Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Maine?

By Maura Deering

Maine offers affordable options for psychology students. Colleges for psychology in Maine feature tuition rates close to the national average at costs lower than those of neighboring states Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Maine's default rate on student loans falls on the lower end of the spectrum.

To serve students in rural areas and those seeking a flexible educational option, a dozen colleges and universities offer online psychology programs at all levels, including the University of Maine, which confers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

For graduates seeking to practice in Maine, the state ranks first in the nation for public safety and fifth for healthcare quality. Maine also boasts the nation's 10th lowest unemployment rate.

Completing an education and pursuing a career in Maine comes with many benefits, including low college tuition, safety, high healthcare standards, and workforce stability.

What to Expect in a Maine Psychology College Program

How long students take to earn a psychology degree varies. Generally, students graduate with a bachelor's degree in four years. Master's degrees take 2-3 years, while doctoral programs can span six years.

In 2018, Maine colleges for psychology conferred 468 psychology degrees at all levels, putting the state at 36th place in the U.S. for psychology degrees granted. This relatively low ranking highlights a psychologist shortage in the state and opens doors for graduates in the field.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree take courses in psychology along with general education courses. Graduate students pursuing a master's or doctorate can specialize in areas like clinical, school, forensic, substance abuse, or industrial/organizational psychology.

Most programs require students to participate in internships and fieldwork. Online students can often arrange for opportunities near their homes.

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

The listing below spotlights a few courses psychology students typically encounter. While course titles and content vary by school, the descriptions summarize representative classes at Maine colleges and universities.

Abnormal Psychology

Part of an undergraduate curriculum, this class provides an overview of abnormal behavior, including anxiety, schizophrenia, and personality and mood disorders. Students learn how to recognize symptoms, diagnose disorders, and treat patients. The course may cover geographical and cultural variations in diagnosis and treatment.

Consultation and Collaborative Problem-Solving

In this graduate-level course, degree-seekers examine the collaboration and consultation methods used by practitioners working in schools. The course covers interventions to help schoolchildren and their families with academic, behavioral, and social issues. Often, learners evaluate case studies to compare and contrast various approaches.

Forensic Psychology

Students learn the basics of criminalistics, evaluation methods, law enforcement, the legal system, and the roles of forensic psychologists. Course content often includes comparing and contrasting how psychology and the legal system work together and conflict, along with how the media portrays the profession.

General Psychology

Usually an introductory psychology course, this class covers the basics of psychology, including emotion, higher mental processes, individual differences, and social psychology. This course often includes discussion of cultural differences.

History and Philosophy of Psychology

This graduate-level course surveys the development of the psychology field from its beginnings two centuries ago to present-day theories and systems. Topics include cognitive theories, behaviorism, Darwinian theory, experimental psychology, gestaltism, psychoanalysis, and scientific change. Prerequisites often include a course in history and systems of psychology.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Maine

Maine requires a doctorate -- either a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology -- to become a licensed psychologist. Students must earn their degrees from an American (or Canadian) Psychological Association-accredited institution that also holds approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.

The Maine licensing board licenses those with a master's degree in psychology. Individuals must be supervised to work in the field. Undergraduates can major in any subject but should take psychology classes if they hope to work in psychology. A bachelor's degree functions as a step in the process to obtaining a master's or doctoral degree and becoming licensed in psychology.

Undergraduates can major in any subject but should take psychology classes if they hope to work in psychology.

Master's students study general psychology or concentrate their studies on a specialty, such as business, sport, or human factors psychology. At the doctoral level, students focus on particular areas, such as child or school psychology.

Undergraduates typically must complete a research project during their psychology studies. Graduate programs require some type of internship or clinical experience.

Students who seek to become licensed should pursue a doctoral degree. Although a Psy.D. or Ph.D. entails a long course of study and fieldwork, the shortage of licensed psychologists in Maine points to promising career prospects.

Maine Licensing for Psychologists

The Maine licensing board offers psychological examiner licenses to individuals with a master's degree and full licenses and to those with doctorates from qualifying institutions. Licensing can lead to higher salaries and more career opportunities. This section explains the different licenses and processes for obtaining and renewing them.

Why Get Licensed in Maine?

Maine psychologists need a license to practice independently and diagnose, assess, and treat psychological disorders. Psychological examiners cannot practice psychotherapy but can provide consultation, evaluation, and intervention services under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Clinical, rehabilitation, and school psychologists must be fully licensed. Most mental health practitioners need a license to practice in Maine, including professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social workers. Students and psychologists, counselors, and therapists in training do not need licenses.

Licensing Criteria for Maine

The Board of Examiners of Psychologists confers licenses in Maine. Licensed psychologists need a doctorate from an accredited college or university along with two years of work experience in psychology.

The requisite experience consists of 1,500 hours in a predoctoral internship with two hours per week of face-to-face supervision. Professionals must devote 50% of their time to service activities, 25% to direct patient contact, and 25% to research. Individuals must complete an additional 1,500 hours of postdoctoral experience that includes one hour of face-to-face supervision per week and 25-60% of time providing direct services. Most of these hours occur in the candidate's intended practice area.

