Psychology Programs in West Virginia
There’s a direct pipeline between the schools that train West Virginia’s psychologists and the employers that hire them once they graduate. The West Virginia University School of Medicine, for example, includes an affiliated healthcare system that provides many job opportunities for graduates. West Virginia also offers a variety of incentives—financial and otherwise—for students who commit to working in the state once they’re licensed.
How to Become a Psychologist in West Virginia
To work as a psychologist in West Virginia, you first have to meet all the educational requirements. Next, you have to satisfy the standards of the state body that issues licenses.
Education Requirements for West Virginia Psychologists
In virtually every state in America, you have to earn a doctorate to attain the title of “psychologist.” West Virginia, however, is different. The state follows a unique framework that allows those with a master’s degree to become a licensed psychologist—as long as they work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
Some doctoral programs require you to first earn a master’s degree before applying, but many do not. Some Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs even award both master’s degrees and doctorates at the culmination of the program. You can’t enter any doctoral program, however, without having first earned a bachelor’s degree—preferably in psychology or a related field.
Although you can, in many cases, jump right from undergraduate school into a doctoral program, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Earning a master’s degree can help to prepare you for the intense academic demands of a Psy.D. or Ph.D. program, which would be alien to most undergraduate students. Earning a master’s can also help you decide on a specialty.
The American Psychological Association recognizes roughly 20 proficiencies and specialties within the field of psychology. Common specialties in West Virginia include clinical psychology, child psychology, and school psychology.
West Virginia Psychology Licensing and Exams
Earning a graduate degree alone is not sufficient to begin your career. All practicing psychologists in the state must first earn a license awarded by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
West Virginia has a unique framework that allows graduates to earn a license as a supervised psychologist with only a master’s degree. If their graduate programs meet the board’s standards, they’ll receive a Gold Card that allows them to practice psychology under supervision, which they must do for five years to earn a full license. They must take the Examination for the Practice of Professional (EPPP) at least once during their first year of supervised practice and pass it within two years. They’ll have a mid-term review halfway through, and after completing the full five years of supervised practice they’ll take the state oral exam.
At the doctoral level, the state issues two types of general psychology licenses—supervised or unsupervised. A supervised doctoral license awards a “Gold Card” that allows holders to work as psychologists under the supervision of a fully licensed psychologist. They are required to take the EPPP and a state-administered oral exam within two years or their license will expire. If their doctoral program didn’t include a qualifying internship, they can satisfy that requirement by practicing for two years under supervision with a Gold Card.
The unsupervised doctoral license requires a doctorate and completion of an internship consisting of at least 1,800 hours. Applicants must also take and pass the EPPP and a state-administered oral exam.
School psychologists have their own special licenses, at two levels. Level 1 Gold Card holders must have a master’s degree and complete three school years of supervision—two if the master’s program included an internship. Level 2 Gold Card holders must complete two school years of supervised practice at both the master’s and doctoral levels—only one if they completed an internship. Both licenses require applicants to pass the Praxis Examination and a state oral exam.
All levels of licensure come with varying fees and continuing education requirements for license renewal.
Psychology Specializations in West Virginia That Do Not Require a Doctorate
West Virginia also licenses professionals in several fields related to psychology. Each specialty has its own licensing board and, just as with psychologists, candidates are required to prove their educational background, pass tests, and complete a specific number of supervised experience hours.
Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in West Virginia
As in every state, West Virginia’s mental health professionals earn different salaries in different specialties and fields. This table examines both median salaries and job growth projections for some of the most common careers in the industry.
|Career||Mean Annual Salary (2018)||Average Mean Wage Per Hour||Expected Job Growth (2016-26)|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$50,890||$24.47||+13%|
|Other Specialties in Psychology|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$45,250||$21.76||+12%|
|Licensed Clinical Social Workers—All Other||$73,450||$35.31||+5%|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$41,040||$19.73||+20%|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors||$36,570||$17.58||no available data|
All data is from O*NET.
West Virginia Psychology Spotlight Programs
West Virginia is home to a wide network of public colleges and universities, as well as several renowned private institutions. Here’s a look at some of the options for psychology students in the state.
Marshall University (Huntington)
One of the oldest public universities in West Virginia, Marshall University receives $39 million annually in research funding. It maintains a nonprofit campus psychology clinic that offers a full spectrum of services and employs advanced graduate student therapists. It’s also a Division I school with a long and storied athletic history across all major college sports.
