Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Psychology Schools in Tennessee

Psychology Schools in Tennessee

The Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services in Tennessee has a vision: “To be the nation’s most innovative and proactive state behavioral health authority for Tennesseans dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.” You can be part of this mission by becoming a psychologist or exploring other psychology-related careers for a wide variety of jobs in Tennessee.

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Tennessee Psychology Spotlight Programs

Vanderbilt University (Nashville)

Vanderbilt was ranked by Forbes as the 27th top college in the United States in 2019; U.S. News and World Report ranked it 26th in psychology. The research focus of the staff in the Department of Psychology centers around three broad areas: clinical science, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, and neuroscience. In addition to doctoral concentrations in those three areas, Vanderbilt, together with Peabody College’s Department of Psychology and Human Development, offers doctoral programs in medicine, health, and society; quantitative methods; developmental science; and cognitive studies. Vanderbilt also has a B.A. program in psychology, master’s programs in child studies and quantitative methods, and a combined B.A. to M.A. program. Tuition for undergrads is $50,800 per year; graduate tuition is $2,026 per credit hour.

University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

The University of Tennessee’s Department of Psychology offers the largest assortment of undergrad and doctoral programs in the state, gaining national school recognition. They offer graduate programs in experimental, clinical, or counseling psychology, each with other concentrations available. Undergraduate in-state tuition is $371 per credit hour, out-of-state is $1,130. Graduate in-state tuition is $626 per credit hour, graduate out-of-state is $1,637.

Rhodes College (Memphis)

Rhodes College Department of Psychology offers undergraduate majors and minors that focus on theoretical perspectives in the areas of physiology; clinical/community health; counseling; and cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Students will read and discuss theoretical perspectives, engage in research, and participate in community psychological services. Tuition is $50,250 per year.

East Tennessee State University (Johnson City)

A primary goal of East Tennessee State University is to improve the quality of life for those in the region, which is dotted with rural areas and, along with North Caroline, is home to the Cherokee Indian Reservation. As such, its Ph.D. program in clinical psychology is geared toward rural behavioral health within integrated primary healthcare. The university also offers a Ph.D. in experimental psychology. Undergraduate psychology majors can choose from one of the following concentrations: general, child, clinical, or health professions. The undergraduate program can be partially taken online. Undergraduate in-state tuition is $412 per credit hour, out-of-state is $1,173. Graduate in-state tuition is $587 per credit hour, out-of-state is $1,428.

Sewanee—the University of the South (Sewanee)

At Sewanee, psychology majors can be found taking a wide variety of unique courses, such as Positive Psychology; Child, Family, and Community Development in Rural Appalachia; Psychology of Creativity; Psychology of Eating Disorders and Obesity; and Judgment and Decision Making. The psychology department offers a general psychology major as well as a major in neuropsychology. Undergraduate tuition is $46,200 per year.

Maryville College (Knoxville)

Ranked #3 in regional colleges of the south, Maryville is a private school that has external relations with Cherokee Health Systems, the University of Tennessee, and the Autism Society of America for the Autism Training. It offers a wide variety of concentrations within its Major in Psychology–Counseling track: child welfare, experimental, forensic, gerontology, global citizenship, psychology in the community/civic engagement, and relationships and sexual health. Seniors are required to participate in a senior study project dealing with their area of concentration. The college also offers an international child welfare study-abroad program in Switzerland. Full-time undergraduates pay $17,724 per semester.

The University of Memphis (Memphis)

One of the most distinguishing features of UofM‘s Department of Psychology is its Center for Applied Psychological Research (CAPR), a faculty-driven organization that focuses on applying psychological methods to solve problems in society. During the last decade, CAPR faculty have brought in over $30 million in external funding. They have published more than 1,500 scholarly works and graduated hundreds of masters and doctoral students.

The university offers doctorates in clinical, experimental, and school psychology, as well as master’s programs in general psychology and school psychology. Undergraduate students can choose from three concentrations: general psychology, behavioral neuroscience, or cognitive science. Undergrads can get hands-on experience by becoming research assistants or participating in community internships. Online courses are also available.

Tuition for in-state undergraduates is $342 per credit hour, out-of-state is $502. Online undergraduate tuition is $463 per credit hour. Graduate in-state tuition is $512 per credit hour, out-of-state is $704. Online graduate tuition is $647 per credit hour.

How to Become a Psychologist in Tennessee

If you want to become a fully-fledged psychologist in Tennessee, the most time-intensive requirement is obtaining a doctorate in the field. As you can see from the spotlight schools listed above, there are numerous psychology programs in the state at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, education isn’t the only requirement. You also must obtain licensure before you can legally practice in the state.

Psychology Education

You’ll start by earning a bachelor’s degree. As much as possible, it’s good to have a general career goal in mind. If you want to be a psychologist, you will need to continue your studies to earn a doctorate. However, there are therapy and counseling careers that only require a master’s—and, in some cases, even just a bachelor’s degree.

