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Master’s in Psychology in Virginia

Find Programs for Master’s in Psychology Degrees in Virginia

Overview of Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs in Virginia

You’re passionate about the field of psychology, which is why you’re starting to consider a graduate degree in this field. While living in Virginia, you may have noticed some of the complex issues that this state faces. Like many Southern states, Virginia has a largely rural population. Due to the costs associated with mental health programs, quite a few communities throughout the state go without the psychiatric services they need to maintain a healthy population.

However, legislators hope to change all of that, and you can be a part of these efforts. Virginia was awarded a federal grant to improve its mental health system (NBC 29, 2015). To fully use this grant and help as many people as possible with it, institutions and programs may need to hire more high-level mental health professionals.

Depending on which population or diagnoses you are interested in working with, you may find numerous opportunities in Virginia. Keep reading to learn more about Virginia Master’s degree programs in psychology and how you can get started.

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What Can You Expect from Psychology Master’s Programs in Virginia?

To find the right psychology degree program for you, you need to do some intense soul-searching and think about what you want to accomplish with your graduate degree. Do you want to work with families in times of crisis, or would you rather work with individuals with mental health issues? Or are you interested in using your education in a growing field like health psychology or forensic psychology?

These programs have some things in common—for example, most psychology graduate programs in Virginia can be completed over a period of four or five semesters. However, course requirements and practical experience requirements differ quite a bit.

Focusing on social psychology helps you understand how social groups and the structure of society can influence a person’s individual thoughts and well-being. Studying this field may involve courses like Stereotyping and Prejudice, Cognitive Neuroscience, Biological Psychology, and Psychopharmacology. When you contact Virginia schools, you may want to delve into the types of practical experience they offer to students. Options that you may have include research studies, clinical rotations, internships, and a written thesis.

Securing financial aid may help you lessen your workload while you are in school and allow you to focus on your studies. You may choose to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant at your school, which can help you build some confidence working in your industry. You can also look into grants offered by groups like the Virginia School Counselor Association.

Working With Your Master’s Degree in Psychology in Virginia

Earning a graduate degree can give you the freedom to explore career paths that would have otherwise been unavailable to you. However, many of these specialties can be quite competitive, so you should focus on career preparation throughout the duration of your Master’s degree.

Some graduates choose to go into specialized social work positions. By the year 2022, the statewide need for mental health social workers is expected to increase 21% (O*Net, 2015). Mental health social workers claim an average salary of $44,800 per year (O*Net, 2015). This position often involves working in a nonprofit capacity, so it may qualify you for loan forgiveness programs.

Family counseling is another growing specialty, with an expected 29% increase in job openings by 2022 (O*Net, 2015). Family therapists bring in an average income of $45,300 per year (O*Net, 2015).

At the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, students can earn a master’s in psychology in clinical psychology or general psychology. The Catholic graduate school offers a program that allows students to easily transfer into a doctoral program and an advanced master’s program with a rigorous academic education.

At James Madison University, students can earn a master’s in psychology in school counseling, which will prepare them to become counselors in public schools.

Finally, Liberty University, a Christian college, offers a master’s in psychology program in marriage and family therapy and professional counseling. Some programs can be completed online or in a hybrid format, but not all states accept online degrees for licensure, so the program is also offered in an on-campus format.

Virginia Master’s Degree in Psychology Curriculum

Choosing a Virginia Master’s degree in psychology may seem like an overwhelming task, but by outlining your career goals and exploring each school’s learning outcomes, you can choose a degree that helps you explore your potential.

Admissions requirements tend to be fairly similar at most psychology Master’s programs in Virginia. You need a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably in psychology or another social science. However, if you have a degree in a non-related field, you may still qualify for acceptance to a graduate program if you have a history of strong grades.

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

One of the most flexible degree options at this level of study is a general Virginia Master’s in psychology. This degree includes coursework in a range of psychological specialties, ensuring that students are exposed to many career paths and areas of study.

By the time you graduate, you should have approximately 40 credits. On average, this degree requires two years of full-time study. Clinical work is mandatory at this level, but clinical psychology degrees typically require far fewer hours than counseling psychology programs. Rather, you may complete an optional clinical rotation and a semester-long internship when you graduate.

