According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students in Arizona pursue more graduate degrees in psychology than in those in any other state but California — an impressive statistic considering that Arizona's overall population doesn't even rank it among the top 10 most populous states. That number may be poised to get even bigger, also; Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, ranking among the top 5 states for raw population gains in a recent estimate by the U.S. Census.
- Arizona has more than 20 colleges and universities that offer psychology degree programs, and 70 percent of those schools serve advanced-degree (master's and doctoral) students.
- The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted 2,340 active clinical, counseling and school psychologists licensed to practice in Arizona as of May of 2015, slightly fewer than Colorado and more than twice as many as its southwestern neighbors Nevada and New Mexico
- Arizona also ranks among the top 12 states for employment of psychology professors at the university level, and seven Ph.D. and PsyD programs at five individual universities in the state meet the strict qualifying standards of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists
The average statewide salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $59,910, according to 2015 BLS data, although specific regions and metro areas of the state showed a range of average earnings:
- $68,860 in Flagstaff
- $65,620 in Yuma
- $61,720 in the greater Phoenix area
- $60,390 in Prescott
The BLS reports a range of salary distributions within geographical regions as well, with the top 10 percent of earners in Flagstaff and the surrounding area earning $114,430 or more in 2015 while the bottom 10 percent took home less than $39,290 that year in the same region.
Arizona psychology licensing requirements
Graduates of psychology colleges in Arizona must meet all requirements set by the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners (ABPE) before they can officially begin their independent professional lives. Arizona's requirements are similar in many ways to those mandated in many other states in the U.S., but there are a few statutory aspects of the licensing process in the Grand Canyon State that may require special attention from doctoral graduates preparing to take the next step down their professional path.
Here are the basic steps toward licensure in Arizona, as described by the ABPE:
- Earn a doctoral degree from one of the nation's regionally accredited psychology schools, in Arizona or elsewhere, completing a successful dissertation defense prior to graduation
- Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a score of 70 percent on the written portion and a scaled score of 500 on the computer-based test
- Accrue 3,000 hours of supervised work experience over a period of two years, of which no fewer than 1,500 hours must be obtained through an internship approved by the American Psychological Association (APA)
- Complete a residency program, consisting of 18 or more semester hours over a period of 12 consecutive months, at the university where your doctoral degree was earned
- Complete any applicable recertification programs determined as necessary by the ABPE
Licensure application forms for graduates of psychology colleges in Arizona can be found at the ABPE website, as well as further detail about each requirement and explanations of special circumstances that may call for alterations to certain licensing conditions. Behavior analysts are also licensed through the ABPA, with very similar education and training qualifications to those listed above.
Arizona psychologists are required to renew their licenses in May of every odd-numbered year, which means that your first licensing period may potentially be as brief as a year or less but each one thereafter should last a full 24 months. Applicants facing short licensing periods will have their license fees prorated to match the amount of time remaining until the next renewal deadline.
Featured psychology schools in Arizona
Here's a list of the psychology schools and colleges in Arizona whose programs rated among the best in a recent rankings list published by U.S. News & World Report:
The University of Arizona
The highest-rated program for aspiring clinical psychologists in the Grand Canyon State can be found at this Tucson institution, where the greater psychology department also offers doctoral programs in social psychology, cognition and neural systems (CNS) and ethology and evolutionary psychology (EEP). Areas of study in the clinical psychology graduate program include psychophysiology, clinical neuropsychology, health psychology, forensic psychology and intervention research. The university maintains no currently active master's degree programs in psychology, but Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) psychology degrees are available for undergraduate students.
- Department: University of Arizona Department of Psychology
- Location: Tucson, Arizona
- Online options: A complete BA in psychology can be earned through UA Online, the university's distance education initiative, and students may be able to take individual psychology courses online on a case-by-case basis.
