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How To Get Started in Educational Therapy in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of those states where educational therapist hopefuls are a dime a dozen. Everyone seems to know that this is an incredibly lucrative and secure job field to go into, even in these tough economic times. As such, everyone wants to get a piece of the action and try their hands at becoming educational therapists. The truth of the matter is, however, that very few people are actually qualified for the jobs that they wish to possess. You can get ahead of the competition and make yourself the first choice for any job you wish by pursuing an education and also by gaining real world experience in the field.

Far too often, people who have had no formal education try for the easiest and quickest degree that they can find. This is, of course, the two year associate's degree, which is most commonly earned at a community college or through an online school. While an associate's degree is not all bad, it is basically worthless on its own within this field. This doesn't mean, of course, that you shouldn't earn one. For many, the relatively low cost of earning the degree and the short amount of time that it takes is ideal. It's important to note, however, that if you are truly serious about working in the field, you will need to eventually transfer your earned credits to an accredited bachelor's degree program.

The bachelor's degree is really the lowest level degree you can have and still find some modicum of success in the educational therapy field in the state. A bachelor's degree, which is earned in around four years in most cases, will enable you to qualify for the most entry level or basic positions in educational therapy. With this degree, for example, you could be an educational therapy assistant or a tutor at a learning center. For the best positions in the field, however, you'll want to opt for at least a master's degree.

The master's degree is, by far, the most common degree held by working professionals in the industry. With this degree, you can actually earn the title of "therapist," and you will also be able to seek certification and/or licensure. Master's degree programs are usually a lot less difficult than most people make them out to be. For starters, your undergraduate area of study does not have to be related to educational therapy or even to therapy or psychology for you to gain admission to a master's degree program. These programs greatly enjoy welcoming students from diverse backgrounds, due to the unique perspectives that they bring to the program. Furthermore, master's degree programs are designed for working adults, so you don't have to quit your day job or put your children in daycare in order to earn your degree. Usually, you will only have to commit to one to three years of schooling in order to complete your education at this level.

Of course, some people will take it all the way and choose to earn a PhD. The doctoral level degree is the highest level of education you can possess in this or any field. As such, it carries with it a great amount of prestige. With this degree, you can be hired for virtually any job you desire, including cushy research or management positions. However, it does take a lot of hard work and effort on your part to get there. It takes the average person anywhere from four to seven years of intense study to earn a PhD.

Outside of your schooling, you will also need to gain some real world experience to put on your resume and help you to stand out above the competition. The absolute best and easiest way to do this is with an internship. You can find out about and apply for internships through your educational program or just by searching through job listings or approaching an employer for whom you would like to intern directly. Internships may be paid or unpaid, or they may be for credit. Their real value, however, likes in the experience that you will gain and the connections that you will make.