Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in New Mexico?


By Rachel Schneider

There are many benefits to attending one of the best psychology schools in New Mexico. With the nation's sixth-lowest in- and out-of-state tuition rates for public, four-year institutions, the state's colleges and universities appeal to learners in New Mexico and beyond.

More than one-third of New Mexico's land is federally protected, making the federal government the state's largest employer. Agencies such as the National Park Service seek qualified workers to maintain and protect the state's historic sites and national parks. Most of New Mexico's income is derived from oil and gas, and the state's largest economic contributors include the natural resources industry, federal government spending, retail trade, and tourism.

New Mexico conferred only 299 psychology degrees in 2018, ranking 42nd in the United States. Around 36% of New Mexico's 2,088,070 residents are college educated, and the state is home to 28 colleges and universities. Student debt rates are relatively low, with 18,712 borrowers in the repayment period. Of the borrowers in repayment, 2,751 are in default, creating a borrower default rate of 14.7%.

What to Expect in a New Mexico Psychology College Program

A bachelor's degree in psychology typically consists of 120 course credits and requires around four years of full-time study. Bachelor's-seekers may pursue either a BS or BA, depending on their academic and career goals. While a BA combines psychology coursework with a liberal arts core, BS curricula tend to emphasize applied scientific skills. Both introduce fundamental psychological concepts and methodologies.

After completing a bachelor's degree, prospective psychologists typically spend 2-3 years earning a master's degree. Many master's programs require applicants to meet coursework prerequisites and submit GRE test scores. Master's students can pursue a master of arts or master of science in psychology.

Finally, candidates who wish to become licensed, practicing psychologists must earn a doctorate in psychology. Depending on educational background, program type, and specialty or focus area, doctoral candidates may spend anywhere from 2-7 years completing their degrees. Graduates may then apply for New Mexico psychologist licensure.

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

All colleges for psychology in New Mexico offer slightly different curricula, and courses may vary considerably between programs. Learners' experiences may also differ according to their degree levels. For example, bachelor's students build foundational psychology skills and knowledge, while master's degree-seekers tend to focus on more advanced topics, and doctoral candidates focus their studies on specialized concepts or subfields of psychology.

Clinical Psychology

This course examines the history of clinical psychology along with contemporary issues in clinical research and ethics. Learners explore topics in psychotherapy and assessment, including common therapy methods and models, basic assessment principles, and other skills required to practice effectively in clinical settings.

Biological Psychology

In this class, candidates survey research and biology-based theories of behavior and the mind. Students examine the internal processes behind memory, learning, perception, motivation, and emotion. Lectures also explore the function and structure of the sensorimotor, nervous, and neuro endocrine systems.

Research Methods in Psychology

Often included in doctoral curricula, this course looks at research processes and theories in psychology. Candidates learn to plan and carry out academic research as they gain strategies for critiquing and communicating their findings. Class topics emphasize basic data collection principles, report writing skills, experimental and non-experimental research, and ethical research standards.

Psychological Assessment

Psychological assessment courses survey testing practices, theories, methods, and instruments commonly used in the field. Degree-seekers learn to assess and measure psychological variables, including personality, intelligence, interests, achievement, and aptitude.

Psychology and the Law

This course examines the applications of psychological principles in legal processes. Course topics may include judgments during trials, factors impacting decision-making in trial situations, and psychological variables influencing criminal behavior and justice, such as sexual orientation, gender, race, and class.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in New Mexico

Prospective New Mexico psychologists must earn a bachelor's degree, a master's, and a doctorate in psychology. Bachelor's programs typically require four years of full-time study. Learners can pursue a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts in psychology, depending on their career goals and specializations. While candidates do not need to hold a bachelor's degree in psychology to pursue a master's in psychology, students with an undergraduate degree in another field may need to satisfy certain prerequisites before beginning master's coursework.

Individuals interested in pursuing New Mexico licensure must earn a master's degree, either through a standalone master's program or as part of a doctoral program. After completing a master's, they must pursue a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. in psychology. While both doctoral degrees prepare students for careers as psychologists, each takes a different approach to the discipline. The practice-oriented Psy.D. emphasizes applied skills, while the Ph.D. focuses on research and typically includes a dissertation component.

Finally, candidates in New Mexico must complete specialized training in clinical, counseling, or school psychology.

New Mexico Licensing for Psychologists

Psychology licensure in New Mexico is administered and regulated by the Board of Psychologist Examiners. In order to become licensed to practice in the state, individuals must earn a doctoral degree in psychology. They must also complete a period of supervised work experience and pass two licensing exams.

Why Get Licensed in New Mexico?

Candidates who fulfill all state-mandated educational requirements may pursue full licensure through the state licensing board. Individuals who pursue a standalone master's degree in psychology can earn a master's-level psychology license. The master's license is best suited to professionals who do not want to go through the process of becoming a licensed psychologist but still want to work in the psychology field.

