Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Arizona?

By Rachel Schneider

Students enjoy many benefits by attending Arizona colleges for psychology. Although Arizona's tuition rates hover slightly above the national average, the state boasts lower rates than 12 other states. Arizona is the nation's sixth largest state in terms of geography and boasts one of the nation's best economies and infrastructures.

Arizona's unemployment rate hovers around 4.8%. The state's psychologists experience salary opportunities on the higher end of the occupation's annual mean wage rates. Arizona contains 94 colleges and universities with 26,844 student loan borrowers in default on their loans out of 234,460 borrowers in repayment status, making the borrower default rate 11.4%. This rate remains comparable to other states.

What to Expect in an Arizona Psychology College Program

Before practicing as a psychologist in Arizona, individuals need a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts in psychology. Earning a bachelor's degree typically takes full-time students about four years to complete. Once learners graduate from their bachelor's program, they can pursue a master's degree. Master's students usually earn their degree with two years of full-time study.

After earning a bachelor's and master's degree, students can enroll in a doctoral program. These programs typically take full-time students 2-3 years to complete. In 2018, universities in Arizona conferred 780 psychology degrees across bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, ranking 29th in the United States.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Arizona?

Students enrolled in the best colleges in Arizona for psychology experience different coursework, depending on their degree level and school. At the bachelor's level, learners focus on building a foundational set of skills and knowledge in psychology. Master's students review more advanced topics in psychology, while doctoral students focus on the field's most specialized and advanced subject matter. See below for courses learners often see in psychology programs.

Child Psychology

Learners explore the development of children and youth from conception to adolescence. Coursework reviews practical and theoretical concepts, emphasizing the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical changes that individuals experience during childhood.

Multicultural Psychology

Students examine how culture, behavior, environment, and ecology impact human thought and behavior. Learners review cultural diversity and research the reasons such diversity exists, considering multiple cultural identities and blends.

Biological Psychology

Degree-seekers explore research and theory revolving around the biology of behavior and the mind. Course topics explore the mind's internal processes, including motivation, perception, memory, learning, emotion, and the underlying activities of the organism. The course also allows learners to discuss different biological mechanisms.

Social Psychology

This course explores the analysis and measurement of behaviors, the origins of social norms, attitude function and structure, antisocial behavior, altruism, and attraction. Students work to understand how groups and individuals can impact different behaviors and attitudes.

Developmental Psychology

Learners explore theories of human growth and development from conception to late adulthood. Course topics cover concepts in psychosocial and cognitive domains along with developmental problems and how to diagnose abnormal development.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Arizona

To achieve licensure as a psychologist in Arizona, individuals must first satisfy the educational requirements. Learners can begin by earning a bachelor's degree. While pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology is ideal for learners advancing into master's options, master's programs in psychology still accept learners who complete bachelor's degrees outside of the psychology discipline as long as they complete the necessary prerequisite courses.

After completing a bachelor's degree, degree-seekers can advance into a master's program, focusing on more specialized and advanced topics. Once learners complete both a bachelor's and master's degree, they can pursue a doctoral program, focusing either on a doctor of philosophy in psychology or a doctor of psychology. Learners can explore specialization opportunities across degree levels, allowing them to focus their degree in an area that aligns with their goals and interests.

Many colleges and universities offer online learning opportunities for psychology students. Earning a psychology degree online allows degree-seekers to take advantage of the flexibility and convenience to continue working as they earn their degree. Learners may need to satisfy internship and clinical hour requirements.

Arizona Licensing for Psychologists

Psychology licensure allows graduates of doctoral degrees in psychology to practice as psychologists. The licensing process ensures that professionals possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to provide the highest quality of care. Licensing exams allow candidates to review their knowledge and skills to demonstrate their competencies in the field.

Why Get Licensed in Arizona?

Many licensing opportunities exist in the psychology field. In addition to pursuing licensure as a psychologist, professionals can explore licensing opportunities as professional counselors by completing a master's degree in counseling and supervised work experience in the field.

Marriage and family therapist licensure requires a master's degree in a behavioral health science program, along with a minimum of 3,200 hours of supervised post-degree experience. Social workers can also explore licensure with a bachelor's or master's degree and 3,200 hours of supervised work experience.

Licensing Criteria for Arizona

Before professionals can practice as psychologists in Arizona, they must pursue licensure through the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. All eligible candidates must meet several state-specific requirements, including educational requirements and supervised professional experience. Additionally, eligible candidates must pass the national licensing exam and apply for licensure through the board, gaining approval.

The licensing board requires professionals to earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in psychology. Upon completion of the educational requirements, professionals can complete 3,000 hours of professional experience, with two years of supervised professional experience in their specific training area. Before applying for their license, individuals must complete and pass the Arizona psychology licensing exam.

How to Get Licensed in Arizona

The first step to earning a psychology license in Arizona is earning a bachelor's and master's in psychology. Potential psychologists can earn a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in psychology or a related field. Once graduates complete their bachelor's program, they can advance into a master of science or a master of arts in psychology. Individuals who earn their bachelor's degree in a field other than psychology can complete the necessary prerequisites to enroll in a master's degree in psychology.

