In 2015, the State University System of Florida, which includes 12 publicly funded colleges and universities, was second in the nation for distance learning, with 42 percent of its students participating in some form of online higher education. Not surprisingly, psychology was one of the top ten majors that year for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree candidates. Over five thousand undergraduates earned degrees in psychology in the system during the 2014-2015 academic year, and 451 finished graduate degrees of some kind.
- In a national comparison of six-year graduation rates among the country's ten largest states, Florida ranked first in the period between 2009 and 2015.
- Florida was also among the top ten states for research expenditures at public universities in 2015.
- The state is home to nearly 40 schools with psychology programs, with seven having the official approval of the National Association of School Psychologists, and approved by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.
- The American Psychological Association, which accredits doctoral programs in psychology nationally, lists 14 schools in Florida with programs that meet its rigorous standards for Ph.D., PsyD, and EdD degrees training.
Demand for psychologists nationally is fairly high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19 percent increase in employment for psychologists nationally through the year 2024, and as of May 2015, the BLS counted 2,700 psychologists in Florida, with an average annual salary of $71,810.
Florida psychology licensing requirements
As in other states, Florida has a licensing board that oversees the professional practice of psychology in the state. And a doctoral degree from an APA approved program in psychology is the base-level requirement for qualifying for licensure. Indeed, one of the benefits of studying toward a doctoral degree in Florida, aside from the weather, is that the programs are more likely to be geared toward eventual licensure in the state.
Here's a breakdown of the specific steps toward licensure that are required in Florida:
- Earn a doctoral degree (Ph.D., PsyD, EdD) from an institution accredited by the APA,
- Complete 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, half of which cam be part of a doctoral degree internship.
- Take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
- Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.
- Take a pass Florida's Psychology Laws and Rules Examination.
The Florida Board of Psychology does allow those who have earned a doctoral degree in psychology, but who have not yet completed the 4000 required hours of supervised internship experience, to become provisionally licensed. The only allows for the supervised practice of psychology, but it is a step along the way toward full licensure.
Once licensed, psychologists in Florida must renew their license with the Board of Psychology every two years.
- This process can usually be completed online, and requires that the applicant for renewal demonstrate that he or she has completed 40 hours of continuing education in the two-year period prior to the application being filed.
- Two of the 40 hours must pertain to the prevention of medical hours; three of the 40 must pertain to professional ethics and Florida law regarding the practice of psychology.
- Every third renewal for applicants, there must be two hours of continuing education related to domestic violence assessment and prevention.
Featured psychology schools in Florida
The State University System of Florida dominates the realm of higher education in the state, so most of the best psychology programs in Florida are part of that system. Here are the top five psychology schools in Florida, based on the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings.
University of Florida
The University of Florida Department of Psychology, which came in at #40 in U.S. News & World Report rankings, has a two-track system for psychology Ph.D.s. There's a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, and a broader Ph.D. in psychology that allows students to choose from four areas of specialization: behavior analysis, developmental psychology, neurobehavioral psychology and cognitive sciences, and social psychology. The school also offers a very popular bachelor of science degree in psychology. In addition, UF's School of Education offers doctoral and EdS degrees in school psychology.
- Department: University of Florida Department of Psychology
- Location: Gainesville, Florida
- Online options: All of the psychology degrees at UF are offered on campus, but the school also has a active online program that includes a BS in psychology.
University of Miami
Psychology is a popular area of study at the University of Miami: the largest Ph.D. program at the school is in the Department of Psychology, which also boasts the second largest number of undergraduate majors. Miami's Department of Psychology has the additional benefit of working closely with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and the Florida juvenile justice system. The psychology Ph.D. program is divided into three divisions — adult, child, and health psychology. The Department of Education and Psychological Studies at the University of Miami does offer an alternate graduate studies track in the form of a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.
- Department: University of Miami Department of Psychology
- Location: Coral Gables, Florida
- Online options: The U of M has a full complement of online courses available, however its psychology degree programs are all campus based.
Florida State University
The Florida State University Psychology Department has five areas of specialization for graduate students in the field of psychology: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology. It benefits from partnerships with the Florida Center for Reading Research, the Pepper Institute on Aging, and the Learning Systems Institute.
- Department: Florida State University Psychology Department
- Location: Tallahassee, Florida
- Online options: FSU has a growing number of online and distance learning degree programs at the undergraduate and master's level, including several in the field of education and criminology. However, the schools psychology programs are campus based.
University of South Florida
The USF Department of Psychology has three primary areas of graduate study: clinical psychology; cognition, neuroscience, and social psychology; and industrial-organizational psychology. USF's Mood and Emotion Lab, a facility devoted to research in affective and clinical sciences, including psychology, is one of the department's bigger assets. The school also has a Psychological Service Center, which serves the larger community and offers graduate students an opportunity to gain research and clinical experience.
- Department: University of South Florida Department of Psychology
- Location: Tampa, Florida
- Online options: USF is one of the top schools for online degree programs in Florida. It offers master's degree in applied behavioral analysis and in child and adolescent behavioral health, as well as several related bachelor's degree majors.
University of Central Florida
UCF is a big school — the largest in the country in terms of undergraduate enrollment, and the second largest by total enrollment. In addition to its central campus in Orlando, it has eight satellite campuses. And psychology is perennially one of the most popular majors among UCF undergrads. UCF's Department of Psychology also has two master's degree programs — in clinical and industrial/organizational psychology -- and three distinct tracks for doctoral students: applied experimental and human factors, clinical psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology.
- Department: University of Central Florida Department of Psychology
- Location: Orlando, Florida
- Online options: In addition to campus-based degree programs, UCF has an online bachelor of science in psychology and several master's degree programs in fields related to psychology.
1. State University System of Florida, Board of Governors, "2014-2015 System Accountability Report," visited March 27, 2016; http://flbog.edu/documents_meetings/0199_0974_7281_4.3.2%20SPC%202014-15_System_Accountability_Report_Summary.pdf
2. 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
3. Florida Board of Psychology, Licensing and Registration, visited March 26, 2016; http://floridaspsychology.gov/licensing/
4. 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
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, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Psychologists, visited March 31, 2016; http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
7. School pages: University of Florida, http://www.ufl.edu/; UNiversity of MIami, http://welcome.miami.edu/; Florida State University, http://www.fsu.edu; University of South Florida, http://www.usf.edu/; University of Central Florida, http://www.ucf.edu/