Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Oregon?

By Ndidi Susan Emeagwali

Oregon needs psychologists, especially clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. About 1,480 of these specialized psychologists work in Oregon, according to Projections Central, with a 15.5% projected job growth rate between 2016-2026. Oregon ranks fifth for economy and 17th for healthcare, according to U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best states to live.

The Beaver State also features some of the nation's best psychology programs. On its ranking of more than 200 of the best psychology schools, U.S. News & World Report includes the University of Oregon, Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon State University (OSU), and Portland State University.

Oregon ranks fifth for economy and 17th for healthcare, according to U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best states to live.

Students at Oregon's four-year public colleges pay higher tuition than neighboring California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington. However, degree-seekers save money on accommodation, transportation, and related expenses when they pursue online programs at colleges for psychology in Oregon.

What to Expect in an Oregon Psychology College Program

The training for a psychology career in Oregon begins with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related major in the social sciences. Freshmen complete a bachelor's degree in four years. Transfer students may take less time, depending on how many credits they transfer.

Aspiring psychologists must eventually complete a doctorate from a program approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Those with degrees from schools not approved by APA or CPA must demonstrate that their degrees meet the State of Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners' requirements.

The training for a psychology career in Oregon begins with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related major in the social sciences.

APA reports that Oregon's colleges conferred 754 psychology degrees in 2018 across all degree levels, ranking 30th in the U.S. Students at Oregon colleges for psychology complete a doctorate in 5-7 years, depending on whether they pursue a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology.

Institutions such as OSU -- one of the best colleges in Oregon for psychology -- operate robust virtual colleges that offer psychology degrees online. Faculty at Oregon colleges for psychology may even allow virtual learners to complete clinical requirements for bachelor's and master's programs in their local communities.

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

Curricula for colleges for psychology in Oregon vary. However, psychology students often see the courses like those described below, with varying levels of detail depending on degree level.

Brain and Behavior

This course explores the relationship between the brain's structure, functioning, and behavior. Undergraduates learn about brain neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and neurology, and their applications to both normal and abnormal human behavior.

Abnormal Psychology

Undergraduates learn about abnormal psychology and the theories -- such as cognitive, psychodynamic, and animistic -- that explain abnormalities and inform treatment. Faculty introduce students to disorders such as psychopathy and schizophrenia as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- psychology's principal tool for psychiatric diagnoses.

Social Psychology

Faculty introduce undergraduates to the study of behavior and experience in social contexts. Social psychologists study concepts such as perception, attraction, aggression, and social influence. Degree-seekers examine the application of social psychological principles in contexts as diverse as employment, law, and healthcare.

Research Methods in Psychology

Psychology students need advanced research methodology skills at the graduate level. Faculty may use a series of courses to teach graduate students experimental and observational techniques, data collection and analysis, statistical analysis, computer usage, and research report writing.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Faculty teach graduate students how to use psychological theories and concepts in business and occupational environments. Students learn how to apply their advanced knowledge of human behavior to motivate employees, effectively manage human capital, develop efficient training programs, and improve hiring practices.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Oregon

In Oregon, aspiring psychologists must complete a psychology degree from an accredited doctoral program. The doctorate must include a minimum of three academic years of full-time graduate study. Curriculum must include at least three semester hours of coursework in core areas such as statistics, psychometric theory, biological bases of behavior, cognitive-affective bases of behavior, and research and design methodology.

The doctoral program must also prepare learners in four key clinical areas: personality and intellectual assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and evaluating the efficacy of interventions. Participants receive experience through a practicum and internship, culminating in an original dissertation or equivalent to finish out the degree. The doctoral program may include distance education, but students usually must complete at least one continuous year in residence at Oregon colleges for psychology.

Individuals with a master's degree in psychology may qualify for licensure as a psychologist associate in Oregon. This license allows junior mental health professionals to continue their education while acquiring experience under the guidance of a qualified psychologist.

Oregon Licensing for Psychologists

Like all other states in the U.S., Oregon requires psychologists to obtain a license in order to practice. This protects mental health patients and ensures that mental health services meet the highest standards.

Why Get Licensed in Oregon?

Once psychologists obtain a license to practice in Oregon, they qualify to diagnose psychological, emotional, and behavioral disorders; create treatment plans based on their assessment; treat disorders, such as trauma and addiction to drugs or alcohol; and provide therapy in individual and group settings for disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Licensing Criteria for Oregon

The Oregon Board of Psychology grants psychology licenses in Oregon. The board requires aspiring psychologists to complete practicum experiences as part of their doctoral programs. The curriculum must include a 1,500-hour internship, 25% of which students must spend in direct client contact.

License-seekers must subsequently complete one year of postdoctoral work experience, with at least 1,500 hours of psychological services supervised by a licensed psychologist. Supervision must include instruction in theoretical concepts underlying the work, discussion of state laws and rules, discussion of ethical principles applicable to the work, a review of standards for provision of psychological services, and discussion of the management of professional practices and other administrative and business issues.

