Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in South Carolina?

Anyone looking for job security may want to look for a career in South Carolina. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Carolina boasts an unemployment rate of just 2.6%, which is tied for the fourth lowest in the nation. Combined with the high number of projected job openings for psychologists, the high employment rate in South Carolina could help you find your first position.

Earning your bachelor's and doctoral degrees in South Carolina is affordable, especially if you're a resident with access to in-state tuition. The cost of education in the statehas risen relatively slowly, too; according to College Board, South Carolina's tuition rose by less than the national average over the past five years. State residents enjoy a lower tuition rate at public schools, and local programs are more likely to meet South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology standards than out-of-state programs.

What to Expect in a South Carolina Psychology College Program

The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology recommends that licensure applicants study at a program approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). Therefore, many psychology programs in South Carolinaare designed to meet APA standards for education and experience.

The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology recommends that licensure applicants study at a program approved by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Most bachelor's degrees in psychology take four years to complete, though students can finish their degrees more quickly if they enroll in accelerated programs. In 2018, colleges for psychology in South Carolina conferred 819 psychology degrees, most of which were bachelor's degrees. A bachelor's in psychology is a natural first step for anyone interested in becoming a professional psychologist.

South Carolina requires licensed psychologists to possess a doctoral degree, and some schools allow students with only a bachelor's degree to enter doctoral programs. However, you may need to earn a master's degree first. Some schools offer specializations for doctoral degrees, though South Carolina only has one license for psychologists. Students don't need to choose a specialization to become licensed, but specializations can help them become better suited to their careers.

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

Studying at an APA-approved institution and program is the simplest way to become a licensed psychologist in South Carolina. Most schools follow APA standards for education, and as a result, many programs offer similar courses. Each school creates a distinct curriculum, but the following list includes some common courses you may encounter while pursuing a psychology degree.

Research Methods in Behavioral Science

This undergraduate course provides an overview of how to design and conduct research. Coursework may emphasize issues specific to social work research, depending on the program.

Psychological Disorders

This undergraduate course examines different psychological illnesses and mental health concerns. Students learn how to recognize psychological disorders and provide treatment. Undergraduate students also explore theoretical and research-based perspectives.

Biological Psychology

This course explores the role of the nervous system in psychology. Students examine the way sleep, emotions, drug use, and human interaction affect the nervous system and individual psyches.

Psychology of Aging

Students typically enroll in this class at the graduate level. Commonly required for students that plan on working with children, coursework covers the social, biological, and psychological changes that come with growing older.

Basics of Neuroscience

Often used as an introductory course for students pursuing doctoral degrees in neuroscience, this graduate-level course focuses on the functions of the nervous system and theories regarding the nervous system and the brain.

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Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in South Carolina

South Carolina requires psychologists to earn doctoral degrees from accredited psychology programs. However, these aspiring professionals must first complete bachelor's degrees. While not required, a bachelor's degree in psychology from one of the best psychology schools in South Carolina prepares students for graduate-level psychology programs.

Next, candidates should pursue a master's degree in psychology. Some programs may allow enrollees to earn doctoral degrees without first completing master's programs, though a master's degree in psychology could improve doctoral program applications.

While not required, a bachelor's degree in psychology from one of the best psychology schools in South Carolina prepares students for graduate-level psychology programs.

The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology accepts any APA-accredited doctoral program. If a student completes a non-APA-accredited degree, they must attach additional materials to the application to prove its quality. Required materials vary, depending on the application. Regardless, completing an APA-accredited doctoral program is the simplest way to meet South Carolina's education requirements.

Students must take part in clinical hours as a requirement for licensure, and doctoral students may be able to supplement those hours with internships. An undergraduate does not need to complete an internship, though it can improve resumes and graduate applications.

Only one psychology license is available in South Carolina, so there are no specialization requirements. However, choosing a specialization while studying can increase your chance of finding a job and enjoying a long, successful career.

South Carolina Licensing for Psychologists

South Carolina requires all psychologists to have psychology licenses. Regardless of your career goals, the first step is to earn a license. Once earned, a professional license is relatively easy to maintain.

Why Get Licensed in South Carolina?

If you plan on pursuing any psychology job in South Carolina, you will need a license. A psychologist can also earn a license in a different state and eventually apply for a license in South Carolina. Specializations do not require specialized licenses.

Licensing Criteria for South Carolina

The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology licenses all psychologists in South Carolina. The board consists of current psychologists in South Carolina, and its requirements for licensure follow APA standards. By completing APA-accredited doctoral programs from colleges for psychology in South Carolina, applicants satisfy many of the prerequisites for licensure in the state.

In addition to a doctoral degree, the board requires each applicant to complete two years of supervised experience, one of which must be postdoctoral. Each year must include at least 1,500 hours of training, supervised practice, and direct service. For postdoctoral experience to count, applicants must take part in at least one hour of face-to-face supervision each week during the year.

While the board does not maintain specific requirements for each specialization, applicants should complete their supervised experiences within their specialties. Applicants who don't complete supervised experience within their specialties might have their license applications denied.

