With student loan dwarfing credit card and auto-loan debts by its whooping price tag of more than $1 trillion, a cost-effective means to pursue a higher level of education is necessary.
With an economy limping through recovery from the global financial crisis and some gains feared to be cut short by the swelling student loans, it is but judicious that students consider factors crucial to the repayment of their loans.
Let's face it, not all fields of specialization are on equal footing. There are those, which offer steady jobs market, and there are some, which do not. During this economic downturn, the absence of the job market means a loan that is difficult to pay off, ballooning the student loan debt further. A bloated student debt, on the other hand, means crumpling an already depressed economy.
If this possibility concerns you, as it does to me, then you may consider the field of psychology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of psychology has a promising job outlook. Employment opportunities for psychology graduates are expected to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations in the country.
At a growth rate of 22 percent in a 10-year period, demands for workers with psychology background in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and other social services agencies is anticipated to mount in 2020. Projected employment for psychology graduates is more than 200,000 by the said year.
How then would a student maximize psychology's potentials?
The answer is straightforward: pursue a doctorate (PhD).
BLS believes that psychology graduates with PhD have job opportunities in the bag. At the moment, there are a limited number of PhD holders in psychology. With the predicted increase in the need for psychologists, specifically school psychologists, job opportunities for PhD holders are anticipated to be ample.
Would not master's degree yield the same job opportunities?
Those with only a master's degree in psychology are predicted to run a fierce race with other graduates from related fields (fields that offer extensive training in quantitative research methods). Moreover, there are a large number of qualified psychologists with master's degree. Meaning, there is already a sufficient supply of workers to fill the need that has yet to come.
Another cost-effective measure for taking any advanced degree is through online setting. Unlike traditional on-campus setup, online setting has less cost attached to it as a student can cross out expenses for parking and fuel among others.
If a student is starting out a family and has little kids, online setting can also offer a lessen expenses for babysitting and the much-needed flexibility.
Moreover, psychology classes taken online eat up less time than traditional classes, an incomparable benefit for those working and saving some time for family and loved ones.
So, should students pursue an online PhD in psychology?
Considering its cost-effectiveness, PhD in psychology via online setting is a win-win pursuit. However, students should ensure if the field of the study matches their interest.
The cost-effective gain of taking PhD in psychology will go to waste if a student pursues the field without passion. Interested individual should weigh in the costs and benefits of embarking a certain specialization.
In the end, the most judicious move is for a student to make an intelligent decision, not out of haste, thus, makes a lot of waste.
We cannot afford another unpaid student loan on top of the $1 trillion debt largely because students were not well informed enough when they chose a certain field of study.
Make a choice and make it smart!
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 2012. "Psychologists: Occupational Outlook Handbook." Accessed April 13, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). "Financial Aid Comparison Shopper." Accessed April 13, 2012. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-releases-financial-aid-comparison-shopper/
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