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Psychology Programs in South Carolina

As people become more accepting of and open about mental health disorders and treatment, the need for psychologists is becoming more significant—especially in South Carolina, where many psychology-related occupations are growing faster than average. If you are interested in helping South Carolinians improve their quality of life via counseling, social work, or other areas of mental health treatment, a degree in psychology might be right for you.

South Carolina Psychology Spotlight Programs

Whether you’re interested in clinical psychology programs, looking for school psychology programs in South Carolina, or want to pursue some other specialty area, there are a number of accredited psychology and counseling programs in South Carolina that make this Southern state a great place to pursue a degree in this field.

Here are a few schools you might want to consider.

University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)

The University of South Carolina (USC) is a large, APA accredited school in Columbia, South Carolina. With an enrollment of more than 25,000 undergraduate students, the university has earned a reputation for academic excellence, as well as for its athletics programs.

Psychology students can earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Graduate students can pursue a Ph.D. in experimental psychology, clinical-community psychology, or school psychology. The Psychology department offers numerous opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students to gain experience in a research lab and to conduct and present research. Students have the opportunity to learn applied skills through the school’s Psychology Services Center and internships. While they do not offer full psychology degrees online, you can take some psychology courses over the internet.

Tuition for full-time students who are residents of South Carolina is $12,688 per academic year, while it is $33,928 for out-of-state students.

Charleston Southern University (Charleston, SC)

Charleston Southern University is a Christian, not-for-profit college of 4,000 students in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The school’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a major in psychology, with opportunities for internships and directed research.

Graduates of Charleston Southern University’s psychology program offers courses with titles not generally seen elsewhere, such as Psychology of Religious Experience and Issues and Ethics in Helping Professions. All coursework must be taken on campus.

Tuition varies by session, type of course, and, if you plan to study other subjects in addition to psychology, may vary by major. For a standard session of 12–18 hours, though, tuition is a flat rate of $13,000.

The Citadel Military College of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)

Also located in Charleston, South Carolina, The Citadel offers a military education that prepares students to become military officers. Military service isn’t a requirement, but many students choose The Citadel for its emphasis on leadership, discipline, and teamwork because these qualities are highly valued and sought by employers.

The Department of Psychology offers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology. The undergraduate degrees are intended to provide a broad understanding of the field so graduates can further their studies or work in helping fields. The master’s programs include Education Specialist in School Psychology, which allows students to obtain Level II school psychologist certification in South Carolina, and Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, which prepares students to be psychosocial counselors. All psychology coursework must be taken on campus.

In-state tuition is $30,022 per year for freshmen and $24,812 per year for their sophomore through senior studies. Out-of-state students should expect to pay $53,278 initially and $48,068 a year thereafter. Tuition for the MS in Clinical Counseling is $500 per credit hour.

Clemson University (Clemson, SC)

Clemson University is situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It offers a range of options in psychology. You can choose from:

  • Certificate in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services – Online
  • Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Bachelor’s in Psychology, General
  • Master’s in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  • Master’s in Community Psychology
  • Doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Doctorate in Psychology, General

Tuition is $15,558 per academic year for South Carolina residents and $38,550 for out-of-state students.

Lander University (Greenwood, SC)

Lander is a four-year institution. The school’s stated goal is to produce highly qualified and marketable graduates. It has a student population of 3,000 and is located in the small city of Greenwood. Lander holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The school’s College of Behavioral & Social Sciences offers an undergraduate degree program in psychology. Students are expected to graduate not just with a solid knowledge of psychology, but also with an array of “soft skills” that are in high demand in all fields. While a wholly online degree in psychology is not available, there are some psychology courses that can be taken in that manner.

Full-time, in-state undergraduate tuition is $5,850 per semester ($10,150 for non-residents).

Francis Marion University (Florence, SC)

Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, is a public university named after General Francis Marion, a hero of the American Revolution, better known as the Swamp Fox. With 4,000 students, the university is able to keep class sizes small, with a 15:1 student-professor ratio.

The Department of Psychology offers a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in applied psychology (clinical/counseling or applied behavior analysis), and a specialist in school psychology program. The specialist program lets graduates to earn licensure in licensed professional counseling or to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists. Coursework is on campus.

