Mental health professionals are critical for public health and wellness. Unfortunately, too many states have too few of them, including Nebraska. According to Harvest Public Media, all but five Nebraska counties were federally designated mental health shortage areas in 2015. State and health organizations have strategies for addressing this gap, many of which benefit anyone considering psychology colleges in Nebraska Among them:
- Nebraska's State Loan Repayment Program for Rural Health Professionals offers qualifying psychologists in designated shortage areas up to $40,000 a year for student loan repayment.
- Some communities have special camps and mentorship programs to attract and support students considering mental health careers.
- Several organizations offer educational grants and scholarships specifically for students attending psychology schools in Nebraska
Perhaps one of the most significant effects of Nebraska's mental health shortage for future psychologists is growing demand: the State wants to attract as many mental health professionals as possible, and is willing to pay for them. Nebraska's psychology education and job market at a glance based on 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- There were 540 practicing clinical, counseling and school psychologists in Nebraska in 2015.
- These psychologists earned an average of $69,160 in 2015.
- Demand for Nebraska psychologists is expected to grow by another 16 percent between 2014 and 2024.
- The National Center for Education reports there are 22 psychology schools in Nebraska, including a few online programs.
- Three Nebraska psychology colleges are accredited by the American Psychological Association.
|Region||Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Lincoln, NE||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$110||$65,630|
|Lincoln, NE||Mental Health Counselors||$210||$43,670|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||Mental Health Counselors||$610||$46,100|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$270||$63,220|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||Marriage and Family Therapists||$40||$43,950|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||Psychologists, All Other||$40||$92,840|
Nebraska psychology licensing requirements
All states require psychologists to obtain licenses to practice, a process that requires one to meet established education and experiential requirements. According to its State Department of Health and Human Services Professional Licensing Unit, Nebraska psychology licensing candidates must:
- Earn doctoral degrees that align with accreditation standards set forth by the APA.
- Complete two years of supervised experience: one year of internship and another of postdoctoral supervised experience.The latter requires a special provisional license.
- Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a score that meets or exceeds the national pass score for all doctoral candidates that term.
- Pass a board jurisprudence examination with a score of at least 80 percent.
- Submit a full application and pay all required fees on time.
Nebraska does not use a tiered licensing system, which means there are no separate designations for associate psychologists or health care providers. Special provisional and temporary licensed are available for students completing postdoctoral supervised practice requirements and professionals new to the state. Nebraska psychologists must renew their licenses to practice; licenses expire January 1 of each odd-numbered year. Applicants must be in good standing with the board and complete at least 24 hours of continuing education classes to qualify for renewal.
Featured psychology schools in Nebraska
Here are Nebraska psychology schools being featuring for some of the following rankings and reasons:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is as well known as it is highly regarded: in 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school among the best universities nationally, the top public colleges and the best graduate psychology schools in America. UNL offers three APA-accredited psychology programs — the only such programs in the state. The University's Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor's of Science in Psychology degrees introduce students to core psychology coursework, but specialties allow undergraduates to explore areas like clinical, developmental, social and law psychology.Note that UNL's BS in Psychology requires more science study than its BA program. Students attending UNL's doctoral programs concentrate their studies in one of five tracks: neuroscience and behavior; clinical psychology; cognitive psychology; social psychology and developmental psychology. The department also offers an interdisciplinary program combining law and psychology. UNL psychology students have the opportunity to independently conduct or assist in faculty research students.
- Department: Department of Psychology
- Location: Lincoln
- Online learning: All University of Nebraska psychology degrees are based on campus, though students may be able to complete some coursework online.
Creighton University is a private Jesuit liberal arts college in Omaha. Its rolls are shorter than many Nebraska colleges, but its list of accomplishments certainly is not. The University earned the no. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best Colleges in the Midwest Region ranking. Other regional rankings that year included no. 1 for Best Colleges for Veterans and no. 3 for Most Innovative Colleges. Creighton University offers a BA in Psychology and an undergraduate psychology certificate. Students pursuing the BA get plenty of hands-on experience and opportunities to assist with faculty research projects. An optional minor in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuropsychology allows for greater specialization. Creighton's psychology certificate program is unique in that students can test the field's waters without a major commitment. Those who complete the program can apply much of their work toward its CU's BA program. According to CU, 95 percent of its College of Arts & Science graduates are employed within six months of graduation.
- Department: Psychology Department
- Location: Omaha
- Online learning: Both CU psychology programs are campus-based.
1. Colleges in Nebraska, Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed November 22, 2016, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/ne
2. May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Nebraska, Accessed November 21, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ne.htm
3. Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, Accessed November 21, 2016, http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/index.aspx
4. Program Information, Psychology Department, Creighton University, Accessed November 22, 2016, https://www.creighton.edu/ccas/psychology/program/
5. "Rural Nebraska plagued by stigma attached to mental illness, shortage of doctors," Lauren Sedam, Live Well Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald, accessed November 21, 2016, http://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/health/rural-nebraska-plagued-by-stigma-attached-to-mental-illness-shortage/article_7cafda80-0d23-5686-8269-29d50aeaea93.html
6. "Rural towns groom student to fill behavioral health shortage," Grant Gerlock, Harvest Public Media, http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/rural-towns-groom-students-fill-behavioral-health-shortage
10. State of Nebraska Loan Repayment Program for Rural Health Professionals, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Nebraska, Accessed November 21, 2016, http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Documents/LR_INFO072011.pdf
11. Statutes Relating to Psychology Practice Act, Licensure Unit, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Nebraska, Accessed November 21, 2016, http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Documents/Psychology.pdf