Degree-seekers researching the best colleges in Wisconsin for psychology can review this page to learn more about opportunities in the state. This guide details the benefits of attending a psychology program or school in Wisconsin and what learners can expect from a psychology program in the state. Prospective students can also explore salary and employment trends along with psychology resources specific to Wisconsin.
Read on to discover the best psychology schools in Wisconsin, including education requirements and licensing criteria.
Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Wisconsin?
By Rachel Schneider
Colleges for psychology in Wisconsin offer programs across degree levels. Students enjoy affordable tuition rates in Wisconsin, with the state ranking 19th in the country for in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year institutions.
Wisconsin holds a population of nearly 6 million people, with 41% possessing a college education. The state ranks sixth for opportunity, 10th for natural environment, and 14th for healthcare, education, and fiscal stability. Most of Wisconsin's industry belongs to manufacturing, with almost all of the state's 35 largest enterprises functioning in the manufacturing industry.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate hovers around 3.3%, making it the state with the nation's 20th lowest unemployment rate. The Badger State contains 89 colleges and universities, with 86,729 student loan borrowers in the repayment process and 7,821 borrowers in default on their loans. The state's borrower default rate sits at 9%.
What to Expect in a Wisconsin Psychology College Program
In 2018, Wisconsin universities conferred 1,157 psychology degrees across all degree levels. At the bachelor's level, learners typically complete 120 credits of coursework, often taking four years of full-time study. Learners focus on building a solid base of skills and knowledge in the field, exploring various psychology specialties.
Master's programs range in terms of credit requirements, usually taking full-time students two years to earn their degree. Curriculum builds upon the skills and knowledge degree-seekers develop during their bachelor's program, allowing them to explore more advanced concepts.
Doctoral students at Wisconsin colleges for psychology can consider pursuing a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology. Both programs prepare learners for psychology careers. Students often take 4-7 years to complete their doctorate. The timeline varies depending on learners' educational background, enrollment type, and program requirements.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin colleges for psychology offer many different programs, each with its own requirements and structures. However, degree-seekers can expect to focus on similar coursework. Bachelor's students explore foundational topics, while master's students review more advanced concepts. Doctoral students focus on the field's most specialized, advanced topics.
Degree-seekers review contemporary social issues focused on how people interact with technology, society, and the environment. Learners review the perspectives, usefulness, and relevance of social psychology as it relates to practical problems and issues.
During the cognitive processes course, degree-seekers explore various topics related to cognitive psychology, including language, memory, decision-making, learning, and attention. Learners study how cognitive psychology functions in regards to client issues and problems.
Ethical Practice in Psychology
Students review the principles and standards of ethical practice in psychology. The course covers respect, confidentiality, the psychology of ethical behavior, experimentation, resolving ethical issues, and professional standards of conduct in the field.
Research Methods in Psychology
Students review the methods they can use to conduct psychological research. They learn how to collect and analyze data through different settings, particularly focusing on how to apply their research to contemporary psychology issues.
Measurement and Assessment
Degree-seekers explore the psychometric techniques used in psychology, focusing on how to effectively apply them across settings. Learners review the measurement strategies and techniques used to develop and administer psychological assessments and tests.
Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Wisconsin
To become a psychologist in Wisconsin, individuals must earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in psychology. The first step to obtaining psychology licensure is earning a bachelor's degree. Many individuals who intend to pursue psychology licensure focus their bachelor's program in psychology. However, students do not need to major in psychology. Bachelor's students focused on psychology can pursue a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA) in the field, depending on the coursework they prefer to study.
After completing a bachelor's program, students must earn a master's degree. Some learners pursue a stand-alone master's degree in psychology, especially if they did not focus on psychology during their bachelor's program. Many students, however, complete their master's degree during their doctoral program.
The final educational requirement needed to become a psychologist in Wisconsin is obtaining a doctoral degree -- either a Ph.D. in psychology or a Psy.D. Doctoral programs should be accredited by the board of education approved by the Psychology Examining Board in Wisconsin.
Individuals often take about 10 years to complete the educational requirements to become a psychologist.
Wisconsin Licensing for Psychologists
Those who aspire to become a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin must satisfy several steps. Holding licensure allows professionals to practice across a variety of settings in the state, demonstrating a particular skill set and knowledge base regulated by the state's licensing board.
Why Get Licensed in Wisconsin?
To practice as a psychologist in Wisconsin, professionals must earn their psychology license by satisfying educational, experience, and examination requirements. The state also features licensing opportunities for school psychologists, who must meet different requirements. Candidates for school psychologist licensure must earn a doctoral degree in school psychology, including two semesters of a supervised school psychologist internship.
