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Psychology Programs in New Jersey

If you’re interested in helping people take control of their mental and emotional health and improve their behavioral issues, you may be interested in pursuing a career in psychology or counseling. There are many psychology programs available in New Jersey. It’s easy to see why psychology is a popular option in the state: it ranks third in the nation when it comes to average salaries.

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How to Become a Psychologist in New Jersey

Psychologists play important roles in both research and direct patient care. Because they are relied upon to help people address and improve their mental health, it stands to reason that not just anyone can become a psychologist. The steps outlined below give you a sense of what it takes to earn this title.

  1. Pursue a bachelor’s degree: Psychology bachelor’s programs typically require four years of full-time study and can be pursued as a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. The former focuses more on research and language skills while the latter emphasizes clinical skills.
  2. Obtain a master’s degree: If you plan to pursue a Ph.D. or Psy.D., a master’s degree in psychology isn’t always necessary. These two-year programs often appeal to people who are interested in becoming marriage and family therapists or other positions that don’t require a doctorate.
  3. Complete a doctoral degree: Doctorates in psychology take about five to seven years and allow you to build advanced clinical and research skills. The Ph.D. emphasizes research and academic knowledge while the Psy.D. focuses on clinical skills.
  4. Select a specialization: Given that psychology covers a wide range of topics, many specializations exist. You must select one of these to guide your doctoral studies and supervised experience. Common examples include clinical, developmental, behavioral, school, and social psychology.
  5. Seek licensure: Licensing requirements in New Jersey typically include completion of an accredited doctoral program, pre- and post-doctorate supervised experience, and passage of both board- and state-specific examinations.

New Jersey Psychology Licensing & Exams

The New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners sets all requirements for who may practice in the state. The board issues licenses to several types of mental health practitioners, including licensed professional counselors, clinical drug and alcohol counselors, and practicing psychologists.

Different types of licenses may have specific requirements, but many of the requirements are the same for all licenses. Some of these include:

  1. Complete education requirements: To work as a psychologist, your Ph.D. program must submit official transcripts demonstrating completion of a doctorate in good standing.
  2. Participate in supervised work experience: New Jersey mandates all psychologist applicants complete at least 3,500 hours of supervised experience, half of which must be undertaken after graduating from a doctorate.
  3. Submit an application: The application for licensure as a practicing psychologist can give you a sense of what to expect. Aside from completing all forms, you must also pay $125 for the application and $59.91 for a criminal background check.
  4. Pass all required exams: New Jersey mandates the passage of two exams: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the state-specific jurisprudence examination. These tests cost $687.50 and $100, respectively.
  5. Renew license: You must renew your license by June 30 every other year.To successfully renew your license, you must complete 40 approved continuing education credits.

Job Growth & Psychologist Salary in New Jersey

Plenty of jobs exist within the world of mental health, social work, and behavioral counseling. While a licensed psychologist must hold a doctorate, other positions require only bachelor’s or master’s qualifications. The chart below gives you an idea of the median salary and expected job growth in a variety of psychology-related positions in New Jersey. Note that all of these options may not be available in New Jersey.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in New Jersey

Career2018 Median SalaryAverage Salary Per HourExpected Job Growth
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$72,050$34.647%
ClinicalCounseling, and School Psychologists$98,470$47.348%
Psychologists – All Other$102,280$49.188%
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$67,770$32.5512%
Marriage and Family Therapist$72,380$34.8022%
Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselor$58,410$28.0823%

Salary Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth data from O*Net.

Recognized Psychology Specializations in New Jersey

Many specializations exist within the world of psychology, but the New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners (SBPE) decides which ones to recognize. This section takes a look at some of the available options, but you should check with the SBPE for an exhaustive list.

  • School Psychology: A great fit if you want to work with children, adolescents, and young adults, the school psychology specialization prepares you for jobs in K-12 or college settings. You’ll learn how to provide group and individual counseling, recognize behavioral and emotional issues, train administrators on proper handling of students seeking support, and mediate between children and their families. The New Jersey Department of Education provides details on the specific requirements for standard certification.
  • Practicing Psychologist: Practicing psychologists work with individuals of all ages to identify, assess, and treat a variety of common mental illnesses, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and emotional traumas. They often provide one-to-one services, but may also lead group counseling sessions for people dealing with common issues. You can learn more about New Jersey psychologist licensure procedures via the State Board of Psychological Examiners.
  • Licensed Professional Counselor: While these professionals must maintain licensure, they do not need a doctorate to practice. Most licensed professional counselors possess a master’s degree and may also be known as mental health counselors, marriage and family counselors, or substance abuse/behavioral disorder counselors. The Professional Counselor Examiners Committee answers frequently asked questions about how to get licensed.
  • Clinical Psychology: Traditionally viewed as the most wide-ranging of all specializations, clinical psychologists can be found working in hospitals, inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers, government agencies, schools, and in private practice. Clinical psychologists use a variety of tools and techniques to identify, diagnose and treat their clients’ psychological and behavioral issues.
  • Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor: Also known as substance abuse counselors, these professionals help individuals trying to overcome dependence on alcohol, drugs, and other substances. They provide addiction counseling, work with clients to develop a plan, educate family members, facilitate detox, and provide various therapies throughout the rehabilitation process. They may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, prisons, or other facilities offering substance abuse counseling.  The New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services provides detailed information on how to qualify for a job in this field.