Additionally, most graduate programs require completion of a thesis. Some schools allow students to sidestep this requirement if they are moving straight into a PhD program after graduation.

Classes Required for Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

  • Analysis of Behavioral Data: Behavioral data creates a solid foundation for the comprehension of human behavior. In this course, learn how to properly look at a body of behavioral data and understand it.
  • Methodology and Program Evaluation: Discover techniques for establishing social services programs and evaluating their success over periods of time.
  • Techniques in Counseling: Delve into core counseling techniques and learn how to apply these techniques to the mental health needs of the patients you may serve.
  • Personality Assessment: In this course, develop your ability to assess a patient’s personality using intuition, interviews, and a variety of psychological measurements.

Master of Arts in Biopsychology

The field of biopsychology blurs the lines between physical sciences and social sciences, creating an area of study that ties behavior and thought into biological phenomena. This tends to be a research-based specialty, although the skills you develop may be useful in clinical and testing settings as well. On average, a biopsychology degree in Virginia includes 36 credits.

Classes Required for Master of Arts in Biopsychology

  • Introduction to Neurobiology: This introductory course explores the world of neuropsychology. You may learn about the brain, its structures, and how neurological science ties in to the field of psychology.
  • Behavioral Chemistry: Learn about chemical reactions in the brain and how the brain responds to specific stimuli, causing behavioral decisions. You may find out why people lash out, react emotionally, or remain stoic when faced with difficult situations.
  • Behavioral Biology of Substance Abuse: In this class, you apply the foundational concepts presented in previous courses to the problem of substance abuse. You may start to understand the biological components of substance abuse and how to keep these factors in mind when creating treatment plans.
  • Lifespan Development: Explore the many processes that humans undergo during their development. By the time you finish this course, you should understand how humans change at each stage of life.

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

If you want to earn a counseling-focused psychology Master’s degree, you need to earn at least 60 credits to graduate and qualify for licensure. Some programs allow you to do some of your Master’s degree in psychology online, although you do still have to do your clinical rotations in person.

Virginia Master’s programs in Psychology cover the causes of mental illness, the diagnosis of mental health issues, and the treatment of issues. Clinical requirements typically include well over 1,000 hours of training.

Classes Required for Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: This introductory course explores the most important theories and techniques used in counseling environments today. You may focus on evidence-based techniques that have been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes.
  • Group Theory and Techniques: Explore the differences between individual counseling and group counseling to better get the needs of your patients. You may discover new techniques for effectively leading group counseling sessions.
  • Marriage and Family Counseling: Discover the goals that your clients may have when they seek marriage and family counseling. This course covers techniques for assessing a family’s issues, creating treatment plans, and assessing progress.
  • Contemporary Issues in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: There are always legal, ethical, and practical issues to consider in the psychology field. This course looks at current problems and challenges that face the world of clinical mental health counseling.

This is your chance to explore our list of psychology Master’s programs in Virginia. Find the program that may help you get closer to achieving your career goals.

Master’s in Psychology Jobs in Virginia

Mental health counselor

Marriage and family therapist

Social and community services manager

  • Average Master’s degree in psychology salary in Virginia: $85,620 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Expected job growth of 13% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2017)
  • Potential workplace: Atria Virginia Beach

Accredited psychology Master’s programs in Virginia may pave the way for you to pursue a variety of job openings. If you want to work in the social services, you may be able to use your skills in a government program or nonprofit agency.

These are the most common work settings for social and community services managers. These roles often require some seniority and relevant experience, so consider working part-time in your agency of choice while earning your degree. The references and experience you get can be invaluable.

You may find that many graduate-level psychology jobs are based in the field of counseling. Counseling needs are increasingly diverse in Virginia. As a counselor, you may work with patients with mental health issues, families struggling with growth issues, and individuals who have undergone trauma.

While you may see some patients on a long-term basis, many counselors focus on terminal treatment programs that have clear goals and an achievable timeline. After you develop your client base and get a reputation in your community for providing evidence-based care, you may wish to go into independent practice. In this type of setting, you may have more control over the hours you work and the patients you keep.

Take your first step to an exciting graduate-level psychology career.