Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Psychology Programs in Arkansas

Psychology Programs in Arkansas

Historically, Arkansas has struggled to keep up with the mental health needs of its residents. In 2017 Mental Health America ranked Arkansas as the 35th worst state in measures of mental illness and access to mental health care.

Then, in March of that same year, the state passed Act 423, which committed $5 million to create three crisis stabilization units to prevent mentally ill patients from landing in jail. The state also transitioned to a dual treatment program to combine mental health and addiction services when needed. By 2020, the state’s Mental Health America ranking had crept up to 33rd.

These continuing incremental improvements, along with a faster-than-average employment projection and a median hourly rate between $30 and $47, make Arkansas an opportune place to pursue a career as a psychologist or other mental health professional.

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Spotlight on Arkansas Psychology Programs

The process of becoming a psychologist in Arkansas is similar to that of other states, beginning with educational requirements. You’ll need to get your bachelor’s degree and then a Ph.D. (with a master’s being required in some cases).

A number of Arkansas-based public and private institutions offer a variety of exciting psychology programs—including the chance to pursue some of your education online.

University of Arkansas (Fayetteville)

Located in beautiful Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas offers a range of psychology programs as well as generous financial aid packages and fellowship opportunities for qualified students. Programs at U of A include Ph.D. tracks in clinical and experimental psychology. They also offer the opportunity to specialize in cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, as well as neuroscience.

Tuition for undergraduate residents is $7,568 per year, $24,056 for nonresidents. Graduate tuition is $10,336 and $28,042 for nonresidents.

University of Central Arkansas (Conway)

If you’re interested in how psychology impacts education, consider the University of Central Arkansas, which offers Ph.D. programs in counseling and school psychology—as well as a master’s program in mental health counseling. UCA also offers online classes for those pursuing an undergraduate degree or an M.S. in school counseling.

Undergraduate tuition is $277 per credit hour, $285 per credit hour for fully online programs. Graduate tuition is $278.80 per credit hour, $325 for fully online programs.

Arkansas State University (Jonesboro)

As the second-largest university in the state, Arkansas State University has plenty to offer, including several graduate and certification programs. Choose from an Ed.S. degree in clinical mental health counseling, an Ed.S. degree in psychology and counseling with an emphasis on school psychology, or a master’s of science in psychology. Several programs are available online, including a B.A. in psychology.

Undergraduate tuition is $218 per credit hour for residents and $450 for nonresidents. Online students pay $218. Graduate tuition for residents is $277.00 per credit hour, both on-campus and online. Nonresidents pay $544.

Hendrix College (Conway)

Located 30 miles outside of Little Rock, Hendrix College is a United Methodist-affiliated school with a strong commitment to anti-discrimination and liberal arts programs. They offer a B.A. in psychology in which students study topics such as human aggression, psychology and law, and evolutionary psychology. While the school offers only undergraduate psychology programs, your education there can serve as preparation for an advanced degree program at another school.

Tuition at Hendrix college is $47,250 per academic year.

University of the Ozarks (Clarksville)

If you’re looking for a quieter, Christian-based university experience, consider pursuing your undergraduate degree at the University of the Ozarks. With an average enrollment of just 900 students, the university’s teachers can offer a more one-on-one learning experience. During your time at Ozarks you might take classes such as positive psychology, introduction to counseling skills, and cognitive psychology. Travel and study-abroad opportunities may also be available to you.

Tuition is $24,950 for the academic year.

How to Become a Psychologist in Arkansas

In the state of Arkansas, getting your Ph.D. is the first step to becoming a licensed psychologist. You must also take oral and written exams and get certified by the Psychology Board of Arkansas before you can practice.

Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Arkansas

You’ll spend the better part of a decade in school if you want to become a licensed practicing psychologist. If that’s not feasible, there are several specialties in the psychology and counseling field that don’t require a Ph.D.

The first step in your path to becoming a psychologist is to complete your bachelor’s in psychology or a closely related field. The second is to gain acceptance into a Ph.D. program. While a master’s degree isn’t usually required, getting one could help you better prepare for the rigors of a Ph.D. program.

During your master’s or Ph.D. program, you’ll select a specialty, which may impact your choice of school, the classes you take, the type of internship you pursue, and your future career opportunities. The range of psychology specialties you can choose from include:

Arkansas Psychology Licensing and Exams

Once you complete your Ph.D., you’re on your way to becoming a psychologist in the great state of Arkansas—but you aren’t quite there yet. You need to obtain a license from the Arkansas Psychology Board. Here are the post-graduation steps to pursue:

  • Complete a one-year program of supervised experience, for a total of 2,000 hours. Your supervisor will need to fill out the supervision report form.
  • Request an Arkansas Psychology Board License Application Packet from the Arkansas Department of Health and pay the $200 application fee.
  • Complete the application, which requires three references, signed paperwork from your supervised professional experience, proof of your doctoral degree, and your background check from the Identification Bureau of the Arkansas State Police.
  • Pass an exam. After the board reviews your academic, personal, and experiential credentials, you will need to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) test, administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The test costs $687.50; you will also pay a $50 administration fee to the board.
  • If you obtain a minimum score of 500 on the written test, you’ll move on to an oral interview and examination with the board.

