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Psychology Programs in Kansas

The National Institute of Mental Health gave over $9.9 million in research grants to Kansas colleges and organizations between 2015 and 2019. That’s serious money for a smaller state.

But even if you’re not headed to one of its major research universities or interning at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas is worth considering as a place to become a psychologist or to join the mental health services profession with another credential. The state features a master’s level license that is a stepping stone to full licensure. Moreover, the state has signaled since 2018 that it needs many more school psychologists, especially in rural areas.

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Kansas Psychology Spotlight Programs

Kansas gives out more than its share of bachelor’s and doctoral degrees, thanks to a network of small, private colleges and a stable of large public universities. Though not exhaustive, the list below provides information about psychology programs in Kansas.

All tuition costs are from 2020 and do not include any applicable discounts to enrollees from nearby states via the Midwest Student Exchange Program or other university-specific initiatives (such as Gorilla Edge at Pittsburg State or Shocker Select at Wichita State).

Kansas State University (Manhattan)

The K-State Department of Psychological Sciences has been running the Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity since receiving a $10.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2017. The department’s Ph.D. program boasts four concentrations: behavioral neuroscience/animal learning, cognitive/human factors, social/personality, and industrial-organizational psychology. There’s also a terminal master’s degree in the latter, which is in a blended learning format. Students in the baccalaureate psychology program can specialize in any of the four areas or in clinical psychology.

Undergraduate in-state tuition costs $9,375 per year, $25,251 for most nonresidents. Graduate students pay $425.50 to $960.40 per credit, depending on their residency status.

Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg)

Pittsburg State University is the only university in Kansas that combines its psychology and counseling programs, which it believes creates a more holistic experience for students. The Department of Psychology and Counseling runs degree programs at multiple levels. Undergrads can choose between a B.A. or a B.S. in psychology, each with six available emphases: legal issues, the military, developmental disabilities, human factors, human resource development, and substance abuse services. The M.S. in psychology has three possible emphases: general, clinical, or behavior analysis. The school also offers an Ed.S. in school psychology.

Annual undergrad tuition is $7,338 for residents and $18,682 for nonresidents. Resident and nonresident grad students pay $8,322 and $19,154, respectively.

University of Kansas (Lawrence)

U.S. News & World Report has ranked University of Kansas’s psychology program among the top 50 in the country, the highest spot for a Kansas school. KU’s Department of Psychology offers Ph.D.s. in three areas: clinical psychology; brain, behavior, and quantitative science; and social psychology. All doctoral programs lead first to master’s degrees. The department also co-facilitates a clinical child psychology Ph.D. along with the Department of Applied Behavioral Science. Undergrads can seek out a B.S. in behavioral neuroscience or a B.A. or B.G.S. in psychology. Students transferring in with an associate degree can complete the B.G.S. degree online.

Tuition for full-time undergraduates from Kansas is $10,182, and for nonresidents it’s $27,050. Graduate residents pay $419.20 per credit, while nonresidents pay $1,000.95 per credit.

University of Saint Mary (Leavenworth)

USM is a Catholic liberal arts college that advertises small classes and practical degrees that lead to jobs. Students interested in attending courses at USM’s Overland Park campus can enroll in the terminal Master of Arts in Psychology there or the bachelor’s degree completion program in applied psychology. The main campus in Leavenworth offers a bachelor’s in psychology.

Tuition at the private college is $14,430 per semester at the main campus. Overland Park students pay $398 per credit for degree completion and $640 for M.A. credits.

Washburn University (Topeka)

Students in Washburn’s graduate psychology program can practice providing community mental health at the Washburn University Psychological Services Clinic, which has separate wings for anxiety and depression. In addition to a master’s degree, the Topeka school’s Psychology Department runs onsite and online B.A. programs in psychology.

Washburn tuition for residents is $8,594 per year for its undergrad program and $9,306 for its graduate program. Nonresidents pay $19,346 and $18,788.

Emporia State University (Emporia)

The psychology department at Emporia has an interesting array of undergraduate programs. In addition to a minor in general psychology, the school offers three bachelor’s degrees: a B.A., which is a general degree for those who might want to apply psychology to other disciplines; a B.S., which is geared for students who want to go on to a graduate program; and a Bachelor of Science in Education, a program that prepares students to teach psychology in middle and high school. At the graduate level, students can get a master’s in clinical psychology and school psychology. There is also an Ed.S. program in school psychology and a graduate certificate program in the Psychology of Learning and Exceptionality.

