Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Georgia?

By Maura Deering

Georgia colleges for psychology offer learners many benefits, including affordability. Georgia's college tuition ranks among the country's most affordable. Students can choose from 40 schools offering psychology degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Although Georgia ranks among the top 10 states for infrastructure and fiscal stability, it ranks low for access to mental health services. The state has experienced increased demand for mental health resources and a shortage of psychologists, particularly in school and addiction counseling.

Projections Central forecasts a 9.5 increase in Georgia psychology jobs through 2026, and the state received a federal grant to combat its opioid crisis. Georgia has also implemented a three-year plan to improve child and adolescent behavioral healthcare. These facts translate to opportunities for graduates of Georgia colleges for psychology who want to practice in the state.

What to Expect in a Georgia Psychology College Program

How long it takes to earn a psychology degree depends on the specific type of degree. Generally, students complete a bachelor's program in four years, a master's program in 2-3 years, and a doctoral program in 4-6 years. Among Georgia's 159 counties, 76 lack a licensed psychologist. To fill this gap, Georgia schools and colleges conferred 1,417 psychology degrees in 2018, ranking 16th in the nation.

Students in bachelor's programs study psychology, but also take requisite general education courses. Master's students, who can focus on a particular area, such as addiction, behavioral health, or marriage and family therapy, take a more specialized curriculum. Doctoral students at colleges for psychology in Georgia specialize even further, concentrating on research and professional practice.

Psychology programs require in-person attendance for practicum projects, internships, fellowships, and fieldwork. Online students may find opportunities near their home.

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

Georgia colleges for psychology offer a variety of classes. Undergraduates typically take an introductory course and progress to more specialized classes in their junior and senior years. Graduate students focus on their concentration areas and research. The list below reveals common classes at the best psychology schools in Georgia.

Cognitive Neuroscience

This upper-level undergraduate course traces the principles and origins of cognitive neuroscience along with past and current research topics that focus on how the brain performs. The class addresses brain functions, such as attention, language, memory, and perception. Degree-seekers also explore brain imaging used by neuroscience practitioners, such as MRIs and EEGs.

History and Systems of Psychology

Often part of a bachelor of arts in psychology program, this course surveys the history of modern psychology and the backgrounds of systems involved in the practice. Degree-seekers explore the evolution of the science of psychology and theories of behavioral therapies. Prerequisites include a previous course in general psychology.

Introduction to Biological Psychology

Bachelor of science in psychology students usually take this class during their first term. The course examines the interplay of environmental and physiological factors with human and non-human behavior and mental processes. Learners study evolution and the nervous system, genetics and psychological development, hormonal effects, and cognition and language.

Psychological Disorders

Students pursuing a master of arts in psychology often take a course covering common psychological issues considered milder in form. These disorders include anxiety, depression, hysteria, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, paranoia, and phobias. The class examines the nature, causes, triggers, and dynamics of each condition and discusses diagnosis and treatment approaches.

Research Methods in Clinical Psychology

First-year graduate students in clinical psychology typically take this course, which introduces research methodologies used in academia and in practice. Skill-based topics cover formulating concepts, writing, and critical thinking. Faculty members often share their current research projects for practical context. The course's prerequisite includes instructor permission.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Georgia

To become a licensed psychologist in Georgia, students need a doctoral degree. An online doctorate does not qualify as a licensing prerequisite. Licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists, and national certified counselors usually only need a master's degree.

Doctoral students seeking to become licensed psychologists can earn either a doctor of philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.) or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.). Students interested in a social work license should pursue a master of social work (MSW). Marriage and family therapists should earn their master's in counseling, pastoral counseling, social work, applied psychology, sociology, or child and family development. National certified counselors need a master's in counseling.

Doctoral students seeking to become licensed psychologists can earn either a doctor of philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.) or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.).

Georgia psychology master's and doctoral programs require students to complete internships, fellowships, or clinical hours. Bachelor's programs may require internship or clinical hours, but more often require capstone projects or practicums.

Different career paths and specialization areas may impose additional requirements. For example, licensed psychologists must graduate from a traditional, on-campus program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). They must also complete postdoctoral supervised clinical hours. Licensed social workers must graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. National certified counselors need credit hours in required content areas and supervised internship experience.

Georgia Licensing for Psychologists

The process of psychology licensing includes applying to the state, passing examinations, and paying fees. The Georgia Board of Psychology licenses psychologists in the state. License-holders can practice clinical psychology, gain an advantage in the job market, and expect higher salaries and advancement opportunities.

Why Get Licensed in Georgia?

Licensed psychologists in Georgia can perform clinical psychology independently, without supervision, and can practice with the title "psychologist." In addition to clinical psychology, a license permits practice in such specialty areas as child psychology, counseling psychology, forensic psychology, and sports psychology.

Non-licensed psychologists can practice, but only under supervision. Not all Georgia psychology graduates need a license, including school psychologists, government staff psychologists, and non-licensed counselors, therapists, and social workers.

Licensing Criteria for Georgia

The Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists issues psychology licenses. The board requires a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) from a program accredited by the APA or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), along with the completion of a 2,000-hour internship and 1,500 hours of postdoctoral supervised work. Candidates take three examinations: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), the Georgia Jurisprudence Examination, and an oral exam.

Doctoral programs must have included coursework in scientific psychology; scientific, methodological, and theoretical foundations; psychological assessments and measurements; treatment and intervention strategies; cultural and individual diversity; and practicum experience.