Francis Marion University’s tuition is $5,192 per semester for in-state students and $10,384 for non-residents.

How to Become a Psychologist in South Carolina

Psychology programs in South Carolina prepare you to work in the field, but in order to practice in the state, you’ll need a license from the appropriate state licensing board. In South Carolina, a doctorate in psychology from an accredited institution is necessary.

Typically, South Carolina psychologist licensure requires these basic steps:

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree. If your degree isn’t in psychology, you may have to complete specified coursework to be accepted into graduate school for an advanced degree in psychology.
  2. Choose a specialization area. Psychology offers a number of specialties: child psychology, clinical psychology, forensic psychology, neuropsychology, sports psychology, and many others.
  3. Complete a master’s degree. While some programs may allow students to pursue a doctorate without first getting a master’s degree, the usual path includes obtaining a master’s. A master’s  degree not only provides a solid educational foundation but also gives you an advanced credential that has value.
  4. Earn a doctorate. Most doctoral degree programs will require a dissertation and internship.
  5. Become licensed. Each state has its own requirements for licensing. South Carolina’s requirements include documented evidence of 3,000 hours of post-doctoral supervised experience, a passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP), and successfully passing a structured oral examination given by the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology.

In South Carolina, the government’s Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) division handles Professional and Occupational Licensing. The Board of Examiners in Psychology issues licenses for psychologists and is responsible for South Carolina psychologist license verification. Counselors are licensed through the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors, and Psycho-Educational Specialists.

In addition to being emotionally rewarding work, psychology is a broad field with diverse opportunities that often include a flexible work schedule and above-average income.

South Carolina Psychology Licensing & Exams

People interested in psychology programs often want to know the steps they’ll need to take to become a psychologist in South Carolina so they can begin to plan before they graduate.

The first step in the application process to become licensed to practice psychology in South Carolina is to complete the Preliminary Application for Licensure. Following board approval of the preliminary application, the candidate will receive by mail the additional materials needed to make a formal application. The applicant will receive:

  • A Blue Application for License form
  • A pre-doctoral supervision form
  • A supervision contract
  • A supervisor’s report form
  • Three professional reference forms (two must be completed by psychologists). Each reference is to complete the form and mail it directly to the Administrator of the Board.

In addition to assuring completion of all the forms provided, the applicant must:

  • Provide evidence of 3,000 hours of post-doctoral supervised experience
  • Provide proof of a passing score (70%) on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP)
  • Pass a structured oral examination given by the South Carolina Board of Examiners

Applicants to become licensed professional counselors in South Carolina must hold at least a 48-semester-hour master’s degree or higher in counseling that includes specified classes, along with a 150-hour practicum.

Marriage and Family Therapists must have at least a master’s degree and a minimum of 48 graduate semester hours in marriage and family therapy, including specific coursework.

Psycho-Educational Specialists in South Carolina are required to have at least a master’s degree plus 30 semester hours and training to assess and treat problems as described in standard diagnostic nomenclature (a defined system of names and terms used in the field).

Job Growth & Psychologist Salary in South Carolina

As more and more people discover the value of turning to psychologists for help with problems, the demand for counseling and psychological services continues to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018, the job outlook in the field of psychology is projected to see above-average growth of 14% from 2018 to 2028. Not all career options available in this field are included below, but the following information regards salary and job growth for some of the more popular choices.

Mental Health Careers and Job Growth in South Carolina

CareerMean Annual Salary (2018)Expected Job Growth (2018-28)
Behavioral DisorderSubstance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselor$38,41023% (nationwide)
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$63,05014%
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$52,89015%
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$45,6104%
Psychologists – All Other$92,5605%

Salary information from Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expected job growth information from O*Net.

Recognized Psychology Specializations in South Carolina

The South Carolina legislature established, by code of law, a State Board of Examiners in Psychology to regulate practitioners in this field. The board’s duties are to accept applications, hold exams, establish a code of ethics under which licensed psychologists are to operate, renew licenses, investigate complaints, and discipline practitioners when necessary.