Licensing Criteria for New Mexico

New Mexico's Board of Psychologist Examiners issues psychology licenses to qualifying individuals who meet all educational and professional standards. Most candidates begin the licensing process by earning a bachelor's degree, whether they major in psychology or another field. Once learners obtain their bachelor's degrees, they can enroll in a standalone master's program or pursue a master's as part of a doctoral program. Candidates who apply to master's programs are often expected to submit their GRE scores.

All prospective psychologists in New Mexico must hold a doctoral degree in psychology before they apply for licensure. Doctoral programs must hold accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). The Board may also accept degrees earned outside of the United States or Canada that uphold standards similar to APA and CPA accreditation guidelines.

How to Get Licensed in New Mexico

Candidates who meet all state educational requirements may begin the official licensing process by applying for a provisional credential. Provisional licenses allow professionals to practice under a licensed psychologist for up to 18 months while they satisfy the supervised professional experience component of the licensing process. Some training directors do not require individuals to hold a provisional license, so candidates should check with their supervisors before applying.

Professionals must complete two years or 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience in their specialty areas before applying for full licensure. Individuals may earn up to 1,500 hours during their graduate studies. Those who complete a predoctoral internship from a CPA- or APA-accredited institution can apply 1,500 of those hours to experience requirements.

Candidates must also pass New Mexico's required psychology licensing exams, including the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the jurisprudence exam. Applicants who achieve passing scores on all exams may then pursue full licensure.

License Renewal in New Mexico

Psychologists in New Mexico must renew their licenses every other year. The licensing board notifies professionals regarding whether their licenses expire in even- or odd-numbered years. Psychologists may complete their renewal applications and pay the renewal fee online.

To qualify for renewal, applicants must complete 40 continuing education credits within the designated period. Of these 40 credits, at least four must pertain to cultural diversity and at least five must be from education- and ethics-related activities. Additionally, candidates are required to complete 15 credits of board-classified, category 1 activities, including seminars and graduate-level coursework.

New Mexico Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in New Mexico experienced salaries slightly below the national mean between 2016 and 2017. New Mexico clinical, counseling, and school psychologists made $70,990 in 2017, compared to the national $81,330. All other psychologists in the state earned between $80,000 and $83,000, compared to $93,000-$95,000 nationwide.

As of 2018, the mean wage for New Mexico clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $73,600. In the same year, all other psychologists in New Mexico drew an annual mean wage of $84,080. Job growth rates for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are projected to grow 8.2% between 2016 and 2026, while all other psychologists in the state are projected to enjoy an 11.1% job growth rate -- slightly above the national average.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in New Mexico $71,200 $70,990
Psychologists, All Other in New Mexico $82,490 $80,390
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 Mexico and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • New Mexico

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,600

    Psychologists, All Other: $84,080

  • Arizona

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $66,040

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,600

  • Utah

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $80,920

    Psychologists, All Other: $86,340

  • Colorado

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $85,470

    Psychologists, All Other: $83,630

  • Oklahoma

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $60,760

    Psychologists, All Other: $89,300

  • Texas

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,650

    Psychologists, All Other: $90,780

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
New Mexico 8.2% 11.1%
Arizona 24.9% 5.0%
Utah 30.8% N/A
Colorado 33.5% 16.7%
Oklahoma 15.9% N/A
Texas 20.0% 9.2%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in New Mexico Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) psychology degrees have different approaches to undergraduate study. A BS exposes students to concepts in statistical analysis, neuroscience, and clinical psychology. A BA in psychology combines major coursework with classes in the humanities, social sciences, and arts.

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

Both Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs meet New Mexico licensure requirements. However, each degree highlights a different aspect of the discipline. Ph.D. programs typically emphasize scientific research methods, while the Psy.D. teaches students to apply psychological theories and methods in clinical settings.

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

Some master's-level psychology programs admit candidates without an undergraduate background in psychology. However, students without a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field may need to complete prerequisite coursework before beginning a master's degree.

What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?

Psychology programs often feature specialization opportunities, allowing degree-seekers to tailor their studies to their personal interests and career goals. Common specializations for psychology include sport psychology, social psychology, pediatric psychology, and human factors psychology.

Are New Mexico Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

New Mexico allows psychologists who are licensed in other states to apply for licensure by reciprocity. Candidates seeking reciprocity must meet specific educational and training requirements and hold a certificate of professional qualification. New Mexico psychologists can review their reciprocity status in a particular state by checking with that state's licensing board.

Psychology Resources for New Mexico


  • New Mexico Psychological Association This association strives to advance the profession and science of psychology throughout the state. Members can participate in forums, workshops, continuing education programs, and special interest clubs.
  • The New Mexico Counseling Association A state branch of the American Counseling Association, NMCA helps counselors improve their professional skills and provides them with networking opportunities.
  • New Mexico Association of School Psychologists This organization is a National Association of School Psychologists affiliate representing the interests of New Mexico professionals. Students pay reduced membership rates.
  • New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners The Board of Psychologist Examiners establishes and enforces state regulations and laws for the profession. The Board also administers licensure and oversees license renewals.
  • New Mexico Mental Health Counselors Association This association promotes high professional standards for mental health service providers. Members can access exclusive job boards and participate in special events, such as conferences, workshops, and seminars.