Some specialty areas may list supplemental requirements. For example, industrial/organizational psychology applicants must meet additional competencies outlined by the APA. Those who plan to work in developmental disabilities psychology must complete extra coursework in developmental aspects of behavior, cognitive aspects of behavior, behavior assessment and intervention, and assessment of intelligence.

How to Get Licensed in Georgia

Licensure candidates take three exams. The EEEP consists of multiple-choice questions in eight content areas. Learners can schedule the exam once the licensing board approves their application. Examinees report to a test center and must earn a scaled score of 500 to pass.

After passing the EEEP, candidates sit for the jurisprudence examination at a test site. Individuals can schedule this exam year-round. The multiple-choice exam comprises questions covering laws and rules. Learners pass with a scaled score of 70.

The oral exam takes place after passing the first two tests. Topics include practice skills, ethics, and applicable laws. The licensing board decides whether or not candidates pass or fail.

The licensing process does not require specialization, but additional exams for some specialties include psychopharmacology and school psychology.

License Renewal in Georgia

Georgia psychologists renew their licenses every two years on January 1 of odd-numbered years. Renewal requires the completion of 40 credits of continuing professional education in areas relevant to the psychologist's practice. Six credits, earned at in-person workshops, must cover ethics.

Applicants can earn the remaining non-ethics credits through academic courses, article publication, peer-group consultation, conferences, conventions, and self instruction through written materials or online, video, and audio instruction.

The continuing education credit requirements apply to each two-year renewal period. Applicants self-attest that they have completed them.

Georgia Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

The tables below present wage and employment data for Georgia psychologists. Salaries in Georgia have increased since 2016, exceeding the national average. Compared to those in nearby southeast states, Georgia clinical, counseling, and school psychologists bring home higher pay. All other psychologists earn higher wages than other states, excluding Florida.

Georgia also beats the national average and the other southeastern states (except Florida) in job growth for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. The trends indicate that as job growth increases, salaries tend to grow as well.

Compared to those in nearby southeast states, Georgia clinical, counseling, and school psychologists bring home higher pay.

Because of the need for school and addiction counselors in Georgia, along with the state's focus on child and adolescent mental health, students should consider specializing in child psychology, school psychology, and substance abuse counseling.

Job growth in the areas of clinical, counseling, and school counseling -- which encompasses working in schools, with children, and with those suffering from addiction -- should rise by 17.4% through 2028. What's more, clinical, counseling, and school counseling pay in Georgia increased more than $5,000 from 2017-18.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Georgia $82,380 $83,500
Psychologists, All Other in Georgia $84,730 $94,660
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally $78,690 $81,330
Psychologists, All Other Nationally $94,650 $93,440

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Georgia

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $89,190

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,940

  • Florida

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $76,190

    Psychologists, All Other: $96,640

  • South Carolina

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $63,050

    Psychologists, All Other: $92,560

  • Alabama

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $69,070

    Psychologists, All Other: $90,050

  • Tennessee

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $69,510

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,260

  • North Carolina

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $77,470

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Georgia 17.4% 9.5%
Florida 19.9% 21.1%
South Carolina 13.7% 5.3%
Alabama 12.80% N/A
Tennessee 13.90% 4.30%
North Carolina 15.3% 7.1%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Georgia Frequently Asked Questions

Is Psychology a Good Major?

Yes. Learners studying psychology can explore a variety of interest areas and career paths. Psychology programs prepare graduates to not only become licensed in Georgia, but also to pursue careers that don't require licensing, such as therapists and counselors. The need for psychology professionals remains high.

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

It depends on your interest area. In general, a bachelor of arts (BA) focuses on psychology and other social sciences, while a bachelor of science (BS) covers more technical topics in math, the sciences, and statistics. Both prepare you for graduate work leading to the eventual practice of psychology. Keep in mind that Georgia requires a doctorate to become licensed.

What is a Good Speciality for Psychology?

Addiction psychology ranks among the top psychology specialties. Sadly, Georgia follows a nationwide trend in increased drug abuse and deaths from opioid addiction, including neonatal fatalities. HIV and Hepatitis C prevalence due to drug injections remains an issue in the state as well. Psychologists seeking a challenging but rewarding career might consider this specialty.

What is the Difference Between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology?

Most students pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, which focuses primarily on scientific research or teaching. Some Ph.D. students also seek to practice in addition to their academic work. Psy.D. students are typically more interested in delivering direct psychological services to patients, groups, and organizations.

Can I Get Licensed If My Degree is From an Unaccredited Program?

No. Georgia requires licensure applicants to earn their doctorates from a regionally accredited institution, having completed a program in applied psychology accredited by the APA or CPA. In addition, licensing applicants must earn their degrees from a traditional, in-person program. An online doctorate does not meet state requirements.

Psychology Resources for Georgia

  • Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Members can join at the professional, associate, or student level, obtain certification as addiction counselors, access free webinars, attend discounted trainings, and join committees focused on addiction and recovery.
  • Georgia Association of School Psychologists GASP supports school psychologists and ensures children receive the behavior, learning, and mental health resources they need. Member benefits include legislative advocacy, conferences and workshops, job postings, and informational materials.
  • Georgia Psychological Association The state's main professional continuing education provider, GPA also lobbies on behalf of its members, hosts networking events, and produces newsletters and informational materials. Its 950 members include practitioners and students.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia With 5,000 members, LPCA is one of the country's largest counseling associations. Members can access free continuing education workshops, publications and journals, and exam prep materials.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness - Georgia Chapter This chapter's website includes articles on a variety of topics of interest to mental health providers, an online discussion group, and resources for destigmatizing mental health issues.