North Carolina has an extensive system of public universities and some of the best colleges in the country. Six colleges and universities in the state have a total of eight doctoral programs in psychology that have received full accreditation from the American Psychological Association. The National Register of Health Service Psychologists had approved six programs in North Carolina, and there are five programs with approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics survey of the states in 2011-2012 academic year, North Carolina had just over 3,000 students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in psychology, which put it an ninth in the country. The state ranked 29th for psychology master’s degrees, with only 174 students enrolled in those graduate programs.
Nevertheless, North Carolina is among the top 15 states in the country for overall employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics counted 3,010 psychologists practicing professionally in North Carolina in its May of 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics, with an average annual salary of $65,040.
- The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s labor and commerce analysis estimates that the state will add more than 500 jobs for psychologists through 2022, projecting a 15.6% increase in overall employment for psychologists across the state over the next decade.
|Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC||Psychologists, All Other||80||$102,540|
|Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC||Marriage and Family Therapists||N/A||$38,920|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||180||$0|
|Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||720||$66,470|
|Asheville, NC||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||180||$72,770|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
North Carolina psychology licensing requirements
In North Carolina, the licensure of psychologists is overseen by the North Carolina Psychology Board. It is illegal in the state to practice professional as a psychologist without a state license. The minimum requirement for licensure, as in other states, is a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program. A step-by-step guide to licensing is detailed below:
- Earn a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program
- Complete 3,000 hours, or two years, of supervised clinical experience, half of which may be done as part of a doctoral degree
- Pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Pass the North Carolina State Examination for psychologists
- Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check
Psychology licenses must be renewed every two years through the North Carolina Psychology Board. To do so, psychologists are required to have completed 40 contact hours of continuing education and to take the state’s no-fail, computer-based Jurisprudence Exam.
Featured psychology schools in North Carolina
The top five psychology schools and colleges in North Carolina, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, are listed below:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or just UNC, is arguably the most prominent of the 17 schools in the state system, and it has long been considered one of the eight original “Public Ivy League” schools with a reputation for excellence. The UNC Department of Psychology and Neuroscience has one of the largest undergraduate majors at the school, and offers a BA and a BS in psychology, along with minors in cognitive science and neuroscience. At the master’s and doctoral level, research and training focuses on six salient areas in psychology: behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, and social psychology. The School of Education at UNC also offers a Ph.D. in school psychology that has approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- Department: UNC Chapel Hill Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and School of Education
- Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Online options: UNC Chapel Hill has an active online and distance learning program, but it does not grant degrees in psychology
Duke is the other big, prestigious research university in what’s often referred to as the Research Triangle that encompasses the cities of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Duke’s Department of Psychology & Neuroscience offers undergraduates the choice of majoring or minoring in psychology or neuroscience. It counts a Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, a Center for Child and Family Policy, a Neuroeconomics research center, and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences as major assets for research and training. Doctoral students have a choice of five primary areas of specialization within psychology: clinical psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, social psychology, and system and integrative neuroscience.
- Department: Duke University Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
- Location: Durham, North Carolina
- Online options: Duke Online has a range of online course offerings, but no degree programs in psychology
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is part of the North Carolina state university system, and it’s located in the city of Greensboro, which is part of the Winston-Salem metropolitan area. UNC Greensboro’s Department of Psychology has four main areas of emphasis for research and training in the field of psychology: clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology. In addition to undergraduate and doctoral degrees, the university also has a master’s degree track in general experimental psychology. The university’s School of Education includes a Department of Counseling and Educational Development, which awards master’s and educational specialist degrees in school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and couples and family counseling.
- Department: UNC Greensboro Department of Psychology and School of Education
- Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
- Online options: UNC Greensboro has a number of online degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students, but not in the field of psychology
North Carolina State University
Located in Raleigh, near both Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State is also part of the state’s public research university system. The Department of Psychology at NC State is somewhat unique in that it does not offer training in clinical and counseling psychology. Instead, research and teaching at NC State centers around five areas of specialization: human factors and ergonomics; industrial-organizational psychology, lifespan development, applied social and community psychology, and school psychology.
- Department: NC State Department of Psychology
- Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
- Online options: NC State offers a number of distance-learning degrees at the undergraduate and master’s levels, but not in the field of psychology
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Located in the city of Charlotte, which has become one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, UNC Charlotte is a public research university that is part of the North Carolina state university system. UNC Charlotte’s Department of Psychology boasts 1800 undergraduate majors, and four areas of specialized research and training for graduate students: health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, cognitive science, and organizational science. The department offers master’s degrees in general psychology and industrial/organizational psychology, and doctoral degrees in health psychology and organizational science. The College of Education at UNC Charlotte has master’s degree programs in school counseling, mental health counseling, and substance abuse counseling.
- Department: UNC Charlotte Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
- Online options: UNC Charlotte has distance-learning degree programs in education, engineering, and health and human services, but not in the field of psychology