Psychology Programs in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is experiencing a growing need for psychologists, therapists, and counselors. With 114 colleges and universities to choose from—including 58 schools that offer graduate-level programs within a 25-mile radius of Boston—Massachusetts offers extensive opportunities for those pursuing a psychology education.
How to Become a Psychologist in Massachusetts
If you’re planning to pursue a psychology degree in Massachusetts, there are several steps you will need to take. Plotting your path thoroughly ahead of time can help you achieve your goals as efficiently as possible.
- Get a bachelor’s degree. The first step to becoming a psychologist in Massachusetts is to obtain your bachelor’s degree. This will take about four years of full-time study and will give you a broad background in psychological concepts, research fundamentals, and statistics. While earning a degree in psychology isn’t always required for entrance to a graduate program, most psychology graduate programs will require you to have taken some undergraduate coursework in psychology.
- Get a master’s degree (potentially optional). Depending on your goals, it may or may not be necessary to pursue a master’s degree in psychology. If you plan to become a mental health counselor or school counselor, a master’s degree will likely be required. However, if you plan to become a licensed psychologist, you will need a doctoral degree, and most psychology doctoral programs accept students with just a bachelor’s degree. Some undergraduate programs in psychology may include the option for a fifth-year master’s course.
- Get a doctoral degree. In order to become a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, you will need to hold a doctoral degree from an accredited When you pursue a doctorate, there are often two options to choose from: a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Doctoral programs generally take two or more years to complete and include a practicum, thesis, research project, or other self-directed project.
- Choose a specialization. As a professional working in the field of psychology, you might decide you want to work in a clinical setting with clients, perform research for an institute of higher education or for the government, counsel couples and families, work in a school, or help clients who have behavior or substance abuse disorders. Your specialization will determine the type of education, training, supervision, and licensure you will need.
- Become licensed. The state of Massachusetts requires psychology professionals to obtain state licensure. The licensure process is described below.
If you know what your career goals are, you may consider reaching out to undergraduate and graduate schools to determine which path best suits your needs. For example, some graduate schools require applicants to have prior research experience, so ideally, you could find an undergraduate program that offers opportunities to participate in research.
For psychologists outside Massachusetts who hope to practice in the state, note that there is no reciprocity of licensure between Massachusetts and other states. This means licensed psychologists from other states will need to obtain a new license in order to practice in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Psychology Licensing & Exams
Professionals working in the field of psychology will need to obtain licensure before practicing in their field. This is to ensure they are highly trained and experienced before working with clients seeking therapy.
To apply for and receive your Massachusetts psychologist licensure, you will need:
Note that licensure requirements will differ between psychology specializations. The requirements to become a licensed psychologist, listed above, differ from the specifications to work as a clinical social worker, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist, and so on. More information about specializations is listed below.
Job Growth and Psychology-Related Career Salaries in Massachusetts
Careers in psychology encompass vastly different specializations and, therefore, salaries. Overall, jobs in psychology in Massachusetts are projected to increase significantly between 2016 and 2026. While there are many psychologist jobs in Massachusetts, wages are slightly lower than the national average. The table below lists several fields of psychology and their salary ranges and job growth projections. Note this is not inclusive of all psychology careers in the state.
Psychology-Related Career Salaries in Massachusetts
|Career||Mean Annual Salary (BLS, 2018)||Average Salary Per Hour||% Expected Job Growth|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$69, 570||$33.45||+14%|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$86,490||$41.58||+12%|
|Psychologists – All Other||$83,550||$40.17||+12%|
|Licensed Clinical Social Worker||$75,340||$36.22||+12%|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$57,020||$27.41||+15%|
|Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselor||$47,880||$23.02||+18%|
Recognized Psychology Specializations in Massachusetts
There are many specializations within the field of psychology, and each may have its own certification or licensure steps that differ slightly or significantly from that of a licensed psychologist. Below is a sample of psychology specializations in the state of Massachusetts. Note this is not a comprehensive list, and there are many other specializations available to licensed psychologists.
Massachusetts Psychology Spotlight Programs
When seeking a psychology program with the goal of becoming licensed in the state of Massachusetts, it’s helpful to look at the institutions’ coursework and make sure it meets state standards for licensure. The more prepared you are with your educational plan, the more efficient you can be in pursuing licensure requirements. Unlike many career and technical paths, you don’t need to seek out an accredited undergraduate psychology program—in the field of psychology, accreditation applies only to doctoral programs in professional psychology.
Below are a few Massachuetts schools with outstanding psychology programs at various academic levels.
Bunker Hill Community College (Boston)
If you’re starting your education and want a flexible, affordable approach, you may consider beginning your studies at a community college. Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) is the largest and most affordable community college in Massachusetts, and it offers a two-year associate of arts degree (A.A.) with a concentration in psychology that will prepare you to transfer to a four-year university or get a job in a related field. BHCC has multiple campuses throughout the greater Boston area, and offers day, afternoon, evening, late-evening, weekend, web-based, and distance-learning courses. Tuition at BHCC for the spring 2020 semester is $176 per credit.
Northeastern University (Online)
Northeastern University, which is located in Boston, offers an entirely online psychology undergraduate degree. You can begin in fall, spring, or winter, and the school provides experiential networking opportunities that pair students with sponsoring organizations to work on short-term projects. Tuition at Northeastern University for the 2019-2020 academic year is $541 per semester hour.
Boston University (Boston)
Boston University (BU) is a renowned public university located in the heart of Boston. BU offers a four-year undergraduate degree in psychology, as well as an option for a one-year master’s degree in psychology. The one-year master’s is a great option for students who want to further their understanding of research methodology or identify their area of interest in the field in preparation for employment or advanced graduate studies. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in psychology to enroll in the one-year master’s program, but some undergraduate coursework in psychology is required. Undergraduate tuition at BU is $54,720 for the full 2019-2020 academic year; however, BU meets 100% of calculated financial need for all admitted, first-year students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Graduate tuition is $27,360 per semester.
William James College (Newton)
William James College is a college of psychology located just outside Boston in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to its specialization in the field of psychology, William James College offers, among many other degree programs, an online-only Master of Arts in Psychology. The master’s program accepts students from all undergraduate backgrounds and features two tracks: one for students who plan to continue on to advanced degrees in psychology, and one for those who want to develop skills across a variety of areas to advance their careers. Tuition at William James in the 2019-2020 academic year is $880 per credit for students in the M.A. program.
University of Massachusetts (Amherst)
U-Mass Amherst offers a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology within their Department of Psychological and Brain Science. The program offers a concentration in Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) and maintains a strong relationship with the Center for Research on Families. Using a mentor model for student education, faculty members select students to work directly with them. The cost of tuition at the U-Mass Amherst graduate school during the 2019-2020 academic year was $2,081 per graduate credit for Massachusetts residents and $3,963 for non-residents.
Massachusetts Psychology Scholarships
Getting an advanced degree can be expensive—but there are options to help you afford higher education. In addition to traditional student loans, you can take advantage of many public and private psychology scholarships that lower the cost of higher education. Saving money while in school helps avoid substantial student loan debt later. Here are just a couple of scholarships you might consider while pursuing a psychology degree in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts Internships and Fellowships
An internship is often a required component of undergraduate or graduate coursework in psychology. Below are several possibilities you may consider.
In addition to these resources, the APA offers internship support and resources for doctoral students. You may also consider searching on career websites like LinkedIn and indeed.com to find a suitable internship to meet your program’s requirements.
Massachusetts Psychology Resources
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