Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Michigan?

By LearnPsychology.org Staff

Programs at the best colleges in Michigan for psychology reflect the state's licensing requirements to prepare in-state and out-of-state students for licensure. Additionally, in-state learners can complete fieldwork at local organizations, which may lead to employment after graduation.

Michigan schools also offer financial advantages. For instance, average in-state tuition and fees in Michigan are lower than rates in the neighboring state of Illinois. Michigan holds a lower unemployment rate than Ohio and a lower student loan default rate than Indiana. These factors allow learners to pursue in-state degrees with confidence about their future finances and employment options. U.S. News & World Report ranks Michigan as the 14th best state for opportunity. The state also ranks 19th in economy and 24th in healthcare.

What to Expect in a Michigan Psychology College Program

The best colleges in Michigan for psychology offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Each of these programs addresses development, research, and behavioral tendencies. However, advanced degrees examine these concepts in more depth, especially since graduate programs often limit requirements to fieldwork and classes that relate to psychology.

A bachelor's program usually requires four years in general education, elective, and major courses. Master's programs can take two or more years and may include a thesis project and fieldwork. Doctoral programs can require five or more years, including a dissertation and fieldwork. Undergraduate and graduate programs may offer specializations, such as health psychology and school psychology.

Michigan schools awarded more than 4,000 psychology degrees in 2018: 3,464 bachelor's, 458 master's, and 160 doctorates. This high number of graduates indicates that in-state programs are geared toward field success.

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

Each psychology program requires unique components, which may include fieldwork and a research project. Program courses also vary among schools, particularly for institutions that offer specializations. Certain themes, however, are commonly addressed in curricula at the best colleges in Michigan for psychology. The following list includes some common coursework for psychology students in the Great Lakes State.


Students explore how to assess and treat psychological issues through therapy. Course topics include steps and common problems for therapy sessions, and also ethical concerns for therapists. Departments may focus on psychotherapy for certain groups, such as children. Learners may also encounter these courses in master's or doctoral programs.

Abnormal Psychology

In this course, enrollees examine common disorders related to mental health, personality, and behavior. Classes may guide learners on determining disorders and building treatment plans that reflect patients' needs. Other topics may include societal perceptions of disorders and physiological reasons for these conditions. Often, these classes surface in bachelor's programs.

Social Psychology

Students examine how and why group settings and social environments influence a person's attitude, actions, thought processes, behavior, and language. Concepts, such as perception and groupthink, may arise in coursework. These bachelor's-level classes prepare learners to use this information when assessing and treating patients for mental and personality disorders.

Developmental Psychology

Courses cover cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and physical growth, with emphasis on milestones and stages. Departments may focus on historical theories of development or modern issues that affect human growth. Courses may also specialize in child development or address development over a lifetime. Bachelor's programs often include these courses.

Psychological Research

Degree-seekers learn to create research questions and conduct scholarly research. In particular, courses guide students on determining source value, analyzing sources, and writing or presenting findings in professional products. Faculty members may also address citation methods. Departments may require these courses for bachelor's, master's, or doctoral programs.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Michigan

Educational requirements for psychologist licensure in Michigan vary by credential. For independent practice, learners must earn psychology doctorates. A fully licensed professional must complete at least one year of fieldwork before obtaining their doctorate. However, the state provides limited licensing options for candidates with a master's degree. These credentials, though, do not allow recipients to work in private practices or perform tasks that require a full license.

Doctorates should be recognized by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) or the American Psychological Association (APA). The state does not require this accreditation for master's degrees. All graduate degrees should be in psychology, but graduate programs may admit applicants with bachelor's degrees in other fields, such as biology, counseling, or business administration.

Program specializations allow students to complete courses and fieldwork that address career-related topics. A media psychology specialization, as an example, requires coursework that relates to marketing and audience perception, possibly including internships at relevant organizations. However, not all Michigan colleges for psychology offer these concentrations.

Michigan Licensing for Psychologists

To work as a psychologist in Michigan, candidates must earn licenses. This credential may call for an advanced degree, standardized test scores, and supervised fieldwork. These criteria verify that applicants understand and have applied field concepts in practical settings, which ensures knowledgeable and quality care for psychology patients in the state.

Why Get Licensed in Michigan?

Individuals need a full psychologist license to practice independently in Michigan, but they may pursue limited licenses to help with tests and diagnoses. However, limited licensed individuals must perform these tasks with supervision.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs does not note any specializations for a psychologist license. However, Michigan offers licenses for private practice in related fields, such as family, drug rehabilitation, and marriage counseling.

Licensing Criteria for Michigan

Licensure criteria depends on the specific credential. However, to earn a full license, a candidate must first earn or qualify for a master's or doctoral educational limited license. This requirement means a Michigan resident may commit over seven years toward earning a full license.

Full licensure candidates must also complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork within two years. This experience must occur after earning a degree. Applicants must also submit transcripts. International degrees must undergo review from a recognized agency, such as the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

Applying for any psychologist credential in the state requires a criminal background check, training related to human trafficking, and an application fee. For a full license, this fee is $162.

Michigan's Bureau of Professional Licensing also offers licensure by endorsement for qualifying applicants. For instance, candidates who are licensed in other states may qualify, but only if their initial licenses were earned 10 or more years ago.

