PsyD versus PhD
Psy.D. or Ph.D.?
(Doctor of Psychology or Doctor of Philosophy?)

1st    Before I say anything about "which one," I believe you should know that BOTH degrees may be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). In other words, they have given the program their "seal of approval" in that it will provide the education and training believed to be important for future psychologists.

Be aware, though, that accreditation is NOT a guarantee that your education experience will be a good one, AND, note that there are also some very good programs out there that are not APA accredited.

2nd Generally, the Psy.D. training program is modeled after the "professional" degrees (e.g., medicine and law). The basic expectancy difference between Ph.D. programs and Psy.D. programs is that Psy.D. graduates will mostly be practitioners (e.g., set up an office with a leather couch, etc.) and Ph.D. graduates will mostly be researchers.

This doesn't mean that one can't do the other, or, can't do both. I'm just trying to give you a feel for things. But you now might wonder if there are any disadvantages to one degree path over the other...

3rd Right now, there may be two "big-ish" disadvantages with opting for the Psy.D. path:

One: The Ph.D. has recognition value. Some people might wonder about this newfangled Psy.D. thing -- a concern being that maybe it's a lighter version of the good-old familiar Ph.D.

Two: If you go for the Psy.D. fully intending to become a practitioner, but then later decide you'd rather work in an academic or research setting, you will likely be at a disadvantage relative to Ph.D. applicants.

Basically, it looks like the real advantage to the Psy.D. over the Ph.D. is that having a doctorate in psychology will give you an edge in the applied (service-oriented) job markets relative to the Ph.D.s out there trying for the same practitioner jobs.

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