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Psychology Programs in Missouri

With a host of psychology programs at all levels of study, residents of Missouri can almost certainly find a program that fits their educational needs. And so can residents from neighboring states and other states in the Midwest: Many Missouri schools offer tuition discounts or in-state rates to these students. Missouri is also a great place to work as a psychologist—a number of careers in psychology are growing much faster than the national average. Read on to learn more about psychology programs in Missouri and the requirements for becoming a psychologist in the state.

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How to Become a Psychologist in Missouri

The process of becoming a psychologist in Missouri has two steps. First, you have to satisfy the educational requirements. Then you have to meet the demands of the state board that issues professional licenses.

Education Requirements

Although you need to earn a doctorate to gain the title of “psychologist,” there are several related careers in the field that you can begin with a lesser degree like a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree.

You can’t earn a doctorate without first earning a bachelor’s degree. Some doctoral programs require you to also earn a master’s, but many don’t and accept applicants with only an undergraduate degree. Some doctoral programs actually include master’s degrees and award you with both upon completion. Even if the doctoral program doesn’t require it, however, you might consider getting a master’s anyway for two reasons: First, it’s an intermediate academic experience that can prepare you for the considerable rigors of doctoral work. Second, a master’s program can help you decide on a specialty.

The APA recognizes about 20 academic specialties and proficiencies, each of which concentrates on coursework designed to train and prepare students for careers in those specific fields. Of those specialties, industrial-organizational psychology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, clinical child psychology, and clinical health psychology are among the most commonly offered at Missouri’s colleges and universities.

Missouri Psychology Licensing and Exams

You must earn a license to engage in professional practice in the state of Missouri. To do that, you have to prove that you’ve met the educational and supervised experience requirements, pass exams, and pay fees.

The Missouri State Committee of Psychologists is the organization that awards licenses. There are several different types, including temporary and provisional licenses, which are limited in scope and issued only on an interim basis in some cases. Most people will apply for a permanent license.

To do that you’ll have to prove that you earned a doctorate from an approved program. The doctoral program must have included an internship consisting of at least 1,500 hours, which was completed in more than one but less than two years. You must also complete 2,000 hours of supervised professional experience that meets the board’s standards.

You’ll also have to take three tests. The first is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), which is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. It contains 225 multiple-choice questions and costs $600. Next is the state jurisprudence exam, which tests your knowledge of state-specific laws, regulations, and ethical standards. Finally, Missouri requires you to sit for an oral examination.

You’ll also have to get fingerprinted, submit to a criminal background check, and pay an application fee of $150. Once you receive a license, you must keep it in good standing by renewing it every two years and completing 40 hours of continuing education.


Psychology Specializations in Missouri That Do Not Require a Doctorate

As previously mentioned, you need a doctorate to become a psychologist. However, many other careers in psychology are open to people with a master’s or even an undergraduate degree. In Missouri, the specialties related to psychology are governed by their own committees and boards.

Although these licenses might be administered by different governing bodies, the premise remains the same. You must achieve the required level of education and then earn a license to work in the field. To do that, you’ll have to prove your educational background, pass exams, pay fees, and fulfill all the other requirements set by the body that awards licenses for your chosen specialty. In many cases, that includes supervised experience before licensure and continuing education after.

Social Worker

Missouri recognizes four levels of social workers. As their titles imply, licensed bachelor social workers (LBSW) and licensed master social workers (LMSW) need a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, respectively. Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) and licensed advanced macro social workers (LAMSW) need either a master’s or doctoral degree.

Social workers work with people enduring both immediate and long-term crises, usually related to personal or social welfare. This could include counseling people and families struggling with homelessness, abuse, domestic violence, or addiction. They also pair people in need with the appropriate social services.

Marital and Family Therapist

You need a master’s degree to work as a marital and family therapist in Missouri. These mental health professionals specialize in family dynamics and work to identify and mitigate problems between couples, their children, and occasionally extended family, both as individuals and in groups.

Professional Counselor

You also need a master’s degree to work as a professional counselor in Missouri. In this mental health specialty, you’ll provide counseling services to a wide range of clients with an equally diverse set of challenges. You might counsel individuals, groups, couples, or families to improve communication, work through social or personal problems, achieve specific mental health goals, or change problem behaviors.

Behavior Analyst

Behavior analysts can begin their careers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but there’s also a more complicated process of transitioning from a provisional license to a full license. Although their work does not involve psychological testing or cognitive therapies, behavior analysts observe, measure, evaluate, and work to create socially significant changes in human behavior.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Missouri

Salaries vary considerably from one specialty to another. This table outlines wages and projected job growth for some of the more popular fields in psychology.


