Students searching for the best colleges in Colorado for psychology can refer to this page. Learners can explore how to become a psychologist in the state, salary and employment trends, and helpful resources. This page outlines why degree-seekers should enroll in a psychology program in Colorado, the educational requirements involved with becoming a psychologist, and licensing criteria.
Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Colorado?
By Rachel Schneider
Degree-seekers can explore a variety of psychology colleges and programs in Colorado. Depending on the school, programs vary in terms of coursework, graduation requirements, admissions criteria, and tuition. Psychology students in Colorado experience tuition rates on the higher end for the discipline in the U.S., with the state's tuition ranking as the 15th highest for in-state and out-of-state learners.
Colorado is home to a population of nearly 6 million residents, with 49% of citizens possessing a college education. The state boasts the country's best economy and is one of the highest ranked states for healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Additionally, Colorado boasts the nation's fourth-lowest unemployment rate, with a rate of 2.6%.
Colorado features 101 colleges and universities. The state contains 94,610 borrowers in the student loan repayment process with only 10,228 borrowers in default, putting the borrower default rate at 10.8%.
What to Expect in a Colorado Psychology College Program
Earning a bachelor's degree in Colorado typically takes full-time learners four years to complete and part-time students closer to five years. Master's programs usually take two years for full-time students and 3-4 years for part-time learners. Full-time doctoral students take around two years to earn their degree while those who study part time take around three years.
In 2018, Colorado universities conferred 1,157 psychology degrees, tying with Wisconsin for the 18th largest amount of psychology degrees conferred for the year. Some Colorado schools allow psychology students to pursue specialization opportunities, enabling them to align their program with their professional goals and personal interests. Some programs require students to complete internships even if they study online.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Colorado?
Coursework for psychology programs varies depending on the school and degree level. Bachelor's students explore foundational topics of psychology, building a strong basis of knowledge to advance into other programs. Master's students focus on more advanced topics in psychology, while doctoral learners review the field's most specialized topics.
Research Methods in Psychology
Students review the statistical analyses and methodologies behind psychological research. The course covers correlation, experiments, observation, and surveys. Many courses include lab activities that allow learners to focus on evaluating scientific evidence.
Theories of Personality
Degree-seekers study personality dynamics and development, exploring biological, trait, behaviorist, psychoanalytic, and phenomenological theories. Students also examine assessment techniques along with empirical work.
This course allows students to research individuals' development from birth to death. Degree-seekers use research and psychological theories to understand the stresses involved with the biological, cognitive, and social factors of human development. Students also learn how humans interact with the environment, exploring transitions that occur across the lifespan.
Learners review the different mental processes involved in attention, perception, language, reasoning, and memory from the viewpoint of experimental findings and psychological theories. Course topics allow learners to review the different everyday experiences of people across settings and population, analyzing why they think the way they do and why certain behaviors occur.
Degree-seekers explore the social, biological, and psychological factors of health and illness.
Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Colorado
Before becoming a psychologist in Colorado, individuals must first obtain a bachelor's degree. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in a field other than psychology, but they must complete specific prerequisite coursework before advancing into a master's program. After earning a bachelor's degree, learners must complete a master's program in psychology, focusing on either a master of science in psychology or a master of arts, depending on their career and educational goals.
Students can earn a bachelor's degree in a field other than psychology, but they must complete specific prerequisite coursework before advancing into a master's program.
Upon completion of both a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology, degree-seekers can advance into a doctoral program. Doctoral students can focus on earning a doctor of philosophy in psychology or a doctor of psychology degree, depending on the type of coursework they want to study and the career path they want to follow. Across degree levels, many schools allow learners to choose a specialization, enabling them to tailor their program to fit their professional and educational goals.
Some psychology programs require learners to satisfy internship requirements, allowing them to develop valuable in-the-field experience that can help them easily transition into the workforce.
Colorado Licensing for Psychologists
Graduates from Colorado colleges for psychology must pursue licensing opportunities before beginning their psychology careers. To obtain a license to practice, professionals must pass an exam and meet specific educational and experience requirements.
Why Get Licensed in Colorado?
Psychologists must earn licensure before they can practice professionally in Colorado. Requirements for licensure include a doctoral degree, 1,500 hours of postdoctoral experience practicing psychology, and passing an exam. Marriage and family therapists must earn licensure in Colorado by holding a master's degree, completing 1,500 hours of face-to-face postdoctoral contact hours, and passing an examination. Two different boards in Colorado administer counseling licensure, requiring a master's degree, clinical experience, and passing of an exam.
Licensing Criteria for Colorado
Licensing criteria for psychologists falls into three categories: education, experience, and an exam. The educational requirements include earning a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in psychology. As part of their doctoral program, learners must satisfy specific requirements for their coursework, length of study, internship, and practicum components.
