills. You’ll also have opportunities to make friends and connect with your peers and professor and landing jobs is all about networking. The physical health benefits are that learning builds new connections and it strengthens pre-existing ones in your brain. 

Why Choose Psychology?

We can’t even begin to describe why you should choose to study psychology, but we’ll give it a try. Psychology will allow you to go beyond what’s visible and to delve into the inner workings of the mind. How cool is that? By studying psychology, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself, strangers, friends, family, and coworkers.

Another reason to study psychology is that job opportunities are endless. There are countless mental health jobs and with a degree in psychology, you’re not just limited to jobs in the field. Jobs in business, human resources, education, and sales are also options once you graduate with a psychology degree. 

Online Psychology Master Programs

In general it takes two years to complete a master’s degree in psychology online. In addition to the coursework, most programs require a clinical component, which gives you real-world experience in the field. There are two types of programs/tracts students can complete, a master’s of art degree, which focuses on a liberal arts education or a master’s of science degree, which focuses on STEM topics. Although there are differences in the electives that students must complete, both programs have classes that teach theories and principles of human thought and behavior, how these change between life phases, and ways to assess mental health. The three common core courses are Lifespan Development, Statistics and Research Methodology, and Ethics and Diversity. If there’s a particular area of interest that you’d like to focus on you can specialize in Forensic Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sports Psychology, School Psychology, or Clinical Psychology.

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How Can You Study For Free?

We mentioned earlier that you can actually study for free. In addition to FAFSA (eligibility based assistance from state and federal resources) and scholarships that are available for seniors returning to school, there are tax credits and aids that make it possible for you to study without paying a dime. The tax credits programs are The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit and the aid program is called “Encore Programs.”

If there’s a particular school you would like to study at, we suggest you contact the school’s financial aid office for more information. 

Best Online Master’s Programs in Psychology

We’re sure you’re aware that getting a master’s degree is not a cheap expense. However, there are some great affordable options. You can actually get your degree for as little as $14,000 and there are many schools that cost under $40,000. The cheapest option is Fort Hays State University, which will cost you under $14,000. It’s worth noting that most of the degree can be completed online, but you have to travel to campus to complete two, three-day advanced workshops to advance your skills. If you don’t mind spending closer to $40,000 than the University of Wisconsin is a great option for you, and their program in Educational Psychology/Professional Educators is top-ranked. The courses will help prepare you for positions within the educational system. Our last recommendation is Capella University because it’s affordable (costing about $28,000) and it’s flexible. Capella University has a “FlexPath” which gives you the flexibility to speed through courses you’re already familiar with and slow down on ones that you need more time. 

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