Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in New York?


By LearnPsychology.org Staff

New York colleges and universities offer relatively low tuition rates compared to the rest of the country. The average out-of-state tuition for the 2019-20 school year hovered at just above $20,000, far less than the $26,820 national average, according to research from the College Board. Plus, the average in-state tuition stayed below $10,000 that year.

New York also boasts a comparatively low default rate for individuals who borrow money to cover higher education costs. Only about 8.6% of borrowers defaulted in 2016, data from the U.S. Department of Education shows. This figure landed below the national default rate in 2016 of about 10%.

What to Expect in a New York Psychology College Program

With over 11,000 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists working in New York, the state ranks second highest for psychologist employment in the entire country. New York colleges and universities conferred 5,525 psychology degrees in 2018 at the undergraduate and graduate levels, ranking second in the nation.

Colleges for psychology in New York operate much like other psychology programs across the United States. A traditional bachelor's degree typically lasts four years, while a master's could take 1-3 years, and a doctoral degree may take anywhere from 3-7 years. The length of time depends on factors like whether learners enroll full time, part time, or in accelerated programs.

Although curricula requirements vary at each school, the state requires graduate coursework to cover ethics and diversity issues. Students can expect to carry out original research at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Doctoral programs also require students to participate in supervised clinical hours.

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

New York colleges design unique psychology curriculum. This means you cannot find the same courses offered at every school. However, psychology programs generally cover the same foundational principles, even if the schools name the courses differently. Below, you'll find some commonly offered courses in psychology undergraduate and graduate programs.

Introduction to Psychology

When students begin studying psychology during their undergraduate degrees, they typically enroll in a required foundational psychology course. This course introduces the different schools of psychological thought and examines essential concepts like emotion, motivation, and memory. Students in this course may also begin learning about psychological disorders.

Experimental Psychology

As with any science, an important part of psychology involves research and experimentation. This course teaches enrollees how to design experiments by using qualitative and quantitative research methods. Degree-seekers also learn how to research using primary source documents, formulate hypotheses based on previous findings, and replicate past experiments.

Developmental Psychology

As humans, our psychological circumstances change as we grow. This course delves into how our psychologies develop throughout the lifespan. Students explore how both biological and environmental factors shape behaviors in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond.

Abnormal Psychology

This course examines various conditions found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and disorders related to mood, personality, and eating. Learners study how these disorders develop and how they affect behavior, thinking patterns, and decisions. They also explore common treatments, such as drugs and therapy.

Psychology of Learning

Students in this course explore how humans learn, focusing on cognitive processes like memory, language, and solving problems. They study both classical and operant conditioning principles. The course also covers how these principles appear in learning contexts like motor skill acquisition, education, and decision making.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in New York

To become a psychologist in New York, candidates need to invest significant time -- a decade or sometimes more -- into higher education. After earning an undergraduate degree, each aspiring professional must graduate with a doctoral degree approved by the New York professional licensure department. Students can then pursue a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. Doctoral programs may take four or more years of full-time enrollment. An aspiring psychologist in New York must also earn at least 30 credits of coursework at an approved school within the state.

To become a psychologist in New York, candidates need to invest significant time -- a decade or sometimes more -- into higher education.

Doctoral programs need to include one year of supervised work. This could consist of a practicum, internship, field experience, or applied research. The program should also include three semester hours in each of these areas: biology and behavior, cognitive psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, and research methods. Students should enroll in additional coursework that covers scientific and professional ethics and standards of practice. The curriculum should also cover cultural and ethnic issues.

Finally, each aspiring psychologist needs to participate in a course or training session on reporting child abuse, according to New York state law. The New York professional licensure department offers a list of approved programs on its website.

New York Licensing for Psychologists

The U.S. requires mental health professionals to operate with licensure, but each state establishes its own legal guidelines. Earning licensure usually involves a long journey of pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees, completing years of supervised work, and passing an examination. New York state enforces all of these requirements, and we detail their specifics in the following sections.

Why Get Licensed in New York?

New York state requires most professionals to earn licensure before they can work legally. Mental health practitioners, like creative arts therapists, marriage and family therapists, and psychoanalysts, must all hold licensure. Psychologists need licenses to practice, too. Anyone who treats clients without a proper state credential may find themselves in serious legal trouble.

Licensing Criteria for New York

After earning their doctoral degrees, graduates must complete an additional two years of supervised work experience. For individuals working full time, each year should consist of 1,750 work hours. Many candidates opt to complete their supervised work experiences in clinical settings, such as hospitals or psychologist's offices. New York also allows candidates to fulfill these supervised work hours through teaching psychology at colleges or universities. In this case, licensure candidates must teach at least six credits each semester.

