According to the National Center for Educational Statistics report for the 2011-2012 academic year, Arkansas ranked 34th among all states for undergraduate degrees in psychology, with 725. The state was even lower in master’s degrees, with just 38 students doing graduate work at that level in 2011-2012, which put Arkansas in the bottom ten states, or 45th overall.
- The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics pegged the number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists practicing in Arkansas as of May 2015 at 530.
- The average annual salary for those psychologists was $64,300, which was significantly below the national average of $76,040 for that occupational profile.
- The state has projected a slightly better than 11 percent increase in employment for psychologists in Arkansas from 2012 through 2022, which would add 73 jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists to the current total (in addition, Arkansas expects roughly twenty replacement positions to open for psychologists in the state annually).
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||Psychologists, All Other||70||$76,510|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||30||$52,040|
|Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||80||$0|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||390||$61,660|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
The state is home to two major economic hubs: the centrally located capital of Little Rock, and the Fayetteville metropolitan area in Northwest Arkansas. There are only two schools with doctoral programs that have earned accreditation from the American Psychological Association in Arkansas. Similarly, the National Register of Health Service Psychologists has extended formal approval to two university graduate programs in the state. And, there are two Arkansas schools with programs that meet the requirements of the National Association of School Psychologists.
Arkansas psychology licensing requirements
For those planning to practice psychology professionally in the state, psychology schools and college in Arkansas offer a distinct advantage. Like all states, Arkansas requires all licensed psychologists to hold a doctoral degree in psychology. But, the Arkansas Board of Psychology has specifically outlined what those programs must include: three full years of academic study with a minimum of three semester hours in the content areas of the biological basis of behavior, cognitive-affective basis of behavior, social basis of behavior, and individual difference. These are all areas that should be covered in any program accredited by the American Psychological Association. The specific requirements are outlined below:
- Earn a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited college or university program
- Obtain three references from licensed psychologists with direct knowledge of the applicant’s competence
- Two full years of supervised internship experience in the field of psychology, one of which must be completed post-doctorally
- Earn a passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Pass an oral examination proctored by two Board-approved licensed psychologists
- Submit to a criminal background check
Professional psychologists in Arkansas must renew their licenses every two years, by January 1 of every even-numbered year. To do so, applicants for renewal must be able to demonstrate that they have completed forty hours of continuing education credits.
Featured psychology schools in Arkansas
There are two psychology schools and colleges in Arkansas that qualified for the latest national rankings of psychology graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. They are listed below along with an additional program that is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists:
University of Arkansas
Located in Fayetteville, the U of A or UA, is the University of Arkansas’s largest campus and flagship institution. (The system also has campuses in Little Rock, Monticello, Pine Bluff, and Fort Smith.) The school is home to the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the Fay Jones School of Architecture, and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences, which houses the university’s large and active Department of Psychological Sciences. In addition to its psychology program for undergraduates, the U of A psychology department offers two broad tracks for graduate studies in psychology: clinical and experimental psychology. The APA accredited clinical track confers Ph.D.s based on the scientist-practitioner model of training. The experimental track is a combined master’s/doctoral program with concentrations in social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and neuroscience.
- Department: University of Arkansas Department of Psychological Sciences
- Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
- Online options: UA offers a wide range of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various disciplines, but not in psychology
University of Central Arkansas
UCA is a large state school located north of Little Rock, in Conway, Arkansas. It boasts six prominent colleges, including colleges of business, education, and health and behavioral sciences. The latter houses a Department of Psychology and Counseling, which has the largest psychology undergraduate program in the state. At UCA, there are two options for terminal master’s degrees in psychology: mental health counseling, and school psychology. In addition, the psychology department offers doctoral degrees in counseling psychology and school psychology. For training and research, UCA has a Psychology & Counseling Training Clinic, which offers services for children, adolescents, and adults.
- Department: University of Central Arkansas Department of Psychology and Counseling
- Location: Conway, Arkansas
- Online options: UCA offers both bachlor’s and master’s degrees, but not in psychology; it’s hybrid degree program includes a master’s in school counseling
Arkansas State University
Although Arkansas State University (A-State) does not have a doctoral degree program in psychology, the school’s Department of Psychology and Counseling is recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists for its counselor education programs. A-State is part of the Arkansas State University System, and located in the Arkansas delta, in the town of Jonesboro. The psychology and counseling program is part of the university’s School of Education & Behavioral Science. It confers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, as well as specialist in education degree in school psychology.
- Department: Arkansas State University Department of Psychology and Counseling
- Location: Jonesboro, Arkansas
- Online options: A-State has an online degree program that includes undergraduate, master’s, and specialist level studies, but not in the field of psychology