Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Idaho?

By Janice Monti

Idaho is home to 20 colleges and universities, including eight public institutions; seven private, nonprofit schools; and five for-profits. While only 35% of Idaho residents over 25 hold postsecondary degrees, full-time college enrollment across the state has increased by more than 80% since 2000. An increased emphasis on educational attainment, coupled with Idaho's steady population growth and low unemployment rate of 2.9%, contribute to a positive employment outlook for psychology graduates.

Colleges for psychology in Idaho offer reasonable tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state candidates. Idaho also ranks as the 17th most affordable for college attendance. The best colleges for psychology in Idaho offer specialized curricula that prepare candidates for high demand careers, such as clinical psychology, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

What to Expect in an Idaho Psychology College Program

Idaho awarded only 247 psychology degrees in 2018, and qualified licensed psychologists are in demand statewide. While psychology students go on to pursue diverse career paths, graduates' salary and employment prospects depend on the type of degree they have earned. A bachelor's degree, which requires approximately four years of full-time study, prepares graduates for entry-level positions in social services or other helping professions. A bachelor's may also fill academic prerequisites for graduate-level study.

All licensed psychologists, counselors, and therapists must hold an advanced degree. A master's degree typically fulfills the minimum educational requirement needed to pursue licensure. Candidates can usually complete a master's in 18-24 months. A licensed psychologist in Idaho must also hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in order to practice. A doctorate can require five or more years of study, including coursework, comprehensive examinations, dissertation research, and field experience requirements.

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

The best colleges in Idaho for psychology combine core psychological theories, concepts, and methods with distinctive courses and specialization opportunities. While every program is slightly different, the following list describes some common undergraduate and graduate course offerings.

General Psychology

This class introduces undergraduate psychology students to major theories and research methods in the field. Candidates learn to understand, explain, and predict ways that humans think and behave as they explore cognition, motivation, emotion, and the relationship between biology and environment.

Abnormal Psychology

This undergraduate course examines the origins, symptoms, and treatment of abnormal human behaviors used in clinical practice. Degree-seekers explore psychopathological behaviors like phobias, anxiety, substance use disorders, along with mood, personality, and dissociative disorders. Learners also examine biological, behavioral, cultural, and social factors impacting mental disorders and classification.

Environmental Psychology

Typically offered as a master's-level seminar, this class reviews emerging work in environmental psychology and the basic dimensions of human/environment relationships. Candidates examine human emotional responses to natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments. Discussions focus on the ecological consequences of human actions, social uses of space, and sustainability issues.

Psychological Assessment

Required in many clinically-focused master's programs, this course provides an overview of psychological assessment, appraisal, and testing. Students build familiarity with projective techniques, case studies, clinical interpretation, and the psychological test battery. Coursework focuses on appropriate and ethical assessment application in culturally diverse settings.

Multivariate Analysis

Designed for doctoral students preparing to conduct independent quantitative research, this course surveys techniques used to analyze data featuring multiple dependent variables. Students learn several approaches for collecting and evaluating statistical data, including continuous multivariate distributions, multiple regression, canonical analysis, and logistic regression.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Idaho

Most advanced psychology positions in mental health counseling, addictions, and marriage and family therapy require a master's degree. In Idaho, all licensed practicing psychologists must hold a doctorate from an institution accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). While some graduate programs do not require a bachelor's in psychology for admission, an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related social science may provide a good foundation for graduate-level study in the field.

The best colleges in Idaho for psychology offer specialization options that help degree-seekers focus on their career goals. Some graduate programs offer specializations in mental health counseling, marriage and family studies, industrial/organizational psychology, school psychology, and experimental psychology.

At a glance, the time and cost associated with a master's or doctoral degree may seem overwhelming. However, a graduate degree can lead to a wider variety of career options and increased earning potential.

Master's and doctoral programs typically require students to complete supervised professional experiences in clinical settings. Some undergraduate programs may also feature internships and practicums to provide psychology majors with valuable practical experience and the opportunity to explore their career options.

At a glance, the time and cost associated with a master's or doctoral degree may seem overwhelming. However, a graduate degree can lead to a wider variety of career options and increased earning potential. The U.S. Department of Labor anticipates higher-than-average employment growth for licensed psychology and counseling positions in Idaho, including a 14% increase for clinical, counseling, and school psychologist jobs.

Idaho Licensing for Psychologists

Psychologists in all 50 states must obtain a license before offering their services to the public. Licensure ensures that a professional is qualified to provide direct services to clients. While specific regulations differ from state to state, all licensed psychologists are expected to hold a doctorate from an APA accredited program, complete supervised professional experience, and pass state and national examinations and criminal background checks.

Why Get Licensed in Idaho?

Psychologists must be licensed by the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners to use psychotherapeutic techniques for the purposes of counseling, testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Psychologists also need a license to conduct psychological applications for personnel evaluation, group relations, and behavior adjustment, or to research problems related to human behavior.

To practice in a specialization, psychologists must complete supervised work experience under a psychologist trained in this specialized area. Idaho's state board recognizes specializations in general, counseling, and clinical psychology.

Licensing Criteria for Idaho

The Idaho Board of Psychological Examiners is the state licensing authority. The Board establishes and administers licensing requirements and ensures compliance. All first-time candidates for licensure must hold a doctorate from a regionally accredited university and an APA-approved program. Applicants must also complete at least 2,000 hours of supervised professional experience, including a minimum of 1,000 hours undertaken in their doctoral program after one full year of graduate work.

Approved candidates who fulfill the mandatory postdoctoral supervised hours may then receive permission to take the national licensing exam. Idaho candidates receive full licensing approval only after they successfully complete their SPE hours and pay all required application, administrative, endorsement, and examination fees.