How to Get Licensed in South Carolina

Candidates for licensure must send the board a formal application, which includes proof of education, pre- and postdoctoral supervision paperwork, a supervision contract, and a supervisor report with three professional references, two of which must come from licensed psychologists.

Before applying, aspiring psychologists must pass the examination for the professional practice of psychology (EPPP). Test-takers can pass by earning a score one-half standard deviation below the mean score or higher, or by earning a score of 500. If you take the test in South Carolina, EPPP will automatically report your scores to the board.

After completing a doctoral program, earning postdoctoral experience, paying an application fee, and passing the EPPP, applicants submit their applications to the board. Once materials are approved, the board notifies candidates and asks them to schedule an oral examination. Applicants receive their licenses after completing a successful oral exam.

License Renewal in South Carolina

Psychology licenses require renewal every two years. During this time, each licensee must earn at least 24 continuing education credits. At least half of the continuing education credits must consist of direct contact hours, including graduate courses, APA internships or training, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. Psychologists can earn up to 12 credits through peer review, consultation, and attending workshops, seminars, or meetings. Finally, psychologists must pay a renewal fee of $395 every two years.

South Carolina Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends

According to BLS data, all types of psychology positions have seen wages increase over the past several years. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists saw mean wages jump from $61,910 to $63,050 from 2016-2018. During that same period, mean wages for all other psychologists rose from $88,180 to $92,610. Rising mean wages follow a national trend, though South Carolina's mean wages for all types of psychologists lag behind national numbers.

Despite growing wages, South Carolina's mean wages are lower than those in neighboring states. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned lower annual mean wages in South Carolina than any neighboring state. However, Projections Central anticipates a 13.7% growth rate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in South Carolina from 2016-2026. During that same period, all other psychologist positions in South Carolina are projected to increase by 5.3%.

While South Carolina's wages for psychologists lag behind most other states, the number of open positions could see steady growth over the next decade. If wages continue to trend higher, South Carolina could emerge as an ideal place to work as a psychologist.

Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
  2016 2017
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in South Carolina $61,910 $64,090
Psychologists, All Other in South Carolina $88,180 $90,400
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 South Carolina and Nearby States (2018)

  • Nationally

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,610

  • South Carolina

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $92,560

  • North Carolina

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

    Psychologists, All Other: N/A

  • Virginia

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $97,200

  • Tennessee

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $87,260

  • Georgia

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

    Psychologists, All Other: $95,940

  • Florida

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $76,190

    Psychologists, All Other: $96,640

  • Alabama

    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $69,070

    Psychologists, All Other: $90,050

Source: BLS

Projected Job Growth for Psychologists (2016-2026)
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Psychologists, All Other
Nationally 14.2% 10.3%
South Carolina 13.7% 5.3%
North Carolina 15.3% 7.1%
Virginia 18.2% 13.6%
Tennessee 13.9% 4.3%
Georgia 17.4% 9.5%
Florida 19.9% 21.1%
Alabama 12.8% N/A

Source: Projections Central

Psychology Programs and Licensing in South Carolina Frequently Asked Questions

Is Psychology a Good Major?

If your goal is to become a psychologist, the psychology major offers a strong foundation for your future career. For undecided students, psychology can lead to many different careers, like corrections or human resources. This makes it a good general purpose degree for many career paths.

Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?

Anyone planning to earn a doctoral degree in psychology should not worry about choosing between a BA or BS. While the two degrees differ in specific coursework, both types cover everything you need to know for graduate-level programs. However, if you know that you want to work in academic research, a BS might be a better choice, because you'll gain more experience with research methods.

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

No. South Carolina doesn't require psychologists to possess bachelor's degrees in psychology. However, they must earn doctoral degrees in psychology, and admission to doctoral programs can be selective. A bachelor's in psychology could strengthen your application.

What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?

Psychologists can choose from many different specialties, some of which lead to lucrative wages and high projected job growth. The best specialty to choose is one that interests you and aligns with your career goals, so spend some time comparing different psychology specialties.

Are South Carolina Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?

A South Carolina psychology license could transfer to another state, provided that the state maintains a reciprocity agreement. Most states have similar prerequisites for licensure, and South Carolina follows APA standards. With enough job experience and an application fee, South Carolina psychologists should be able to easily earn a license in another state.

Psychology Resources for South Carolina


  • South Carolina Psychological Association The SC Psychological Association dedicates itself solely to promoting professional psychologists in South Carolina. Student members receive networking and mentorship assistance from currently licensed psychologists.
  • American Psychological Association APA is the largest organization for psychologists in the U.S. It offers members access to industry research, publications, workshops, an annual convention, and continuing education credits.
  • South Carolina Counseling Association SCCA represents South Carolina counselors as one of the only state-chartered chapters of the American Counseling Association. SCCA offers a newsletter, various events, and a job board for local positions.
  • American Academy of Clinical Psychology As the best organization for anyone interested in becoming a clinical psychologist, AACPSY offers workshops, conferences, continuing education, and a community space for clinical psychologists.
  • South Carolina Psychiatric Association SCPA promotes the practice of psychiatry in South Carolina through its three chapters. Along with an annual conference, SCPA features a job board and connects psychiatrists with potential clients.