Psychology Programs in Wisconsin
Wisconsin pays some of the highest salaries to psychologists in the Midwest. It’s little wonder, then, that there’s such a high concentration of psychologists in the Badger State. Yet their numbers are projected to grow further, by 9% between 2016 and 2026.
This page gives the ins and outs of joining the ranks of psychologists in Wisconsin, as well as pursuing other psychology-based careers in the state. We highlight some of the most notable psychology programs in Wisconsin. We also simplify the tricky details on licensure requirements, point you to reputable fellowships that count toward postdoctoral work experience, and outline recognized specialties in the state. Additionally, you’ll find links to psychology-related scholarships, internships, and professional organizations for Wisconsinites.
How to Become a Psychologist in Wisconsin
As with other states, Wisconsin offers different licensure paths for psychologists, private practice school psychologists, and professionals such as clinical social workers and counselors.
Here’s the general path for Wisconsin psychologist licensure:
- Snag your bachelor’s degree: It’s not essential to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but you will need to get your baccalaureate before getting a doctorate, which is necessary to practice as a psychologist. Getting a bachelor’s in psychology will help limit the prerequisites you need to take in a graduate-level program. Moreover, if you want to be a licensed substance abuse professional, you can do that without moving into a graduate degree.
- Wrangle a master’s degree: You may be able to skip this step if your goal is to use the psychologist title. But if you’re angling to become, say, a licensed social worker, a master’s degree is enough. (Though you would typically seek a Master of Social Work.) Similarly, in Wisconsin, school psychologists need only a master’s degree in psychology.
- Stick with it for the doctorate: A doctorate in psychology is required to become a psychologist. Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology can take longer because the final dissertation—which must be developed, researched, written, and defended—can stretch out for several years after all coursework has been completed. A Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), which features more clinical hours and less original research, takes less time.
- Be supervised for a year: You’re not done after the Ph.D. You need to complete 2,000 hours of supervised clinical work within 24 months. Private practice school psychologists need only 1,200 supervised hours. Some mental health professionals need more.
- Get licensed: To apply for licensure, you’ll need one more thing: a passing score of 80% on the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), which also covers Wisconsin state statutes. Private practice school psychologists can pass with a 75%. (See below for test requirements in other professions.)
Wisconsin Psychology Licensing and Exams
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services is responsible for licensing the state’s psychologists, social workers, counselors, and therapists. Here are the six main professions and their licensing requirements:
Private Practice School Psychologist
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor
Job Growth and Psychologist Salary in Wisconsin
Below are salary figures and job growth projections for some of the most prominent job titles in the counseling and mental health fields from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
JOB GROWTH AND PSYCHOLOGIST SALARY IN WISCONSIN
|Career||Wisconsin Mean Salary (2018)||Average Salary Per Hour||% Expected Job Growth (2016–2026)|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$55,330||$26.60||7%|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$83,420||$40.10||9%|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$51,070||$24.55||22%|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||$46,730||$22.47||12%|
|Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselor||$42,650||$20.50||N/a|
Wisconsin Psychology Spotlight Programs
Although scores of colleges in Wisconsin offer a bachelor’s degree or higher in psychology, fewer than a dozen run doctoral programs. Most of these are from schools within the University of Wisconsin system. Here’s a non-exhaustive list to illustrate the types of programs available:
Alverno College (Milwaukee)
The Milwaukee-based Alverno College is sizable enough to offer not only an undergraduate psychology major but also two graduate degrees in the discipline. A women’s college at the undergraduate level, men are welcome to apply for graduate programs. Graduates of the Master of Science in Community Psychology program are eligible to sit for the Licensed Professional Counselor-in-Training credential. The educational specialist degree in school psychology, meanwhile, is meant to lead to a license as a private practice school psychologist. Interestingly, the institution doesn’t use a letter grading system, preferring to provide comprehensive feedback. Graduate school costs $833 per credit for the Educational Specialist in School Psychology program. Undergrads paid $14,328 in annual tuition in 2019, while part-time students paid $1,194. Online and evening courses were $545 per credit, with an additional fee of $400. Housing is relatively affordable at $1,904 for a double through $3,258 for a suite as of the 2018-2019 school year.
