Home Psychology Programs and Licensing by State Online Psychology Programs in Texas

Online Psychology Programs in Texas

In 2016, a Texas politician ran into legal trouble when she claimed to be a psychologist on her campaign’s website, even though the state board never licensed her. The politician sued the chair of the governing body that licenses psychologists, claiming the state’s definition of “psychologist” was too broad and that it violated her First Amendment right to free speech. Her case went all the way to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed with her, leaving the definition of “psychologist” in Texas in limbo.

Even still, you can’t just say you’re a psychologist—or even a counselor or therapist—without completing a long journey of education and training. This page will introduce you to the programs you’ll have to complete and the degrees and licenses you’ll have to earn to work in every level of the field. You’ll also learn about potential careers, salaries, job growth, and scholarships that can help you pay your way.

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How to Become a Psychologist in Texas

A master’s degree is enough to become a mental health counselor in the state of Texas, but to earn the title of “psychologist,” you’ll have to complete a doctoral program. These are the steps required to earn the license needed to work in the field as a psychologist.

  1. Get a bachelor’s degree: You can start with a two-year associate degree then transfer to a four-year school or dive into a full undergraduate program. You don’t necessarily have to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. However, graduate schools usually prefer a psych concentration or require extra courses if you studied something else.
  2. Earn a master’s degree: Although you have to earn an undergraduate degree, a master’s in psychology isn’t always required for admission into a doctoral program. A master’s, however, is the final degree you’ll need if you choose to work as a mental health counselor.
  3. Earn a doctorate: You must earn a doctorate in psychology to claim the title of “psychologist.”
  4. Choose a specialty: The specialty you choose will determine the type of license you’ll pursue.
  5. Fulfill all licensure requirements: This can include passing exams, completing supervised practicum hours, and paying required fees, depending on what license you pursue. The different types of licenses and their requirements are discussed in greater detail further down the page.

Texas Psychology Licensing & Exams

The state of Texas issues several different licenses. Your career path and specialty will determine which type of license you pursue. The following are the requirements for all available licenses.

Licensed Psychologist

  • At least 3,500 hours of supervised experience, 1,750 of which must be a formal internship within your doctorate and another 1,750 after a doctoral degree
  • If you already have an active license in another jurisdiction, you need 3,000 hours of supervised experience, half of which must be post-doctoral. You must also submit a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) self-query to verify any disciplinary history
  • Full licenses are issued only to those who first earned a provisional license
  • Potential careers: Medical psychologist, behavioral health psychologist, clinical case manager, university professor

Provisionally Licensed Psychologist

  • Doctoral degree in psychology
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Examination
  • Passage of the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Potential careers: All of those open to a licensed psychologist, but you must practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist 

Licensed Psychological Associate

  • Qualifying graduate degree in psychology
  • Six semester credit hours of supervised, structured experience—like an internship or practicum—within the graduate program
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Examination
  • Passage of the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • To earn independent practice authority, you must accrue at least 3,000 hours of supervised post-grad experience within 24-48 consecutive months
  • Potential careers: LPAs in Texas are fully qualified to provide the entire spectrum of psychological services—including consultation, diagnosis, and therapy—at the master’s level, including suicide counseling, family therapy, and social work

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology

  • A graduate degree with a specified course study or an approved school psychology training program
  • Completion of a 1,200-hour formal internship with at least 600 hours in a public school
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Examination
  • Passage of the Praxis School Psychology Examination
  • Potential careers: School-based therapist, guidance counselor, school case reviewer, childhood trauma specialist

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

  • Completion of a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited M.S.W. program
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Examination
  • Proof of social work employment history or out-of-jurisdiction licensure
  • Proof of supervised experience: You’ll work with a board-approved supervisor and submit a supervision plan for approval before you apply
  • Potential careers: Group or individual mental health counselor, child welfare administrator, social services administrator, social worker

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) 

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Programs accredited by outside agencies might qualify if they meet certain academic standards
  • Passage of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) exam
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Exam
  • Completion of an approved practicum or internship
  • Potential careers: Marriage or family therapist, divorce counselor, foster care counselor

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

  • Master’s or doctorate in counseling or a related field, or a planned master’s with a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours. Certain mental health counseling coursework is required.
  • Supervised practicum relating primarily to counseling consisting of at least 300 hours, 100 of which should consist of direct client contact, during the graduate program.
  • Passage of the Jurisprudence Exam.
  • Passage of the National Counselor Exam.
  • After earning a temporary LPC license, you’ll complete a 3,000-hour supervised post-grad internship that runs at least 18 months.
  • Potential careers: Addiction counselor, prison therapist, suicide counselor, homeless advocate.

National Certified Counselor (NCC) 

  • Regionally accredited master’s degree with a major in counseling. The program must meet minimum standards for coursework, semester hours, and supervised field experience.
  • Two-year, 100-hour post-grad supervised counseling experience. This requirement can sometimes be waived.
  • 3,000 hours of post-grad work experience. This requirement, too, can sometimes be waived.
  • A professional endorsement from a qualified colleague.
  • Passage of either the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examinations (NCMHCE) or the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
  • Potential careers: Behavioral therapist, genetic counselor, residential counselor, vocational counselor.

