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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.

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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:

  • A $400 application fee
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Official transcripts
  • A criminal background check (fingerprint cards)
  • Four references from licensed psychologists
  • A designated specialty

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.


CareerMean Annual Salary (2018)Average Mean Wage Per HourExpected Job Growth (2016-26)
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$60,370$29.02+13%
Psychologists—All Other$98,890$47.54+1%
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$19.55no 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 A&M University: AAMU offers several merit-based scholarships to incoming and transfer students, some of which cover the cost of tuition and expenses for up to eight semesters.
  • Auburn University: Auburn estimates that up to 60% of incoming freshmen receive a scholarship at their school, and there are several scholarships offered by the College of Liberal Arts for psychology students, as well. Scholarships are listed and can be applied for through the school’s central Auburn University Scholarship Opportunity Manager (AUSOM) tool. Academic awards and aid for research fellows are also available directly through the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Doctoral Scholars Program: In order to increase the number of doctoral graduates of color, this program offers financial support and mentorship to Southern students pursuing a doctorate.
  • University of Alabama: UA has one of the most generous scholarship programs in the state. The psychology department offers several scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of tuition and expenses, and there are over 500 scholarships awarded to students in the College of Arts and Sciences each year. Awards range from $500 to full tuition coverage, and students can apply for all scholarships using a consolidated scholarship application by December 15th each year. UA Birmingham also offers three specific scholarships to psychology students with cash prizes for winners.
  • University of South Alabama: In addition to school-wide scholarship opportunities at USA, there are four psychology-specific scholarships offered to current students. Scholarships are available for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, Psychology Internship Program: The pre-doctoral clinical internships through UA Birmingham have worked in conjunction with VA hospitals since 1965 to provide clinical psychology students hands-on training in mental health and patient care.
  • University of Alabama, Doctoral Training Program: This UA internship offers clinical training with an emphasis on cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches. There are four concentrations: clinical geropsychology, clinical child, psychology and law, and clinical health.
  • University of Alabama, The Elizabeth Young Lacey Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Psychology: Since 1998, this fellowship has been offered to one student each academic year who is in an experimental Ph.D. program.
  • Auburn University, Doctoral Internship Program: This program offered through the Student Counseling & Psychological Services (SCPS) is meant for pre-doctoral candidates looking to grow in individual and group counseling, assessments, and rotations.
  • Birmingham VA Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: The BVAMC offers a 2-year fellowship in clinical neuropsychology and rehabilitation to psychology postdoctoral students. Fellows provide mental health care to veterans in a hospital and outpatient setting and have the opportunity to work across campuses and clinical settings. Fellows receive a $44,135 stipend, healthcare and benefits, and an office to conduct work.
  • Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, Psychology Internship Program: This pre-doctoral program is open to students in clinical and counseling psychology and provides interns the opportunity to work across settings including primary and specialty care, residential rehabilitation, and a psychological assessment clinic. Interns also have the opportunity to pursue research. To be eligible, you must demonstrate that you’ve completed at least 1,000 hours of practicum experience.

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

  • Alabama Psychological Association: The Alabama chapter of the APA keeps local psychologists abreast of new and professional research while providing its members with a central, state-wide networking opportunity for fellow professionals. They not only provide ongoing training and workshops but also offer mentorship and guidance for those with practices.
  • Alabama Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (ALAMFT): ALAMFT offers professional development, education, and growth to those working in family therapy and with individuals, couples, families, and groups throughout Alabama. In addition to news and industry networking, members also receive free legal consultations, discounts on liability insurance and EHRs, and a subscription to Family Therapy Magazine.
  • Alabama Department of Mental Health: The Department of Mental Health is a state-run organization serving over 200,000 Alabama citizens struggling with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, or substance use disorders. They provide information about state policy regarding mental illness, connect professionals with jobs, and certify local healthcare providers to offer funding and community service.
  • Alabama Counseling Association (ACA): This state branch of the national professional association provides training, networking, and advocacy to over 2,000 counselors in Alabama. The association hosts ongoing leadership training, an annual conference, and maintains a national network of counselors to improve community confidence and trust in the counseling profession.
  • Alabama Association of School Psychologists (AASP): The Alabama chapter of the AASP provides training, professional development, and networking to school psychologists. They also host several annual conferences through the southern states and the broader United States, as well as presenting awards for excellence to their members each year.