Psychology Programs in Louisiana
What can you do in the field of psychology in Louisiana? The state offers plenty of careers that require a psychology degree, as well as several well-known educational institutions in the state that offer degree programs at all levels and with different specializations.
For those seeking the top title in the psychology profession, Louisiana boasts one of the top-paying metropolitan markets in the country for its psychologists: Baton Rouge ranks in the top ten highest paying cities with an average annual salary of $116,070. This strong job market, combined with one of the lowest costs of living in the country, makes Louisiana a state well worth considering for not only licensed psychologists but also those in other psychology jobs.
Louisiana Psychology Programs
Students searching for psychology programs in Louisiana have a number of universities from which to choose. Here we spotlight several that have APA-accredited doctoral programs, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge)
LSU offers an accredited doctoral program in psychology with several specialties, including biological psychology, school psychology, and clinical psychology. Students can expect to complete their Ph.D. in four to seven years, depending on whether they enter with a B.A./B.S. or an M.A./M.S. in psychology or a related field. Students who enter with bachelor’s degrees are expected to earn a master’s degree while enrolled in the program. Graduate students work with a mentor throughout their studies, so LSU suggests that prospective students research faculty members to find professors who share their academic and professional interests. Tuition per semester ranges from $5,701 to $5,948 for in-state students and $14,162 to $14,417 for non-residents. LSU estimates students’ current real costs at $1,331 to $1,376 per semester due to graduate assistantships.
Tulane University (New Orleans)
Tulane’s Graduate Program in School Psychology is an accredited Ph.D. program located in historic New Orleans. One of the most distinctive aspects of this program is its optional trauma specialization, which prepares doctoral students to deliver mental health services to youth exposed to trauma. A two-year practicum in the New Orleans Public School System is included as part of the trauma training. Tulane is also notable for its tuition-free education for Ph.D. students. Students only pay for university fees and associated costs, which was an estimated $1,484 in 2018–2019.
Louisiana Tech University (Ruston)
The Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at Louisiana Tech University aims to help counseling psychologists become proficient in both research and professional practice. One unique program benefit is the school’s Psychological Services Clinic, which offers affordable counseling and assessment services to the rural school and community populations of Northern Louisiana. Ph.D. students provide these services under the supervision of licensed counseling psychologists in the program. In-state tuition cost $12,954 for in-state students and $24,476 for out-of-state students during the 2019–2020 academic year.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (New Orleans)
Students can earn a Psy.D. in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, which was accredited “on contingency” by the APA in 2019. This is a new program and, as a result, the only one in the list that does not currently have full APA accreditation. However, once it submits data on students and the first cohort of program graduates in 2022, the program will undergo review for full accreditation. The program is hosted at the historically Black Xavier University of Louisiana and is distinct for its commitment to social justice and the service of historically underserved populations. Tuition costs $1,342 per credit hour.
How to Become a Psychologist in Louisiana
To become a licensed psychologist in Louisiana, you must commit to earning a doctoral degree, although some counseling positions may require only a master’s degree. As in most states, Louisiana has specific licensure requirements, including a passing score on a state exam. Before reaching the exam, you’ll have to complete a few other steps first:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree: Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology typically takes four years. Both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs can provide students with a strong foundation in psychology that helps pave the way for further study.
- Earn a master’s degree: Some doctoral programs in psychology require master’s degrees, so check with your school to see whether this step is necessary for you. Alternatively, if you are interested in becoming a school counselor or a marriage and family counselor, a master’s degree in psychology may be sufficient.
- Earn a doctoral degree: All licensed psychologists must complete either a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. in psychology from an accredited program. These postgraduate degrees take between five and seven years to complete and help prepare you for careers in clinical, academic, and research settings.
- Select a specialty: Choosing a specialty is an important decision and will impact your work setting and duties. While clinical psychologists are the largest group of psychologists in Louisiana, other specialties include school psychology, counseling psychology, and organizational psychology.
- Meet licensure requirements: Prospective Louisiana psychologists must meet specific requirements to gain licensure. They need to hold an accredited doctoral degree, complete supervised hours, pass a criminal background check, and receive passing scores on state board examinations. More information about these requirements is below.
Louisiana Psychology Licensing and Exams
To become a psychologist in Louisiana, you must earn a state license from the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP). There are several steps involved in the process:
- Application: As soon as you receive your doctorate in psychology, you should submit your application to the LSBEP. The application costs $200. It must be notarized and include a passport-sized photo.
- Transcripts, Internship Documentation, and References: You are required to submit official university transcripts directly from the institutions you have attended, as well as documentation of your internship from your internship director. You must also provide the names of three psychologists who know your work well.
- Practicum Documentation: You must submit evidence of a minimum of 300 hours of practicum experience. This practicum, which precedes your internship, must include at least 100 hours of direct client contact and 50 hours of supervision.
- Criminal Background Check: After LSBEP has confirmed receipt of your application all candidates must submit criminal background check forms, which include fingerprinting and a criminal rap sheet. You must include the $50 background check fee with your forms.
- Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP): The first exam you need to take and pass is the EPPP, the national standardized exam designed to assess a candidate’s fundamental knowledge of psychology. National pass rates on this exam are approximately 80%.