You’re likely to encounter the following exams as a requirement for the license you’re pursuing.

  • Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP): The 250-question, multiple-choice EPPP is a computerized exam that you have four hours, 15 minutes to complete. A passing score is 500, or about 70 percent of the questions. It costs $515 when you factor in the testing center fee.
  • Jurisprudence Exam: All candidates for licensure in Texas must complete the Jurisprudence Exam, which costs $234 in total. The total number of questions varies, but it’s roughly 100, and you must complete 90% of them correctly.

Job Growth & Psychologist Salary in Texas

The salary and projected job growth of psychologists in the state of Texas vary based on the specialty you choose. The following chart outlines the average salary and expected job growth for a few of the most popular psychologist specialties in Texas.

CareerTexas Median Salary (2018)Average Salary Per HourExpected Job Growth
Licensed Psychologist$99,848$43.64N/A
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists$66,070$35.4120%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists$119,189$46.76N/A
Mental Health Counselor$44,450$19.4524%
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$68,104$23.79N/A
Marriage and Family Therapist$43,770$21.0526%
Substance Abuse Counselor$44,450$21.3724%

Recognized Psychology Specializations in Texas

Psychology and its related fields offer many concentrations and specialties. Here are some of the most common and popular in Texas and beyond.

    • Child Psychologist: deals with the diagnosis and treatment of children who have disabilities, experienced trauma, or otherwise display abnormal psychology or behavior.
    • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: focuses on individual and group behavior in workplace settings.
    • Neuropsychologist: involves researching and studying brain-behavior issues, particularly as they pertain to Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
    • Behavioral Psychologist: has a foundation combining techniques like cognitive restructuring, operant and classical conditioning, and behavioral modeling.
    • Family and Marriage Counselor: works with individuals and groups in spouse-spouse, child-parent, and other family relationship dynamics.
    • School psychologist: works in schools and help students with problem behaviors that may be affecting their education.

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Texas Psychology Spotlight Programs

Texas is a huge state, in terms of both geography and population, and is home to dozens of public colleges and universities, and many more private institutions. Here’s a look at some of the top psychology programs in the Lonestar State. Keep in mind that stated costs are for tuition only.

  • Rice University: You can major in psychological sciences and graduate programs include cognitive and affective neuroscience and industrial-organizational psychology, both of which are offered at the master’s and doctoral levels. You can take psychometric and quantitative psychology as a second major and the graduate school’s human factors and human-computer interaction program is a unique course of study that is one of only 20 accredited programs of its kind. Graduate tuition is $2,685 per credit or $24,165 per semester. None of the listed programs can be completed online.
  • Southern Methodist University: You can earn a B.A. or B.S. degree in organizational psychology at the undergraduate level and an M.S. at the graduate level. A Ph.D. in clinical psychology is available as a doctorate. Undergraduate tuition is $2,098 for 1-11 credits, and $25,001 flat rate for 12-18 credits. The cost is $1,704 for graduate tuition. All offerings are on-campus only.
  • The University of Texas at Austin: Psychology majors and double majors are available at the undergraduate level. You’ll only be accepted into the graduate program if you’re pursuing a doctorate, but doctoral students who don’t pass their evaluations might be able to complete a master of arts degree, instead. All graduate students will choose from one of several concentrations: social psychology, perceptual systems, individual differences and evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive science, clinical psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. None of these offerings are available online. In-state graduate tuition is $4,464, per credit or $8,847 for non-residents.
  • Texas A&M University: The graduate school offers a terminal master’s degree in industrial-organizational (i/o) psychology. There’s also a Ph.D. program available in five concentrations: social and personality psychology, i/o psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, and behavioral and cellular neuroscience. Tuition is $3,768.80 per credit for in-state students and $8,277.35 for non-residents.
  • Baylor University: Baylor offers several doctoral degrees, including a Psy.D. in clinical psychology, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). There is also a Ph.D. program with concentrations available in general experimental psychology, social psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. None of those programs are available online, but Baylor offers an online Ph.D. in social work. Graduate tuition is $18,876 per semester.
  • Texas State: As a graduate student, you can pursue a master of arts in psychological research, which is available with or without a thesis or non-thesis requirement. There’s also a graduate minor in psychology and a specialist in school psychology program. Neither option is available for online learners and tuition is $750 per credit hour.
  • Sam Houston State University: You can pursue a master of arts in clinical psychology as well as a clinical psychology doctoral degree. Neither program is offered online, but online learners can pursue a bachelor of science in psychology. In-state residents pay $5,219 per semester for tuition and non-residents pay $10,199.
  • Midwestern State University: The graduate program culminates in a master of arts in clinical/counseling psychology, which prepares students to apply for licensure as psychological associates, professional counselors, or both. It is offered only on campus. Graduate tuition is $6,742 per semester.
  • University of Houston: You can earn a Ph.D. in one of four areas of concentration: social psychology, i/o, developmental cognitive neuroscience, and clinical psychology. There is no terminal master’s degree, but you’ll earn a master’s through the course of completing your doctorate. Tuition is $3,840 for in-state students per 12-hour course of study. Non-residents pay $10,104.
  • Texas Tech University: You can earn one of five doctoral degrees, including clinical psychology, counseling psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, human factors, and social psychology. None of the graduate degrees are available online. Tuition is $7,781 per semester for in-state residents and $15,251 for out-of-state residents.

