Do Online and Traditional Psychology Degrees Differ in Prestige?

Are you on a mission to earn your psychology degree? If you are comparing different degree programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association, it is important to narrow your choices and to distinguish between online and traditional programs. In the past, when online degree programs were a very new concept to the public, employers did not place value on degrees that were earned online. Now, with more and more distance education programs to choose from, and a national accreditation body that is dedicated to evaluating programs and setting high quality standards, online programs specializing in virtually all fields are respected.

If you are trying to decide whether or not you should earn your psychology degree by taking the traditional path, or if online programs hold the same prestige, it is important to consider several different factors. Read on and learn what you need to know about the value of each type of degree:

Degrees Earned at Accredited Universities Are Prestigious

There are three different types of accreditation, and selecting a program at an institution that possesses one or more accreditations by reputable agencies is imperative if prestige is a concern of yours. Online degree programs majoring in Psychology can be just as prestigious as traditional programs when they are accredited by the right non-profit authorities.

At a national level, there are many different schools offering programs entirely online that have earned accreditation through agencies like the Distance Education and Training Council. This council sets accreditation standards and policies that are similar to regional agencies that accredit traditional institutions. Both traditional psychology programs and online programs can also be accredited by specialized agencies who set specific standards in the field of psychology. If you choose a regionally accredited traditional to attend or a nationally accredited online school, both degrees can be considered prestigious when they possess a specialized or programmatic accreditation.

How Do State Licensing Bureaus View Each Degree?

The licensing requirements for psychology professionals vary by state. One very important thing to consider when you are comparing the reputation of each program is whether or not the licensing bureau in the state will recognize an online degree. The APA, American Psychological Association, works very closely state psychology boards to develop licensing laws. Because of this, most states will only recognize degrees and credits earned when the program is APA-accredited or National-registrar-designated. State boards do not distinguish between distance education and traditional degrees. They are only concerned with the degree type, credits, and how many interning hours the applicant has completed.

As you can see, the prestige of an online degree or a traditional degree will only differ when the programs lack accreditation. As long as each program has met the standards of the accreditation agencies and delivers a high quality curriculum with valuable content, most employers in most settings will see both types of degrees as valuable. If you would like to be a clinical psychologist, you will also need to complete an internship where you will gain real world experience while fulfilling licensing requirements. Compare programs, consider reputations, and think about your learning preferences before you make a decision.