New Jersey Psychology Spotlight Programs

New Jersey may be a small state, but it’s brimming with well-regarded colleges and universities. Whether you seek a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, the New Jersey schools in this section offer programs at every level. Some departments provide unique specializations, dual degrees, and 4+1 programs, which allow learners to earners to work towards earning both a master’s and bachelor’s simultaneously, completing both degrees in a total of five years. Read about what makes each school stand out to find the program that speaks to your academic interests, professional goals, and financial requirements.

When looking at any degree program, remember to find one that maintains proper accreditation. At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the name to know. At the doctoral level, seek out programs approved by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Rutgers University (New Brunswick)

Rutgers is the largest public research institution in the state and provides both a B.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology. Undergraduates can choose to pursue a minor in developmental psychology or participate in independent research, fieldwork, or internships. The doctorate includes specializations in behavioral and systems neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. An interdisciplinary health psychology concentration also exists. New Jersey residents paid $12,230 in undergraduate tuition during the 2019-2020 academic year; non-resident learners paid $29,012 during the same timeframe. All Ph.D. candidates who maintain good standing receive five years of funding.

Montclair State University (Montclair)

If you’re seeking variety in psychology degree offerings, look no further than MSU. The Department of Psychology offers a B.A., combined B.A./M.A., combined B.A./M.B.A, and several bachelor’s degrees in psychology with teaching certifications for undergrads. Graduate students can select from an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology, an M.S. in clinical psychology with specializations in clinical forensics or child/adolescent psychology, or a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Resident and nonresident undergrads paid $12,081 and $20,041 respectively during the 2019-20 academic year. Master’s students paid $700 and $1,024 per credit while Ph.D. candidates paid $640 per credit regardless of residency.

The College of New Jersey (Ewing)

TCNJ offers a comprehensive undergraduate program with several specialization options. The psychology major includes concentrations in biopsychology, cognitive psychology, counseling and clinical psychology, developmental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and social psychology. A psychology and education dual major also exists, as do many hands-on research and fieldwork opportunities. Degree seekers who qualified for in-state tuition paid $16,942 during the 2019-2020 year; those who didn’t paid $28,921. The department offers two psychology-specific scholarships to help offset costs.

Kean University (Union)

Kean University is a public four-year institution that offers several undergraduate psychology degrees. Campus-based programs include a B.S. in psychology, a B.A. in psychology with a forensic psychology specialization, and a B.S. in psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation. Aside from coursework, all psychology majors are encouraged to take part in a field experience to gain marketable job skills prior to graduation. Residents paid $12,595 in tuition to study in 2019-2020; non-residents paid $19,771.

Seton Hall University (South Orange)

As the oldest diocesan school in America, Seton Hall University is uniquely placed to provide a private Roman Catholic education. The institution offers both a B.A. and a B.S. in psychology alongside an M.S. in experimental psychology. If looking for a dual degree, you can pursue a B.A. in psychology/M.A.E. in psychological studies or a B.A. in psychology/M.A. in experimental psychology. The M.S. is specifically designed for students who plan to enter a Ph.D. program after graduating. Undergraduates paid $1,270 per credit during the most recent academic year while grad students paid $1,310 per credit.

Princeton University (Princeton)

As the only Ivy League institution in the state, Princeton University is prepared to serve the needs of high achieving learners. The school offers an undergraduate psychology degree that emphasizes extensive research training. The Ph.D. in psychology comes with specialization options such as behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, perception and cognition, social psychology, social neuroscience, systems neuroscience, and the psychology of inequality. Dual degrees are also available in psychology and neuroscience or psychology and social policy. Tuition costs $51,870 for undergrad and grad students during the 2019-2020 year, though substantial grants are available.

Monmouth University (West Long Branch)

Monmouth University is a small, private college that provides a comprehensive undergraduate psychology degree. One unique aspect of this program is that every student takes three research classes (including labs) and creates an empirical thesis. They also participate in internships and work closely with faculty on conference presentations and publications. Current tuition for full-time enrollment is $19,440 annually.