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon)
A Christian liberal arts college in Mequon along Lake Michigan, Concordia University Wisconsin runs a Bachelor of Arts in psychology that mixes science and research with Christian service-minded curriculum. The specific goal of the program is for students to leave the program with the ability to better the lives of those who are struggling with mental health issues. All students must complete a practicum prior to graduation in order to gain practical experience. The sticker price for full-time annual tuition was $30,060 in 2019, though the school boasts that residential students average more than $16,000 in discounts and allows you to check on your anticipated costs via their net price calculator.
Marquette University (Milwaukee)
The Marquette University Department of Psychology runs programs at multiple levels: a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s and doctorate in applied behavior analysis, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Its Center for Psychological Services lets students work alongside supervising faculty to serve Milwaukee citizens with autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression, and relationship issues. They also offer a psychology minor, and for both majors and minors, some credits can come from high school AP test scores. Tuition at the private Jesuit university was $43,350 for undergrads in 2019 and $1,170 per credit for graduate students. The school notes that the overwhelming majority of students, both undergrad and graduate, receive financial aid, including full-tuition scholarships for undergraduates and travel awards for graduate students.
University of Wisconsin–Madison (Madison)
UW–Madison is the state’s flagship university. Its Department of Psychology runs an undergraduate major, as well as a Ph.D. program. Graduate students select one of six areas of concentration: biology of brain and behavior, clinical, cognitive and cognitive neuroscience, developmental, perception, and social and personality. University of Wisconsin—Madison charged undergraduate state residents $495.05, Minnesota residents $663.58, and nonresident students $1,622.54 per credit hour in 2019. Graduate students paid $807.19, $1,235.47, and $1,640.12 per credit respectively.
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (Milwaukee)
Wisconsin’s other major research university, UW–Milwaukee, offers a terminal master’s degree in health psychology to go along with Ph.D. programs in health psychology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience. The department guarantees funding for three years for doctoral candidates. Like UW-Madison, Milwaukee charges different rates for resident, Minnesota, and non-resident students, as well including as an additional cost level for Midwest students. Fees are on a tiered system; as of fall 2019, for 12-18 credit hours, residents paid $4,799, Minnesotans were charged $6,850.38, Midwesterners paid $6,850.61, and non-residents paid $10,584.17. For eight graduate credits, respectively, the groups’ tuition costs were $6,024.93, $9,543.65, $8,660.54, and $12,641.17. They also have a dissertator level for students who have completed all doctoral credits except the dissertation. For 12 credits, state residents paid $6,399.29, and Minnesota residents and other non-residents paid $8,699.29.
Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology (Milwaukee)
WSPP exists exclusively to boost the number of practicing clinical psychologists in the state. For that reason, the Milwaukee-based school offers the practice-focused Psy.D. Enrollees specialize in child psychology or adult clinical psychology. The school also awards a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology after students complete their graduate-level requirements and pass an exam, but it encourages students to complete the doctorate. A health psychology component is built into the curriculum, and the school also offers an optional four-course sequence in forensic psychology. You needn’t have a psychology degree to apply, though you need to have taken specific courses—if your undergraduate experience did not include those, you will need to go back to take them before enrolling. Given the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology’s mission and lack of undergrads, there are limited part-time teaching assistantships available. However, scholarships and federal loans can help offset the full-time tuition of $38,950 for the first year cohort and an average of $21,270 per year thereafter. Part-time students pay $1,025 per credit, as of 2019. Residency does not play a part.
Recognized Psychology Specializations in Wisconsin
If you want to know how to become a psychologist in Wisconsin, you need to learn the specializations recognized by the state. With the appropriate education and work experience, you can apply for certification or licensure in these areas:
Wisconsin Psychology Scholarships
Many scholarships are particular to the school where you’re applying. Although we can’t list each department award—you should head to your target universities’ financial aid websites for that information—we can give you a sense of what’s out there. Your first stop should be our general scholarship page, which features merit- and need-based awards that aren’t exclusive to Wisconsin. Below are a few more, both from prominent programs and statewide associations.
Wisconsin Internships and Fellowships
When scouring the Internet for psych internships and fellowships, one of the best resources is the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) directory. A simple search by program criteria returns more than a dozen Wisconsin-based positions. Not every fellowship is in the APPIC directory, however; others can be found on LinkedIn, Indeed, and similar sites. In addition, we’ve listed a sampling of relevant opportunities. If you want to improve your chances of quickly landing your target internship, review our guide for tips.
Wisconsin Psychology Resources
Here are five associations and organizations you’ll want to be aware of as you seek out mentors, scholarships, fellowships, and knowledge in your chosen field of psychology: