Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in North Carolina?

By Rachel Schneider

Students pursuing degrees at colleges for psychology in North Carolina enjoy many benefits, including affordability. North Carolina boasts the country's fifth-lowest tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students at four-year public institutions. Low tuition rates allow more accessibility for learners to pursue higher education in the state.

North Carolina is home to a population of 10 million people, with 41% holding a college education. The state ranks fourth in the nation for fiscal stability, 14th for economy, and 14th for crime and corrections.

North Carolina's unemployment rate hovers around 4%. The state contains 144 colleges and universities, with 99,238 borrowers in the student-loan repayment process. Among individuals with student loans, 10.5% are in default.

What to Expect in a North Carolina Psychology College Program

In 2018, North Carolina universities conferred 1,534 psychology degrees, tying with Missouri for 13th in the United States. Earning a bachelor's degree typically comprises 120 credits of coursework, taking full-time students around four years to complete. Bachelor's students can enroll in a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in psychology, depending on their desired focus.

Earning a bachelor's degree typically comprises 120 credits of coursework, taking full-time students around four years to complete.

Stand-alone master's programs in psychology often require students to submit their GRE scores. These programs usually highlight 35-45 credits of coursework and take full-time students two years to complete. Master's students can pursue a master of arts or a master of science in psychology, each offering different coursework focuses.

Doctoral programs in psychology include doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology opportunities, with a Ph.D. being the more common pathway. Doctoral programs can often take students 4-7 years to complete, depending on their educational background and specific program.

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

Course topics vary across North Carolina colleges for psychology. Students experience different program formats across institutions and degree levels. Learners pursuing a bachelor's degree explore foundational topics in the field, while master's students focus on more advanced topics. Doctoral learners explore the field's most specialized concepts.

Evolutionary Psychology

Degree-seekers examine the evolutionary mechanisms involved with human behavior. Students learn about principles of drift, inclusive fitness, selection, and concepts, including sexual jealousy, pregnancy sickness, mating strategies, spatial memory, aggression and violence, and landscape preferences.

Developmental Psychology

Students explore the theories involved with understanding human development and growth from conception through adulthood. Learners study the cognitive, bio social, and psychosocial domains.

Sport Counseling and Intervention

Students expand their skills and knowledge of sport counseling, focusing on career guidance, counseling theories, lifespan, and treatment modalities. Learners explore competitive sport and psychosocial factors, learning how to consult individual athletes along with teams and sports organizations.

Sport Psychology

This course focuses on concepts that help individuals and teams reach their full performance potential. Degree-seekers examine components of mental toughness, collective consciousness, imagery and visualization, and peak performance. Students also learn about the role of a sport psychologist in sports medicine, sports science, and substance use.


Learners study how psychopathologies present themselves throughout thousands of years. The course explores the most current information about the subsequent treatments and etiologies of mental illness in society.

Learn More About Online Degree Programs Learn More About Degree Programs

Psychology Program Directory

Degree Level
School Type

Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in North Carolina

To become a psychologist in North Carolina, individuals first need a bachelor's degree. While many aspiring psychologists pursue their bachelor's degree in psychology, some students major in another area. As long as those students complete the necessary prerequisite coursework to enroll in a master's-level psychology program, they can major in any subject at the bachelor's level.

After earning a bachelor's degree, students can choose to enroll in a stand-alone master's program or complete their master's requirements as part of a doctoral program. The length of master's programs varies by school. However, students typically take two years to earn their master's degree, completing 35-45 credits of coursework.

Upon completing both a bachelor's and master's degree, students can pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, focusing on a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. in psychology. While the time frame for a doctoral program varies, students often take 4-7 years to graduate. Doctoral programs commonly require at least three years of full-time study with a minimum of one year completed on campus.

North Carolina Licensing for Psychologists

For professionals to practice psychology in North Carolina, they must complete educational requirements, satisfy supervised postdoctoral clinical experience requirements, pass a national and state exam, and submit an application to the board. Licensing ensures that psychologists practice following a specific set of standards and regulations.

Why Get Licensed in North Carolina?

In addition to offering traditional licensure for psychologists, North Carolina allows graduates of certain master's programs to become licensed psychological associates. Eligible individuals must complete a master's degree from a program that requires a minimum of 45 semester credit hours along with 500 hours of supervised experience. Licensing requires individuals to take the North Carolina State Examination. Individuals must be supervised by a licensed psychologist for most of their clinical activities.