Licensing Criteria for Wisconsin
Before professionals can begin the psychology licensing process, they must meet the educational criteria. Educational requirements include earning a bachelor's degree in either psychology or another discipline. After earning a bachelor's degree, eligible candidates must complete a master's program. Students can complete a stand-alone master's program or they can complete master's requirements as part of their doctoral program.
Individuals who earn a master's degree from a stand-alone program typically must complete the Graduate Record Examination and submit their scores during the application process. After earning a master's degree, learners must complete a doctoral program in psychology.
After completing the educational requirements, aspiring psychologists can begin the process to become licensed psychologists in Wisconsin. Individuals must complete experience and exam components along with applications for licensure. They also must pay any associated fees with applications and examinations.
How to Get Licensed in Wisconsin
After completing the necessary educational requirements to qualify for psychology licensure, individuals can submit their application to the board as the first step of the licensing process. Completing the Application for Licensure to Practice Psychology also requires candidates to pay a $165 application fee. Individuals who fall at or below 180% of the federal poverty level can review their eligibility for a fee reduction. Along with their application, candidates must complete an Affidavit of Applicant's Post-Doctoral Supervised Experience form, demonstrating their postdoctoral experiences.
After the licensing board approves candidates' applications, individuals can complete the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, consisting of 225 multiple-choice questions. The exam carries a registration fee of nearly $700.
To obtain licensure, candidates must also complete one year of postdoctoral supervised experience in their chosen area of training with one year of supervised work in psychology, a minimum of 500 hours working directly with patients, and 1,300 hours of activities related to providing services to patients.
License Renewal in Wisconsin
Psychologists must renew their license by September 30 of odd-numbered years. They can do so by completing the necessary forms online using the Health and Business Renewal Application and paying the $170 renewal fee. To maintain eligibility for renewal, psychologists in Wisconsin must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) activities during each renewal period. Professionals should complete six CE hours related to legal topics, risk management, or ethics. The Wisconsin Psychological Association or the American Psychological Association must approve these activities. Professionals who complete more than the required CE hours during a renewal period may not carry their credits over to the next renewal period.
Wisconsin Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends
From 2016-17, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Wisconsin earned mean wages close to the national amounts. In 2016, psychologists in the clinical, counseling, and school disciplines earned mean salaries of $78,040 compared to the national amount of $78,690. In 2017, these psychologists reported a mean wage of $79,580, close to the national figure of $81,330. All other psychologists in Wisconsin reported mean wages lower than national figures, with a reported mean wage of $80,550 in 2016 and $80,780 in 2017 compared to the national amounts of $94,650 in 2016 and $93,440 in 2017.
In 2018, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned a mean wage of $83,420, just under the occupation's national average of $85,340. Compared to surrounding states, these psychologists experience the third-highest salary opportunities. All other psychologists experience a mean wage of $80,620, lower than the national amount of $95,610.
Jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Wisconsin are projected to grow 9.7% through 2026, which is the fifth-highest rate compared to surrounding states. Jobs for all other psychologists in Wisconsin are projected to grow 5.6%, marking the third-highest rate among surrounding states.
Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Wisconsin
Psychologists, All Other in Wisconsin
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally
Psychology Programs and Licensing in Wisconsin Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Get a BA or BS in Psychology?
Choosing between a BA or BS in psychology depends on students' desired focus. BS programs offer courses in statistical analysis and clinical psychology, while BA programs cover courses related to social psychology, sociology, and political science.
What Is a Good Specialty for Psychology?
The best psychology schools in Wisconsin allow students to pursue a specialization. Through a specialization, learners can focus their degree in a field that aligns with their goals and interests. Popular specializations include industrial and organizational psychology, pediatric psychology, sports psychology, and human factors psychology.
Do I Need a Bachelor's in Psychology to Get a Master's in Psychology?
Students do not need to major in psychology at the bachelor's level. Learners who focus on a field other than psychology during their bachelor's program must satisfy prerequisite coursework before they can enroll in a master's program.
What is the Difference Between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology?
A Psy.D. prepares students to apply scientific psychology knowledge to deliver quality service to individuals, groups, and organizations. Students who pursue a Ph.D. in psychology focus on exploring psychology through scientific research, collecting data, and applying statistical and analytical techniques.
What Happens If I Don't Renew My License?
Psychologists must renew their license every two years in order to continue practicing in Wisconsin. The board reminds professionals when it is time to renew their license. If professionals do not renew on time, they cannot continue practicing psychology in the state. The renewal process includes completion of CE activities.
Psychology Resources for Wisconsin
Wisconsin Psychological Association WPA aims to advance the psychology field as a profession, promoting human welfare and well-being by ethically applying psychological principles in teaching, research, and practice.