Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Mississippi?

By Rachel Schneider

Students can explore opportunities across degree levels to pursue an education at some of the best psychology schools in Mississippi. The state boasts low tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students at public four-year institutions, with the 11th lowest rates in the United States.

Among Mississippi's population of almost 3 million people, 32% hold a college education. The state ranks 11th in the nation for natural environment, with agriculture and forestry as its top industries. More than half of the farm-raised catfish in the U.S. come from Mississippi. The state is also one of the highest producers for pulpwood, sweet potatoes, and cotton.

Mississippi's unemployment rate comes in at 5.5%. The state features 43 different colleges and universities with 38,421 student loan borrowers in the repayment period and 5,741 of those borrowers in default on their loan payments, resulting in a borrower default rate of 14.9%. These figures add up to create an ideal environment for aspiring psychologists in Mississippi.

What to Expect in a Mississippi Psychology College Program

Mississippi conferred 468 psychology degrees in 2018 across all degree levels. Degree-seekers typically earn their bachelor's degree within four years if they enroll in their program full time. These programs often require learners to complete around 120 credits of coursework and explore foundations of the field.

Once candidates graduate from their bachelor's programs, they can pursue their master's degrees. At the master's level, students typically complete their degrees within two years of full-time enrollment. After successful completion of a bachelor's degree and a master's program, an aspiring psychologist can enroll in a doctoral program, which can take four or more years to complete.

Many colleges and universities in Mississippi feature opportunities for specialization, allowing each learner to focus their degree on a particular facet of psychology, geared toward their personal interests and career goals.

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

To become a psychologist, each student must complete a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral program. At each degree level, learners focus on a different scope for course topics. In bachelor's programs, learners review foundational skills and knowledge in the field, exploring more advanced concepts in master's programs, and focusing on the most specialized course topics during doctoral programs.

General Psychology

Throughout this course, students focus on topics like growth and development, cognition and learning, motivation and emotion, sensation and perception, social psychology, and psychotherapy.

Early Childhood Development

In this course, degree-seekers learn about the way children develop during their first five years of life, beginning with the time they are in utero through the infant, toddler, and preschool stages. Course topics focus on typical and atypical growth and functioning related to cognitive, behavioral, physical, and socioemotional development.

Psychology of Women and Men

Students explore the different behaviors of men and women, reviewing theories and research revolving around sex, gender, and behavior. Course topics include differences between men and women, the impact of gender stereotypes, and gender-role development.

Psychology of Stress and Coping

This course allows degree-seekers to explore the developmental, physiological, and social-psychological causes of stress. Course topics include the role of control and the lack of predictability, learned helplessness, and the interrelationship of psychological and physical causes of stress.

Social Development

Enrollees review the methods, theories, and research in the social-psychological development field. The course emphasizes development from infancy to adolescence, reviewing topics in emotion, temperament, behaviors, and the self to uncover the different facets of social development across age groups.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Mississippi

Before beginning the licensing process to become a psychologist in Mississippi, each individual must earn a bachelor's degree. While bachelor's students do not need to major in psychology to qualify for licensure, they must complete the necessary prerequisite coursework to enroll in a master's degree in psychology. An aspiring psychologist can pursue a bachelor of arts degree or a bachelor of science degree, depending on their goals and the types of programs offered by their chosen college or university.

Students who do not complete bachelor's degrees in psychology who want to gain more exposure and experience in the field before earning an advanced degree can pursue a stand-alone master's program. Many students complete their master's degree requirements within their doctoral program.

Doctoral programs must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Mississippi also requires each student to complete a 2,000-hour internship during one full-time year of study in their doctoral program. Students who complete their master's and doctoral degrees within the same program should expect to take 4-7 years to complete their requirements.

Mississippi Licensing for Psychologists

Licensure ensures that psychologists in Mississippi act in accordance with a set of standards and follow certain regulations to provide the highest quality of practice. To become licensed in Mississippi, professionals must adhere to licensing criteria, including education, experience, and exam requirements.

Why Get Licensed in Mississippi?

Professionals must obtain licensure to practice as psychologists in Mississippi. Psychologists are expected to practice only in the specialization areas where they hold significant education. Those who want to move into other specializations during their careers can enroll in retraining programs to complete the necessary academic coursework and exams. Practicums and internships do not qualify professionals to switch specializations in the state.

Licensing Criteria for Mississippi

Individuals interested in careers as psychologists in Mississippi can pursue licensure through the Mississippi Board of Psychology. Before professionals can apply for licensure and complete their licensing exam and experience requirements, they must meet certain criteria. An eligible candidate for psychology licensure in the state must first earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in psychology.

Aspiring psychologists should earn their bachelor's degrees from accredited institutions. As long as they complete the necessary prerequisite coursework to enroll in a master's program in psychology, students do not need to major in psychology at the undergraduate level. Many degree-seekers choose to pursue their master's degrees as part of their doctoral programs, but learners with bachelor's degrees in non-psychology fields often pursue stand-alone master's programs in psychology before enrolling in doctoral programs.

All eligible individuals for licensure must hold doctoral degrees. After completing the education requirements, professionals can begin the application process through the psychology board.

How to Get Licensed in Mississippi

Individuals who meet the licensing criteria for Mississippi can complete the necessary steps in the licensing process to become psychologists. Aspiring professionals must first complete two years of supervised professional experience in their specific areas of training. The two years of experience should include 4,000 hours total, with 2,000 hours completed through a doctoral internship that meets APA standards and the remaining 2,000 hours in postdoctoral experience.

The licensing process also requires each candidate to complete an initial application and a criminal background check. With their application, individuals must pay the associated $300 fee along with a $50 fee for the background check component. Background checks include a fingerprint card and a passport photo. A candidate must provide three licensed psychologists as professional references with their application.

The final step in the licensing process is to pass the national examination for professional practice in psychology. Once candidates pass the exam, they can schedule and complete an oral exam and receive their license from the board.

License Renewal in Mississippi

Psychologists in Mississippi must renew their licenses every two years. The board sends out an annual notice for renewal. Psychologists must then complete their license renewal application and pay the associated $275 fee. Professionals who renew their licenses in odd-numbered years must submit documentation of their continuing education hours.

As part of the renewal process, every two years, professionals must complete 20 hours of continuing education with experience related to professional ethics and legal issues in the delivery of service.

Mississippi Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

Psychologists working in clinical, counseling, and school settings experience lower annual mean wages than those working in all other types of psychology. In 2016, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Mississippi received a mean annual salary of $69,120, while all other psychologists in the state earned a mean annual salary of $73,130. Between 2016 and 2017, the mean annual wage for all other psychologists in Mississippi increased from $73,130 to $81,330.

Compared to nearby states and the national figures, psychologists working in clinical, counseling, and school settings in Mississippi received a slightly lower mean wage of $67,570. All other psychologists in the state earned an annual mean wage of $81,610, which was slightly lower than most surrounding states, but higher than the mean annual wage reported for Louisiana of $76,510.

While Mississippi does not report data for the projected growth rate between 2016 and 2026 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, the data for all other psychologists demonstrates a projected job growth rate of 14.3%, higher than the national average of 10.3%.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Mississippi $69,120 N/A
Psychologists, All Other in Mississippi $73,130 $80,990
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 Mississippi and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Mississippi

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $67,570

    Psychologists, All Other: $81,610

  • Louisiana

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $86,630

    Psychologists, All Other: $76,510

  • Arkansas

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $69,000

    Psychologists, All Other: $83,030

  • Tennessee

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,260

  • Alabama

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $90,050

  • Florida

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $96,640

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Mississippi N/A 14.3%
Louisiana 11.4% 9.1%
Arkansas 17.7% 9.1%
Tennessee 13.9% 4.3%
Alabama 12.8% N/A
Florida 19.9% 21.1%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Mississippi Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mississippi Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

Each state establishes its own guidelines and regulations for reciprocity. Mississippi grants licensure by reciprocity to licensed professionals from other states if they hold a minimum of five years of licensed professional experience, complete an application, and pay the $300 application fee.

What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?

Across degree levels, students can explore specialization opportunities to tailor their degrees to fit their personal interests and career goals. Degree-seekers can choose from many specialties, including addiction psychology, biopsychology, cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, and developmental psychology.

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Students pursuing a bachelor of science focus on advanced coursework, including clinical psychology, statistical analysis, and neuroscience. Learners enrolled in a BA program explore courses in political science, sociology, and history. Both degrees fulfill the requirement of a bachelor's degree on the path to becoming a psychologist.

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

A Ph.D. in psychology is meant for those who hold an interest in cultivating knowledge through scientific research, collecting data, applying statistical and analytical techniques, and conducting experiments. Individuals pursuing a Psy.D. in psychology experience less psychological research and focus more on providing psychological services across communities and settings.

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

Individuals interested in pursuing careers as psychologists must earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree. At the bachelor's level, degree-seekers do not need to major in psychology, as long as they complete the necessary prerequisite coursework to enroll in a master's program in psychology. At the master's and doctoral levels, however, learners must pursue majors in psychology to meet the criteria to earn psychology licensure.

Psychology Resources for Mississippi

  • Mississippi Psychological Association As the voice for the psychology profession in Mississippi, MPA promotes scientific knowledge in psychology by educating the public and adhering to strict standards in professional practice.
  • Mississippi State Board of Psychology The Mississippi State Board of Psychology regulates the standards and ethics for the psychology profession in Mississippi, along with setting qualifications for training and education and maintaining requirements for continuing education credits.
  • Mississippi Association for Psychology in the Schools As a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for and supporting school psychologists in Mississippi, MAPSMS provides professional fellowship and development opportunities across the state.
  • Mississippi Counseling Association This association, dedicated to promoting the professional and personal development of counselors in Mississippi, advocates for understanding, advancing, and improving the counseling profession by influencing important decisions that affect the field.
  • Mississippi Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Operating as a nonprofit organization committed to providing training, promotion, and advocacy for marriage and family therapists in Mississippi, MAMFT provides its members with many resources, including an annual conference.