Tuition (including fees) is $3,404 per semester for residents and $10,357 for nonresidents. Graduate tuition rate is $266.41 per credit hour, not including fees.

Wichita State University (Wichita)

The Wichita State University Psychology Department is one of the larger psych departments in the state. It sports 14 research laboratories and clinics. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, it also supports three Ph.D. options: community psychology, clinical psychology, and human factors psychology. Separately, the Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology Department runs an M.Ed. in educational psychology, an Ed.S. in school psychology, and an educational psychology track as part of its Ed.D. in educational leadership.

Standard in-state tuition is $223.62 per credit for undergrads and $301.94 for grad students. Nonresident tuition goes up to $529.68 and $741.55.

How to Become a Psychologist in Kansas

Becoming a psychologist is about more than just earning a degree. The licensure component is crucial. The two elements work hand in hand to ensure that practicing psychologists are experienced mental health professionals.

Education Requirements for Psychologists in Kansas

The only way to become a fully licensed psychologist in Kansas is to first get a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in a psychology field. However, in Kansas, getting a terminal master’s degree can lead to opportunities in psychology as well. The state has two psychology licenses that allow master’s degree holders to practice—with limitations. And Kansas also licenses therapists and counselors without doctorates.

Even if you plan to bet a Ph.D. or Psy.D., getting a master’s first can help you decide on a specialization or career track. Indeed, there are 17 specializations recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA). Kansas schools feature a number of them, including clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and school psychology.

Kansas Psychology Licensing and Exams

The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board is charged with issuing licenses and renewals to psychologists and other mental and behavioral health professionals. Kansas has three types of licenses for psychologists:

  • Licensed Master’s Level Psychologist (LMLP): LMLPs practice psychology with clients, but only under the supervision of fully licensed psychologists, medical or mental health doctors, or licensed clinical therapists. In other words, LMLPs must always be working with someone officially allowed to make diagnoses and treat patients for mental health disorders. LMLPs can move up to becoming a licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP) once they have 4,000 hours of supervised clinical work under their belts in an approved training plan and score 70% on the EPPP.

To become an LMLP, candidates must be 21 and have a graduate degree in the field.  Once they have earned a score of 60% or above on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), they may apply for the LMLP. The application asks for basic details such as academic history, confirmation of a 750-hour practicum, and professional references. The EPPP costs $600 to take. The license application fee is $50, and the actual license is $150. Licenses must be renewed every 24 months and cost $100 to renew.

  • Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist (LCP): LCPs may diagnose and treat mental disorders, but they are still required to consult with physicians or psychiatrists. The application is $50, and the original license is $150. License renewals cost $125.
  • Licensed Psychologist (LP): Licensed psychologists are “full-fledged” psychologists and can make independent diagnoses and treat patients. In Kansas, licensed psychologists must have a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in the discipline, complete two years of supervised clinical experience totaling 3,600 hours, be upstanding citizens, and pass the EPPP with a score of 500 or higher.

The application includes sections affirming the applicant has the appropriate education credits, took at least 24 credits in residence, and satisfactorily completed their postdoctoral residency. Applicants must also include professional references and release their academic and other records. The application fee is $175, and the license is $50.

Psychologists from outside Kansas can seek licensure if they’ve been practicing for at least the past five years or practice in a state with similar licensure requirements.

To renew their license, every two years psychologists must demonstrate they have completed 50 continuing education credits and pay a $150 fee. Most of the organizations at the end of this page offer continuing education.

Psychology Specializations in Kansas That Do Not Require a Doctorate

Perhaps you don’t want to go through the years of doctoral research and training necessary to become a psychologist but do want to help people with mental disorders or emotional difficulties. It’s possible to do so with a master’s degree. The Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board licenses five careers that don’t require a doctorate:

  • Marriage and family therapist: Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) assess and treat partners and families who are experiencing emotional distress as a result of family or marital dysfunction. To become an LMFT you need to have a master’s and perform 4,000 hours of supervised experience.
  • Behavior analyst: Licensed behavior analysts try to improve clients’ behavior through environmental cues and modifications. They often work with people on the autism spectrum. They must be certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which requires a graduate degree.
  • Professional counselor: Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) do not focus on one particular area: they treat individuals or groups with a variety of mental health issues. Their work might overlap with that of marriage/family therapists and addiction counselors. LPCs need to complete a master’s degree program and a supervised practicum.
  • Social worker: Social workers help individuals and groups function appropriately within society. Often working with people at a low point personally or financially, social workers point them to social services and provide therapy. They also work to strengthen communities’ safety nets and get support to citizens who need it. There are three types of social worker licenses in Kansas:
    1. Licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW): Requires a bachelor’s; they can only practice under supervision.
    2. Licensed master social worker (LMSW): Requires a master’s; they may treat and diagnose under supervision.
    3. Licensed specialist clinical social worker (LSCSW): Requires a master’s; they can treat and diagnose without supervision.
  • Addiction counselor: Addiction counselors help those who abuse drugs and/or alcohol evaluate the effects of their decisions and develop better solutions. They might work with people in court-mandated drug treatment programs or assess domestic violence offenders for substance abuse issues. There are three licensure levels:
    1. Licensed addiction counselor (LAC): Requires a bachelor’s; they can only practice under supervision.
    2. Licensed master’s addiction counselor (LMAC): Requires a master’s; they can treat and diagnose under supervision.
    3. Licensed clinical addiction counselor (LCAC): Requires a master’s; they can treat diagnose without supervision.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Kansas

Kansas boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the United States. Thus, even though psychologist salaries in Kansas tend to be below the national average, those salaries can stretch further. While job growth across the board is mixed, there are areas that are projected to have faster-than-average job growth.

CareerKansas Median Annual Salary
(May 2018)
Median Salary Per Hour% Expected Job Growth (2016 to 2026)
Psychologist Careers
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$58,900$28.32+9%
Psychologists—All Other$102,420$49.24–1%
Other Specialties in Psychology
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$48,130$23.14+9%
Licensed Clinical Social Workers—All Other$46,900$22.55–5%
Marriage and Family Therapists$44,140$21.22No data available
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors$40,050$19.26No data available

All data from CareerOneStop

Kansas Psychology Scholarships

In 2019, in-state and out-of-state tuition at Kansas public universities was lower than the national average. And, as of 2018, private schools in the state were nearly $10,000 less expensive than their out-of-state counterparts. Even so, paying for college isn’t always easy. Getting a scholarship is one way to offset the costs of your education. A number of schools and organizations in Kansas provide such awards for psychology students.

  • Emporia State University: The Michael A. Coughenour Scholarship is earmarked for grad students in the psychology or clinical counseling programs. The Dr. Nancy Knapp Memorial Scholarship also goes to grad students in the psych department. Both scholarships vary in amounts.
  • Kansas State University: The university gives out more than $42 million in scholarships each year to students. The Department of Psychological Sciences supports multiple awards for doctoral and undergraduate-level research and studies, including the Harry Helson Memorial Scholarship in Experimental Psychology and the Curtis Lee and JB Gee Psychological Sciences Scholarship.
  • Pittsburg State University: The university’s psychology department funds 10 awards for undergrads and two awards for graduate psychology students that vary in amounts. Enrollees need only to submit one scholarship application to the College of Education to be considered.
  • Southwestern College: Students at this private college in Winfield can receive activity scholarships for their involvement with the school’s psych department. The awards vary in amount.
  • Wichita State University: The Jack Glimpse Endowed Scholarship, the Mary Wittenbach Memorial Book Scholarship, and the Thelma J. & C. Robert Borresen Endowed Scholarship all go to full-time students within the psychology department. Amounts vary.
  • KASP Minority Graduate Student Scholarship: The Kansas Association of School Psychologists (KASP) gives two $500 scholarships each year to students from minority backgrounds who are studying school psychology at the graduate level.

Kansas Internships and Fellowships

There are two types of paid experiences aspiring licensed psychologists typically go through. The first is a doctoral internship that helps get them the 1,800 required hours for graduation. The second is a postdoctoral fellowship that helps get them the 1,800 hours needed to qualify for licensure.

You can search for Kansas-based fellowships and internships at the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) database. Program directors are also often good resources, in part because many bigger schools run their own internships or fellowships. Here are some other offerings.

