Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Psychology Schools in New Mexico

Psychology Schools in New Mexico

New Mexico is currently putting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil and gas revenues toward a court-mandated overhaul of its public school system. Many of those dollars are earmarked for filling hundreds of open positions for school psychologists and counselors. The move showcases the state’s recognition of the importance of mental health workers.

In addition, the state funds several initiatives for graduate psychology students who commit to working in underserved parts of the state. New Mexico is also home to institutions offering some of the lowest tuition rates in the country.

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New Mexico Psychology Spotlight Programs

The following are some of the most interesting, unique, and popular psychology programs at New Mexico’s colleges and universities.

New Mexico State University (Las Cruces)

New Mexico State offers psychology degrees at all levels. The B.A. degree is in general psychology, the M.A. is in experimental psychology, and the doctorate is available with concentrations in social, engineering, and cognitive psychology.

New Mexico State boasts a low 3:1 faculty/student ratio. Faculty collaborate with graduate students on research projects in large lab suites, with each faculty member occupying their own suite.

Undergraduate tuition for residents is $3,147.50 for 15+ credits and $11,701.70 for non-residents. Graduate tuition is $3,459.20 and $12,011.80. Graduate psychology students from 15 other states and territories might qualify for in-state tuition.

Southwestern College (Santa Fe)

Southwestern College is unique in that it is purely a graduate school. Master’s options include M.A. degrees in art therapy/counseling, counseling, and art therapy for clinical professionals. All programs take 2.5–3.5 years to complete.

Students will receive hands-on training at the Tierra Nueva Counseling Center, a mental health clinic that the college operates and uses to provide clinical practicum and internship training. Professional seminar classes are held there, and students will work with between two and five clients every week at the center for a total of 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours.

Tuition is $590 per quarter unit or $57,230–$57,820 for the entire program, depending on the concentration you choose.

University of New Mexico (Albuquerque)

The psychology department at the University of New Mexico is run by 27 faculty members and is home to 76 Ph.D. students. Nearly 1,800 undergrads have declared psych as a major, and psychology was voted “Best Department” by the college’s students. Its research programs are world-renowned and have received more than $8 million in research grants and funding.

Undergraduates can earn a B.A. or a B.S. in psychology, and an accelerated B.A. degree-completion program is available online. The Ph.D. program is available in four concentrations: Clinical; Cognition Brain and Behavior (Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Behavioral Neuroscience); Evolution; and Developmental. In addition to the concentration you choose, you can choose an emphasis in Quantitative Psychology or Health Psychology.

Many doctoral students work toward a master’s degree while completing the doctoral program, but the school does not offer terminal master’s degrees, and no doctoral program includes one.

Undergraduate tuition for a full-time workload of 15 to 18 credits is $2,793 for in-state students and $10,857.84 for non-residents. Per-credit graduate tuition is $286.44 and $967.04.

University of the Southwest (Hobbs)

The University of the Southwest is a nondenominational Christian university that provides regular campus ministry events. The school is unique for its prison seminary program, which takes place at Lea County Correctional Facility.

The undergraduate psychology program at the University of the Southwest includes a 42-credit major that prepares students for graduate study—particularly graduate study in mental health counseling. The school also offers a master’s of clinical mental health counseling degree with electives such as psychopharmacology, play therapy, Christian counseling, and sexuality.

Tuition is $8,000 per semester for undergraduates and $625 per credit hour for graduate programs. The school boasts that 80% of its students receive some form of financial aid.

Western New Mexico University (Silver City)

Western New Mexico University stands out, in part, for its cultural diversity. Eighteen countries are represented among its student body, and half of its students are Hispanic. The college is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. It’s home to a museum that features Native American and Southwestern pottery, artifacts, and crafts.

WNMU offers an undergraduate psychology program that allows students to choose a non-psych minor. Students also have the option of taking psychology as an 18-credit minor with another major course of study. The school offers psychology as a concentration in a master’s of arts degree program in interdisciplinary studies. All programs can be taken either on campus or completely online. All students, including undergrads, are required to complete a capstone project at the end of the program.

Tuition for undergraduate state residents is $3,547.13 for 15 credit hours and $7,615.62 for non-residents. In-state graduate students pay $826.86 for three credit hours, and non-residents pay $1,022.31.

New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas)

The main campus of New Mexico Highlands University is in Las Vegas, N.M., a town rich in Southwest cultural history and legend. The town is also teeming with outdoor activities thanks to its location between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Great Plains.

You can earn a B.A., B.S., or M.S. in psychology at the university. B.A. students will complete 36 credit hours in the major. Those pursuing the B.S. will complete that plus a science minor and a research project. Master’s students can choose a general track or a clinical psychology/counseling track. Graduate students will be assigned a faculty advisor who will help them create a course of study that satisfies their area’s specific program requirements.

