Colorado isn’t one of the biggest states in the union, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s population has grown at a pretty good clip of more than 8% since the 2010 census. With less than 2,000 undergraduates studying psychology in the 2011-2012 academic year, the state ranked 22nd in the country for bachelor’s degrees in psychology. But, the same National Center for Education Statistics data set had Colorado ranked 11th in terms of the number of students enrolled in master’s degree programs in psychology, with 893.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics counted 2,600 practicing psychologists in Colorado, which is in the middle range for overall employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists by state.
- The average annual salary for psychologists was $75,860, which is right on par with the national average salary of $76,040.
- The Southwestern Colorado nonmetropolitan area was ranked fifth by the BLS for psychologists’ annual income among similar nonmetropolitan areas in the US, with an average annual salary of $87,130.
|Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO||Psychologists, All Other||80||$107,540|
|Colorado Springs, CO||Marriage and Family Therapists||160||$35,440|
|Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO||Marriage and Family Therapists||450||$63,510|
|Colorado Springs, CO||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||290||$82,580|
|Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||1460||$97,010|
|Boulder, CO||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||270||$79,420|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
The Rocky Mountain State has six schools with doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association; six with approval from the National Association of School Psychologists; and three with approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Colorado psychology licensing requirements
The State Board of Psychological Examiners in Colorado requires psychologists to complete an accredited doctoral degree program before applying for licensure. But, the Colorado Board does allow doctoral degree graduates to obtain a provisional license, officially known as a Candidate Permit, before completing the steps listed below for full licensure:
- Finish a doctoral degree program in psychology
- Complete 3,000 hours or, two full years of supervised internship experience, 1,500 must be done postdoctorally
- Take and pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Take and pass the Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination
In Colorado, all psychology licenses expire on August 31 of odd numbered years and must be renewed. It is unclear whether any continuing education hours are required for relicensure.
Featured psychology schools in Colorado
The top five psychology schools and college, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, are listed below:
University of Colorado Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder, also known as CU and CU-Boulder, is the best known and most highly regarded school in the state’s public higher education system. It’s also home to the Institute of Behavioral Genetics research group, and to a large and active Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Undergraduates can major in psychology or neuroscience. The graduate program offers five tracks for research and training: behavioral genetics, behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. The department also offers several interdisciplinary areas of study, including one in the cutting edge field of behavioral genetics. CU’s School of Education also has a master’s and Ph.D. program in educational and psychological studies.
- Department: University of Colorado Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and School of Education
- Location: Boulder, Colorado
- Online options: CU has a number of online degree options, but none in the field of psychology
University of Denver
The University of Denver is a relative small private institution with a law school, business school, and a wide range of graduate programs, including psychology. UD’s Department of Psychology offers undergraduates the option of a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree, as well as concentration in cognitive neuroscience in conjunction with the Department of Biological Sciences. Graduate studies in psychology at UD fall into five specific areas of research and training: affect/social psychology; cognitive psychology, clinical child psychology, developmental psychology, and developmental cognitive neuroscience. The Morgridge College of Education at UD also offers graduate degrees in child, family, and school psychology.
- Department: University of Denver Department of Psychology and Morgridge College of Education
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- Online options: The University of Denver does offer a number of online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, but none in the area of psychology
Colorado State University
Colorado State, or CSU, is the other big public research university in Colorado, and it has a big psychology program located within its College of Natural Sciences. It’s areas of specialization include applied social and health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. The Department of Psychology is also notable for it’s Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, a multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at understanding community dynamics and the social, psychological and cultural factors that contribute to social problems such as substance use, delinquency, dropout, intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS, anger and anger management, and school violence.
- Department: Colorado State University Department of Psychology
- Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
- Online options: Colorado State offers a wide range of online degree programs, including a bachelor of science in psychology
University of Northern Colorado
The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado is home to a School of Psychological Sciences that serves undergraduates and master’s and Ph.D. students. The school offers a bachelor of arts in general psychology, a master’s degree in educational psychology, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. The doctoral degree allows students to choose from one of three areas of concentration: learning and cognitive processes; human development; and research, statistics, and measurement.
- Department: University of Northern Colorado School of Psychological Sciences
- Location: Greeley, Colorado
- Online options: The University of Northern Colorado offers both its bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology as online programs
University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver is the largest school in the University of Colorado system, with prominent schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and public health. It also has a modest sized Department of Psychology, which has a primary focus on clinical health psychology, and draws on the ample resources of the Anschutz Medical Campus and the university’s sizeable medical school. Undergraduates can choose between a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science track in general psychology.
- Department: University of Colorado Denver Department of Psychology
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- Online options: The University of Colorado Denver offers an online BA in psychology