Louisiana falls right in the center of the pack in terms of its size, both population-wise and in terms of the area between its borders, but opportunities for graduates of psychology schools and colleges in Louisiana may not be so middle-of-the-road. Here are a few items about the job climate for psychology graduates in the Pelican State:
- The National Center for Education Statistics counts 22 psychology schools and colleges in Louisiana, many of which offer multiple degree plans for psychology majors
- Just 380 active clinical, counseling and school psychologists in Louisiana were recorded by the BLS in 2015, despite a contemporary population of more than 4.5 million
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average psychologist salary in Louisiana is well above average, falling in the top tier of statewide averages in the field, while the cost of living in the state was recorded as the most affordable out of all top-paying states for psychologists in 2015
The BLS reports a 2015 mean annual salary of $78,090 across the state of Louisiana, about two thousand dollars higher than the national mean, but salaries tended to vary from metro area to metro area within the state:
- $91,290 in New Orleans
- $75,140 in Lafayette
- $91,120 in Baton Rouge
Louisiana is also the highest paid state for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in its greater geographical region, reporting nearly $14,000 more per year on average than nearest neighbors Texas and Arkansas.
Louisiana psychology licensing requirements
The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP) determines the requirements that graduates of psychology colleges and schools in Louisiana must meet before they can be officially licensed to practice psychology. Here are the conditions that must be met by candidates for a Louisiana psychology license in 2016, according to the LSBEP website:
- Provide certified copies of academic transcripts from all colleges attended, including the verification of a successful dissertation defense and detailed documentation of internship training
- Furnish names and contact information for three established psychologists to whom the board can reach out as professional references
- Provide documentation of pre-internship practicum training as required by the LSBEP for any applicable areas of specialization
- Complete a period of supervised post-doctoral work in the field under an established professional psychologist
- Take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a minimum score of 500
- Successfully complete the state's Oral and Jurisprudence Examination
Candidates are invited to sit for the EPPP only after their documentation-based qualifications are evaluated and verified. Ph.D. and PsyD graduates of psychology colleges in Louisiana can begin the licensing process during the period between the award of their degree and the completion of their supervised post-doctoral work, but the Oral and Jurisprudence examination can only be taken after all other requirements are met.
Louisiana psychology licenses require annual renewal, expiring on July 31 of every year. In order to remain eligible to continue to renew their licenses, Louisiana requires psychologists to complete 30 credit hours of continuing professional development (CPD) in every pair of licensed years.
Featured psychology schools in Louisiana
A few of the 22 psychology colleges in Louisiana stand out from the pack, whether by virtue of their ranking on the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list or their recognition by a top-tier accrediting agency in the field:
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University, or LSU, is home to what could likely be called the most prestigious psychology department in Louisiana. U.S. News ranks both LSU's graduate degree in clinical psychology and its general psychology program for graduate students each among the best in the nation in their respective categories, and both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Register for Health Service Psychologists recognize the clinical and school psychology Ph.D. programs at LSU as meeting strict standards of quality for accreditation and recognition. LSU does offer a bachelor's degree in psychology as well, although no master's degrees, and other areas of specialization for doctoral students at LSU include industrial/organizational psychology, biological psychology and cognitive and brain sciences.
- Department: Louisiana State University Department of Psychology
- Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Online options: LSU does offer some online degree programs, particularly in business disciplines, but no online psychology degree is offered at this time
Louisiana Tech University
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in counseling psychology at Louisiana Tech has earned APA accreditation and recognition by the National Register, and that's not the only option for aspiring psychology students in the northern reaches of the state. Its master's degree in counseling and guidance made the U.S. News list of best psychology graduate programs for 2016, and graduate programs in industrial-organizational psychology are offered at both the master's and doctoral level. Master's students can focus their curriculum on clinical mental health or school counseling, and a general psychology bachelor's degree program gives undergraduates the chance to get a comprehensive introductory psychological education.
- Department: Louisiana Tech University Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
- Location: Ruston, Louisiana
- Online options: The Global Campus at Louisiana Tech University does not offer a fully online psychology degree. Individual psychology classes may be made available in certain semesters, originating either from the Ruston location or its sister campus in Barksdale
The only Louisiana school to outrank LSU on the U.S. News best colleges list for graduate psychology programs, Tulane University breaks the mold a bit when it comes to degree offerings. For starters, Tulane undergraduates can apply to a graduate psychology program presented a 4+1 format — bachelor's degree in four years, master's degree in one year. Students of psychological science at the doctoral level can choose among social psychology, developmental psychology and cognitive/behavioral neuroscience as their research specialization, and the New Orleans school's Ph.D. program in school psychology is recognized by the National Register and APA.
- Department: Tulane University Department of Psychology
- Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Online options: No psychology degrees can be earned fully online at Tulane, although students in certain public health specialties have some distance education options
University of New Orleans
Louisiana's last school to rank on the U.S. News list is a comparatively small institution on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and it offers some unique options for students. Doctoral programs at the University of New Orleans include applied developmental psychology and applied biopsychology, two emerging disciplines that focus on the practical application of psychological principles. Each program also features a curriculum that leads to an MS instead of a Ph.D., so master's-level students can also study in these cutting-edge fields.
- Department: University of New Orleans Department of Psychology
- Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Online options: UNO doesn't offer an online degree in psychology, but the bachelor's program in interdisciplinary studies contains some individual psychology courses
- QuickFacts, Louisiana, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed May 11, 2016, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/22
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed May 11, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=LA&p=42
- Psychologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed May 11, 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 11, 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
- All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction, National Register of Health Service Psychologists, accessed May 17, 2016, http://www.nationalregister.org/resources-links/doctoral-programs/approved-doctoral-programs-by-jurisdiction/
- Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, accessed May 17, 2016: FAQs, http://www.lsbep.org/faqs/#application-for-licensure ; Steps Toward Licensure, http://www.lsbep.org/wp-content/uploads/STEPS-TOWARD-LICENSURE-2.16-1.pdf; Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Reporting Requirements, http://www.lsbep.org/wp-content/uploads/MEMO-CPD-LICENSED-PSYCHOLOGIST.pdf;
- U.S. News & World Report, accessed May 17, 2016: Graduate School Search, Clinical Psychology Programs, Louisiana, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-clinical-psychology-schools&name=&zip=LA&program_rank=Any&sort=&sortdir=; Graduate School Search, Psychology Programs, Louisiana, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-psychology-schools&specialty=&name=&zip=LA&program_rank=Any&sort=&sortdir=;
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