Undergraduates can pursue a B.A. in psychology, and those who maintain a high enough GPA can enter an accelerated master’s degree program. This program lets them substitute electives for graduate coursework. There’s also a standalone M.A. program in general psychology, with the option of choosing a clinical emphasis. The Psy.D. program for doctoral students emphasizes rural and under-served populations. Marshall University also offers a unique education specialist (Ed.S.) in school psychology program, which culminates in that degree as well as an M.A. in school psychology.
Per-semester undergraduate tuition is $4,206 for residents, $9,633 for non-residents, and $7,248 for metro residents. Graduate tuition is $4,364, $10,531, and $7,736.
University of Charleston (Charleston)
With a little more than 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students combined, the University of Charleston is small, but diverse—40 states and all 55 West Virginia counties are represented in the student body. Perched on the banks of the Kanawha River, the campus provides sprawling views of the capitol building and direct access to the state’s capital city.
There are two undergraduate degrees for psychology majors at the university. The B.A. program, which is available both on-campus and online, is designed for students who plan to work in the field immediately after graduation. The B.S. is for those who plan to go to grad school—it can only be taken on campus.
Tuition is $30,400 per academic year. Online programs cost $380 per credit.
West Virginia University (Morgantown)
As with the University of Charleston, West Virginia University offers psychology undergrads a B.A. for those planning to enter the workforce and a B.S. for students planning to move on to graduate school. It also has five Ph.D. programs: life-span developmental psychology, clinical psychology, clinical child psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and behavior analysis.
Students benefit from access to the Quin Curtis Center, which provides training, research, and psychological services. Both undergraduate and graduate students work directly with faculty in conducting research and other projects across a variety of fields and specialties. The school also stands out for its field experience course, which can be taken as an elective or a capstone project. This kind of experience, which involves placement in an outside agency, is usually reserved for graduate students.
Undergraduate tuition—which includes fees—is $8,976 per year for residents and $25,320 for non-residents. For graduate students, it’s $10,098 and $25,632, including fees. Students from some neighboring states might be eligible for reduced tuition.
Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi)
Ranked the #1 school in West Virginia by U.S. News, Alderson Broaddus University boasts nearly a century and a half of history. It prides itself as being a faith-based institution—it maintains strong ties with both the West Virginia Baptist Convention and American Baptist Churches USA. Undergraduate students can earn a B.A. in psychology; however, they must complete the 120-credit program with a GPA of 2.0 or better. Elective courses in the program include Cyber Psychology, Introduction to Sports Psychology, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Tuition is $29,000 per academic year.
West Virginia State University (Institute)
West Virginia State University offers a B.A. in psychology as well as a psychology minor. The school is located just a few minutes from the capital city of Charleston, and it’s an easy drive from major cities in five neighboring states. Although it was founded in 1891 as an Historically Black College, it stands out today for its cultural diversity. With fewer than 4,000 students and a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, it provides an intimate educational experience.
Assuming a credit load of 12 or more, per-semester tuition is $3,856 for in-state students, $8,583 for non-residents, and $6,700 for metro students.
Wheeling University (Wheeling)
Wheeling University offers a B.S. in psychology for undergraduate students. The program stands out for including internship opportunities with more than 15 outside agencies. Many of these internships can lead to employment after graduation for those who don’t pursue graduate studies. Another standout aspect is the program’s commitment to undergraduate research—students have direct access to more than $300,000 worth of equipment and regularly attend research conferences where many will have an opportunity to present their work. Tuition is $29,090 for the academic year.
West Virginia Psychology Scholarships
Since they don’t have to be paid back, scholarships can be a great way to offset the cost of college tuition and other related expenses. The following is a list of some of the available awards in West Virginia. For comprehensive information about scholarships from all over the country, visit our general scholarship page.
Some scholarships in West Virginia are offered directly through the college or university that the student attends or plans to attend, including:
Many organizations other than just schools offer scholarships. Here are a few scholarships in West Virginia sponsored by outside organizations:
West Virginia Internships and Fellowships
While sometimes open to undergraduates, internships are often required for graduate psychology students. These kinds of positions focus on gaining professional experience. Fellowships, on the other hand, are post-doctoral positions that foster academic or professional development, often dealing with research or related pursuits. In many cases, both internships and fellowships come with financial incentives such as stipends or salaries.
As with scholarships, colleges and universities often host their own fellowship and internship programs.
Some organizations in the state that aren’t directly affiliated with schools offer their own internship and fellowship opportunities.
You can also use job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed to look for other opportunities, as well as Chegg Internships.
West Virginia Psychology Resources
The following organizations offer a variety of helpful resources for both psychology students and professionals working in the field. Some provide information, documents, and procedures related to licensing. Others deal with continuing education and professional development. You can also visit these sites for information on networking opportunities, events, political and legislative actions, laws and regulations, and industry advocacy.
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