Alabama isn't a particularly big state in terms of population, or in terms of area. In fact, it ranks right in the middle of the pack among the fifty states in both regards. And that's essentially where it stands nationally in terms of psychology schools and colleges. There are only four institutions in Alabama with doctoral degree programs in psychology that are accredited by the American Psychological Association; three with recognition from the National Register of Health Service Psychologists; and one with a psychology graduate program that has approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- In the 2011-2012 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics counted just 384 students enrolled in master's degrees program in psychology in Alabama, which was 19th in the country.
- The state was, fittingly enough, right in the middle of the pack, at 25th, for undergraduates majoring in psychology, with 1,475.
Similarly, Alabama ranked among in the lower-middle for the number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists employed, as of the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics, with just 640 professional licensed psychologists in the state:
- The average annual salary of those psychologists was $77,980, which is actually slightly higher than the national average of $76,040.
- The Alabama Workforce Development agency is projecting a 1.47% annual increase in employment for psychologists in the state through 2022, which is higher than the national average of 1.08%.
|Region||Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Birmingham-Hoover, AL||Marriage and Family Therapists||70||$43,660|
|Birmingham-Hoover, AL||Mental Health Counselors||280||$45,140|
|Birmingham-Hoover, AL||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||220||$47,920|
|Montgomery, AL||Mental Health Counselors||140||$48,720|
|Montgomery, AL||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||80||$48,640|
|Tuscaloosa, AL||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||50||$66,720|
|Tuscaloosa, AL||Mental Health Counselors||70||$42,420|
Alabama psychology licensing requirements
The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology handles all licensing for psychologists who intend to practice professionally in the state. And, as in all other states, those psychologists must have a minimum of a doctoral degree in psychology to qualify for licensure. The specific requirements for licensure in Alabama are as follows:
- A doctoral degree in psychology from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association
- One year of supervised internship training as part of an accredited doctoral program in psychology
- A passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- A passing score on the Alabama Professional Standards Examination
- A criminal background check
- Four reference from psychologists, three of whom must be licensed to practice psychology professionally
Once licensed, psychologists in Alabama must apply for licensure renewal annually. The primary requirement for re-licensure is the completion of twenty hours of state-approved continuing education credits.
Featured psychology schools in Alabama
There are three psychology schools and college in Alabama that were included in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings for psychology programs. They are listed below, along with an additional program that has accreditation from the American Psychological Association.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
A public research institution, located in the middle of the state's largest metropolitan area, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also know as UAB, has a prominent psychology department that accounts for one of the school's most popular undergraduate majors. Bachelor's degree students have a choice of major in psychology, through the Department of Psychology, or participating in an undergraduate neuroscience program. At the graduate level, the Department of Psychology specializes in research and training in behavioral neuroscience, lifespan development psychology, and medical/clinical psychology. The School of Education at UAB has a non-degree granting educational psychology and research program.
- Department: UAB Department of Psychology
- Location: Birmingham, Alabama
- Online options: UAB offers a number of online bachelor's and master's degree programs, but not in the field of psychology
University of Alabama
The flagship school and the largest research institution in the University of Alabama state system is located in Tuscaloosa. It's often referred to simply as Alabama, or simply 'Bama, and is home to a large law school, a school of medicine, and programs in nursing, education, social work, and engineering. The Department of Psychology at Alabama is located within the College of Arts & Sciences, and features an undergraduate major and minor in psychology. For graduate students, there are PhD programs in clinical psychology and experimental psychology. The clinical psychology doctorate offers four areas of concentration: child, health, geropsychology, and psychology and law. The experimental psychology track centers around cognitive, developmental, and social psychology. In addition, 'Bama's College of Education grants master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees in educational psychology and school psychology.
- Department: University of Alabama Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Online options: Alabama's online education program does grant graduate degrees in educational and school psychology
Auburn, or AU, is a public research university that is part of the University of Alabama state system, and it's located in a college town that's actually called College Town, although it's also part of the city of Auburn. Through the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Psychology offers an undergraduate major and minor in psychology. For graduate students, there is a master's program in applied behavioral analysis, as well as three distinct PhD tracks: clinical psychology, cognitive behavioral science, and industrial/organizational psychology. The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn houses an MRI research facility that is heavily utilized by the Department of Psychology, as are the resources at the school's Biological Research Facility. Auburn's College of Education has a PhD program in educational psychology.
- Department: Auburn University Department of Psychology and college of Education
- Location: Auburn, Alabama
- Online options: Auburn offers a range of online undergraduate and graduate degrees, but none in the field of psychology
University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama is part of the University of Alabama state system and located in the city of Mobile. The school's Department of Psychology offers an undergraduate degree in psychology, as well as several options for graduate training. For doctoral candidates, there is a integrated PhD program in clinical and counseling psychology. The department also grants master of science degrees in psychology, with and emphasis in behavioral and brain sciences.
- Department: University of South Alabama Department of Psychology
- Location: Mobile, Alabama
- Online options: The University of South Alabama does offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its online program, but none in the field of psychology
1. U.S. News & World Report, Education Rankings, Psychology Schools, visited on March 25, 2016; http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/psychology-rankings
2. American Psychological Association, Search for Accredited Programs, visited March 27, 2016; http://apps.apa.org/accredsearch/?_ga=1.120283918.72239646.1430315672
3. National Register of Health Service Psychologists, All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction, visited March 26, 2016; http://www.nationalregister.org/resources-links/doctoral-programs/approved-doctoral-programs-by-jurisdiction/
4. National Association of School Psychologists, NASP-Approved Programs, visited March 26, 2016; http://www.nasponline.org/standards-and-certification/graduate-program-approval/nasp-approved-programs
5. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, "Master's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by field of study and state or jurisdiction: 2011-12," visited March 25, 2016; https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_319.40.asp
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2015 edition, 'Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists," visited March 25, 2016; http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm
7. Alabama Department of Labor, 2014 Licensed Occupations Guide, visited April 15, 2016; http://www2.labor.alabama.gov/WorkforceDev/LOG/LOG.pdf
8. Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology, Information for Psychologist Applicants, visited April 15, 2016; http://psychology.state.al.us/PDF/Psychology%20Brochure%20Dec2014.pdf
9. Schools: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Psychology, visited April 16, 2016; http://www.uab.edu/cas/psychology/about-us, University of Alabama, Department of Psychology, visited April 16, 2016; http://psychology.ua.edu/about/, Auburn University, Department of Psychology, visited April 16, 2016; http://www.cla.auburn.edu/psychology/index.cfm, University of South Alabama, Department of Psychology, visited April 16, 2016; http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/artsandsci/psychology/Graduate_Program.html