New Jersey Psychology Scholarships

With the cost of college continuing to rise, finding ways to avoid student loan debt is a real concern for today’s students–especially for those who aspire to pursue a doctorate. Fortunately, you can apply for scholarships and grants that don’t require repayment to help lessen the financial burden. State and local governments, colleges and universities, professional associations, and private foundations all routinely offer scholarships.

Aside from the New Jersey-specific awards spotlighted below, check out our psychology scholarship page to see if you meet the criteria for any national awards. Most importantly, start your research early. Many scholarships have extensive applications that require time and effort to complete.

  • College of New Jersey Scholarships : The Marshall P. Smith Scholarship is a psychology-specific award to undergraduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in all psychology courses and a 3.2 cumulative GPA. Applicants must provide a statement of purpose. Awards are based on financial need, academic excellence, and community service involvement. The Laurie Ann Mandara ’07 Scholarship is available to psychology undergraduates who demonstrate ongoing commitment to community service or perseverance in the face of personal obstacles can apply for this award, provided they maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA and attend The College of New Jersey. Students must be in at least their sophomore year when applying.</
  • Dorothy and David Cooper Scholarship: This summer undergraduate research fellowship is available to Rutgers psychology majors who want to use their summer to complete at least 250 hours of research. Applicants can receive up to $4,000 and must provide a written progress report halfway through the summer. All applicants are encouraged to apply but preference is given to non-traditional learners and those with demonstrated financial need.
  • State of New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant: Organized via the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, this grant provides funding to learners attending approved New Jersey colleges and universities. Applicants must reside in New Jersey, demonstrate financial need, and attend a qualifying institution. Award amounts vary by institution. Those attending Rutgers University, for instance, can receive up to $9,848 annually. Those attending Montclair State University qualify for up to $7,474 each year.

New Jersey Internships and Fellowships

The New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners requires that all licensees participate in at least 3,500 hours (two years, full-time) of supervised work experience both during and after completing a doctorate. Starting your internship/fellowship research early helps you find a position that builds relevant skills directly related to your career. We share a few options below, but plenty more exist.

  • Rutgers University Postdoctoral Fellowship: Located at the Camden campus, this part-time fellowship allows post-doctoral students to build individual counseling and psychotherapy skills, intervention techniques, prevention methods, and consultation tools under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. The department states that 40% of the fellowship focuses on patient care, 40% on psychological assessment and testing, and 20% on educational outreach and training. Fellows work 20 hours per week at $22 per hour.
  • Hackensack Meridian Health Psychology Fellowship: The Hackensack University Medical Center offers this full-time fellowship with salaried pay and benefits. Applicants should possess a doctorate in psychology with a demonstrated interest in forensic psychology. The fellow offers direct patient care under supervision and provides both evaluations and treatments. The work mainly centers around the Northern Regional Diagnostic Center for Child Abuse and Neglect.
  • Hackensack Meridian Health Psychology Internship: Designed for students currently enrolled in a psychology doctorate program, this is a full-time, paid position with benefits. Interns focus on intra-familial maltreatment and non-familial sexual assault. In this work they provide evaluations, individual and group therapy, case management, and crisis intervention services. They also receive access to weekly intern seminars to build relevant, real-world knowledge around child maltreatment.

Aside from looking at university and governmental pages, be sure to peruse websites such as LinkedIn and Indeed as both often post relevant positions.

New Jersey Psychology Resources

In addition to national resources such as the American Psychological Association, several meaningful professional associations exist in New Jersey. Whether you’re still in school, a recent graduate, or an industry veteran, these groups are there to help you build skills, complete continuing education requirements, present your research, and expand your professional network.

  • New Jersey Psychological Association: For more than 80 years, the NJPA has served the needs of members through innovative and helpful services. Benefits of membership include discounts on affinity services, continuing education programming, a home study library, advocacy programs, industry white papers, job listings, and specific services for graduate students and early career psychologists.
  • New Jersey Association of School Psychologists: The NJASP has been in operation since 1958 and currently serves more than 1,000 school psychologists. The group organizes an annual winter conference and regional events throughout the year. Members can take advantage of leadership and committee opportunities, networking events, and student initiatives.
  • South Jersey Psychological Association: SJPA maintains an active calendar of events to help those working in the psychological field take advantage of networking opportunities, continuing education programs, and conferences to review and present research. The group also provides workshops, an interactive listserv, a mental health professional database, and chances to take on leadership roles.
  • New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners: Operating through the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs, the SBPE is responsible for New Jersey psychologist licensure. The group establishes regulations to ensure every licensee possesses the training and experience needed, investigates reported violations, and sets renewal requirements.