You might already have a specialty in mind, but if not, don’t worry. Find a school that has a strong general psychology program and take as many types of courses as you can.

If you are pursuing a doctorate, you may not need to get a master’s degree. Many schools don’t require it, and some offer a combined master’s-doctorate program.

Getting a doctorate is the last stage in your education, although following graduation you will need to complete a fellowship or internship. You can choose between the research-based Doctor of Philosophy or a practice-based Doctor of Psychology degree based on your goals. Specialties recognized in Tennessee include school psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and clinical psychology.

Tennessee Psychology Licensing and Exams

Before you can practice in your field, you must become licensed. Tennessee, as with all states, has its own particular set of requirements. These are laid out by the Tennessee Board of Examiners of Psychology, which is the regulating board in charge of issuing licenses in the state.

Psychologist License With HSP Designation

Those who want to work with patients in a clinical environment need a license with a “health services provider” (HSP) designation. The requirements for this license are:

  • Earn an APA-accredited doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Perform two years of supervised professional experience, including at least a 1,900-hour postdoctoral internship. (Depending on your area of specialization, you may need to have additional experience in your area.)
  • Pass two examinations—the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and a state jurisprudence exam.

You will also need to complete a series of application forms, pay the associated fees, and get a background check.

Psychologist License Without HSP Designation

You can also earn a psychologist license without HSP designation if you don’t plan to provide health services. This license is for doctoral degree holders in non-clinical jobs like teaching or research. The process is the same as for HSP licenses, except that you aren’t required to complete supervised experience hours.

Licensure Reciprocity for Out-of-State Psychologists

If you’re already a psychologist and licensed in another state you can move to Tennessee and gain licensure through a reciprocity agreement. To do so, you need to complete the application and provide proof of your passing EPPP scores, valid licensure, and at least 3,800 supervised professional hours.

Specializations Without a Doctoral Degree

Not all careers in psychology require a doctorate. You can become licensed in the state of Tennessee in a number of other mental health careers with just a master’s degree.

  • Licensed clinical social worker: Earn a master’s and complete 3,000 hours of non-clinical social work experience, of which 100 hours are under professional supervision
  • Marriage and family therapist: Earn a master’s and complete 1,000 hours of clinical practice, of which 200 hours are under professional supervision
  • Licensed professional counselor: Earn a master’s and complete 3,000 hours of clinical work, of which 1,500 hours must include face-to-face interaction with patients

Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Tennessee

CareerMedian Annual Salary (2018)Median Wage Per Hour Expected Job Growth (2016-26)
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors$49,690$23.8912%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$64,330$30.9314%
Psychologists—All Other$95,990$46.154%
Licensed Clinical Social Workers$47,840$23.0012%
Marriage and Family Therapists$36,500$17.5533%
Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselors$36,090$17.35No data available

All data from CareerOneStop

Tennessee Psychology Scholarships

You can find a list of non-state specific psychology scholarship options on our general scholarship page. However, also check the psychology departments in schools you are considering. Many offer scholarships and grants for both incoming students and transfers. Department staff can also help you find other sources for funding your education.

Tennessee Internships and Fellowships

Finding the right internship or fellowship is not always easy. Here is a list of resources that can help you locate the ideal hands-on experience.

  • The University of Tennessee internships and fellowships: The University of Tennessee provides a range of internships through its Professional Psychology Internship Consortium. Some internships are with the university’s on-site school clinic, which offers counseling services for the public, while others are with community health facilities. The university also offers two postdoctoral fellowships in the areas of developmental disabilities and child welfare and trauma-informed care.
  • Tennessee Internship Consortium in Psychology: With locations in Knoxville and the eastern portion of Tennessee, this APA-accredited doctoral internship program partners with local resources in education and psychology.
  • Cherokee Health Systems: This nonprofit offers clinical internships and postdoctoral fellowships in three tracks: child and adolescent psychology, integrated health psychology, and developmental psychology. Interns and fellows will work with low-income, uninsured residents in eastern Tennessee. You need an APA-accredited Ph.D. or Psy.D. to apply.
  • Vanderbilt University internship and fellowship: The university’s multidisciplinary counseling center is the site for a doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship. The doctoral internship provides students with clinical experience in a range of mental health areas. Interns also supervise a graduate student who is at an earlier stage of training. The postdoctoral fellowship provides advanced training and opportunities for collaboration and consultation.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a number of APA-accredited internship and fellowship opportunities through Tennessee healthcare systems. The Tennessee Valley Healthcare System has doctoral internships in clinical psychology. There are currently six positions open—five generalist positions and one in neuropsychology. The Memphis VA Medical Center has a general psychology internship and postdoctoral fellowship programs in clinical psychology, health psychology, and neuropsychology. Mountain Home VA Healthcare System has a clinical internship for postgraduate students.

You can also use sites like LinkedIn and Indeed to find fellowships and internships in your specialty area.

Tennessee Psychology Resources

The following resources can help you plan your career, access continuing education, and stay abreast of current topics in psychology.