A Guide to Deciding Between BA and BS in Clinical Psychology

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Pursuing a career in clinical psychology can be exciting and fulfilling. You get to learn about the workings of human behavior while helping people overcome potentially debilitating issues. The path you take to become a clinical psychologist can vary.

Understanding the differences in available options on your path to a career in clinical psychology is key. One of the choices you will have to make is between a BA or a BS.

What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of human behavior. It is the discipline that deals with the conscious and unconscious state of the human mind. As a science, psychology has a wide scope of matters it deals with.

As a psychologist, you delve into neuroscience and other related fields. This includes the study of individual and group thought. You also find yourself keeping up to date with emerging theories and discoveries surrounding human behavior.

Value of a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

A bachelor’s degree is the foundation upon which you will build your career in clinical psychology. This is where you gain the knowledge of how cognitive processes work and how mental health conditions develop.

Difference Between a Psychology BA and BS?

While a BA and a BS can lead you to the same destination, there are a few differences you need to keep in mind. These nuances may seem negligible but can affect the direction your career takes.

Scope of Curriculum

There is a reason why a bachelor of arts degree differs from its bachelor of science equivalent. While both degrees offer programs that cover the general theories and principles regarding research in the field of psychology, there is a slight distinction.

A BA includes courses in behavioral, cognitive, and social psychology. Your psychology studies are reinforced with political science, sociology, and history classes. You may have the option to focus on social work or forensics, expanding your spectrum of knowledge with your future career in mind.

On the other hand, a BS in psychology places greater weight on statistical analysis, neuroscience, and clinical work. This means that you are getting a head start on the hands-on aspect you’ll be experiencing in the future. The BS curriculum prepares you for your graduate work and makes the transition to an MS program smoother.

Differences in Career Path

If you earn a BA in psychology and go on to attend graduate school, you will be on your way to entering a flourishing field. This academic combination is expected to offer employment opportunities that will be high in demand over the coming years. The arts and humanities scope of your BA degree gives you the chance to enter law, criminal justice, and business, all of which can be lucrative.

On the flip side, a BS places you on the path to an analytical and research-oriented career. Lab assistants, psychiatric technicians, and counselors are also in demand and play an important role in daily life.

Which Degree Is Best?

If you are looking to pursue clinical psychology in a research environment, a BS is best suited for that purpose. In the case that you want to combine your knowledge in psychology with another discipline, a BA will be a better tool.

Starting off with your end goal in mind will help you decide which degree will offer the maximum benefits to your career.

What to Expect When You Get a BA or BS in Psychology

First of all, you can expect to augment your education with a master’s degree. While a BA might be enough to enter the business world, your graduate work will set you apart in the field. Furthermore, you should look into the licensing requirements in the state where you plan to pursue your career.

Get on the Path to Your Career in Clinical Psychology

Deciding whether a BA or BS in psychology for clinical psychology is best for you is the first step in your professional journey in the field. Set your goal and decide which degree best fits your vision. Places like Best Psychology Degrees can help you start your career if you need help looking for more information.


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