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.
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:
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:
These careers may require a master’s in psychology or a related field, and licensure by a separate board, including:
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.
|Career||Arkansas Median Annual Salary |
|Median Salary Per Hour||% Expected Job Growth (2016 to 2026)|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$62,200||$29.90||+17%|
|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||$25.30||no 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:
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.
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