When you pass the oral interview and exam, you will receive your license to practice in the state of Arkansas.

Psychology Specializations in Arkansas That Do Not Require a Doctorate

Arkansas offers certification for several psychology-related positions that don’t require a doctoral degree. You can consider careers such as:

  • Licensed professional counselor: As a master’s-level mental health service provider, you can work with individuals and groups to treat a range of mental health problems, including behavioral issues, emotional problems, and mental disorders.
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist: This master’s-level licensure allows you to help couples and families navigate the often-complex relationships of parent, child, spouse, grandparent, and other family members. You may also help patients struggling with emotional problems and mental disorders.
  • Licensed social worker: As a social worker, your job is to help people in need by connecting them with the resources that can help them cope with the problems of everyday life. You may work with at-risk populations such as children, or those struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Licensed clinical social worker: In the state of Arkansas, a licensed clinical social worker performs many of the same tasks as a social worker, but may also offer mental health services such as therapy.
  • Guidance/school counselor: As a school guidance counselor, you work with elementary, middle, or high school students to help them navigate the emotional transition from childhood to adulthood. You may provide insight for selecting courses and help them chart the path for their future careers.

These careers may require a master’s in psychology or a related field, and licensure by a separate board, including:

  • Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy: Provides licensure and regulates Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, who can use the titles of “licensed professional counselor,” “licensed associate counselor,” “licensed marriage and family therapist,” or “licensed associate marriage and family therapist.”
  • Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board: Regulates the license and renewal of licenses for social workers in the state of Arkansas and protects the public by outlining the required qualifications, training, and experience.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Arkansas

The psychology field is steadily growing in Arkansas and should see faster-than-average growth in the next decade. Your income might vary a bit based on your specialty, seniority, and where you work. Here is a breakdown by common career type.

CareerArkansas Median Annual Salary
(May 2018)
Median Salary Per Hour% Expected Job Growth (2016 to 2026)
Psychologist Careers
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$62,200$29.90+17%
Psychologists—All Other$98,890$47.54+9%
Other Specialties in Psychology 
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$54,600$26.25+13%
Licensed Clinical Social Workers—All Other$36,680$17.64+10%
Marriage and Family Therapists$49,340$23.72+31%
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors$52,630$25.30no available data

All data from CareerOneStop

Arkansas Psychology Scholarships

Scholarships can help you minimize your education expenses—and you don’t have to pay them back. Start your search on our general psychology scholarship page, which has scholarships from a variety of states and for a variety of students.

You should also look for scholarships offered by specific programs. Some Arkansas schools offer scholarships for their psychology programs, including:

  • The University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas offers several scholarships and grants, including the Marie Wilson Howells endowment to fund psychiatric and psychological research and dissertations. This endowment also supports psychology students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • The University of Arkansas: The Fulbright College within U of A offers college-wide academic scholarships to eligible students. For consideration, make sure you complete their application.
  • University of the Ozarks: Students from Logan, Franklin, Madison, Newton, and Johnson counties in Arkansas may be eligible for a need-based tuition scholarship to help with school costs. Students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form and have an estimated family contribution of less than $5,000 to qualify.

Arkansas Psychology Internships and Fellowships

Internships and fellowships provide you with the hands-on experience required by both psychology programs and the licensing board. Finding these experiences at the postdoctoral level isn’t that difficult: You can search a directory of postdoctoral programs on the website of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) to find a program in Arkansas.

Those who are looking for internships or fellowships to satisfy school requirements can look in a number of places. You can look on job sites such as Indeed. LinkedIn can help you network with professionals in psychology to find opportunities. You can search aggregate websites such as Chegg Internships. To give you a head start, we’ve provided some listings below.

Arkansas Psychology Resources

As you start your journey to becoming a psychologist, you’ll discover options and opportunities you might not have considered earlier. The following resources can help smooth your path with helpful features like testing support, networking events, and job listings.

  • Arkansas Psychological Association: This state-wide, non-profit organization is dedicated to the professional growth of psychologists and advancing the field as a science. Helpful features include events and continuing education resources. The APA also advocates for mental health in the community.
  • Arkansas Psychology Board: The Arkansas Psychology Board was founded to ensure that citizens of Arkansas remain protected from unethical and or incompetent psychology practitioners. Resources of note include license forms, license renewal, board meeting notes, events, and information about laws and regulations that impact the psychology profession.
  • Arkansas Counseling Association: Members of this association enjoy a variety of benefits: professional development opportunities, continuing education certificate management, professional networking opportunities, advocacy for counselors, and general counseling resources.
  • Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals: This association supports professional development and networking for black psychology professionals in and near the state of Arkansas. Membership is open to doctoral psychologists, psychological examiners, psychology undergraduate and graduate students, and community members.
  • Arkansas Association of Master’s in Psychology: AAMP educates and promotes relationships and opportunities for master’s-level psychological professionals.
  • Arkansas School Psychology Association: Arkansas school psychologists can stay abreast of the latest news, learn about upcoming conferences and other events, and find job listings.