Psychologists have difficult but rewarding jobs, helping people navigate and overcome their deepest emotional, mental, and behavioral struggles. For such a small state, Delaware offers many educational opportunities for aspiring psychologists.
This guide lists colleges for psychology in Delaware and essential information for prospective psychologists. Learners can review licensing requirements, salary and employment figures, and helpful resources. Keep reading to explore the best colleges in Delaware for psychology.
Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Delaware?
By LearnPsychology.org Staff
Delaware offers many advantages for professionals in all fields. The Wilmington area ranks among the nation's four best metropolitan areas (along with nearby Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey) for employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In addition, Delaware ranks in the top 20% of the country in many quality-of-life rankings, according to U.S. News & World Report. The state ranks 15th in healthcare, 17th in economy, and 19th in infrastructure. Only 7.5% of Delaware adults live without insurance, compared to 13.8% -- nearly double Delaware's figure -- nationwide. For these reasons, degree-seekers in Delaware can look forward to professional advantages.
What to Expect in a Delaware Psychology College Program
In 2018, Delaware granted 117 psychology degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, ranking as the nation's 49th state for conferring degrees. Delaware's relatively small population probably accounts for this figure. With fewer than one million residents, Delaware was one of the country's least populated states in 2018. Delaware has 21 higher education institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, many of which are trade or technical schools that do not offer psychology programs.
Nevertheless, students can find bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees at Delaware colleges for psychology. Traditionally, bachelor's degrees take four years, master's degrees require two years, and doctoral degrees can take 4-7 years to complete. These programs typically require a practicum, internship, or some sort of supervised work experience within the field. Graduate students can also seek funding for their research. Some of the best psychology schools in Delaware also offer minors or certificate programs related to psychology and neuroscience.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Delaware?
Psychology courses vary by school. However, the list below explores some common offerings at colleges across the state. Students may find these courses at the undergraduate or graduate levels.
Introduction to Psychology
Undergraduate programs usually require students to take a course at the beginning of their studies that introduces them to the fundamental principles of psychology. This course covers foundational topics such as how humans learn, how biology affects behavior, and motivation and emotion. Degree-seekers also examine different schools of thought, such as cognitive psychology and behaviorism.
Humans change greatly from infanthood to adulthood. This course examines how humans develop psychologically throughout their lifespans. Students learn about how both biological and environmental factors such as culture and socioeconomic status can affect development. They also study the latest research on this evolving subject.
Psychologists have many options for specialization, and cognitive psychology is a prominent school within the field. This school focuses on how our brains process information. Issues such as perception, problem-solving, decision-making, memory, attention, and language all fall within the realm of cognitive psychology. Professors sometimes require learners to conduct research during this course.
Psychologists study personality as a scientific subject. This course covers the major psychological approaches to studying personality, such as through humanistic and cognitive-behavioral theoretical lenses. Students may also explore how genetics, evolutionary psychology, social learning theory, and attachment theory affect personality development.
Degree-seekers learn about abnormal behaviors and psychological disorders, including anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, depression, and mood disorders. Learners study the history of how scientists identified and classified these disorders in addition to how psychologists can identify and diagnose these disorders. The course also explains how treatments can help patients.
Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Delaware
To earn psychology licensure in Delaware, professionals must spend several years -- sometimes a decade or longer -- pursuing degrees in higher education. First, students need a bachelor's degree. Degree-seekers do not necessarily need to major in psychology. However, a degree in the field provides an advantage in applying to graduate schools. Aspiring psychologists should at least take a few psychology courses.
Aspiring psychologists should at least take a few psychology courses.
After successfully graduating with a bachelor's degree, learners advance to master's programs. Master's degrees typically take two years, but students may complete them in 1-3 years. Some psychology departments allow degree-seekers to directly enroll in doctoral programs. This usually only applies to students who majored in psychology during their undergraduate years. Learners can also choose between a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or doctor of psychology (Psy.D.). Doctoral programs typically take 4-7 years to complete.
Both undergraduate and graduate programs usually include a student research requirement. Bachelor's programs may require a semester of independent work. Graduate students spend significantly more time on research as they prepare their theses or dissertations.
Delaware Licensing for Psychologists
Psychologists cannot legally practice without a license. Delaware professionals must apply for licensure through the Board of Examiners of Psychologists. The road to licensing can take several years, or even a decade for some people. The process involves several higher education degrees, passing an examination, and participating in two years of supervised work experience.
Why Get Licensed in Delaware?
Psychologists fulfill many duties that unlicensed professionals cannot legally perform. They not only diagnose psychological, emotional, and behavioral disorders, but they also initiate treatment plans and carry out therapy. Professionals who want to perform these duties need a license in Delaware.
Other mental health professionals need licensure in Delaware too, although generally without the same educational requirements as psychologists. These professions include mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, art therapists, psychiatrists, and social workers.