Texas Psychology Scholarships

  • APA MINORITY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM: The APA MFP exists to increase ethnic minority professionals in the field of psychology.
  • Award level: Up to $5,000
  • Degree level: Graduate, postdoctoral, and early career
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 15
  • GPA requirements: NA
  • Renewable: Yes
  • BILL BROWNING SCHOLARSHIP FOR DALLAS ISD: Named for an iconic educator and coach, the Bill Browning Scholarship helps standout high school students in the Dallas Independent School District pay for college.
  • Award level: Up to $5,000
  • Degree level: N/A
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 2
  • GPA requirements: N/A
  • Renewable: No
  • FAHRINGER-FOX SCHOLARSHIP: Texas State University psychology students can apply for this scholarship which is named for a longtime professor.
  • Award level: Varies, the most recent award was $2,000
  • Degree level: Upper-level undergraduate psychology majors enrolled in at least 12 credits who have completed at least three psychology courses.
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: 3.0
  • Renewable: Yes
  • WILLIAM JAMES SCHOLARSHIP: Also exclusive to Texas State psych majors, the William James Scholarship is named for one of the field’s most influential minds.
  • Award level: Varies, the most recent award was $1,000
  • Degree level: Upper-level undergraduate psychology majors enrolled in at least 12 credits who have completed at least three psychology courses.
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: 3.0
  • Renewable: Yes
  • CHARLES LELA, AND MARY SLOUGH FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP: Available to Texas residents who graduated from a Texas high school, the Slough Foundation Scholarship is open to psychology majors who have not completed more than 112 semester college hours.
  • Award level: $2,500 per semester or $5,000 per year.
  • Degree level: Undergraduate
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: N/A
  • Renewable: Yes
  • LAURA T. CALLICUT SCHOLARSHIP: The Callicut Scholarship is open to psychology students at the University of Houston.
  • Award level: $2,500 per semester or $5,000 per year.
  • Degree level: Undergraduate
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: N/A
  • Renewable: Yes
  • LEE AND BEVERLY MARTIN SCHOLARSHIP: The Martin Scholarship is also offered through the University of Houston. Preference is given to students with at least one parent injured by war.
  • Award level: Varies
  • Degree level: Full-time, enrolled, declared psych majors who are in their second through fourth years of study.
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: Must “maintain a GPA in accordance with the standards set by the scholarship selection committee.”
  • Renewable: Yes
  • DIVISION 53 STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: This Division 53 scholarship recognizes outstanding achievement, usually in research, specific to the field of clinical child and adolescent psychology.
  • Award level: $1,000
  • Degree level: One for undergraduate, one for early-stage graduate, and two for late-stage graduate.
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 4
  • GPA requirements: N/A
  • Renewable: No
  • GRAWEMEYER AWARD IN PSYCHOLOGY: The Grawemeyer Award funds students who submit creative, original ideas that have the potential for a significant contribution to the field of psychology.
  • Award level: Not less than $100,000
  • Degree level: N/A
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 1
  • GPA requirements: N/A
  • Renewable: No
  • PRESIDENTS ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: The Presidents Endowed Scholarship is one of three academic scholarships available to incoming freshmen at Texas A&M University. It, like both of the others, includes $1,000 for university-approved study abroad.
  • Award level: $3,000 a year for four years
  • Degree level: Undergraduate
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • GPA requirements: 3.5
  • Renewable: No

Texas Internships and Fellowships

In almost all cases, you’ll have to complete a fellowship, internship, or other supervised practicum. Here’s a look at some of the most popular programs in the state of Texas.

  • SMU Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship/Fellowship Program: Southern Methodist University offers this experience, which is a captive internship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. If selected for the half-time, 12-month training program, you’ll earn a stipend while working with college students and gaining experience with psychotherapy.
  • Texas Child Study Center Doctoral Internship Program: Designed for clinicians in training, this doctoral internship offers several options, including a postdoctoral fellowship program, a doctoral internship, and a student practicum program.
  • Clinical Health Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Offered through the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, this program focuses on the biopsychosocial approach to evaluation as it applies to specialized training in clinical health psychology.
  • Graduate Archer Fellowship Program: Established in 2010 by the University of Texas System, the Graduate Archer Fellowship Program places selected fellows into a practicum experience that focuses on policy and law as it applies to mental health in Texas and beyond.
  • UTHealth Doctoral Psychology Internship Program: Offered through the McGovern Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, this program is a 12-month, full-time psychology doctoral internship. It has six positions and is open to graduate students studying counseling, school, and clinical psychology.

Texas Psychology Resources

As you advance through your journey, lean on the outside resources available to you, including these groups, organizations, publications, and associations.

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