Arizona State University
The largest brick-and-mortar university in Arizona is home to the state's other clinical psychology graduate program to make the top 50 in the U.S. News 2016 rankings. Aside from its well-regarded clinical psychology doctorate, graduate degrees at ASU's Department of Psychology include a Master of Science (MS) in applied behavior analysis and Ph.D.s in cognitive science, developmental psychology, behavioral neuroscience, quantitative research methods and social psychology. Three undergraduate programs — a BA and BS in psychology and a BS in psychological science — are also available at the Tempe school.
- Department: Arizona State University Department of Psychology
- Location: Tempe, Arizona
- Online options: The ASU Department of Psychology offers a BA in psychology that can be earned completely online, as well as graduate certificates in applied behavior analysis and autism spectrum disorders.
Northern Arizona University
The third major campus-based university in Arizona offers several options for psychology students, with BA and BS degrees at the undergraduate level and both thesis and non-thesis Master of Arts (MA) degree plans. The Flagstaff school also maintains an extensive educational psychology department, offering Ph.D.s in school psychology and counseling psychology for educational contexts as well as master's degrees in school counseling and human relations and an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in school psychology.
- Department: Northern Arizona University department of Psychological Sciences
- Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
- Online options: NAU offers a major online degree concentration in psychology at the bachelor's level, as well as a BA and undergraduate certificate in applied human behavior and an online undergraduate psychology minor.
- U.S. Census Bureau, accessed May 8, 2016: QuickFacts, Arizona, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/04; Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation's Third Most Populous State, Census Bureau Reports, December 23, 2014, http://census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2014/cb14-232.html;
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed May 8, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=AZ&p=42
- Psychologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed May 9, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed May 9, 2016: Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm; Psychologists, All Other, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm; Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251066.htm;
- Master's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by field of study and state or jurisdiction: 2012-13, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed May 9, 2016; https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_319.40.asp?current=yes
- All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction, National Register of Health Service Psychologists, accessed May 9, 2016, http://www.nationalregister.org/resources-links/doctoral-programs/approved-doctoral-programs-by-jurisdiction/
- Board Statutes - Arizona Revised Statutes, Arizona Board of Psychology Examiners, accessed May 9, 2016, https://psychboard.az.gov/statutes-rules/board-statutes
- The Path to EPPP Excellence, American Psychological Association, accessed May 9, 2016, http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2007/09/eppp.aspx
- Best Clinical Psychology Programs, Best Graduate Schools, U.S. News & World Report, accessed May 9, 2016, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/clinical-psychology-rankings/page+2
- School pages, accessed May 9, 2016: Graduate Programs in Psychology, The University of Arizona, http://psychology.arizona.edu/grads; Areas of Study in Clinical Psychology, The University of Arizona, http://psychology.arizona.edu/node/717; Undergraduate Program, Department of Psychology, The University of Arizona, http://psychology.arizona.edu/undergrads; Doctoral Degrees, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, https://psychology.clas.asu.edu/degrees/doctoral; Applied Behavior Analysis (MS), Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, https://psychology.clas.asu.edu/content/applied-behavior-analysis-ms; Undergraduate Degrees, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, https://psychology.clas.asu.edu/content/applied-behavior-analysis-ms; Online Psychology Degree, Arizona State University, http://asuonline.asu.edu/online-degree-programs/undergraduate/bachelor-arts-psychology; Online Certificate Programs, Arizona State University, http://asuonline.asu.edu/online-degree-programs/certificates; Degrees and Programs, Psychological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, http://nau.edu/SBS/Psych/Degrees-Programs/; Capstone Experience, Psychological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, http://nau.edu/SBS/Psych/Degrees-Programs/Undergraduate-Program/Capstone/ ; Master of Arts in Psychology Requirements, Northern Arizona University, http://nau.edu/SBS/Psych/Degrees-Programs/Graduate-Program/Master-s-Degree-Requirements/; Degrees and Programs, Educational Psychology, Northern Arizona University, http://nau.edu/COE/Ed-Psych/Degrees-Programs/; Psychology, Northern Arizona University Extended Campus, https://ec.nau.edu/BachelorsDegrees/Psychology-245/; Applied Human Behavior, Northern Arizona University Extended Campus, https://ec.nau.edu/DegreeInfo.aspx?DegreeId=182