Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in New Jersey?

By Sara Walters

Attending one of the best colleges in New Jersey for psychology comes with many benefits. U.S. News & World Report ranks New Jersey as second in the nation overall for education, with 46% of the state's population holding a college education. Compared to neighboring states in the northeast region, New Jersey's average college tuition rate is relatively low.

New Jersey offers several state-based tuition aid programs, including the New Jersey tuition aid grant. This grant is available to resident students who meet need-based criteria and covers up to the cost of tuition at eligible colleges and universities in the state.

Psychology graduates in New Jersey also benefit from the state's relatively low unemployment rate, which sits at 18th in the nation. According to U.S. News & World Report, New Jersey ranks eighth in the nation for opportunity, which factors in economic opportunity, affordability, and equality.

What to Expect in a New Jersey Psychology College Program

New Jersey's State Board of Psychological Examiners requires licensees to hold a doctoral degree in psychology to practice clinically in the state. Earning a doctorate can take a great deal of time and education, including earning a bachelor's and master's prior to the doctorate. A bachelor's degree can take 3-4 years, a master's may take an additional 2-3 years, and a doctorate can take another 3-5 years.

Colleges for psychology in New Jersey often allow students to pursue specializations, which may require additional coursework. Generally, the further enrollees progress in higher education, the more specialized their work becomes. Bachelor's-level programs offer broad, foundational courses, and graduate-level programs often allow students to focus their studies in specialty fields.

Doctoral programs in psychology in New Jersey generally include an internship year, which prepares students for postdoctoral supervised practice. Distance learners in online programs often complete these internships in their local communities.

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

New Jersey colleges for psychology offer a wide variety of course options at every degree level. Undergraduate psychology courses tend to cover the fundamentals while graduate courses provide more in-depth explorations of psychology subjects. Actual course offerings vary by program, degree, and school. The list below provides examples of common psychology courses offered at different degree levels.

Introduction to Psychology

Generally offered in the first year or two of undergraduate studies, this course provides a broad overview of the field of psychology. Students learn basic terminology, theories and theorists, and subsets of the field. This general survey course explores topics in biology, perception, and social psychology.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

At the undergraduate level, this course provides an overview of basic principles for treating drug and alcohol abuse in individuals. Students explore topics in assessment and treatment, learning the biological effects of different drugs and substances. At the graduate level, this course may emphasize counseling and psychotherapy practice with patients suffering from addiction.

Tests and Measures in Psychology

This course includes a survey of statistical tests and measures commonly employed in psychological research. Undergraduate courses in this topic offer a general, foundational look at these methods, and students examine and analyze how various tests and measures are utilized in current scholarship. Graduate students may employ these methods in their own original research.

Human Development

Sometimes divided into life stages, such as childhood to adolescence or adolescence to adulthood, this course explores the developmental stages of human life. Undergraduates may learn about each life phase by examining cognitive and social development processes.

Abnormal Psychology

Offered in various forms at every degree level, this course considers the psychology behind abnormal behavior and psychological disorders. The undergraduate course examines the history of perceptions of mental health, along with causes and treatments for common disorders. Graduate courses in abnormal psychology may concentrate on specific disorders, treatment processes, and assessments.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in New Jersey

To practice psychology in New Jersey, you must hold the appropriate licensure. New Jersey's State Board of Psychological Examiners regulates psychology licensure in the state to ensure that new applicants and current practitioners adhere to specific rules and policies. This includes education requirements for psychologists.

To earn licensure in New Jersey, each candidate must hold a doctorate from a regionally accredited institution. Prospective psychologists must submit documentation of at least 40 credits of doctoral courses in specific subject areas, including personality theory and human development, learning theory, psychological measurement and assessment, and research and statistical design.

New Jersey's State Board of Psychological Examiners regulates psychology licensure in the state to ensure that new applicants and current practitioners adhere to specific rules and policies.

Candidates must earn their degrees from institutions accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or programs that meet specific criteria, including residency requirements and employing faculty who hold doctorates. Graduates should hold degrees in psychology or closely related fields, subject to approval by the board.

The New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners handles licensure for general psychology rather than for specialty fields. Candidates with an academic background in a specialty area must earn a general license in psychology to practice. Counselors follow different licensure guidelines, as mandated by the state's Professional Counselor Examiners Committee.

New Jersey Licensing for Psychologists

To practice as a psychologist in New Jersey, you must hold a professional license. Licensing provides an important buffer between practitioners and patients, ensuring patients receive the best care from qualified professionals. In New Jersey, the State Board of Psychological Examiners regulates licensure by setting and implementing policies and regulations for psychologists.

Why Get Licensed in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a psychologist must hold a state license to practice psychology in any setting. This includes clinical practice in private and public institutions. Every psychologist must earn a license, regardless of their specialization or practice area. The only exception to this is school psychologists, who must hold a license from the State Department of Education and are exempt from licensure through the State Board of Psychological Examiners.

Other professionals whose jobs entail some psychology-related services, like licensed social workers, attorneys, and registered nurses, are also exempt from psychology licensure.

Licensing Criteria for New Jersey

New Jersey's State Board of Psychological Examiners, a licensing board of the state's Division of Consumer Affairs, regulates all psychology licensure in the state. The board sets educational requirements for licensure. In New Jersey, psychology candidates must hold doctorates in the field or closely related areas. The degree must come from a regionally accredited institution, and credits from another institution may make up no more than a third of the earned doctoral credits.