Licensing Criteria for Delaware
Before psychologist candidates can earn full licensure, they must first work as psychological assistants. These professionals complete 3,000 hours over the course of two years of supervised work experience. The first year occurs before candidates enroll in doctoral degrees. They must participate in a 1,500-hour predoctoral internship. During this time, interns spend at least half their time performing patient services such as consultation and report writing and at least 25% of their time working face to face with patients.
After they earn their doctoral degrees, psychologist candidates need a second round of 1,500 hours of supervised experience. A quarter of these hours should consist of "direct service" or anything related to psychology practice. In addition, for every 10 hours of clinical work, candidates must participate in one hour of face-to-face supervision. Learners must also satisfy educational requirements and pass an exam.
How to Get Licensed in Delaware
After psychologist candidates finish their education and experience requirements, they must take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Consisting of 225 multiple-choice questions, the EPPP tests future psychology professionals' foundational knowledge about the field.
In addition, candidates must submit a signed and notarized application for licensure, pay a processing and exam fee, pass a background check, and send official transcripts to the licensing board.
Candidates from other states can also apply by reciprocity instead of by examination. In this case, professionals should hold licensure and at least two years of continual work experience in their previous states. If they have not worked for two years, they can also earn licensure if they possess a certificate of professional qualification in psychology or a credential from the National Registry of Health Service Providers in Psychology.
License Renewal in Delaware
Psychologists in Delaware must renew their licenses every two years. Licenses expire July 31 of odd-numbered years (such as 2021, 2023, etc.). To qualify for renewal, psychologists must complete 40 CE hours per two-year licensure period. At least 10 of these hours must be obtained through webinars or face-to-face courses and trainings.
Out of these 40 hours, psychologists must also complete at least three hours of ethics credits. Mental health professionals can earn these credits from organizations approved by the American Psychological Association, through taking graduate courses, or by teaching undergraduate or graduate courses.
Delaware Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Delaware earn a mean annual income of about $78,850, according to BLS data. The occupation's national average wages hover at $85,340, so wages in Delaware fall below nationwide numbers. However, Delaware also ranks 35th in cost of living, making it one of the nation's more affordable states.
Although Delaware may not experience the same job outlook as the national average, the state's job outlook outpaces some of its neighbors.
Psychologists in the Salisbury, Maryland/Delaware region make a mean income of $107,150, while those in the Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington region earn a mean of $81,560 annually. BLS does not offer data concerning psychologists with other specializations.
The number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists may grow by 14.2% from 2016 to 2026, according to Projections Central, an initiative from the U.S. labor department. Delaware could see job growth of 11.8% in the same time period. Although Delaware may not experience the same job outlook as the national average, the state's job outlook outpaces some of its neighbors.
Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Delaware
Psychologists, All Other in Delaware
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally
Psychology Programs and Licensing in Delaware Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have to Major in Psychology to Become a Psychologist?
Delaware law does not require undergraduates to major in psychology to become psychologists. Sometimes colleges and universities accept applicants into master's programs even if they do not hold a bachelor's degree in psychology. Learners who major in psychology likely hold a competitive edge for graduate school admissions. They might also finish graduate school sooner because of these undergraduate foundations.
What is a Good Speciality for Psychology?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the student. Degree-seekers decide their research interests and career goals. From there, they can choose a specialty. Sometimes colleges allow students to choose a concentration during their bachelor's degree, but many graduate candidates must select a specialty to graduate.
Are Delaware Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?
Most states hold reciprocity agreements for licensed psychologists. This allows psychologists to transfer their licenses to other states. Psychology professionals cannot simply start practicing in another state, though. The reciprocity agreement requires psychologists to submit their transcripts and old licenses to the new licensing board to apply for a new license.
Can I Get Licensed If My Degree is from an Unaccredited Program?
No. Delaware -- and all states -- require licensed psychologists to graduate from an accredited program. Graduate programs generally do not accept applications from candidates with unaccredited bachelor's degrees. Students should ensure their desired program holds appropriate accreditation.
What Happens if I Don't Renew My License?
If psychologists in Delaware do not renew their licenses after two years, they become inactive. Professionals with inactive licenses must apply to reactivate their credentials by submitting a letter requesting reactivation. Those with one year of inactive practice need 20 CE hours, while those with two years of inactive status need 40 CE hours.
Psychology Resources for Delaware
Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists This organization serves as the state's licensing board for psychologists. Professionals submit their applications to the board when becoming licensed. Candidates can also access the organization's website for application requirements, deadlines, and other important information.
Delaware Psychological Association This professional association aims to connect Delaware's psychologists through workshops and an annual conference. DPA also offers plenty of educational information for the general public about psychology and how to find a psychologist.
Mental Health Association in Delaware MHA aims to provide information to the general public, but it also offers plenty of resources for mental health professionals. Members can meet and network at conferences and educational events.