While Wyoming is the least populated state in the U.S. with only 570,000 residents, the demand for trained and licensed psychologists continues to rise. State employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for mental healthcare professionals indicate close to a 23% increase between 2016 and 2026. The BLS also projects that substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors will experience a 19% increase in the same period.
This guide provides prospective psychology students with useful information about the best psychology schools in Wyoming, licensing requirements, and career and salary prospects.
Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Wyoming?
By Janice Monti
Wyoming ranks third in the nation for its overall performance in higher education based on the percentage of adults with associate degrees or higher, graduation rates for public two-year and four-year schools, average tuition, and student debt.
The best colleges in Wyoming for psychology may also be the most affordable. With only 10 colleges and universities serving the entire state, the overall cost of earning a college degree in Wyoming falls far below the national average. The state's public, four-year institutions charge the lowest tuitions and fees in the U.S.
While prospective psychologists can finance their education through a combination of personal funds, scholarships, and grants, many students rely on federal and private loans. While 46% of Wyoming's college graduates carry college debt, the student loan default rate of 10% sits slightly below the national average, with just 530 borrowers in default. This indicates that the majority of Wyoming's college graduates have met loan repayment obligations after earning their degrees.
What to Expect in a Wyoming Psychology College Program
Drawing from a population of less than 600,000, Wisconsin's colleges and universities confer significantly fewer degrees than other states each year. However, the state offers quality educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Colleges for psychology in Wyoming allow students to specialize in high demand areas such as clinical, cognitive, and school psychology; addictions counseling; and psychology and law.
A bachelor's degree in psychology, which typically takes four years of full-time study, leads to entry-level employment in many fields while also providing the academic foundation required for graduate school. Wyoming master's programs in psychology require two additional years of study, including practicum requirements, before graduates are qualified for more advanced positions in counseling and clinical practice.
A doctorate in psychology, which trains students for advanced practice, supervisory, research, and teaching roles, may take five or more years to complete, depending on professional experience and dissertation requirements. The University of Wyoming currently offers the state's only doctoral degree in psychology.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Wyoming?
While psychology programs vary by degree level and curriculum requirements, prospective students can expect to acquire comprehensive knowledge and the specialized skills needed to enter many different professional roles. The following list describes some undergraduate and graduate courses you are likely to encounter at colleges for psychology in Wyoming.
Introduction to General Psychology
General psychology is the gateway course for all undergraduates planning to major or minor in the field. Lectures and readings cover the history of the discipline, the roots of psychology in both the natural and social sciences, and the major research and theoretical perspectives. The course introduces cognitive, developmental, behavioral, clinical, and neurobiological psychology.
Abnormal psychology covers the causes, symptoms, and treatment of abnormal human behavior and the role of biological, behavioral, cultural, and social factors in these behaviors. The course examines psychopathologies and the criteria used in clinical practice to classify mental disorders, including phobias; substance use disorders; and personality, mood, and dissociative disorders.
Designed for master's students, this course analyzes the psychological aspects of natural and built environments, informational environments, learning environments, the use and abuse of natural resources, and the social use of space. Degree-seekers explore positive and negative human/environment relationships, the ecological impact of human interventions, and restoration and sustainability policies and practices.
Substance Use Disorders, Behavioral Addictions, and Co-Occurring Disorders
Master's students preparing for counseling and clinical practice learn the theories, models, and applications for diagnosing and treating substance use disorders, addictions, and co-occurring conditions. Degree-seekers also gain an understanding of legal and ethical issues related to counseling. The course examines at-risk populations, prevention strategies, community resources and other support systems, and relapse responses.
In this course, doctoral students learn how to conduct statistical analyses focused on developing and applying assessment instruments, scales, observational methods, and interviews. Enrollees participate in test construction, supervised test administration, and analyzing test results. The course addresses appropriate and ethical uses for standardized and non-standardized tests and norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments.
Education Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Wyoming
Wyoming's colleges for psychology offer quality degree programs at all levels, preparing graduates to enter many rewarding career paths. Most counseling and therapy positions in Wyoming require at least a master's degree. A licensed psychologist must hold a doctorate to practice in the state.
Although bachelor's degree-holders in psychology can find employment in social and family services, case management, government agencies, and advocacy organizations, they may not provide direct services to clients. For students interested in clinical practice, research, or administration, an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related social science is only a stepping stone to graduate studies, leading eventually to more lucrative careers that require state licensure.
The best colleges in Wyoming for psychology offer specializations that allow students to prepare for careers in mental health counseling; marriage and family therapy; industrial-organizational psychology; and clinical, counseling, and school psychology.
Master's and doctoral degrees generally require students to complete supervised professional experiences as part of their degrees. These clinical practice requirements allow students to work with client populations in mental healthcare settings under the supervision of licensed psychologists. While these professional experiences form an integral part of graduate programs in psychology, many undergraduates also choose to participate in practicums and internships to gain practical experience while learning more about their intended careers.
Wyoming Licensing for Psychologists
Licensing boards in every state establish requirements that psychologists must meet in order to practice legally. Anyone providing psychological services to clients or patients must obtain a valid, state-issued license. While each state establishes specific licensing standards, psychologists seeking licensure generally must hold a doctorate, complete supervised professional experience hours, pass national and state exams, and pass criminal background checks.
Why Get Licensed in Wyoming?
