Earning a degree from one of the psychology schools and colleges in Alaska can prepare you to do more than join the illustrious ranks of professional psychologists. The knowledge and skills you gain by studying psychology can bring unexpected value to a wide range of occupations, from management to health care to parenthood.
Check out these key facts about psychology colleges and schools in Alaska:
- Alaska was home to three universities offering psychology degree programs as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and all three schools offered both bachelor's degrees in psychology and graduate work for advanced students
- U.S. News & World Report places the advanced clinical psychology coursework available at the two University of Alaska campuses, in Fairbanks and Anchorage, among the best in the U.S. on its 2016 rankings list
- The psychology Ph.D. program offered jointly by the aforementioned University of Alaska campuses is also accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that clinical, counseling and school psychologists in Alaska earned an average annual wage of $73,970 in 2015. Those working in the area around Anchorage reported a higher annual average — $80,840, to be exact — while those practicing in the rest of the state took home a mean salary of $68,910 the same year.
Experience and education can also affect a psychologist's salary. The top 10 percent of earners statewide made more than $103,530 in 2015, while the bottom 10 percent took home $52,430 or less.
Alaska psychology licensing requirements
The State of Alaska Board of Psychologist and Psychological Assistant Examiners sets the requirements for psychological licensure in the Last Frontier. Here's what you need to do to qualify for a psychologist license in Alaska, according to the Board:
- Complete a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program that's either been accredited by the APA or meets the state's requirements for equivalency
- Participate in one year of post-doctoral supervised practice
- Submit all required forms and documents to the Board, including five letters of reference, a full CV, proof of internship, official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended, all applicable fees (including an initial license fee of $775) and other necessary documentation
- Take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and a state psychology exam approved by the board
In order to keep their licenses current, Alaska psychologists must participate in 20 hours of continuing education — including at least three hours' training in professional ethics — during each licensed year. Each biennial renewal also requires a fee of $775. To find out more about the details of psychology licenses in Alaska, check out the Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners website.
Featured psychology schools in Alaska
Aspiring students of psychology colleges in Alaska have three urban campuses to choose from, according to NCES data, and each has its own approach to teaching the fundamentals and finer points of psychological research and practice. Here's something about each one of the institutions where you might earn psychology degrees in Alaska:
University of Alaska Anchorage
The Anchorage campus of the University of Alaska system offers the greatest diversity of available psychology programs in the state. Undergraduate students may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in psychology as their major, each with an optional concentration in behavior analysis, and general psychology and children's mental health minors are available for interested students of other disciplines. Graduate students can find the state's only a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in clinical psychology at UA Anchorage, and doctoral candidates may apply to the APA-accredited Ph.D. program in clinical-community psychology with a rural and indigenous emphasis.
- Department: University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Psychology
- Location: Anchorage
- Online options: The University of Alaska system offers numerous online degrees, but psychology was not among the subjects available as of 2016-17.
Alaska Pacific University
Counseling psychology takes center stage at Alaska Pacific University, with programs available at every academic level: a B.A. in counseling psychology for undergraduates, an M.S. in counseling psychology for graduate students and a Psy.D. in the discipline for students looking to earn their terminal degree. The Psy.D. is a four-year doctoral program features self-directed learning and offers distance education options for students in far-flung reaches of the state, and the M.S. aims to provide graduates with the education they need to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in Alaska. A general psychology B.A. is available as well.
- Department: Alaska Pacific University Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department
- Location: Anchorage
- Online options: Alaska Pacific University does not currently offer full degree programs via digital distance learning.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Undergraduate psychology students at the UA Fairbanks campus may choose from the same two types of psychology major available at its southern counterpart — a B.A. and a B.S. in general psychology, both of which consist of the same coursework within the major subject but differ in the amount of associated math and science they require — and they may choose among a series of electives to enhance the psychology component of the degree plan. The clinical-community psychology Ph.D. available at UA schools is offered jointly between the Fairbanks campus and the one in Anchorage, providing an APA-accredited option for post-doctoral students in the region.
- Department: University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Psychology
- Location: Fairbanks
- Online options: No online psychology degree is yet available to UA Fairbanks students.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 30, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 30, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm
- Search for Accredited Programs, American Psychological Association, accessed October 30, 2016, http://apps.apa.org/accredsearch/
- All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction, National Register of Health Service Psychologists, accessed October 30, 2016, https://www.nationalregister.org/resources-links/doctoral-programs/approved-doctoral-programs-by-jurisdiction/
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed October 30, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- U.S. News and World Report, accessed October 30, 2016: University of Alaska - Anchorage, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/university-of-alaska-anchorage-102553/overall-rankings; University of Alaska - Fairbanks, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/university-of-alaska-fairbanks-102614/overall-rankings;
- State of Alaska Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners, accessed October 30, 2016: Applications, https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofPsychologists/Applications.aspx; Statutes and Regulations, https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofPsychologists/Regulations.aspx;
- School pages, accessed October 30, 2016: Psychology Academic Programs, University of Alaska Anchorage, https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/college-of-arts-and-sciences/departments/psychology/academic-programs/index.cshtml; Undergraduate Degree Options in Psychology, University of Alaska Anchorage, https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/college-of-arts-and-sciences/departments/psychology/academic-programs/undergraduate/index.cshtml; Programs, Distance Learning, the University of Alaska, https://distance.alaska.edu/programs/; Department of Psychology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, http://www.uaf.edu/psych/; Psychology, B.A., Alaska Pacific University, http://catalog.alaskapacific.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=2&poid=16&returnto=16; Degrees, Counseling Psychology, Alaska Pacific University, https://www.alaskapacific.edu/counseling-psychology/degrees/