CareerMissouri Median Annual Salary
(May 2018)
Median Salary Per Hour% Expected Job Growth (2016 to 2026)
Psychologist Careers
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$65,890$31.68+17%
Psychologists—All Other$98,890$47.54+5%
Other Specialties in Psychology
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$45,990$22.11+15%
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$65,920$31.69+8%
Marriage and Family Therapist$45,850$22.04+26%
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor$36,140$17.38no available data

All data from CareerOneStop

Missouri Psychology Spotlight Programs

Here are a few of the most popular and unique psychology programs in the state of Missouri.

Washington University (St. Louis)

Undergrads at Washington University can major in cognitive neuroscience or psychological and brain sciences (PBS) with the option of six available concentrations. There’s also a PBS minor. For graduate students, the university offers a Ph.D. in psychological and brain sciences with four areas of specialization: aging and development; behavior, brain, and cognition; clinical science; and social and personality psychology. Tuition is $54,250 per year for both undergraduate and graduate students, although nearly all Ph.D. candidates receive full tuition and a stipend.

University of Missouri (Kansas City)

You can earn a B.A. in psychology as an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri K.C. or take psychology as a minor. Doctoral students can pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, which is APA-accredited, or a Ph.D. in applied cognitive and brain sciences. Undergraduate tuition is $294.80 per credit for state residents, $299.70 for Kansas residents, $449.55 for “Heartland state” residents (that includes 15 states), and $824.30 for non-residents. For graduate students, it’s $397.60 for residents and “graduate metro,” $596.40 for Midwest Exchange (11 Kansas counties), and $1,026.50 for non-residents.

University of Missouri (Columbia)

The flagship campus in the University of Missouri system offers a bachelor of arts degree in psychology to undergrads, which is also available online. For graduate students, there’s a Ph.D. program with five areas of emphasis: clinical psychology; quantitative psychology; cognition and neuroscience; social/personality psychology; and developmental psychology. Undergraduate tuition at “Mizzou” is $12,094 per year for in-state residents and $28,774 for non-residents. For graduate students, it’s $8,078 across the board.

University of Missouri (St. Louis)

There are two undergraduate degrees in psychological sciences at the Saint Louis campus of the University of Missouri, a B.A. and a B.S., both of which are also available online. At the graduate level, there are two Ph.D. programs, one in behavioral neuroscience and one in clinical psychology. Specialized training is also available in gender studies, trauma studies, and university teaching. Undergraduate tuition is $363.20 per credit for Missouri and Illinois residents. Graduate tuition is $500.30 for Missouri residents and Metropolitan residents. Non-resident undergraduates pay $976.50 and graduate students pay $1,228.20.

Saint Louis University (St. Louis)

Undergraduates at Saint Louis University can earn a B.A. or B.S. in psychology or take psychology as a minor. There are also three Ph.D. programs, one in clinical psychology, one in experimental psychology, and one in industrial-organizational psychology. Full-time undergraduate tuition is $22,350 per semester; graduate students pay $1,160 per credit.

Missouri State University (Springfield)

Undergraduates at Missouri State University can earn a degree in psychology or take psychology as a major. They can also choose a major in gerontology with the option of pursuing gerontology as part of a dual-major or a forensic child psychology certificate program. Distance learners can earn a B.S. in psychology online. Graduate students can pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology, applied behavioral analysis, or industrial-organizational psychology. There’s also a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and several graduate certificates. Undergraduate tuition is $7,588 per year for Missouri residents and $8,310 for non-residents. Graduate tuition is $6,250 per year for residents and $11,524 for non-residents.

University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg)

The University of Central Missouri offers both a B.A. and a B.S. in psychology, as well as a psych minor. At the graduate level, there’s an M.S. in psychology and an M.S. in behavior analysis and therapy. Missouri residents pay $235 per credit for undergraduate study and $313.50 for graduate. Non-residents pay $475.20 and $627.

Avila University (Kansas City)

Undergraduates at Avila University can choose from three tracks for their bachelor’s degree: general, research, or mental health. For graduate students, there’s an M.S. in either psychology or counseling psychology. There’s also a 4+1 accelerated option that allows students to complete a bachelor’s and a master of science degree in as little as five years. Undergraduate tuition is $21,115 and graduate tuition is $622 per credit—both include the costs of books and fees.

Missouri Psychology Scholarships

Many schools in Missouri provide scholarships to students based on need, merit, or the student’s specific demographic, like LGBTQ+ or women learners. For more information, visit our general scholarship page, which includes a broader range of scholarships from a variety of states for many different types of students.