In addition to the educational requirements, professionals must complete at least 1,500 hours of postdoctoral experience practicing psychology over at least one year. Experience components must include a minimum of 75 hours of direct supervision under a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, including at least 50 hours of face-to-face interaction. Experience requirements include completing a minimum of 50 hours of training in ethnic and racial bases of behavior with at least three hours of supervision.
Upon completing the educational and experience requirements, professionals can complete the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and the Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination to officially apply for licensure.
How to Get Licensed in Colorado
Before professionals can obtain psychology licensure in Colorado, they must meet the criteria established by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies State Board of Psychologist Examiners. The board oversees all regulations and rules for licensure in Colorado.
During their doctoral program, learners must complete at least three academic years of full-time graduate study and at least 400 hours of practicum experience. Doctoral students must also complete an internship accredited by the American Psychological Association. The internship must last at least one full-time year or two half-time years, totaling 1,500 hours.
Before professionals can begin their postdoctoral experience, they must apply to be a limited psychologist candidate. The limited license remains valid for four years and enables professionals to complete their licensing requirements.
License Renewal in Colorado
Professionals who earn their psychology license in Colorado must renew their license every two years. The renewal process requires psychologists to complete 40 board-approved professional development hours. Before professionals satisfy the development requirements, they must complete an official continuing professional development plan, documenting their learning goals.
Professional development requirements vary. Professionals who complete one online continuing education hour earn one professional development hour (PDH) credit, while those who complete a one-hour seminar or a one-hour workshop can earn three PDH credits. Editing and authoring can earn professionals significantly more credits, including 20 for writing a journal article and 40 for authoring a scientific book.
Colorado Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends
The historical mean wage figures for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Colorado fall just beneath the figures for the career path at the national level. In 2016, these psychologists earned an annual mean wage of $76,040 in Colorado compared to the national mean wage of $78,690. In 2017, these psychologists earned an annual mean wage of $79,950, with the national mean wage at $81,330. All other psychologists in Colorado lingered around $82,000 for an annual mean wage in 2016 and 2017, while the national figures fell between about $93,000 and $95,000.
When comparing Colorado's mean wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2018 to national figures and data for surrounding states, Colorado boasts the highest salary figures at $85,470.
When comparing Colorado's mean wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2018 to national figures and data for surrounding states, Colorado boasts the highest salary figures at $85,470. For all other psychologists, Colorado falls slightly below the national and surrounding states' average salary reports, featuring an annual mean wage of $83,630.
From 2016-26, jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are projected to grow 33.5% in Colorado, which is much faster than the projected job growth rate of 14.2% for the United States. Compared to surrounding states, Colorado features the profession's highest growth rate percentage. Jobs for all other psychologists in the state are projected to grow much faster than jobs throughout the country, with Colorado projecting a growth rate of 16.7% compared to the national projection of 10.3%.
Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Colorado
Psychologists, All Other in Colorado
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally
Psychology Programs and Licensing in Colorado Frequently Asked Questions
What Field of Psychology Makes the Most Money?
The psychology field boasts several high-paying career opportunities. Typically, the more advanced the degree professionals hold, the higher salary opportunities they experience. Psychiatrists earn the highest average annual salaries, at $216,090. Other high-paying occupations include industrial-organizational psychologists and neuropsychologists.
Is Psychology a Good Major?
Psychology remains a popular major across colleges and universities in the United States. Holding a degree in the discipline can lead to a variety of career opportunities. Coursework gives learners the skills and knowledge to discern why people behave the way they do, helping them understand more about themselves and others.
Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?
The choice between earning a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) in psychology depends on students' career goals and desired educational focus. Students focused on earning a BS degree explore concepts of statistics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and other natural sciences. BA programs allow learners to focus on courses in the arts, social sciences, and humanities.
Do I Have to Major in Psychology to Become a Psychologist?
To become a psychologist, individuals must earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in psychology. Students who complete their bachelor's degree in a discipline other than psychology can still gain admission to a master's program in psychology as long as they complete the necessary prerequisite courses. Doctoral applicants, however, need a master's degree in psychology and must earn a doctoral degree in the discipline to work as a psychologist.
What is a Good Specialty for Psychology?
Many colleges and universities allow psychology students at all degree levels to pursue specialization opportunities, enabling them to tailor their program to fit their personal interests and career goals. Common specialization choices include addiction psychology, biopsychology, counseling psychology, and developmental psychology.
Psychology Resources for Colorado
Colorado Psychological Association Dedicated to advancing the psychology profession through both education and advocacy, CPA promotes psychological well-being and health. The organization represents all psychology specialties and subfields.
Colorado Society of School Psychologists CSSP aims to improve the state's effectiveness of school psychologists by focusing on the social, academic, and emotional needs of youth and children across Colorado.
Colorado School Counselor Association Representing Colorado school counselors practicing at all levels, CSCA aims to serve its members and the public by advancing counseling and guidance across state schools.
Colorado Department of Education CDE promotes the constant advancement and improvement of the state's education system. School psychologists practicing in Colorado can seek resources through CDE.