Washington State, or the State of Washington, is more populous than you might expect for a large territory in the very corner of the Pacific Northwest — 13th overall, according to the latest US Census data. That’s in large part thanks to the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes Tacoma and Bellevue, and accounts for over half of the people living in the state.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report counted 1,880 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Washington State, with an average annual salary of $68,350.
- The State Employment Security Department is projecting a healthy 20 percent increase the number of psychologists employed in Washington through 2023, with an average number of job opening per year hovering around 140.
|Olympia-Tumwater, WA||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||70||$81,270|
|Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA||Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||190||$81,660|
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
There are only three schools and five doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the State of Washington. The National Register of Health Service Psychologists (NRHSP) recognizes five schools with graduate programs in psychology. And there are four programs recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists. Over the 2011-2012 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics ranked Washington at 21st among the fifty states for the number of students pursuing undergraduate degrees in psychology, with 1,843. The state also had 486 master’s degree students in psychology, which put it at 14th.
Washington psychology licensing requirements
The Washington State Department of Health oversees all licensing of professional psychologists in the state. The minimum requirement for licensure is a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program. In Washington, there are also specific course and internships requirements, which is one of the major benefits of earning a psychology degree in Washington if that’s where you plan to practice. The specific steps to licensure are as follows:
- Earn a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution
- One year in residency as part of a doctoral program
- Completion of a doctoral dissertation or the equivalent
- Applicants must have a total of 3,300 hours of supervised work experience, 1,500 hours of which may be completed as part of a doctoral program
- Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check
- Receive a passing score of the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Receive a passing score on the Washington State Jurisprudence Examination
Psychologists must renew their licenses to practice in Washington State every year. However, psychologists are only required to meet continuing education requirements every third year, at which time psychologists licensed in Washington State must demonstrate that they have completed 60 hours of coursework, seminars, workshops, and/ post-doctoral institute study. Credit can also be accrued through teaching, though only up to 30 of the 60 required hours. And four hours of continuing education must be in the area of professional ethics.
Featured psychology schools in Washington
The latest rankings of top graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report only includes three psychology schools and colleges in Washington. They’re listed below, along with two additional programs with approval from either the APA or the NRHSP.
University of Washington
The University of Washington, or U-dub, as its often called, has an active and prominent Department of Psychology, which is also one of the largest in the school’s College of Arts & Sciences. There are four institutes at UW overseen by psychology department faculty: the Addiction Behaviors Research Center, the Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics, the Center for Anxiety & Traumatic Stress, and a Psychological Services & Training Center. The Department of Psychology specializes in research and training in seven large areas of psychological science: animal behavior; behavioral neuroscience; clinical psychology; cognition and perception; developmental; social and personality; and quantitative psychology. It is also involved in interdisciplinary research in addictive behaviors, child and family wellbeing, and diversity science. The College of Education at UW has a program for master’s degrees in community counseling and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology.
- Department: University of Washington Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Online options: UW does offer an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood and family studies, but not graduate degrees in the field of psychology
Washington State University
The big public research institution in Washington is WSU, a school located in the Southeastern portion of the large Northwestern state, with a main campus in Pullman, and satellite campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, and Richland. The Department of Psychology and the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program are housed at the Pullman campus, but include faculty from all four locations. There are five primary areas of research and training in psychology at WSU: adult psychopathology; health psychology; clinical child and adolescent psychology; neuropsychology; and advanced quantitative methods. Undergraduates in the bachelor’s of science program can also specialize in industrial-organizational psychology, social psychology, and biological psychology. The College of Education at WSU has a counseling psychology program that awards Ph.D.s in the field.
- Department: WSU Department of Psychology and College of Education
- Location: Pullman, Washington
- Online options: WSU has online undergraduate degrees in human development and psychology, but no graduate degrees in the field of psychology
Seattle Pacific University
A member of the Christian College Consortium, Seattle Pacific University is home to a School of Psychology, Family, and Community. The school offers an undergraduate major in psychology, as well as several graduate degree options, including master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial-organizational psychology, Ph.D.s in clinical psychology, a master’s in marriage and family therapy, and a certificate in medical family therapy. The School of Education at Seattle Pacific also has master’s degrees in school counseling and Ph.D.s in counselor education.
- Department: Seattle Pacific University School of Psychology, Family, and Community and School of Education
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Online options: Seattle Pacific does not offer online psychology degrees
Central Washington University
Located two hours east of Seattle, in the town of Ellensburg, Central Washington University is a public university with a modest by active psychology program. The Department of Psychology offers a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis; a master’s degree in experimental psychology; a master’s in mental health counseling, and an educational specialist degree in school psychology that is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists.
- Department: Central Washington University Department of Psychology
- Location: Ellensburg, Washington
- Online options: CWU offers online undergraduate and master’s degrees in psychology
Eastern Washington University
Eastern Washington University, or EWU, in located in the Eastern town of Cheney, but has several other campuses throughout the state. The Department of Psychology offers two tracks for undergraduates: a BA in psychology, and a BS in applied developmental psychology. At the graduate level, the school grants master’s of science degrees in clinical psychology, experimental psychology, mental health counseling, and school counseling. The Department of Psychology also offers an educational specialist degree in school psychology.
- Department: Eastern Washington University Department of Psychology
- Location: Cheney, Washington
- Online options: Eastern Washington does offer online programs, including a school psychology graduate degree