Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

Bookended by the major metro areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, today Pennsylvania is known as much for world-class educational institutions as it is for the biotech and advanced manufacturing sectors that have largely defined the industrial base here for years. Pittsburgh will always be synonymous with the steel industry, but the city has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, replacing smoke stacks and foundries with technology parks teaming with tech startups.

Practicing psychology in the Burgh presents no shortage of unique opportunities in everything from research work at leading universities, to industrial-organizational work in long-established industries and the expanding technology sector. And though you’ll find similar opportunities on the other side of the state in the City of Brotherly Love, you’ll also find a growing demand for social workers and counselors as Philly wrangles with all the big city issues connected to poverty and drug abuse.

A Master’s Degree is Your Path to a Career in Psychology in Pennsylvania

While a doctoratewith APA-accreditation (or one that is located on the ASPPB/National Register Designation Project) is required to become licensed to practice clinical psychology in Pennsylvania, a master’s degree is not only a necessary step to getting there, it can also serve as a direct path to other psychology careers.

For example, you’ll need a master’s degree and the appropriate state licensing through the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to work as a marriage and family therapist or professional counselor in Pennsylvania. A master’s degree in psychology through an approved program also satisfies the educational requirements needed to become a certified school psychologist through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Pennsylvania’s World-Class Universities Lead the Way to a World-Class Education in Psychology

Philadelphia’s Villanova University, provides a master’s-level education that’s backed by the university’s superb research initiatives. Laboratory courses here are varied and include study in cognitive psychology, statistics, and physiological psychology.

On the opposite side of the state, in Pittsburgh, both Carnegie Mellon Universityand the University of Pittsburgh remain leaders in the study of psychology. CMU’s Department of Psychology is known for state-of-the-art facilities, groundbreaking interdisciplinary research, and most recently, a cross-institutional project with the University of Pittsburgh that focuses on the neural basis of cognition.

And the study of psychology here in Pennsylvania goes well beyond the research and career preparation you’ll find at these world-class schools, to include other diverse and specialized areas of practice.

Healthcare Innovation Drives the Demand for Health Psychologists

Pittsburgh is making its mark in healthcare innovation, led most recently by the UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, a $200 million research and incubation center launched by UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, and startups like Peptilogics, which is working to develop a drug to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, and DiaVacs, with an immunotherapy treatment in the works that could one day reverse Type 1 diabetes.

With healthcare innovation comes the demand for experts who specialize in how biological, psychological, and social factors influence health and wellness.

Emerging Industries and Leading Companies Take Center Stage for Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Companies have come to recognize the relationship between psychological health and productivity, and see real value in maximizing the quality of work life for employees. Industrial-organizational psychology is big business in Pennsylvania, serving major players in Pittsburgh’s economy, from Highmark Health to UPMC to Alcoa, along with companies that represent the city’s emerging industries in the areas of cybersecurity, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Corporations like these have done the math and also understand that the importance of maintaining good psychological health doesn’t stop at the end of the workday. Corporations are now more often than ever ensuring employees and their families have access to the general psychological services they need, and with a growing class of professionals comes a greater demand for counseling services of all kinds.

Leading Sports Medicine Services Call for Sports Psychologists

Supported by the acclaimed UPMC Freddie Fu Sports Medicine Center, Pittsburgh is home to leading treatment, research, and initiatives in the field of sports medicine. From cutting-edge rehab methods to concussion programs to sports performance breakthroughs, sports medicine here is big business.

Sports psychology is a natural fit in sports medicine, where it’s being relied on more and more to addresses the unseen factors that affect an athlete’s performance.

Violent Crime and Drug Addiction Drive Demand for Social Workers, Counselors and Forensic Psychologists in Philadelphia

With a poverty rate of nearly 26 percent, and a dubious title as the poorest of America’s most populous cities, Philadelphia sees an estimated 1,200 deaths from unintentional drug overdoses, and some 300 homicides every year.

The city is struggling on nearly every level, spurring the need for increasing numbers of psychologists in a variety of diverse fields. Among them are the social workers who intervene in domestic violence situations, substance abuse counselors rescuing people from the throws of addiction, and forensic psychologists who lend their expertise to the courts.

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