In-state undergraduate tuition is $3,084 for 12–18 credits, $5,220 for nonresidents. For graduate students, it’s $3,420 and $5,532.

How to Become a Psychologist in New Mexico

There are two hurdles to becoming a psychologist in New Mexico. The first is satisfying the educational requirements and the second is earning a license, which you need to work in the state.

Education Requirements to Be a Psychologist in New Mexico

You must complete a doctoral degree—either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.—to earn the title of psychologist. There are, however, many related careers in the field of psychology that you can begin in New Mexico with a master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or even an associate degree. Those will be discussed in the following section.

You must earn an undergraduate degree to enter a doctoral program, but you don’t necessarily need a master’s degree. Some doctoral programs require it, but many don’t. Even if your program doesn’t require you to earn a master’s, you might consider doing it anyway. Getting your master’s can prepare you for the heavy academic demands of a Psy.D. or Ph.D. program. A master’s program can also help you decide on a specialty.

The APA officially recognizes roughly 20 specialties and proficiencies in the field of psychology. Some of the most common among New Mexico’s colleges and universities are school psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and psychoanalysis in psychology.

New Mexico Psychology Licensing and Exams

To work as a practicing psychologist in the state of New Mexico, you’ll have to do more than earn a doctorate—all working psychologists must be licensed. The New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners is the governing body charged with vetting candidates and issuing licenses.

Everyone who applies for a license must show proof that they’ve completed a nationally accredited doctoral program in clinical, school, or counseling psychology. You must also have completed 3,000 hours of supervised experience over a two-year period. Up to one year and/or 1,500 hours may come from the doctoral program’s practicum experience. The same amount of time and hours can come from an approved internship. Up to six months and 750 hours can come from an internship that is not approved by the APA.

You’ll also have to take and pass two tests. The first is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This is a national examination administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The 225-question test assesses your knowledge and skills in eight key areas. There’s also the New Mexico Jurisprudence Examination, which focuses specifically on state-related concepts like ethics and regulations.

Once you’re working, you’ll have to renew your license every two years. To do that, you have to complete 40 approved continuing professional education credits. Renewals must take place on or before July 1st of the year that renewal is required, and a $100 delinquency fee is issued for anyone who files late.

The initial license application fee is $125 and the biennial renewal fee is $500. The cost of the jurisprudence examination is $75.

Psychology Specializations in New Mexico That Do Not Require a Doctorate

As mentioned in the previous section, New Mexico recognizes several specialties within the field of psychology that don’t require doctoral degrees. They all have their own licensing boards, and, just like psychologists, you have to satisfy the requirements of those boards to earn a license—which is required to work. That means earning the required degree, taking exams, and satisfying the rest of the board’s requirements.

Here’s a look at the officially recognized specialties in the state of New Mexico.

  • Substance abuse counselor: There are different tiers of substance abuse counselors in New Mexico. You can begin a career in the field with an associate degree at the lowest tier or a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the successively higher tiers. Across all tiers you’ll work to identify, manage, and mitigate the effects of drug abuse and problem drinking with both individuals and groups.
  • Social worker: The Board of Social Workers licenses social workers at both the baccalaureate and master’s level. As a social worker, you’ll serve individuals, groups, and families of people experiencing social and personal crises. Social workers work with the homeless, people experiencing abuse or domestic violence, and people struggling with poverty or joblessness. They counsel and advise them, guide them through the network of available social services, and connect them with the appropriate supporting agencies and groups.
  • Mental health counselor: You’ll need a master’s or doctoral degree to become either a clinical mental health counselor or a licensed mental health counselor. In this specialty, you’ll work with a broad range of people and groups grappling with a wide variety of behavioral, emotional, or mental problems.
  • Marriage and family therapist: You must have a master’s or doctoral degree to work as a marriage and family therapist. This career involves working with couples, families, and children to find solutions to problems specific to household and family dynamics.
  • Art therapist: Art therapists need to have at minimum a master’s degree. In this career, you’ll use artistic and creative expression to help clients and patients work through psychological or emotional problems.

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in New Mexico

Salaries vary considerably from specialty to specialty in the field of psychology. Here’s a look at median salaries, as well as job growth projections, for some of the most common professions in the field.

Career2018 Median SalaryExpected Job Growth (2016 – 26)
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$66,810+8%
Psychologists—All Other$96,290+4%
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$54,690+10%
Licensed Clinical Social Workers—All Others$55,040+4%
Marriage and Family Therapists$50,230no data available
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors$46,380no available data

All data from CareerOneStop, 2020

New Mexico Psychology Scholarships

You can offset the cost of education by applying for scholarships, some of which are general and others that are specific to certain student demographics like African-Americans, women, or the LGBTQ+ community. The scholarships listed below are those specific to New Mexico. Visit our general scholarship page for information on scholarships from a variety of states and a variety of demographics.