The state code includes several specific areas of specialization (see section 40-55-180). Those listed are:

  1. Clinical psychology deals with the assessment and treatment of mental illness and disability. Clinical psychologists identify and diagnose psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues and develop and implement treatment plans. They may conduct research, publish findings, and teach classes.
  2. Counseling refers to helping people deal with personal and interpersonal issues and guiding them to solutions. Counselors help clients gain insight and develop goals and plans.
  3. Industrial/organizational psychology focuses on employees, workplaces, organizations, and organizational behavior. These psychologists study workplace productivity and working styles.
  4. Community psychologists work on social issues and institutions that influence individuals, groups, and organizations. They develop and implement programs that benefit the community.
  5. School psychology is concerned with children, youth, families, and schools. School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.
  6. Social psychology studies how individuals affect and are affected by other people and by their social and physical environments. Social psychologists research social interactions and the factors that influence them (such as group behavior, attitudes, public perceptions, leadership, and more).
  7. Experimental psychology is concerned with the scientific investigation of psychological processes such as learning, memory, cognition, and many other topics. Experimental psychologists use scientific methods to collect data and perform research. They may work for colleges and universities, research centers, government agencies, and private businesses.

This is not a comprehensive list of psychology specializations, and you’ll find there are many variations in job titles.

When you study psychology, you develop analytical skills. You become a better communicator, and you learn to resolve conflict. These skills may enable you to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. If you’re not sure you want to practice psychology, a psychology degree can be an asset for working in sales, marketing, education, and business management.

The South Carolina Division of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (SCLLR) can help with information and materials. You can contact the division at (803) 896-4664 about exams, continuing education requirements, license renewals, opportunities, or other questions.

South Carolina Psychology Scholarships

Affording college can be a challenge for many people, including psychology majors. Thankfully, scholarships may be available to help defray the costs. The great thing about scholarships is that they don’t have to be repaid.

Scholarships are available from many sources, including private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations. Start with OnlinePsychologyDegrees.com’s list of scholarships for psychology students. Public libraries are an excellent place to find information, and the Department of Labor has a free scholarship search tool.

South Carolina Internships and Fellowships

An internship is a program wherein a student is placed to work in an organization, sometimes without pay, to gain valuable work experience. As they gain knowledge and experience, they are often given greater responsibilities. Many interns have been able to leverage an internship into employment with the organization.

A fellowship is generally for graduate students. It provides opportunities for additional learning and experience in exchange for the student’s work. A fellowship typically last from a few months to two years.

During an internship, concepts become reality. You interact in a professional setting where you develop communication skills in real-life situations. You learn workplace collaboration through experience and gain an understanding of business etiquette that can only be discovered on the job.

Internships provide the kind of foundational information, experience, and skills that employers are looking for. They provide an opening to opportunities that might otherwise not be available.

So how do you find an internship? Online job boards such as LinkedIn, Simply Hired, Indeed, WayUp, ZipRecruiter, and others are a great place to search for internships. Organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) can also be useful resources.

The National Science Foundation provides lists of available internships, including some in psychology, but students have to contact the individual sites to get information and forms concerning applications.

Another resource to search is Chegg, an American education technology company that provides digital and physical textbook rentals, online tutoring, and other student services. The company has listings of internships in many fields, including psychology, available on its website.

Many institutions of higher learning provide information about summer, internal, and external internships. Here are just a few in South Carolina.

The practical application of theoretical concepts is essential. There’s no better way for a student to get experience and gain professional insight than through internships. Through daily activities and interpersonal interactions, interns get a chance to evaluate their own strengths and preferences before they start a job.

South Carolina Psychology Resources

Whether you’re an undergraduate, a graduate student, or a practitioner in one of the many fields of psychology, it’s important to have resources you can turn to for help finding conferences, training, licensing, current research, news, and expert information on current topics.

Accessing these resources can help you find answers to your questions and help you stay up to date on many topics related to this dynamic field. Some resources you may find helpful include:

  • South Carolina Psychological Association is a professional organization for those working in the field of psychology in South Carolina. The group sponsors events and education. Its website includes resources for members.
  • South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology is part of the state’s Labor Licensing and Regulation division of professional and occupational licensing. It regulates those who practice psychology in South Carolina. It also provides information and materials on required examinations, continuing education requirements, licensure applications and renewals, and more.
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