How to Get Licensed in Oregon

As students approach graduation, they may begin to submit supporting materials -- such as school transcripts and background checks -- before they apply to the board for licensure. The board keeps this information for up to six months. Applicants who will complete a residency in Oregon must submit a proposed resident supervision contract with application materials.

Applicants request to sit for the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) or the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam (OJE) once they receive board approval. All applicants pay an application fee that includes a background check.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) developed the EPPP exam, which includes 225 multiple-choice questions. Pearson Vue administers the EPPP for a $600 fee. The exam covers eight areas, including biological bases of behavior, growth and lifespan development, and social and cultural bases of behavior. ASPPB requires applicants take the exam within 90 days of receiving authorization to test.

The OJE is an open book, multiple-choice examination that covers ethical principles for psychologists, the code of conduct, and the state statutes pertaining to the practice of psychology in the state.

License Renewal in Oregon

Psychologists renew their licenses to practice every two years in Oregon. They must complete at least 40 continuing education (CE) credits during the two-year period of licensure. The state mails renewal notices at least six weeks prior to the due date. Once they receive the renewal notice, psychologists complete the renewal form and return it with their payments. Licenses remain valid 30 days past the expiration date. Licenses lapse if not renewed in that time period.

Oregon Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% job growth rate for psychologists in the United States between 2018-2028. Approximately 1,480 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists work in Oregon, according to Projections Central, with 120 average annual openings projected between 2016-2026. This reflects a 15.5% projected job growth for this cluster of mental health professionals.

The national annual mean wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists hovered at $85,340 in May 2018. These psychologists earn more in Oregon, where the annual mean wage is $103,870. Comparably, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in neighboring Washington.

Oregon's metropolitan areas offer great employment and salary opportunities. Oregon's Bend-Redmond area pays these psychologists a $118,980 annual mean wage, while the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA, area employs about 650 of these professionals, making an annual mean wage of $107,130.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Oregon $87,170 $93,070
Psychologists, All Other in Oregon $95,610 $96,150
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 Oregon and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • Oregon

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $103,870

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Washington

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $73,840

    Psychologists, All Other: $102,760

  • Idaho

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $64,270

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,410

  • Nevada

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $83,760

    Psychologists, All Other: $74,060

  • California

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $108,350

    Psychologists, All Other: $114,860

  • Hawaii

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $94,550

    Psychologists, All Other: $94,260

  • Alaska

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $91,450

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
Oregon 15.5% -5.0%
Washington 21.5% 10.0%
Idaho 14.3% 20.0%
Nevada 21.7% N/A
California 12.5% 13.0%
Hawaii 12.7% N/A
Alaska 15.4% N/A

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in Oregon Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Learners interested in careers as clinicians often begin acquiring research and lab experience with a bachelor of science (BS). A bachelor of arts (BA) focuses on the liberal arts, which leaves less time for lab work and research opportunities with faculty, but focuses more on soft skills that are useful for direct client work.

What Is a Good Speciality for Psychology?

By the time students enter a master's program, they should know which psychology specialization they wish to pursue. Degree-seekers can browse APA's website to learn more about the 54 divisions, including subdisciplines such as developmental, clinical, counseling, and school psychology.

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

A Ph.D. suits degree-seekers who plan to pursue research or faculty positions in psychology, since the degree focuses on research. Learners interested in working with clients often choose the Psy.D. because it emphasizes clinical practice.

Are Oregon Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

Licensure requirements for out-of-state psychologists vary by state. Many states require psychologists to apply for licensure by endorsement provided they've passed the EPPP and maintain licensure in their jurisdiction. They may also have to pass other requirements in the new jurisdiction. For instance, psychologists in Oregon seeking to practice in neighboring California must also pass the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination.

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

Learners who graduate from a doctoral program without APA or CPA approval must demonstrate to the Oregon Board of Psychology that their doctoral program meets the state's licensure requirements.

Psychology Resources for Oregon

  • Oregon Psychological Association OPA consists of psychologists in Oregon who advocate for their field on state and national levels. The organization offers the Oregon Psychologist Bulletin, an annual convention, continuing education opportunities, networking events, and practice-building opportunities.
  • American Psychological Association APA boasts a membership of 118,000 clinicians, researchers, students, and teachers in the psychology field. Member benefits include access to the Monitor on Psychology journal, liability insurance, job listings, and networking opportunities.
  • Oregon School Psychologists Association OSPA offers school psychologists support through advocacy and professional development, such as annual training conferences. Members also receive a subscription to the OSPA Bulletin, access to a resource library, and an opportunity to participate in governance.
  • Oregon Research Institute Founded in 1960, ORI is a research center dedicated to the study of human behavior and the improvement of human life. ORI scientists study topics such as health across the agespan, childhood obesity and behavioral problems, and opioid addiction. Those who join ORI work in teams as investigators across research grants, but can also pursue their own research with few barriers.
  • Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy COPACT consists of two professional organizations: Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT) and Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA). Members can receive access to advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and networking events by joining OAMFT or ORCA.