According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Utah's 2017 funding for mental health and substance abuse patients totaled nearly $36 million. Another SAMHSA report from 2017-2018 detailed mental and behavioral issues among Utah residents: Around 31% of individuals in the 18-25 age group suffered from mental illness, over 16% experienced depression, and more than 16% used illicit drugs. These numbers indicate a need for psychologists throughout the state.
Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Utah?
By LearnPsychology.org Staff
There are many benefits to attending one of the best colleges in Utah for psychology. Utah institutions offer some of the most affordable programs in the nation, with only Florida and Wyoming providing lower average in-state tuitions and fees. Out-of-state learners at Utah schools also pay cheaper tuition and fees, on average, than students in neighboring Idaho.
Another benefit of attending Utah colleges for psychology is the state's 7.5% student loan default rate, which is lower than all neighboring states, and Utah's 2.4% unemployment rate is the second lowest in the nation. These factors indicate a wealth of career opportunities and potential financial well-being for graduates in the state.
Utah also ranks high on multiple lists from the U.S. News & World Report, ranking 2nd for economy, 3rd for infrastructure, 5th for fiscal stability, 9th for healthcare, 10th for education, 12th for crime and corrections, and 4th overall.
What to Expect in a Utah Psychology College Program
In 2018, Utah awarded 1,346 bachelor's, 191 master's, and 48 doctoral degrees in psychology. While these numbers are low compared to other states, they may indicate that Utah psychology majors enjoy smaller classes and more faculty communication.
Candidates seeking a general psychologist license in Utah must hold a doctorate, and a school psychologist license requires a master's degree. Each degree should relate to the professional's chosen practice area. Graduate psychology students typically need to research and write a thesis or dissertation and complete an internship before graduating. Master's programs may take 2-3 years to complete, and doctorates may take more than five years.
To prepare for graduate study, students should consider earning a psychology bachelor's.
To prepare for graduate study, students should consider earning a psychology bachelor's. Bachelor's programs usually take four years and include major courses and general education requirements. Some programs may also require fieldwork.
The best psychology schools in Utah offer specializations like health, school, pediatric, and military psychology across multiple degree levels. Candidates should choose a specialization that reflects their career goals, since an academic focus area often shapes program coursework.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Utah?
Courses for psychology programs vary by institution and may reflect degree levels and specializations. For instance, a bachelor's-level curriculum might include more foundational coursework than a master's, and a program focusing on media psychology would explore marketing more than a military-psychology-focused program would. Many Utah psychology programs include one or more of the following courses.
Learners study how psychological and social factors contribute to or take away from physical well-being. Courses introduce degree-seekers to biopsychosocial concepts and elements impacting health, such as stress, nutritional habits, and chronic ailments. The best colleges for psychology in Utah may require this class at the bachelor's or master's level.
Coursework covers common psychological disorders, their symptoms, and methods for diagnoses. Classes may also address the strengths and weaknesses of treatment options based on current research and theories. Learners examine physiological reasons for disorders and explore perceptions of psychological abnormalities throughout history. Many bachelor's-level psychology programs include this course.
This class looks at developmental stages throughout life, including cognitive, social, emotional, and physical milestones and growth. Degree-seekers explore factors impacting development -- such as environment -- and deviations from standard development. Undergraduate programs may include this course or may separate it into age-related developmental studies classes.
Lectures address physiological and social influences on personality. Learners may also examine historical theories on personality and examine current research to support or contradict each theory. Students may apply this information when planning sessions and treatment for patients with psychological and behavioral problems.
Research in Psychology
Students survey the professional research process, including forming a research question and delivering conclusions in papers or presentations. Coursework may cover interpreting statistics, designing experiments, and assessing the value of and information in sources. Other considerations may include citation and ethical practices. This course may surface in bachelor's, master's, or doctoral programs.
Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Utah
Candidates for a Utah psychologist license must hold a doctoral degree in psychology. Qualifying doctoral programs should include classes in the following categories: scientific and professional ethics and standards, research design and methodology, statistics, psychometrics, and individual differences. Applicants should also take courses in biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behavior.
Individuals may need to list courses for these categories on the license application and submit course information, such as syllabi, for classes where the name does not explain course content. These steps are waived for candidates who are Utah Certified Psychology Residents or applicants with degrees from programs accredited by th American Psychological Association (APA). Licensure-by-endorsement applicants can also skip this application step.
The best colleges in Utah for psychology often provide opportunities to complete the fieldwork component through their programs.
Degrees must be recognized by APA or the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)/National Register Joint Designation Committee. License applicants may also complete a predoctoral internship. The best colleges in Utah for psychology often provide opportunities to complete the fieldwork component through their programs.
School psychologists must meet different educational requirements for licensure. Candidates need a relevant master's that includes at least 60 credits. These applicants should also understand assessment, intervention, ethics, administration, and social psychology and fulfill a 1,200-hour internship.
Since many psychology careers require a general psychology license, learners should consider pursuing a specialization. For example, students who want to work in healthcare settings can select a health psychology specialization, and degree-seekers interested in marketing may choose a media psychology focus.
