Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Psychology Programs in Massachusetts

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  • Two full-time years of academic training in psychology at the post-baccalaureate level
  • Two years, or 3,200 working hours, of supervised clinical experience. This usually includes one year of internship training experience and one year of post-doctoral supervised experience. Doctoral students seeking American Psychological Association (APA)-accredited internships may use an APA matching program to secure an internship. More information on internships is listed below.
  • Professional and ethical endorsements from at least three people of recognized standing within a psychology field
  • To submit the application, along with a $150 application fee and a passport-sized photo. If you are deemed eligible for licensure, you will then be invited to sit for the licensure exams.
  • To complete both state and national psychology exams. The national exam is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Massachusetts requires a state jurisprudence examination.
  • If you are deemed eligible for a license, you will need to pay a $270 licensing fee and renew your license every two years.

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%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists $75,660 $36.37 +14%
Behavioral DisorderSubstance 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.

  • School Psychologist: A school psychologist is trained in both psychology and education, tasked with providing health and psychoeducational services within a school or school system. To become a school psychologist in Massachusetts, you will initially need to complete a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Psychology as approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, along with 600 hours of supervised experience in a school setting and 600 additional supervised hours in either a school or clinic setting. To receive a professional license, you will need to be employed for three years as a school psychologist. A comprehensive overview of licensure requirements for school psychologists is provided by the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association.
  • Clinical Social Worker/LICSW: A social worker also provides mental health support to clients, but with a particular emphasis on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, or living in poverty. To become a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) in Massachusetts, you must obtain a master’s degree in social work from an accredited school, hold a certification as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), obtain two professional references and one supervisory reference, have two years of post-LCSW documented clinical experience, and pass a clinical exam.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist: A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) works with clients to navigate how mental and emotional health affects their relationship(s)—often focusing on emotional disorders like anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, and challenges related to childhood behaviors or divorce. To become an LMFT in Massachusetts, you will need a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field, completion of a clinical internship or practicum, two years of full-time, post-degree supervised clinical experience, 200 hours of direct supervision, and passage of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB) exam.
  • Substance Abuse Counselor: Substance abuse counselors, also called addiction counselors, provide therapeutic and educational support to clients battling an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or both. Massachusetts has requirements for professionals who want to become Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADC I and II), or a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Assistant.

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:

  • The Ena Vazquez-Nutall Diversity Scholarship is offered by the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA). MSPA annually awards up to $3,000 to at least one qualified graduate student in school psychology. Interested students should be in good academic standing, be enrolled in a National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)-approved or regionally accredited psychology program in Massachusetts, and submit an application packet.
  • William James College awards one Cynthia Lucero Scholarship each year to a deserving student who exhibits a strong dedication and commitment to the delivery of human services to the Latino community. The award is $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years. Applicants must be FAFSA-eligible and enrolled full-time in a graduate program.

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.

  • Cambridge Health Alliance: The psychology internship at Cambridge Health Alliance is a full-time doctoral-level internship accredited by the APA. It lasts one year and pays a stipend of $28,372. Interns are eligible for appointment as Clinical Fellows at Harvard Medical School, which provides access to university libraries, athletic facilities and other benefits. Interested students should pick one of nine possible internship tracks, and indicate their preference when applying through the APPIC (membership required).
  • Eliot Community Human Services: Eliot offers undergraduate and masters-level internships in areas that include residential and emergency services, child and family-based services, in-home therapy, and crime victims therapy. To be considered for the internship, your school must provide an academic affiliation agreement.
  • University of Massachusetts—Amherst Doctoral Internship: U-Mass Amherst offers three internships a year, which last for one year and pay a stipend of $27,550. Applications are accepted from doctoral students currently enrolled in APA-approved clinical, counseling, or professional psychology programs. Students should apply through APPIC (membership required).
  • Worcester State Hospital: The University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital offer a pre-doctoral internship in psychology accredited by the APA. There are four full-time, funded internships available each year, which pay a stipend of $31,200. Applicants should apply online, with three letters of reference, graduate transcripts, a cover letter, and curriculum vitae.

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