Psychological examiners need a master's degree from an accredited school and one year of supervised fieldwork experience in psychology. Their experience must include three hours of supervised practice per week.

Some specialties carry additional requirements. For example, school psychologists need nationally certified school psychologist certification.

How to Get Licensed in Maine

Both licensed psychologist and psychologist examiner candidates take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Maine jurisprudence examination. Students can schedule the exams once they receive board approval of their application and permission to register for testing.

The EPPP tests applicants' knowledge with 225 multiple-choice questions covering a broad range of topics. The jurisprudence exam questions candidates on their knowledge of the laws and ethical rules applicable to the psychology profession.

Psychologists must earn a score of 70% to pass the EPPP and a score of 80% to pass the jurisprudence exam. Psychologist examiners pass the EPPP with a score of 65% and the jurisprudence exam with a score of 80%.

Psychologists do not need to specialize to become licensed. However, different types of licenses require different exams, including alcohol and drug and other types of counselors.

License Renewal in Maine

Psychology licensees renew their credentials every year by April 30. License-holders must log 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every two years through in-person attendance at board-approved workshops and seminars, graduate-level classes, and distance education courses. Publication in an academic journal may also qualify as CPE with board approval.

CPE must include three hours on ethics and 20 hours covering the licensee's practice area. Clinician supervisors must complete three hours of supervisory CPE. Renewal candidates self-attest that they have fulfilled the CPE requirements on their renewal applications.

Maine Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

A forecasted shortage of Maine clinical, counseling, and school psychologists numbering between 2,000 to 2,500 by 2030 indicates that these specialties will experience job growth potential. According to Projections Central, jobs in these areas are projected to grow 5.3% in Maine through 2026.

Maine needs school psychologists, especially in rural areas. In addition, the state meets only 33% of its need for mental health providers.

Maine needs school psychologists, especially in rural areas.

Maine psychologists earn lower salaries than the national mean wage, along with other northeastern states. Salaries decreased from 2016-18. Wages of all other categories of psychologists total higher than clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Maine.

Maine's job growth projection also comes in lower than it does nationally or elsewhere in New England. A connection between job growth and wage increase does not appear to exist. However, the unemployment rate in Maine remains low, while the quality of life remains high.

Additionally, Maine's governor announced an economic growth plan to include a 10% wage increase and measures to attract workforce talent, to explore career interests of young people and target training, and to expand the Educational Opportunity Credit to help students pay off debt.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Maine $78,530 $73,660
Psychologists, All Other in Maine N/A $81,290
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 Maine and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Maine

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $75,620

    Psychologists, All Other: $82,790

  • New Hampshire

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $84,270

    Psychologists, All Other: $98,410

  • Vermont

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $77,670

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Massachusetts

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $86,490

    Psychologists, All Other: $83,550

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Maine 5.3% N/A
New Hampshire 12.2% N/A
Vermont 6.4% N/A
Massachusetts 11.9% 11.0%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Maine Frequently Asked Questions

Is Psychology a Good Major?

Yes. The benefits of majoring in psychology center on the field's versatility. In addition to students who plan a career in psychology, degree-seekers not yet certain of their educational or career goals receive a well-rounded background suitable for graduate work or jobs in many areas, including law, humanities, and sciences. Psychology degree-holders can also segue into social work, counseling, and therapy.

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Both degrees build their foundation for future studies and an eventual career in psychology. Bachelor's programs include general education classes to satisfy graduation requirements, and both a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS) offer numerous psychology courses. The main difference between them lies in the BA's social science base and the hard sciences and research focus of the BS.

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

No. The University of Maine, for example, considers qualified applicants to its master's in psychological sciences to have taken courses in psychology, but also hold a background in computer science, math, science, and research. Applicants to the University of Southern Maine's master's in educational psychology need only hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited program.

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

Both degrees prepare students to become licensed psychologists. Which to choose depends on career goals. In general, those drawn more to academia and research pursue a Ph.D. Students who seek to provide direct services to patients or enter administrative leadership at a hospital or clinic tend to favor a Psy.D.

What Happens if I Don't Renew My License?

You can renew your license up to 90 days after it expires. After 90 days, you must reapply as a new applicant. The Maine licensure board must approve reissuance of a license that was not renewed. Failure to renew a license after 90 days means that you cannot practice during the time you are unlicensed.

Psychology Resources for Maine

  • Maine Association of School Psychologists This association provides a network of professional support for practitioners in a largely rural state through online discussion groups, an annual conference, policy updates, and employment listings.
  • Maine Counseling Association Open to mental health professionals and students, this group hosts an annual conference and offers professional development opportunities, news and articles, job listings, legislative updates, and help with ethics questions.
  • Maine Psychological Association MEPA advocates in the state legislature on behalf of psychologists, offers continuing education opportunities and a listserv, and provides free ethics consultations and legal and practical information for its members.
  • Riverview Psychiatric Center A state government facility in Augusta, RPC offers one-year internships to doctoral students in psychology. The training program holds accreditation from the American Psychological Association and prepares students for psychology practice.
  • Sweetser Training Institute This organization hosts clinical workshops and training and continuing education courses for psychologists and other mental health practitioners. Training programs include in-person and online courses and a peer training network for behavioral health professionals.