Licensed psychologists in Wyoming receive authorization from the Wyoming Board of Psychology to provide psychological services to patients. Once licensed, they may serve as consultants for organizations and in legal actions, administer and evaluate psychological tests, diagnose and treat emotional and behavioral disorders, and provide counseling to children, adults, and families.
The Wyoming Board of Psychology grants licenses to candidates who have fulfilled specific educational and practice requirements. All candidates must hold a doctoral degree approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) from a regionally accredited university. The degree must include 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience.
Licensure candidates must also complete an additional 1,500 hours in internships accredited by APA or the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. The state board also grants provisional licenses for candidates interested in working with underserved populations in rural mental healthcare facilities. These licenses require fewer supervised experience hours.
Wyoming's licensing process also requires a completed psychologist license application form, verification of predoctoral and postdoctoral supervision hours, official transcripts, and three letters of reference sent to the state licensing board. The board only accepts notarized applications, accompanied by all requested documentation and an application fee.
ASPPB offers the exam four times a year at 275 test centers, including one site in Casper, Wyoming. Depending on their location, Wyoming residents may find it more convenient to take the exam in Billings, Montana; Ogden, Utah; or Westminster or Greenwood Village, Colorado. Each license-seeker must pay a test application fee and a test appointment site fee when they schedule their exam dates.
Test-takers can prepare for the EPPP by taking online or in-person practice exams, which are offered at test sites. Candidates can also purchase practice tests through ASPPB.
License Renewal in Wyoming
The Wyoming Board of Psychology requires psychologists to renew their licenses every year by June 30. Renewal applications may be submitted by mail or electronically, and there is an annual fee.
Psychologists must retain documentation for their continuing education hours, submitting verification to the state board upon request.
Wyoming Psychologist Salaries and Employment Trends
As Wyoming responds to its substance abuse and mental healthcare challenges, students earning psychology degrees can anticipate a promising employment outlook through the coming decade. Employment possibilities look particularly strong for psychologists with graduate degrees, state licenses, and specialized certifications.
Occupational projections for Wyoming between 2016 and 2026 suggest steady job growth for licensed psychologists and mental health counselors, along with substance abuse and behavior disorder specialists. During this period, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services projects that the second-highest employment rate in the state will be for jobs in the healthcare and social assistance sectors.
The tables below show that, while below the national average, annual salaries for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Wyoming remain competitive with other states. These professionals earn mean annual wages of $78,360, which falls below the national mean annual wage of $85,340. The mean annual wage for these psychologists ranks higher than those reported for Idaho and Montana and well above Wyoming's median household income of $62,436.
The BLS projects a modest 8% growth in the employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists between 2016 and 2026. Depending on their specializations, graduates seeking employment in other psychology fields can expect a projected job growth up to 33%.
Historical Mean Wage for Psychologists
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists in Wyoming
Psychologists, All Other in Wyoming
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Nationally
Psychology Programs and Licensing in Wyoming Frequently Asked Questions
What Field of Psychology Makes the Most Money?
Psychology graduates with advanced degrees and specialized licenses and certifications generally rank at the top of the pay scale. Child psychiatrists, who must hold medical degrees to become certified, earn the highest salaries. Graduates in the highly specialized fields of engineering psychology, forensic psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology can expect annual salaries above $100,000.
Is Psychology a Good Major?
As one of the most popular and versatile undergraduate majors, a bachelor's in psychology leads to employment in many different environments, including the helping professions, human resources, and business. A psychology major also provides a strong academic foundation for graduate work in psychology and the social sciences, as well as social work, education, and law.
Should I Get a BA or a BS in Psychology?
A BA provides a comprehensive education in liberal arts and sciences in addition to courses in the major, preparing graduates for further studies or a variety of careers. The BS emphasizes natural science, math, and laboratory courses, appealing to students planning to enter research-focused graduate degrees in psychology and related fields.
Do I Need a Bachelor's in Psychology to Get a Master's in Psychology?
Depending on the school, master's programs in psychology may admit students who have earned non-psychology undergraduate degrees in liberal arts or the social sciences. These students may receive provisional admission, requiring them to complete math and science requirements and specific core courses in psychology before they can fully matriculate into the master's program.
What Is the Difference Between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology?
A Ph.D. provides extensive training in statistics and research methods while the Psy.D. emphasizes clinical practice. A Ph.D. that requires independent research as part of its dissertation requirement may take five or more years to complete, while students can typically complete a Psy.D. in 4-6 years, including the required clinical internship.
Psychology Resources for Wyoming
National Alliance on Mental Illness-Wyoming This state affiliate of NAMI provides mental healthcare resources, education, and support for individuals, families, and caregivers. It administers outreach initiatives to foster understanding and change negative attitudes about mental illness in the state.
Wyoming Association of Addiction Professionals The Wyoming branch of the Association for Addiction Professionals advances the profession of addiction counseling, advocates for high standards for licensure and certification, and promotes awareness of chemical dependency issues in the state
Wyoming Counseling Association WCA is a state affiliate of the American Counseling Association. It promotes the interests of Wyoming's counseling professionals by promoting standards for ethical practices, providing networking and continuing education opportunities, and posting employment listings.
Wyoming Psychological Association WPA protects and promotes the practice of psychology in Wyoming through professional development and public advocacy. It also sponsors continuing education opportunities through conferences and provides state licensing information.
Wyoming School Psychology Association WSPA is a branch of the National Association of School Psycholigists. It serves the educational and mental healthcare needs of children and represents the interests of school psychologists in Wyoming. Members receive professional development opportunities and licensing information.