Degrees & Licensing

What Are the Degree and Licensure Requirements to Work in the Field of Psychology?

Different levels of study are available to match your interests and career goals.

Psychology is a great field for many people, and if it fits your personality, there’s nothing better. Many psychologists, counselors, therapists and social workers across the country will tell you that there’s nothing more satisfying than helping people in need and seeing them grow.

But the discipline of psychology is so varied that it’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all degree to cover every career path and licensure requirement. Some jobs require only a bachelor’s degree, but for others a master’s or doctorate is the required degree. Which degree level is right for you?

Because the different fields are licensed at the state level, every state has its own requirements. We’ve compiled the information you need to make an informed decision.

First, Know Your State's Licensing Requirements

Psychology Degrees and Licensure


Of course you’ll need a college degree to enter the field of psychology, but which specific degree level will help you achieve your career goals?

Is a bachelor’s enough? Generally a bachelor’s degree is just the first step in starting a psychology career. Will you need a master’s? If you’ve decided that going into research or entering the field of academia as a teacher or clinical administrator is for you, is a PhD or PsyD the right advanced degree?

Click on your state for more psychology licensing details.

Counseling and Therapy Degrees and Licensure

Counseling Therapy

Counselors and therapists have different but overlapping roles.
Generally, counselors use talk therapy to focus on a client’s specific problems and will discuss what steps a client needs to take to overcome them.

Therapists use psychotherapy to explore patterns and recurring feelings, and find ways to improve their clients’ mental health. Therapy often requires a willingness to explore the past and its effect on the present because therapists want to resolve past issues so their clients can have more satisfying lives.

There are many different sub-fields in counseling and therapy. Below are the two of the most common ones.

Mental Health Counselor

Marriage and Family Therapist

Click on your state counselor and therapist licensing details.

Social Work Degrees and Licensure

social work

Social workers perform many of the same tasks as psychologists, counselors and therapists, but their focus is different. Social workers tend to help people with more basic needs than counselors. They are trained in case management, and help individuals and groups (like families) overcome social disadvantages such as poverty, mental and physical illness or disability, and social injustice.

There are three different licenses for social workers: baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), master social worker (LMSW) and clinical social worker (LCSW). Depending on the level of licensure you want, you’ll need the following degrees and work experience:

Click on your state social work licensing details.

Find the Right Program For You