How to Get Licensed in Michigan

After completing the required education and fieldwork, Michigan applicants for doctoral psychologist licenses or master's limited licenses must take the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP). This exam addresses concepts like behavior and assessment and costs $600. The ASPPB delivers the EPPP and allows test-takers a maximum of four attempts to pass each year. Doctoral licensure calls for a minimum score of 500, while the master's limited credential requires a 450 score.

Additional requirements for licensure involve answers to questions regarding ethical practice. Applicants who answer these questions affirmatively must provide evidence that they can provide moral and thoughtful guidance to patients. Examples of this evidence include proof of rehabilitation from past issues.

The Bureau of Professional Licensing in Michigan does not mention varied criteria for specializations. However, the state does offer related credentials for substance use disorder counselors and marriage and family therapists.

License Renewal in Michigan

Most psychologist licenses in Michigan remain valid for two years, except for the doctoral educational limited license. Renewal regulations vary by credential. As an example, some licenses have a maximum number of renewal times, such as the doctoral educational limited license that can be renewed five times.

Most licenses require 30 continuing education hours for renewal, but with restrictions. For instance, only continuing education credits earned during the licensing period may count toward renewal. Additionally, candidates can earn a maximum of 12 continuing education credits in one day. Some continuing education hours must also relate to field ethics and pain management.

Acceptable continuing education opportunities include courses or academic programs, and also public presentations related to psychology. Candidates can also publish scholarly pieces or earn relevant certifications.

Renewal also requires a fee. For full psychologists, this fee is $206.

Michigan Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported salary increases for psychologists from 2016-18. In Michigan, mean annual wages for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists increased by more than $6,000, and general psychologists' salaries increased by over $2,000. In 2018, the mean annual wages for generalist psychologists increased again, this time by more than $4,000.

Nationally, psychologists in clinical, counseling, and school specialties took home a mean annual wage of nearly $3,000 more in 2017 than in 2016. In 2018, their pay increased by another $4,010. The national mean annual wages for general psychologists decreased by almost $1,000 between 2016 and 2017 but rose to more than $95,000 in 2018.

As of 2018, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists typically average less than general psychologists. This applies on a national scale, along with Michigan and nearby states like Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. This difference may relate to high growth projections for clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions. For Michigan, as an example, the BLS projects a 13.5% increase in these jobs, while general psychologist positions in the state should only increase by 2.2%. Essentially, general psychologist positions may be more competitive, which could explain the higher pay.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Michigan $76,330 $82,570
Psychologists, All Other in Michigan $81,870 $83,930
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 Michigan and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Michigan

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $83,210

    Psychologists, All Other: $88,120

  • Ohio

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $75,710

    Psychologists, All Other: $92,900

  • Indiana

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,350

    Psychologists, All Other: $88,470

  • Illinois

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $75,180

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,410

  • Wisconsin

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $83,420

    Psychologists, All Other: $80,620

  • Minnesota

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $85,860

    Psychologists, All Other: $93,310

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Michigan 13.5% 2.2%
Ohio 13.4% 8.7%
Indiana 15.4% 13.6%
Wisconsin 9.7% 5.6%
Minnesota 11.9% 7.1%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Michigan Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Major in Psychology to Become a Psychologist?

Candidates need to pursue advanced degrees to earn psychologist licenses in Michigan. Becoming a fully licensed psychologist by exam calls for a doctorate, though some credentials may only require a master's. All of these degrees should be in psychology.

What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?

Students should consider specializations as they relate to their career goals. For instance, learners who are interested in helping substance abuse victims should specialize in addiction psychology, while individuals who want to assist children can choose a pediatric focus.

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

Admission requirements vary by school and program. However, colleges for psychology in Michigan may not require a psychology bachelor's for graduate admission. Applicants who hold degrees in fields like history, communication, criminal justice, and social work may earn admission into the best psychology schools in Michigan.

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

In general, a Ph.D. advances research skills for careers as educators and scholarly researchers. A Psy.D. develops application skills for counseling sessions and practice. Despite these differences, either degree can lead to a psychologist license since both options explore fundamental concepts of human development and psychology.

Are Michigan Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

Some states offer license reciprocity for credentials earned in other states. This licensure by endorsement, however, may require candidates to complete additional courses, exams, or fieldwork that reflect their states' expectations. Individuals should review their states' policies to determine reciprocity options.

Psychology Resources for Michigan

  • Michigan Psychological Association MPA members can earn continuing education hours through group events and may also benefit from legal guidance from a state attorney. Additional member benefits include training opportunities and discounts on relevant software. The website also offers information on licensure and includes a psychologist directory.
  • The Depression Center The Depression Center provides a toolkit that explores mental health and strategies for encouraging and advocating for victims of depression. The group also offers events with psychology professionals, such as the Colloquium Series and the Depression on College Campuses Conference.
  • Michigan Association of Professional Psychologists MAPP participates in events that explore topics like human trafficking, behavior, and field ethics. The association also guides candidates on earning continuing education credits and offers information on local psychology jobs. Members can work with the board of directors, membership committee, conference committee, or the third party reimbursement committee.
  • Michigan Association of School Psychologists MASP delivers multiple events, including the Fall Conference, Spring Conference, Board Summer Retreats, and PREPaRE workshops. Group members receive the newsletter, the Michigan Psych Report, and can explore resources on behavior and mental health through the site.
  • Michigan Association for Industrial-Organizational Psychology MAIOP delivers field events, which may include panelists and contests. Other events, like the Summer Social, may focus on professional networking for industrial-organizational psychologists. The association also maintains a member directory.