Utah Licensing for Psychologists
Individuals applying for a psychologist license in Utah must hold a graduate degree and complete fieldwork. They may also be required to submit standardized exam scores, depending on the license type. Applicants who fulfill these requirements prove they hold the necessary skills and experience to provide effective psychological care.
The following sections explore licensing criteria for general psychologist and school psychologist licenses.
Why Get Licensed in Utah?
A Utah psychologist license qualifies holders to observe and treat patients with behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues. Licensed professionals may provide services in individual or group settings and use assessment and test administration to diagnose patients. Licensed practicing psychologists may also utilize treatments, therapeutic approaches, and interventions to help patients recover from or manage their struggles. These professionals may also provide counseling or therapy for marriage health or substance abuse.
Licensing Criteria for Utah
The Utah Psychologist Licensing Board administers and regulates psychologist licensure across the state. Candidates applying for a psychologist license must hold a doctorate and complete 4,000 hours of supervised training within at least two years of application.
Individuals who want to work in mental health therapy must complete 1,000 hours in a related setting after earning their master's degrees. This experience may count toward the 4,000 hours. Out-of-state applicants may complete this training in their home states, but only under a supervisor who has been licensed for a minimum of two years. Supervisors must document all hours on a verification form.
Other application materials include a $200 application fee and a questionnaire on topics like professional and criminal history.
Applicants for a Utah general psychologist license must pass two exams. The first is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) from the ASPPB. EPPP test-takers complete 225 questions in four hours and 15 minutes. Exam questions address field concepts like bases of behavior, assessment, intervention, treatment, diagnosis, and research. The ASPPB allows test-takers four attempts to pass the exam each year.
In Utah, general psychologist licenses expire at the end of September, every other year. To renew credentials, candidates must earn 48 continuing education hours, six of which must relate to ethics or law. For psychologists in their first licensure terms, continuing education hours are prorated to reflect the shorter licensing period.
Individuals can only complete 18 continuing education hours through distance education, six through consultation, and six through clinical readings. In addition, 10 continuing education hours must come from supervised or higher education teaching. All continuing education experience must correlate with the psychologist's field of practice.
School psychologist credentials in Utah are renewed at various times, depending on credential level. Level one school psychologists must renew their licenses after three years. Level two and three licenses last five and seven years, respectively. All levels require 100 hours of professional development for renewal.
Utah Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends
Average salaries for Utah psychologists have increased in recent years. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned an average of $66,920 in 2016 and $80,920 in 2019 -- an increase of $14,000. Generalist psychologists in the state averaged $81,970 in 2016 and $86,340 in 2018 -- a $4,000 salary increase.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30.8% job growth rate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Utah between 2016 and 2026. This figure is more than twice the national average for all occupations combined and surpasses growth rates for most surrounding states.
Candidates should note that the following data omits some salary categories. However, all Utah averages exceed the Social Security Administration's $52,145 average salary for all U.S. jobs in 2018.
Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Utah
Psychologists, All Other in STATENAME
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally
Psychology Programs and Licensing in Utah Frequently Asked Questions
Is Psychology a Good Major?
Psychology programs equip learners with assessment, research, and interpersonal skills that can apply in many careers. Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology instills many foundational concepts required for advanced positions and graduate degrees.
Do I Need a Bachelor's in Psychology to Get a Master's in Psychology?
Many colleges for psychology in Utah do not expect master's candidates to hold a bachelor's degree in the field. Undergraduate degrees in counseling, social work, human services, and communications can also provide relevant academic backgrounds. However, students without psychology bachelor's degrees may need to complete additional prerequisite psychology coursework.
Are Utah Psychology Licenses Valid in Other States?
Utah does not participate in licensing reciprocity agreements. However, some states may allow licensed Utah psychologists to earn in-state credentials by endorsement. Candidates seeking endorsement are often required to demonstrate proof of fieldwork fulfillment and complete supplementary components like exams. Professionals should consult the local board to determine if license by endorsement is an option in their state.
Can I Get Licensed If My Degree Is From an Unaccredited Program?
Utah applicants with doctorates from unaccredited programs can still obtain licensure if their programs are approved by the ASPPB/National Register Joint Designation Committee. Individuals applying for a school psychologist license must hold a master's degree from an accredited school, but not necessarily from an accredited program.
What Happens If I Don't Renew My License?
Psychologists must submit a renewal/reinstatement form to have their licenses reinstated. Licenses expired for less than 30 days cost $20 more than the standard renewal fee. If the license expired more than 30 days but less than two years ago, candidates must pay an additional $50 fee. After two years, candidates must reapply for a license under the Board's most recent policies.
Psychology Resources for Utah
The Utah Psychological Association Members of UPA receive access to a professional directory and resources on child, domestic, and substance abuse. UPA events, workshops, and training programs may count as continuing education hours for license renewal.
The Children's Center This organization sponsors psychology internships for candidates interested in working with children. The Children's Center also assists with the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health's yearly conference and publishes an online job bank.
Wasatch Mental Health This website provides helpful resources on suicide, mental illness, autism, and assisted living services. Wasatch also hosts a blog that covers topics such as medical insurance, childhood stress, and World Suicide Prevention Day.