Licensing Criteria for North Carolina

The North Carolina Psychology Board issues psychology licenses in the state. To be eligible for licensure, individuals need a bachelor's degree. At the bachelor's level, students can major in any area. However, learners who complete their bachelor's degree in an area other than psychology must take certain prerequisite coursework to enroll in a master's degree. In addition to earning a bachelor's degree, individuals must complete a master's program, whether they enroll in a stand-alone opportunity or complete their master's degree as part of their doctoral program.

Before individuals can apply for licensure in the state, they must earn a doctoral degree in psychology from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Students can consider a variety of specialization opportunities, but only graduates of programs focused on counseling psychology, school psychology, combined professional-scientific psychology, and clinical psychology can become licensed in North Carolina.

How to Get Licensed in North Carolina

After completing the state's educational requirements and licensing criteria, potential psychologists in North Carolina can undergo the licensing process, beginning with submitting their provisional license application to the North Carolina Psychology Board. Individuals must also complete a supervision contract form, outlining whether they are still earning supervised experience and noting their supervisors.

After obtaining a provisional license, individuals can complete their North Carolina psychology licensing exams. The first exam is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which includes 225 multiple-choice questions and carries a $650 exam fee. The second exam is the North Carolina State Examination, comprising 50 multiple-choice questions and requiring a $200 exam fee.

After passing the exams, professionals can complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience in the field with at least 1,500 hours completed after earning a doctoral degree. The final step in the licensing process is applying to convert a provisional license into a permanent one.

License Renewal in North Carolina

Every two years, psychologists in North Carolina must renew their license by the first day of October in even-numbered years. Professionals pay a $250 fee with their renewal application. Eligibility for renewal requires professionals to complete a minimum of 18 continuing education (CE) hours within two years, with at least nine hours earned through online courses or organized events.

Three CE hours must involve education in legal and ethical issues. Professionals who earn more than the 18 required CE hours during the renewal period cannot transfer their credits to the next period.

North Carolina Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

Historically, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in North Carolina earn less than all other psychologists in the state. From 2016-17, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned mean annual wages of $73,000-$76,000, while national figures ranged from $79,000 to just over $81,000. All other psychologists in North Carolina earned $88,000-$91,000 from 2016-17 compared to the national figures of $93,000-$95,000.

Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in North Carolina experienced the third-highest salary amounts in the U.S. for 2018, reporting a mean wage of $77,470. The occupation's national mean wage came in at $85,340.

Jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in North Carolina are projected to grow 15.3% from 2016-26, featuring a higher rate than the national figure of 14.2% and the third-highest rate compared to surrounding states. Jobs for all other psychologists in North Carolina are projected to grow 7.1%, falling below the national figure of 10.3%.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in North Carolina $73,150 $75,970
Psychologists, All Other in North Carolina $87,800 $90,760
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 North Carolina and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • North Carolina

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $77,470

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • South Carolina

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $63,050

    Psychologists, All Other: $92,560

  • Georgia

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,940

  • Tennessee

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,260

  • West Virginia

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $59,200

    Psychologists, All Other: $82,970

  • Virginia

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $80,380

    Psychologists, All Other: $97,200

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
North Carolina 15.3% 7.1%
South Carolina 13.7% 5.3%
Georgia 17.4% 9.5%
Tennessee 13.9% 4.3%
West Virginia 13.0% 13.3%
Virginia 18.2% 13.6%

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in North Carolina Frequently Asked Questions

Is Psychology a Good Major?

Majoring in psychology opens the door to many careers. The field highlights a variety of specialized career areas, including sports, school, and clinical psychology. The major also offers room for advancement, featuring degree opportunities at all levels.

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

While students must complete a bachelor's degree to enroll in a master's program, they do not necessarily need to major in psychology at the bachelor's level.

What Is a Good Speciality for Psychology?

Degree-seekers across colleges for psychology in North Carolina can often pursue a specialization, allowing them to tailor their degree to fit their personal interests and career goals. Common specializations include biopsychology, addiction psychology, counseling psychology, cognitive psychology, and educational psychology.

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

According to North Carolina licensing requirements, students need a doctoral degree from an institution accredited by the APA or CPA. In some situations, individuals can obtain licensure if they complete their degree at a program with comparable standards to the APA or CPA.

What Happens If I Don't Renew My License?

Psychologists in North Carolina must renew their license every two years to continue practicing in the state. Professionals who do not renew their license on time cannot continue working as psychologists in North Carolina. Individuals receive notification directly from the board when it is time to renew.

Psychology Resources for North Carolina