Psychology Programs in Alabama
Many states require thousands of supervised postdoctoral hours before newly minted psychologists can be licensed to practice, which can force psychologists to delay starting their practice in order to satisfy state requirements. Alabama, on the other hand, is one of only a handful of states that allows recently graduated psychologists to opt-out of this requirement and obtain licensure immediately after completing a doctoral program. If you’re thinking of becoming a psychologist in Alabama, particularly if you want to focus on clinical psychology or start a private practice, having the option to launch your career sooner is a definite perk.
If you’re not interested in practicing psychology in a clinical setting, there are Alabama psychology programs at all levels—associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral—that will qualify you for any number of other jobs in the psychology field.
How to Become a Psychologist in Alabama
To become licensed as a psychologist in Alabama, you’ll need to meet the education and state requirements for eligibility, as well as have your application reviewed by the Alabama Board of Professional Psychology.
Education Requirements for Alabama Psychologists
To become a psychologist in Alabama, you’ll need a doctorate to practice. But if you’re not interested in pursuing your training to that level, don’t worry—there are other career tracks in psychology that don’t require a terminal degree.
If you do decide to pursue a doctorate, one of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make is the specialty you’d like to pursue. Many psychology schools in Alabama that offer either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. allow students to focus their studies in a particular area or concentration, like clinical psychology or cognitive and behavioral sciences. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides a full list of recognized specialties if you’re unsure where to start.
You often don’t need to have a master’s degree to be accepted into a doctorate program. Many schools offer a combined degree program that allows you to earn both after you complete a bachelor’s degree. That said, you’ll still want to major in psychology at the undergraduate level first, especially if you know you’ll be pursuing a higher degree. Otherwise, schools will often ask you to complete subject-specific prerequisites before you can apply.
Alabama Psychology Licensing and Exams
The Alabama Board of Examiners oversees licensure and new applicant review for both aspiring psychologists and psychology technicians in the state. After completing a doctorate from an APA-accredited university, you’ll need to request an application packet and return a notarized application along with the following:
Unlike most states, Alabama doesn’t require you to complete postsecondary clinical hours, so you don’t need to demonstrate this outside of verifying your completion of a doctoral program.
Once the board accepts your application, you’ll still need to complete and pass two state examinations: The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Professional Standards Examination (PSE). The board generally requires a passing score of 500 on the EPPP and will notify you to confirm your license at this point.
State licenses are valid for one year, and psychologists need to reapply by October 15 annually. To maintain your active license, you’ll be required to complete 20 hours of continuing education and pay the $200 renewal fee each year.
Psychology Specializations in Alabama That Do Not Require a Doctorate
If you want to work in the field of psychology, there are plenty of jobs to consider that don’t require a graduate degree. In Alabama, several licensing boards oversee and approve licenses in these specialties.
Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Alabama
While the salary and projected job growth for psychologists in Alabama varies by both the specialty you choose and the amount of education you complete, the average annual salary can be as high as $90,050, with jobs in other specialties making between $40,000 and $60,000 a year. Many positions within the field are also on the rise in the state. Based on the primary specialties in the state, here’s what you can expect in terms of annual wages and job outlook as a psychologist in Alabama.
JOB GROWTH AND SALARIES FOR PSYCHOLOGY JOBS IN ALABAMA
|Career||Mean Annual Salary (2018)||Average Mean Wage Per Hour||Expected Job Growth (2016-26)|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$60,370||$29.02||+13%|
|Other Specialties in Psychology|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$54,450||$26.18||+11%|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$38,910||$18.71||+19%|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors||$40,660||$19.55||no available data|
All data from O*Net
Alabama Psychology Spotlight Programs
Several psychology schools in Alabama offer degrees ranging from a bachelor’s to a doctorate and with several concentrations to choose from. It’s important to note that if you want to become a licensed psychologist in the state of Alabama, you’ll need a doctorate. Not all schools offer a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in psychology, so be sure to do your homework when researching schools. It’s also a good idea to visit or reach out to a school you may be considering and ask for additional information on tuition, cost, the focus of the program, and any student outcome statistics the school can provide for past graduates.
Each school has its own ethos, mission, and culture. The most critical step in researching psychology programs in Alabama is to ask yourself what would best suit your goals. That will help you narrow your list. To get you started, here are a few better-known psychology programs in Alabama:
University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
The Psychology Department at UA was founded in 1937, and the school is home to the state’s first doctorate program in psychology. Students can choose from two Ph.D. programs in clinical or experimental psychology, both of which train future researchers and teachers. The clinical degree has an additional four concentrations to choose from: clinical child, clinical health, clinical geropsychology (that is, psychology for older adults), or psychology and law. The experimental track also offers concentrations in cognitive psychology, developmental science, or social psychology. Undergraduates can choose the 33-credit B.A. or B.S. degree, or opt to minor in psychology. Majors have the unique opportunity to work alongside faculty to build foundational knowledge in research and can focus their studies in four content areas: lifespan developmental, learning and cognition, biological bases, or socio-cultural. Students pursuing a B.S. are required to take an additional upper-level math course. Tuition for in-state undergraduates and graduates in the 2019–2020 academic year was $5,390 per semester, $15,125 for out-of-state students.
Alabama A&M University (Huntsville)
Psychology students at Alabama A&M University study within the Social Work, Psychology, and Counseling department, which is focused on training students to work with mental health issues in the community and among individuals, couples, and families responsibly. The school offers two undergraduate degrees and two master’s degrees in counseling psychology and social work. With the counseling psychology branch, students can pursue either a B.A. in psychology or an M.S. in counseling psychology with three concentrations: clinical psychology, rehabilitation counseling, or school counseling. While there is no doctorate-level degree offered, graduates are eligible to work as school, rehab, vocational, and other types of counselors. Tuition for in-state undergraduates in the 2019–2020 academic year was $287/credit hour, with a flat rate of $5,012 per semester for those at full-time status, or 12–18 credits. Graduate residents were expected to pay $422/credit hour.
Auburn University (Auburn)
Auburn’s psychology department is a good fit for students who want to better understand the human mind and the role of neuroscience in psychology and behavior. Undergraduate students can choose from either the 37-credit B.A. in psychology or the 33-credit B.S. in neuroscience. At the graduate level, Auburn offers two master’s programs in either industrial and organizational psychology or applied behavior analysis. There are three APA-accredited Ph.D. programs to choose from in clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, or cognitive and behavioral sciences. Undergraduate residents $409 per credit hour, undergraduate nonresidents $1,227 per credit hour, graduate residents $546 per credit hour, graduate nonresidents $1,638 per credit hour
Alabama Psychology Scholarships
Scholarships are a great way to offset your educational expenses and better budget for the cost of obtaining a psychology degree. While there is a variety of state- and demographic-specific scholarships to choose from, many schools also offer scholarships to their students and typically have both school-wide and department-specific awards to choose from.
Alabama Internships and Fellowships
An internship or fellowship is an essential requirement of many psychology programs, which gives students the chance to gain hands-on clinical experience as part of their education and licensing requirements. Depending on your specialty, you’ll be placed in a hospital, outpatient clinic, group rehabilitation center, or some combination of these clinical settings.
Often, psychology schools in Alabama connect their students to opportunities and offer their own set of resources for graduate students, but there are other ways to get connected with internship or fellowship opportunities. Here are a few such openings in Alabama:
In addition to these ongoing internships and fellowships and the opportunities provided by your psychology program, you can also research potential postings using job and networking sites like LinkedIn or Indeed, or the state’s Chegg Internships, which is a database connecting students with internship opportunities across states and disciplines.
Alabama Psychology Resources
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