New York state also requires candidates to complete their supervised work experience in at least six-month intervals. Individuals who work full time should put in between 35-45 hours each week, while part-time workers should complete 16-34 hours weekly. Finally, the supervisors who oversee candidates must hold registered licensure.

How to Get Licensed in New York

The final step for psychologists to earn licensure in New York involves the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Before a candidate can take the exam, they must already possess their doctoral degree, hold one year of supervised work experience, and apply for licensure from the state. New York state only offers this examination four times a year, so candidates should check with the professional licensure board about available testing dates.

New York only requires test-takers to complete the first part of the exam. This part evaluates candidates' foundational knowledge of psychology. Topics include the neurological and genetic basis of behavior, research-based cognitive psychology theories, social cognition, diversity and intersectionality, and psychometric theories for assessment and diagnosis, among other topics. Candidates must earn at least a passing score of 75 to earn licensure.

License Renewal in New York

Unless the state revokes or suspends licenses, psychology licensure in New York lasts for life. However, professionals working within mental health must register their licenses every three years. Each mental health professional must complete 36 contact hours of continuing education courses every three years, as well.

They can complete these hours at any time within this period, but extra continuing education credits do not roll over to the next three years. Professionals can find continuing education opportunities through professional associations, conferences, and workshops. They can also find advanced courses at universities. New York state's professional licensure department must approve of all continuing education hours.

New York Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

Psychologists in New York make well above the national average. In 2018, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists took home mean annual wages of $85,340 nationwide. The mean salary for New York psychologists surpassed that number by nearly $10,000, reaching over $94,000. Psychologists in other specialties also made significantly more in New York than nationally. In New York, these professionals made an annual mean wage of $99,640. In contrast, the national mean salary totaled about $95,610.

BLS data shows that New York employs over 11,000 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, making it the state with the second-highest employment in the country for these specialties. The number of psychologists in these specialties may increase by 15.6%, above national projections, according to Projections Central, an online initiative that uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Psychologists in other specialties could see their industries grow by about 18%, far outpacing the projected national growth of about 10.2%.

The following tables provide more information about how salary and employment information for psychologists in New York compares with its neighboring states.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in New York $89,430 $91,180
Psychologists, All Other in New York $118,840 $97,010
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 York and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • New York

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $99,640

  • 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

  • Connecticut

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $96,180

  • New Jersey

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

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Pennsylvania

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,940

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
New York 15.6% 18.2%
Vermont 6.4% N/A
Massachusetts 11.9% 11.0%
Connecticut 7.4% 11.6%
New Jersey 7.6% 9.5%
Pennsylvania 9.3% 7.5%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in New York Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Students who know they want to become licensed psychologists often decide on a BS in psychology because it focuses more heavily on math, statistics, and science courses. A BA usually allows students to take more general education and liberal arts courses. Students who choose the BA option can still become licensed psychologists, but they might also want to keep their career options open.

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

Some individuals major in different fields at the undergraduate level, such as literature or economics, and apply for psychology master's programs. These individuals typically take at least a few psychology classes during their bachelor's degree. Declaring a major in psychology gives students a significant advantage when they begin their graduate studies.

What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?

This varies, depending on the students' career goals. Colleges generally offer psychology concentrations that prepare enrollees for specific professional pathways. For instance, a student who pursues an emphasis in educational or developmental psychology probably can continue onto a career as a school psychologist.

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

Both a Psy.D. and Ph.D. count as doctoral degrees. Plus, New York state accepts Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees as viable educational requirements for psychologist licensure. However, a Psy.D. focuses on clinical practice, while a Ph.D. concentrates on academic research.

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

Aspiring psychologists in New York can only earn licensure if they graduate with degrees from accredited programs. Graduate schools do not accept applicants who hold unaccredited bachelor's degrees. Make sure to prioritize finding accredited programs when you research schools.

Psychology Resources for New York


  • New York State Psychological Association NYSPA connects psychology professionals all over the state through conventions, seminars, workshops, and other events. The group also provides continuing education opportunities and publications.
  • New York Association of School Psychologists School psychologists join NYASP to access resources they can use at work and to network with other professionals at NYASP's annual conference. The group also runs a mentorship program, which allows new professionals to gain guidance from more experienced school psychologists.
  • New York Office of the Professions This state agency regulates professional licensure for industries like nursing and psychology. The office's website offers information about license requirements. It also answers frequently asked questions and provides any required forms.
  • CE You New York This organization specifically provides continuing education opportunities for psychologists in New York state. Professionals can tune into live webinars on anxiety, conflict resolution, and suicide prevention.
  • New York State Association of Neuropsychology Individuals working in neuropsychology may join this association. Member benefits include discounts to lectures and workshops, access to listservs, and other members-only online resources.