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With today’s job market being in a shambles many job seekers believe that completing an online degree will somehow improve their chances of finding a well paid job in their chosen field. Seeing as Master’s Degrees are almost the new High School Diploma as to their value, people have also taken to getting their PhD’s online.
Psychology is one field in which many MA holders are looking to obtain an online PhD. In reality, almost any kind of online PhD is merely a way to make people part with their money for a virtually worthless piece of paper. Online degrees are looked down upon in many professional fields as basically a way of “buying” an additional degree. One must really look into the online PhD’s offered in order to avoid paying for a Mickey Mouse degree from a weak institution, if there is any real institution behind the name at all that is. Many online degrees are scams used to lure unsuspecting people into a feeling that they are doing something good for themselves and their careers. Despite the high cost of traditional university PhD programs, they usually offer a much more in depth experience in their programs, especially in a complex field such as psychology.
We must ask ourselves one simple question and give ourselves a brutally honest answer in order to deduce what our future chances of a successful career as a psychologist are: As a patient, would I rather go to a psychologist with a PhD from Harvard or from “Tidbolt’s Online Psychology PhD Center”? (This is a fictional institution). I think we all know the answer to this.
Although online courses are becoming more and more popular because of economic and time constraints, consumers should not expect a degree from a place like this to jump start their careers. Everyone – including the multitude of online schools – is out to make a buck, and sadly many have no qualms about misrepresenting the actual value of the “education” they impart to students. The cost of quality university education for PhD students – as with all students – is skyrocketing. Unfortunately this cost doesn’t seem to come with the benefit of landing a good job, or any job for that matter. We see people with PhD’s in a certain field doing something totally different, like stacking shelves at the supermarket or on lifeguard duty at the local public pool. The money and time invested into a higher education hardly seems worth it anymore, unless you’re in IT or engineering.
Of course most people feel that they will become high rolling psychologists once they obtain a PhD from wherever. This may or may not be true. The best bet is still having connections in your chosen field who can help you find a job. This is true across the board, unfortunately. Degree or no degree, it’s largely about who you know.
An online PhD in psychology then, is like an online PhD or even MA in pretty much every field. Throwing money into a black whole in hopes of a positive outcome. It is each individuals responsibility to weigh the pros and cons of such an investment and the reality of getting an acceptable return in the future.