- Postdoctoral Supervision Documentation: Evidence of two years of postdoctoral supervised experience must be submitted to the Board before a candidate is allowed to take the jurisprudence and the oral examinations.
- Oral and Jurisprudence Examination: After passing the EPPP and completing all of the other licensure requirements, you will be mailed a take-home Jurisprudence Examination and be invited to sit for your oral examinations. The take-home exam costs $75 and the oral exam is $250. Once you pass both parts of the state-specific exam, you will be a licensed psychologist in Louisiana.
Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Louisiana
The job market for psychologists in Louisiana is growing, and there is a wide range of employment opportunities for candidates possessing either master’s or doctoral degrees in psychology. While doctoral level education is necessary for those looking to become psychologists, there are opportunities for various counseling jobs that may only require master’s level preparation.
Mental Health Careers and Job Growth in Louisiana
|Career||Mean Annual Salary
|Average Mean Wage Per Hour||Expected Job Growth
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$55,500||$26.68||12%|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$86,630||$41.65||12%|
|Psychologists – All Other||$76,510||$36.78||11%|
|Healthcare Social Worker||$53,460||$25.70||15%|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$37,530||$18.05|| No Data Available
|Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselor||$40,380||$19.41||12%|
Recognized Psychology Specializations in Louisiana
One of the most exciting decisions you may make as a psychologist in Louisiana is your choice of practice specialty. Psychology is a broad field with many applications, and while students are not limited to these options, the following represent the specialties recognized by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychologists work directly with clients and patients in the assessment, identification, prevention, and treatment of mental illnesses, learning disabilities, and behavioral disorders. These psychologists work to promote change and are employed in a wide variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, and social service organizations. Baton Rouge is one of the top-paying markets for clinical psychologists, who earn $116,070 annually. (BLS, 2018)
Clinical Neuropsychology: This is a subspecialty of clinical psychology. It is found at the intersection of neurology, the study of brain function and structure, and psychology, the study of thought process and behavior. Neuropsychologists assess and diagnose a wide range of issues from injuries to Alzheimer’s Disease and work in a range of settings including hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers.
Counseling Psychology: The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes counseling psychology as a specialty for psychologists who address the emotional, social, and life concerns and stressors faced by individuals and groups. Counseling psychologists are particularly interested in the interaction between clients and their environments.
School Psychology: School psychologists work with students and other stakeholders in educational environments, including parents, teachers, and school administrators. Most–about 81%–work in public school settings, according to the National Association of School Psychologists. These professionals provide therapeutic as well as academic support to students. Researchers predict a shortage of school psychologists through 2025, making this a specialty worth considering.
Educational Psychology: Educational psychologists, like school psychologists, often work in school settings, but their area of focus concerns the way students learn and retain knowledge. Their research focuses on instructional methods and learning outcomes to make education accessible to all students.
Developmental Psychology: If you’re interested in the way individuals grow and adapt during their different life stages, the specialty of developmental psychology may be a good fit for you. Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, universities, health care facilities, government agencies and schools. You might be involved in research or the evaluation and treatment of developmental disorders, depending on your work setting.
Experimental Psychology: Not all psychologists want to work directly with clients. Some, like experimental psychologists, are more interested in the big questions that surround human behavior. If this sounds like you, a research-oriented career as an experimental psychologist may be the specialty you’re seeking. According to the APA’s most recent salary survey (2015), experimental psychologists earned a median salary of $92,000, making this research specialty a lucrative one to consider.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Today, the field of psychology extends far beyond Freud’s couch, reaching many of the corporations and businesses that employ America’s workforce. Productivity, workplace environment, employee work-life balance and management strategies are just a few of the areas on which an I-O psychologist might concentrate. This is a rapidly growing field with an expected growth of 11% between 2018 and 2028 (BLS 2018). Average annual salaries were also robust at $97,260 in 2018, according to the BLS.
Social Psychology: This field may be attractive to those most interested in the ways human beings impact one another’s behaviors. Romantic attraction, relational aggression, and friendship are all examples of the group dynamics and social issues studied by social psychologists. While many of these professionals work in academia, some are hired by the private sector as consultants and strategists.
Louisiana Psychology Scholarships and Fellowships
Particularly at the graduate level, programs work hard to reduce the financial burden on their students, so your first step should be to consult with your desired school’s financial aid department. There are plenty of scholarships and fellowships out there to help offset the cost as well. Scholarships are attractive to graduate students because, unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid. Below is a sampling of scholarships and fellowships relevant to Louisiana doctoral students in psychology :
It is also worth consulting Louisiana’s State Loan Repayment Program, an initiative sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Health to address shortages of health professionals in rural and inner-city areas. Licensed psychologists are among the groups eligible to have their loans repaid up to $15,000 annually for a three-year commitment to the program.
Louisiana Psychology Internships
All graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in psychology in Louisiana need to complete year-long internships as a requirement for their graduation as well as state licensure. The following internships may be good fits for doctoral psychology students in Louisiana:
Louisiana Psychology Resources
Wherever you are on your journey to becoming a licensed psychologist in Louisiana or other psychology-trained professional in the state, you will want to stay abreast of current news, legislative updates, and resources that can help you connect with others on your academic and professional journey. Louisiana has several professional organizations you may find helpful.