Pennsylvania is home to 16 psychology schools and colleges with doctoral degree programs that have formal accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA).
Among the 16 college- and university-based psychology programs that have APA accreditation in Pennsylvania, there are actually 21 individual doctoral degree programs with APA accreditation. There are also 16 schools in Pennsylvania with graduate programs in psychology that are approved by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, and an additional nine with programs that have received recognition from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- In its Digest of Education Statistics for the 2011-2012 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics counted 1,286 students earning master’s degrees in psychology at schools and colleges in Pennsylvania, which ranked seventh in the country.
- Pennsylvania ranked even higher — fifth among the 50 states — for undergraduates studying psychology, with 5,220 students doing so.
- As of the latest Occupational Employment Statistics data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,250 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists employed in the state of Pennsylvania.
- Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the country for the number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists employed as for May 2015.
To top it off, Southern Pennsylvania had the fifth highest employment numbers for psychologists among nonmetropolitan areas in the US. That same data pegged the average annual salary for psychologists in the state at $69,420, slightly below the national average of $76,040.
|Pittsburgh, PA||Psychologists, All Other||190||$89,420|
|Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ||Marriage and Family Therapists||140||$61,460|
|Pittsburgh, PA||Marriage and Family Therapists||130||$52,440|
|Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||N/A||$77,310|
|Pittsburgh, PA||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||440||$66,830|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
Pennsylvania psychology licensing requirements
In Pennsylvania, psychologists must be licensed by the State Board of Psychology before they are legally able to practice professionally. The minimum requirement for licensure is a doctoral degree psychology from a program accredited by the APA or the Canadian Psychological Association. While fulfilling the additional requirements for full licensure, those with a doctorate in psychology can practice in supervised setting as a Psychology Resident or Psychology Trainee. The full steps for licensure are detailed below:
- Complete a doctoral degree in psychology through and APA/CPA accredited program
- Complete one full year, or 1,750 hours of supervised professional work training in psychology, in addition to the internship requirements of a doctoral program
- Earn a passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Earn a passing score on the Pennsylvania Psychology Law Examination
- Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check
Once issued, psychology licenses in Pennsylvania are valid for a two-year period, from December 1 of an odd-numbered year to November 30 of the next odd-numbered year. To qualify for licensure renewal, practicing psychologists must have completed a minimum of 30 contact hours of continuing education in acceptable courses, programs, or activities in the two years prior to filing for renewal.
Featured psychology schools in Pennsylvania
The top five psychology schools and colleges in Pennsylvania, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its latest assessment of graduate programs, are detailed below:
University of Pennsylvania
Founded by none other than Benjamin Franklin as one of the first of the original nine Colonial-era colleges in the New World, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university with all the attendant prestige and honor that comes with that designation. The Wharton School of Business, Perelman School of Medicine, and the Annenberg School of Communication are three of UPenn’s prominent graduate training programs. UPenn also claims to have the oldest psychology department in the country, which offers a clinical psychology training program that has eight discrete areas of specialized research: complex scene perception; vision training; joint JD/PhD; joint PhD marketing/psychology; joint MD/Psychology; behavioral and cognitive neuroscience; computational neuroscience; and language and communications science. The Graduate School of Education at UPenn has an Applied Psychology & Human Development Division that confers master’s and PhD degrees in education, counseling, and human development psychology.
- Department: University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology and School of Education
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Online options: UPenn has an extensive offering of online undergraduate and graduate course, many of which can lead to online degrees; however, the university doesn’t not offer online psychology degrees
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University was founded in 1900 by the Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and then merged with Andrew Mellon’s Institute for Industrial Research in the late-’60s. The university includes the Mellon College of Science, Tepper School of Business, and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is home to a Department of Psychology that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. Carnegie Mellon’s psychology department specializes in research and training in three areas: cognitive and neuroscience; developmental psychology; and social/personality/health psychology. It also emphasizes cross-disciplinary research and study in concert with the university’s departments of Computer Science, Statistics, Social and Decision Sciences, English, and Philosophy, and the Graduate School of Industrial Administration. Carnegie Mellon also draws on partnerships with the Behavioral Neurosciences and Psychology Department at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as with the faculty at the Learning Research and Development Center and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
- Department: Carnegie Mellon University Department of Psychology
- Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Online options: Carnegie Mellon does have distance education and online courses available, but not in the area of psychology
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State, as it’s widely known, is one of the “Public Ivys,” and a large public research institution with a flagship campus that so dominates its surroundings that the town is called University Park, which itself is located within the Borough of State College. The university has many other campuses, including law schools in University Park and in Carlisle; a College of Medicine in Hershey; and a College of Technology in Williamsport. The Penn State Department of Psychology is located within the College of the Liberal Arts on the main campus, and features doctoral research and training in five program areas: clinical adult and child psychology; cognitive psychology; developmental psychology; industrial/organizational psychology; and social psychology. Neuroscience, quantitative methods, and social inequality are three of the research concentrations within the department. The College of Education at Penn State has a Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education that confers master’s and doctoral degrees in educational and school psychology.
- Department: Pennsylvania State University Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
- Online options: Through its World Campus initiative, Penn State offers an online bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as an online psychology of leadership master’s degree
University of Pittsburgh
Located next to Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, or just Pitt, is a state school that includes a prominent nursing school and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Swanson School of Engineering, and a very popular psychology undergraduate major. At the graduate level, the Department of Psychology emphasizes five core areas of study: biological and health psychology; clinical psychology; cognitive psychology; developmental psychology; and social psychology. There are also four joint areas of research and training: clinical-developmental; clinical-health; cognitive neuroscience; and individualized/cross-training. In addition, the School of Education at Pitt has a program in applied developmental psychology that awards BS, MS, and PhD degrees.
- Department: University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology and School of Education
- Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Online options: Pitt’s College of General Studies has an array of online course offerings, and the School of Education offers online degree, but not in the field of psychology
The Department of Psychology at Temple has a popular undergraduate major in psychology that has recently been expanded to include a minor in clinical health psychology. The undergraduate program also offers the option of a five-year track for a BA in psychology and a master’s in psychological research. However, that master’s degree option is only open to undergraduates. The graduate program at Temple is designed around a PhD that includes four areas of specialization: clinical psychology, developmental psychology, brain and cognitive sciences, and social psychology. Temple’s College of Education has a separate degree program in educational psychology, which confers both master’s and doctoral degrees.
- Department: Temple University Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Online options: Temple offers several online degrees, including a bachelor’s in business administration and master’s degrees in various kinds of therapy, but no online degrees in psychology