Once learners complete their bachelor's and master's, they must earn either a doctor of psychology or a doctor of philosophy in psychology. Upon completing the educational requirements, professionals must complete two years of supervised professional experience, pass the state's psychology licensing exam, and submit their licensing application to the state board for approval.

License Renewal in Arizona

Psychologists in Arizona must renew their license every two years. Professionals renewing their license can access the license renewal applicant forms on the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners' website. Psychologists can access the online portal to complete and submit their renewal application and pay their license renewal fee. New applicants cannot access their application online.

Staff members cannot process renewal fees that are paid with a credit or debit card. Professionals who must use a credit or debit card should submit their application first and contact a board staff member to get their application into the system. This allows them to use the online portal to pay their fees.

Arizona Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

Some psychology specialties offer higher salaries and job growth rates. In Arizona, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists experience significantly lower salary amounts than all other psychologists in the state. In 2017, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Arizona earned average salaries of $64,450, while all other psychologists in the state earned an average salary of $89,280. Nationally, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned an average annual salary of $81,330, while all other psychologists in the nation earned an average of $93,440.

In terms of all other psychologists, salaries in Arizona remain comparable to surrounding states along with the national average.

Compared to other states, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Arizona earn less. In 2018, these professionals earned an average annual salary of $66,040. The highest-paying nearby state for the occupation was California, boasting an average annual salary of $108,350. In 2018, psychologists earned a national average salary of $85,340.

In terms of all other psychologists, salaries in Arizona remain comparable to surrounding states along with the national average. In 2018, psychologists in Arizona earned an average salary of $87,600, making it the second-highest paying state in the region, behind California at $114,860 and slightly beneath the national average of $95,610.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Arizona $64,670 $64,450
Psychologists, All Other in Arizona $86,750 $89,280
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally $78,690 $81,330
Psychologists, All Other Nationally $94,650 $93,440

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mean Wage For Psychologists In Arizona and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $85,340

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Arizona

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $66,040

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,600

  • California

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $108,350

    Psychologists, All Other: $114,860

  • Nevada

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $83,760

    Psychologists, All Other: $74,060

  • Utah

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $80,920

    Psychologists, All Other: $86,340

  • New Mexico

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,600

    Psychologists, All Other: $84,080

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Arizona 24.9% 5.0%
California 12.5% 13.0%
Nevada 21.7% N/A
Utah 30.8% N/A
New Mexico 8.2 11.1%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Arizona Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Psychology students in Arizona can pursue a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. The decision between a BA or BS in psychology depends on the student's particular career and educational goals. Bachelor of arts programs highlight psychology-focused courses, offering a variety of courses in social sciences. Bachelor of science students focus more on technical studies in math, science, and statistics.

Do I Need a Bachelor's in Psychology to Get a Master's in Psychology?

Students who earn a bachelor's degree in a field of study other than psychology can still pursue a master's degree in the discipline. Most colleges and universities do not require students to possess a bachelor's degree in psychology to enroll in a master's program. However, some institutions require bachelor's applicants from other disciplines to complete relevant prerequisite courses focusing on topics like developmental psychology, child psychology, and abnormal psychology.

Are Arizona Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

Many states across the country offer reciprocity to out-of-state psychologists. Professionals must check with the different state's psychology licensing boards to review their particular stance on reciprocity. In Arizona, psychologists moving to the state can receive valid Arizona licenses as long as they have held their licensure in another state for at least one year.

Can I Get Licensed if My Degree is From An Unaccredited Program?

To maintain eligibility for psychology licensure in Arizona, students must graduate from accredited programs. For doctoral graduates interested in licensure, programs accredited by the American Psychological Association meet the necessary requirements. Master's graduates pursuing their psychology license in the state must complete their degree at a regionally accredited college or university.

What Happens if I Don't Renew My License?

Psychologists in Arizona must renew their licenses every two years. Arizona maintains a voluntary inactive license in addition to a medical inactive license. Behavior analysts or psychologists who want to change from an active license to an inactive license can complete a separate application, different from the standard licensure renewal application.

Psychology Resources for Arizona

  • Arizona Psychological Association Founded in 1951, AZPA aims to advance the psychology profession by supporting members, advocating in the public interest, and promoting health.
  • Arizona Association of School Psychologists Dedicated to promoting psychologically and educationally sound environments for children and youth across the state, AASP offers research-based programs that promote high-quality learning while advancing independence.
  • Arizona Child Psychology, PLLC Functioning as a multidisciplinary counseling and psychology practice, this group serves young children, young adults, adolescents, and parents in the greater Phoenix area. The practice follows evidence-based practice methods and provides both assessment and treatment services.
  • Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners A nine-member board organized by Arizona's governor and confirmed by the Senate, this group monitors and regulates psychology professions and behavior analysis in the state. The board provides professional licensure to psychologists in Arizona.
  • Southern Arizona Psychological Association A nonprofit membership organization, SAPA is committed to supporting and serving psychologists near metropolitan Tucson and the four surrounding counties in southern Arizona.