Licensure candidates must have earned at least 40 doctoral credits in psychology. Of those 40, 36 credits must cover personality theory, human development, learning theory, psychopathology, and research and statistical design. All candidates must complete at least two years of supervised experience, with at least one year occurring after earning the doctorate.

Requirements for school psychologists differ. These licenses are handled by the state's Department of Education and dictate different requirements.

How to Get Licensed in New Jersey

In addition to earning the appropriate degree, candidates for psychology licensure in New Jersey must also take and pass a required exam. New Jersey requires the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP), a national exam provided by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The state requires no additional exams.

The EPPP is a computer-based test offered at proctored test centers. It includes 225 multiple-choice questions, and candidates have four hours and 15 minutes to complete the questions, of which only 175 count toward the total score. The ASPPB counts a passing score as 500, or 70%. New Jersey's board adheres to ASPPB scoring recommendations.

Before sitting for the exam, aspiring psychologists must earn their degrees and complete the required two years of supervised practice. Candidates must submit all application materials and receive approval to sit for the EPPP. The test does not require specialization and applies to general clinical practice in psychology.

License Renewal in New Jersey

Once a psychologist earns licensure in New Jersey, they must keep their license active by renewing it every other year. The state board notifies licensees of renewal 60 days before the expiration date. Licensees must then submit a renewal application and the required fee of $300 within those 60 days before expiration. If a licensee fails to renew their license on time, they have 30 days past their expiration date to renew with a $75 late fee.

During the two years between renewal, each licensee must complete a minimum of 40 continuing education hours, with at least four related to domestic violence.

New Jersey Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), New Jersey psychologists, such as those in the clinical, counseling, and school specialties, earn higher mean annual wages than the national figure. Similarly, general psychologists experienced substantial growth in their mean annual wages between 2016 and 2017, putting those earnings much higher than national mean wages.

In 2018, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in New Jersey earned an annual mean wage of $98,470. Compared to neighboring states like New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, psychologists in New Jersey take home higher wages. However, the BLS projects psychology jobs in New Jersey will grow at a lower rate compared to some nearby states.

New Jersey's Division of Mental Health Services offers many state-based mental health initiatives to serve residents. Every year, more than 270,000 residents take advantage of state mental health services, including over 6,500 who spend time as inpatients in state mental health facilities. This emphasis on mental health services may contribute to job availability for mental health professionals like psychologists in different specializations and fields.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in New Jersey $94,650 $97,790
Psychologists, All Other in New Jersey $92,080 $107,950
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 New Jersey and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • New Jersey

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $98,470

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • New York

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $94,140

    Psychologists, All Other: $99,640

  • Connecticut

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $90,870

    Psychologists, All Other: $96,180

  • Pennsylvania

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,940

  • Delaware

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $78,850

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Maryland

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,260

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
New Jersey 7.6% 9.5%
New York 15.6% 18.2%
Connecticut 7.4% 11.6%
Pennsylvania 9.3% 7.5%
Delaware 11.8% N/A
Maryland 15.2% 5.1%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in New Jersey Frequently Asked Questions

If I Have a Psychology License From Another State, Is It Valid in New Jersey?

No. New Jersey's psychology board does not offer reciprocity for licenses issued in other states. If a psychologist plans to practice in New Jersey for a very limited time (under 15 days in a 90-day period), they may qualify for a temporary license. However, to earn full-time licensure, a psychologist with an out-of-state license must apply as a new licensee in New Jersey.

How Can I Earn Continuing Education Credits Once I am Licensed?

New Jersey psychologists must earn 40 continuing education hours biennially. All continuing education credits must hold approval from APA, the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, or the American Medical Association. Continuing education credits can come from attending graduate courses in psychology, presenting a lecture or seminar, or authorship of a research article.

What Types Of Courses Do I Need To Take To Earn a Psychology License in New Jersey?

New Jersey requires a doctorate in psychology to earn licensure. Candidates must take at least 40 credits in the doctoral program. This includes six credits in research and statistical design, six credits in psychological measurement and psychological assessment, six credits in personality theory and human development theory, six credits in learning theory/physiological psychology, six credits in psychopathology, and six credits in psychological therapy/counseling or industrial/organizational psychology.

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

In New Jersey, psychologists must hold a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The regional accrediting body must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, applicants should graduate from a program approved by APA, the Canadian Psychological Association, or the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards/National Register Joint Designation. Programs should also require at least one year of on-campus residency and must employ full-time faculty who hold doctorates.

What Field of Psychology Makes the Most Money?

In New Jersey, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists report higher mean annual wages than psychologists in other general fields. Industrial and organizational psychologists in the state earn more than other specialties, with New Jersey ranking in the top five for annual mean wage in this profession.

Psychology Resources for New Jersey

  • New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services This website provides information and resources on New Jersey's behavioral health services. Psychology students and practitioners can benefit from the website's searchable databases of providers, training programs, and printable brochures.
  • New Jersey State Board of Psychological Examiners This board serves as the governing body for psychology practice in New Jersey. The website provides information on licensure, including regulations and policies. New applicants and current practitioners can use the online system to apply or renew their licenses.
  • Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards ASPPB provides the required credentialing exam for psychologists in New Jersey. Its website provides information on the exam, including study guides and information on testing centers.
  • New Jersey Psychology Association This state-based organization advocates for psychology professionals and helps promote the field. Members receive access to continuing education, networking opportunities, online resources, and free publications.
  • American Psychological Association As the foremost psychology organization in the U.S., APA provides many services and resources. Students can access its database of approved psychology programs, along with many online publications and resources.