In many cases, colleges and universities themselves offer scholarships. Here are a few in New Mexico.

  • University of New Mexico: The U.M. Foundation’s Jose Rodriguez Travel Award for the Promotion of Minorities in Science is open to psychology students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its cash award is indeterminate, but is designed to pay for travel for students who have been selected to present original work at a national conference. All students can apply, but preference is given to ethnic minorities who are traditionally underrepresented in psychology.
  • University of New Mexico: Also from the U.M. Foundation is the Sandia Casino Responsible Gaming Scholarship in Psychology, which has given funding to 12 students since 2018. Amounts vary, but the award is specific to graduate psychology students conducting research specific to gambling addiction.
  • Eastern New Mexico University: The Roy Morgan Memorial Award is a non-renewable scholarship of varying amounts that’s open to psychology majors in their junior or senior years. Although the exact parameters aren’t defined, the scholarship awards an “outstanding student.”
  • Eastern New Mexico University: Both upper-division and graduate psychology students can apply for the William Baldwin Award in Psychology. The award varies, but it’s open only to students with a GPA of 3.2 or above.

In other cases, scholarships are sponsored by organizations in New Mexico that aren’t affiliated with specific schools.

  • Health Professional Loan Repayment Program: The New Mexico Higher Education Department sponsors this program, which is a unique funding opportunity for students studying for a range of mental health professions. It helps repay loan debts for those willing to commit to at least two years of work in a designated medical shortage area in New Mexico.
  • M. Higher Education Department Graduate Scholarship: This award, also sponsored by the state’s Higher Education Department, is reserved for “groups underrepresented in higher education.” It comes with a $7,200 yearly award and is designed for students who will commit to an eligible unpaid internship or assistantship.

New Mexico Internships and Fellowships

Internships and fellowships are similar, but internships generally focus on providing professional experience while fellowships lean more toward research or academic or professional development. Fellowships are generally reserved for graduate students while grad students are often required to complete internships. Both often come with financial incentives like stipends or salaries.

Colleges and universities often offer their own fellowships and internships, including a few from these New Mexico institutions:

  • New Mexico State University Fellowships: New Mexico State sponsors two fellowships, both of which are designed for graduate students already working in assistantship positions. The first is a merit-based fellowship that awards $4,000. The second is paid as a $2,000 salary supplement to a graduate student’s current research or teaching assistantship.
  • University of New Mexico Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship: This position is open to Ph.D. candidates currently writing their dissertations. The one-year position comes with an $8,000 stipend.
  • University of New Mexico Clinical Psychology Internship Training Program: This APA-accredited internship takes place at the UNM Health Sciences Center and offers seven different tracks. It pays an annual salary of $24,043 plus benefits such as paid time off and insurance coverage.
  • New Mexico State University Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology: Open to clinical and counseling doctoral students, this internship involves 2,000 hours, 500 of which include direct client services. The salary is unspecified, but the position comes with generous benefits, including paid time off.

Organizations not affiliated with colleges or universities also offer their own internships and fellowships, including:

  • Southwest Consortium Doctoral Psychology Internship: Offered through the New Mexico VA Health Care System, this APA-accredited internship comes with a stipend of $26,254 and includes benefits like paid time off. Upon completion, interns will have completed a certified 2,080 supervised clinical experience hours.
  • VA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology: This fellowship is also offered through the state VA and is accredited by the APA. The full-time two-year position pays an annual salary of $46,258 and includes a generous benefits package. Applicants must have completed an approved doctoral program and internship to be considered.

You should also make sure to use resources like Chegg Internships to learn about other opportunities, as well as LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job sites.

New Mexico Psychology Resources

The following organizations offer resources, information, professional development tools, and networking opportunities for psychology students and professionals working in the field.

  • New Mexico Psychological Association: You can turn to the NMPA for a range of valuable resources, including continuing education courses, speaker information, and program approval. It provides interdisciplinary specialist contacts, as well as papers, reports, publications, and discussion forums.
  • The New Mexico Counseling Association: This organization is a continuing education provider that helps counselors work toward and maintain their licenses. The organization also performs political advocacy, legislative lobbying, and community action programs in an effort to steer policy.
  • New Mexico Mental Health Counselors Association: This organization serves professional practitioners who work in private and public agencies, community mental health centers, or in private practice at the master’s and doctoral levels.
  • New Mexico Association of School Psychologists: The state affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists, NMASP represents and provides professional and educational resources for the state’s roughly 215 school psychologists.
  • New Mexico Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling: This organization is dedicated to promoting a greater understanding and better delivery of psychological services to the LGBTQ+ community.