  • Sirridge Counseling Psychology Scholarship: A non-renewable award for $500 open to graduate counseling psychology students with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Awarded to a student who “shows promise of professional excellence,” the scholarship money is placed directly into the winner’s account, unlike many others that can only be used for certain expenses at Avila University
  • Donald G. Brennan Scholarship Fund: Awards $2,000 for education expenses, including tuition, at Saint Louis University. It’s open to first-generation college students enrolled in graduate studies at SLU with a GPA of 3.5 or better. The school offers several other scholarships as well.
  • Graduate Student Achievement Award : Waives $500 in student fees in the fall and spring semesters. It’s granted based on high academic achievement and leadership skills and is open only to grad students. The University of Central Missouri provides a number of scholarships for undergrads and grads alike. 

It’s not just individual schools that offer psychology scholarships. Organizations in Missouri not affiliated with colleges or universities also sponsor student awards of their own.

  • MSAP Fall Student Scholarship: The Missouri Association of School Psychologists (MSAP) offers three scholarship awards each fall to MSAP members who are studying in an APA- or MSAP-accredited school psychology program in Missouri. The indeterminate award amount may be used for any educational expenses.
  • School Psychology Intern of the Year Award: This scholarship is also awarded by MSAP, this time at the spring conference. It comes in the amount of $500 and is open to school psychology students at the intern level who are serving their internships in a Missouri public school.
  • National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. Graduate Scholarship Program: Formerly the Native American Junior Auxiliaries Scholarship, this award is worth between $350-$1,250. It’s open to graduate students in psychology and select other fields who are studying an area related to children and youth, and who plan to work directly with children during their careers.


Missouri Internships and Fellowships

Internships and fellowships are supervised positions or placements that are generally open only to graduate students. In many cases, internships are required for advanced study, and they, along with fellowships, often come with stipends, salaries, tuition remission, or other valuable incentives beyond the real-world experience they provide.

Just as with scholarships, many colleges and universities also offer their own fellowships and internships.

  • The Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study: Offers full tuition remission, a 12-month living stipend, and $600 in annual travel funding to qualifying graduate students for the duration of their program at Washington University in St. Louis Fellowship.
  • Louis Psychology Internship Consortium: Is an APA-accredited program open to doctoral students. There are several open positions. It takes place at Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center, Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, and St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center. It pays $23,000 a year and includes paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance for interns and their dependents.
  • University of Missouri–Kansas City Internship: Offered through the Center for Behavioral Medicine, this doctoral internship includes three-day-per-week rotations for six months and concentrations for one and a half days per week for 12 months. It includes a $24,700 stipend and is accredited by the APA.

Here, too, organizations and agencies that aren’t affiliated with higher-learning institutions sponsor their own internship and fellowship programs across Missouri.

  • Missouri Health Sciences Psychology Consortium Internship: 12 slots are open for this internship, which takes place at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia. The full-time, one-year appointment, which is open to qualifying doctoral students, pays an annual stipend of $26,166. It’s full-time, not less than 40 hours per week, and includes insurance, sick leave, paid vacation, and other benefits.
  • Louis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Psychology Fellowship: This program has two open postdoctoral positions that run for one year with the option of a second year. The clinical training program includes less than 25% research time and requires 40 hours of work per week. It comes with a $47,476 stipend and offers benefits including a 401(k), health insurance, and paid time off.

It’s also a good idea to utilize other resources, like Chegg Internships, LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job sites to learn about more internships and fellowship opportunities in the state.


Missouri Psychology Resources

Whether you’re in school, considering a program, or already started in your career, you can find guidance, information, networking opportunities, research, data, and industry news from the following resources:

  • Missouri Psychological Association: The Missouri affiliate of the APA, the MOPA is helpful to both students and professionals. The site maintains a career center with job postings and other information. There’s also a special section specifically for psychology professionals at the crucial first years in the early part of their careers.
  • Missouri State Committee of Psychologists: This is the state board charged with vetting and licensing psychologists in the state. The committee provides all the information and documentation you need relevant to the licensing process, including how to transfer and renew a license, as well as a database of rules and statutes and other helpful information.
  • American Counseling Association of Missouri: ACAM offers networking opportunities with other mental healthcare professionals. It also maintains its own career center and publishes an informative newsletter. Its members are invited to an annual conference, where they’ll have the opportunity to make presentations and learn about new research and developments. The organization also conducts political and legislative action on behalf of the industry.
  • Missouri Association of School Psychologists: Specific to school psychologists and school psychology students in the state, this organization hosts conferences and advocates for the industry. It also pairs mental health professionals with educators, offers networking opportunities, sponsors awards and scholarships, and maintains a career center. For students, it offers valuable links and information about psychology programs in the state, as well as information about educational funding programs and APA-accredited internships.
  • Missouri Mental Health Counselors Association: MMHCA offers training and events, seminars, and professional networking opportunities. The organization hosts a conference, and members have exclusive access to a nationwide discount program.