Psychologists licensed in other states who plan to work in Idaho must seek licensure by endorsement. School psychologists in Idaho undergo a separate certification process under the jurisdiction of the Certification Division of the Idaho State Department of Education.

How to Get Licensed in Idaho

As soon as candidates receive approval to work as psychologists in training, they may sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) offers the computerized exam four times a year at over 275 testing centers across the country. The ASPPB also provides online and in-person practice exams to help candidates prepare for the EPPP. Test-takers must pay a $600 application fee and an $88 test site appointment fee when they schedule their exam date.

Comprised of 225 multiple-choice questions, the exam assesses psychology knowledge in eight content areas: biological bases of behavior; cognitive-affective bases of behavior; social and cultural bases of behavior; growth and lifespan development; assessment and diagnosis; treatment, intervention, prevention and supervision; research methods and statistics; and ethical, legal, and professional issues. Idaho candidates must achieve a score of 500 to pass, which corresponds to the recommended ASPPB cutoff score.

License Renewal in Idaho

The Idaho Board requires psychologists to renew their licenses every year. Applicants seeking renewal must pay a $250 fee and submit documentation that they have completed at least 20 hours of continuing education units over the course of the year. All continuing education providers must hold approval from the APA, a regional or state psychological association, or a regionally accredited college or university.

Only 10 of the mandatory 20 CEU credits may come from online coursework. Candidates must also complete at least four hours in ethics, care standards, and/or laws pertaining to psychology practice every three years. Psychologists who earn more than the required hours within a year may apply up to 20 hours of these credits to their next renewal.

Idaho Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

The following table provides psychology students and recent graduates with a snapshot of career and salary prospects for the field. In light of Idaho's efforts to improve healthcare delivery and access, licensed psychologists are expected to see a positive employment outlook in the near future. The Department of Labor projects a 14.3% job growth rate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions through 2026, which is on par with the national average. Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and substance abuse counselors can also expect steady job growth in the same time period.

Salary potential for Idaho psychologists depends largely on specialization, educational background, professional experience, and employer.

Salary potential for Idaho psychologists depends largely on specialization, educational background, professional experience, and employer. While the annual average salary of $64,270 for clinical psychologists, counselors, and school psychologists in Idaho falls below the national average for these occupations, it ranks significantly above the state's average per capita income of $43,155. Mental health counselors earn an average salary of $50,860 a year.

While salaries for all psychologists in the state fall below the national average, Idaho's affordable cost of living, low unemployment rate, and reasonable property taxes contribute to a healthy outlook for psychologists, counselors, and therapists.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Idaho $68,570 $64,020
Psychologists, All Other in Idaho $81,640 $85,250
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 Idaho and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Idaho

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $64,270

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,410

  • Washington

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,840

    Psychologists, All Other: $102,760

  • Oregon

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $103,870

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • 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

  • Wyoming

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $78,360

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Montana

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $63,720

    Psychologists, All Other: $69,870

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Idaho 14.3% 20.0%
Washington 21.50% 10.00%
Oregon 15.50% -5.00%
Nevada 21.70% >N/A
Utah 30.80% N/A
Wyoming 8.00% 33.30%
Montana 12.5% 16.7%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Idaho Frequently Asked Questions

What Field of Psychology Makes the Most Money?

While compensation depends on many factors, including geographical location and professional experience, specialists in certain high-demand areas of psychology enjoy exceptionally lucrative earnings. Child psychiatrists, who must hold a medical degree in addition to psychology training, earn the highest salaries. Specialists in industrial/organizational psychology, engineering psychology, and forensic psychology report average annual salaries above $100,000.

Is Psychology a Good Major?

Year after year, psychology ranks as one of the most popular undergraduate majors. A bachelor's in psychology also provides the academic background for graduate studies in social sciences, law, social work and education, and may lead to many challenging and rewarding career paths.

Should I get a BA or a BS in Psychology?

A BA curriculum combines a comprehensive liberal arts education with coursework in psychology. Graduates pursue advanced studies and entry-level psychology jobs, or careers in fields like law, social work, and education. Emphasizing math, science, and laboratory courses, BS programs appeal to psychology majors who have already decided to pursue research-oriented graduate work.

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

The research-focused Ph.D. trains students to apply statistical analysis and methodologies to psychological issues. Ph.D. candidates are typically required to complete a dissertation. The Psy.D., or Doctor of Psychology, emphasizes practice-oriented training for delivering direct clinical services. A Ph.D. may take five or more years to complete, while a Psy.D. usually requires 4-6 years of study, including a year-long clinical internship.

What Happens If I Don't Renew My License?

Licenses must be renewed annually. Psychologists who fail to renew before the annual expiration date cannot practice until their licenses are reinstated. Candidates for renewal must pay a fee, complete continuing education requirements, and submit the required documentation. Licenses for active duty military personnel remain current for up to six months following military discharge.

Psychology Resources for Idaho

  • Idaho Association of School Psychologists ISPA supports Idaho's school psychologists and advocates on behalf of children's educational and mental health needs. The association sponsors discussion groups and publishes a blog.
  • Idaho Counseling Association A state affiliate of the American Counseling Association, the ICA promotes the interests of counseling professionals throughout Idaho. Members at all levels can attend the organization's annual conference and participate in special interest groups.
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare This state government agency provides healthcare resources and services for Idaho residents. The department hosts mental health education initiatives and biennial conferences on child mental health, early childhood learning, and similar themes.
  • Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association This affiliate of the Idaho Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association sponsors networking events and professional development programs. IMHCA also hosts peer consultation groups, which provide mental health practitioners with feedback and support.
  • Idaho Psychological Association IPA provides a variety of annual professional development and educational opportunities throughout the state. Students and new professionals can take advantage of discounted membership rates and the IPA job bank.