  • Kansas State University Internship in Health Service Psychology: This doctoral internship at KSU Counseling Services incorporates rotations with the university’s athletics and veterinary programs. Interns can benefit from biofeedback training and providing assessment for the online course in career and life planning. The stipend is $28,000.
  • The University of Kansas, Medical Center, Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology Division features 1,800-hour residencies in four areas: Neurorehabilitation, clinical health psychology with an oncology-psychology focus, advanced clinical psychology, and clinical child psychology. All are reserved for recipients of a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in clinical or counseling psychology. The neurorehab fellow works with people with life-altering injuries and disorders, including traumatic brain injury and burns. The onco-psychology fellow leads therapy sessions at the KU Cancer Center and oncology clinics. The stipend is $47,476.
  • The University of Kansas Medical Center, Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatrics/Developmental Disability: Two postdoctoral applicants will be chosen for this award, which comes with a $47,484 stipend. Aimed at holders of a clinical, counseling, or school psychology doctorate, the fellowship provides training opportunities in developmental behavior, social skills, and telemedicine. Interns may make the rounds at KUMC’s cystic fibrosis clinic and its cleft-lip/palate clinic.

The Sunflower State has a healthy number of non-university fellowships and internships, depending on your specialty:

  • Community Health Center of Southeastern Kansas-Rural Behavior Health: CHC/SEK pays $55,000 to two postdoc fellows. Based in Pittsburg, its focus is on providing integrated healthcare for a rural population in the southeastern corner of the state.
  • Larned State Hospital Internship Program: Interns at Larned spend four days a week at their primary rotation and the fifth day at a second location. Primary rotations can be with the Psychiatric Services Program, which is for citizens who have been admitted to the hospital but who have not committed a crime. An alternative primary rotation is with the State Security Program, which assesses the mental health of people who have committed crimes. As temporary employees, interns receive a $24,003.20 stipend.
  • Larned State Hospital Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: The central Kansas hospital funds five postdoc positions, each with a stipend of $48,000. The positions are split between the State Security Program, the Sexual Predator Treatment Program, and the Psychiatric Services Program.
  • VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System Psychology Internship: Topeka and Leavenworth area doctoral candidates who have completed 500 practicum hours in clinical or counseling psychology can apply for this internship. Leavenworth interns work with veterans in an outpatient mental health clinic. They can do optional rotations in the addiction treatment program, residential rehab, neuropsychology, or primary care mental health integration. Topeka-based interns do multiple rotations—in a mental health clinic, PTSD treatment program, neuropsychology, primary care mental health integration, and recovery and wellness. They can also do smaller rotations in areas like women’s health and suicide prevention. The stipend for the 2,080-hour internship is $26,166.
  • Wichita Collaborative Psychology Internship Program: Three organizations take part in this APA-accredited consortium: Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita, Prairie View, and Wichita State University Counseling and Prevention Services. Students spend 80% of their time in a primary placement at the medical school, the counseling center, a behavioral health facility, or a community mental health center. The other 20% is spent at a second facility. The School of Medicine has two possible internships within this program: clinical neuropsychology and clinical child psychology. The annual stipend is $24,000.

Other internships may pop up from time to time. To make sure you have a full view of what’s available, head to Chegg Internships or create a saved search on LinkedIn, Indeed, or another job site.

Kansas Psychology Resources

  • Kansas Psychological Association: Kansas’ chapter of the American Psychological Association maintains a database of practitioners to make referrals in the rural state easier. It also runs two conferences per year and continuing education courses. Student members pay just $15 per year.
  • Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board: This government body handles licensure applications and deals with consumer complaints. You’ll want to bookmark its website to keep on top of renewals and any updated professional requirements. You can also view the statutes and regulations covering psychologists.
  • Kansas Counseling Association: KCA is split into six regions to promote networking. It’s a diverse and well-represented body, with eight divisions devoted to different types of counseling, including mental health, marriage and family, and group work. Student members can attend conferences and leverage resources from KCA’s parent organization, the American Counseling Organization. The student rate is $32.50 a year.
  • Greater Kansas City Psychological Association: This interstate association runs monthly workshops and an annual conference, all of which count toward continuing education credits after you graduate. Students pay $30 to network and learn alongside practitioners.
  • Kansas Association of School Psychologists: KASP fosters student involvement by holding special sessions at its conference and keeping a student representative in its leadership. The $10 student membership fee allows you to attend meetings in one of KASP’s four regions. Even if you don’t join, you may want to use its job site.