Psychology Programs in Arkansas

School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas
School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas

Why Choose to Study Psychology in Arkansas?

If you’re considering pursuing a degree in psychology, attending school in Arkansas has many benefits. For instance, tuition rates are relatively low for both in-state and out-of-state students. In fact, Arkansas has the 18th lowest tuition rate of the 50 states.

With a population of over 3 million people, the state of Arkansas is home to 92 colleges and universities (38 public and 53 private). For undergraduates, the average tuition for in-state students is around $4,789. Out-of-state tuition hovers around $7,607. For a graduate degree, in-state tuition is about $7,526 while out-of-state is $13,264.

Arkansas’s current unemployment rate is 4.4%, which is three and four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate. This makes it a solid choice for completing paid externships and graduating into the job market.

And recently, two Arkansas cities were listed on the US News & World Report list of best places to live. Little Rock and Fayetteville are both listed for their low cost of living, easy access to cultural attractions, and growing neighborhoods. This makes them perfect towns for college students and young professionals alike.

Job Prospects in Arkansas for Psychology Professionals

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in the state of Arkansas have a mean annual wage of $89,290. This includes industries like elementary and secondary schools, individual family services, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and outpatient care centers.

While this is far above the national median wage of $34,248.45, it is still noticeably lower than the expected average wage for “All Other” psychologists–which is $100,130. This includes private practice; local government positions (excluding schools and hospitals); and management, scientific, and technical consulting services.

In Arkansas, as of 2020, there are 111,320 jobs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology and 14,960 in all other psychology positions. Demand for psychologists and other mental health professionals jumped significantly during and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects a 14% job growth increase for psychologists through 2026. This means that students can expect excellent job availability when they graduate from their psychology program.

While this is true across all fields of psychology, the best job opportunities will likely be for candidates with a doctoral degree in psychology.

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will continue to rise as more people seek professional help and the stigma of caring for their mental health is lifted. In the U.S., we are also dealing with an aging population. By 2034 there will be more adults over the age of 65 than there will be children under the age of 18. Psychologists will be needed to help people deal with the physical and mental changes that come with aging.

School psychologists can expect to enter an expanding job market as awareness increases about the connection between learning and mental health. School psychologists will be working closely with students–especially those with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and special needs. However, this job growth is completely dependent on state and local budgets, so job opportunities may be limited, even as demand grows.

Industrial and organizational psychologists may be facing competition over the next decade because of the number of projected graduates and existing qualified candidates. The BLS predicts that those with “extensive training in quantitative research methods may have a competitive edge.”

Arkansas Psychology Licensing and Certification Requirements

To ensure that psychologists are practicing at a high standard and that they possess the skills and knowledge required to provide high-quality services, psychologists must be licensed to practice in the state of Arkansas.

Licensing Criteria for Psychologists in Arkansas

The Arkansas Psychology Board regulates the practice of psychology throughout the state. They are appointed by the Arkansas governor and are responsible for examining and passing qualifications for psychologist applicants.

To get a license for psychology in Arkansas you must fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • Obtain a doctorate in psychology
  • Complete an American Psychological Association (APA) approved internship
  • Complete at least 2,000 hours of supervised professional experience (SPE)
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • Apply for licensure with the Arkansas Psychology Board

After you complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, you must enroll in a doctoral program that has been accredited by the American Psychological Association. After graduation, you must submit a licensing application to the board. You will then complete one year of postdoctoral supervised professional experience in your specialty area. Then you must take and pass the licensing exam, administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Once the board receives notification that you have passed your exam, your license will be issued.

Arkansas also participates in the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards Agreement of Reciprocity program. This means that, even if you earned your degree in another state, you can attain your psychologist license in Arkansas as long as you’ve been practicing for at least five years. To apply for the reciprocity program, candidates must request an agreement of reciprocity from the Arkansas Psychology Board and pay the required application fees.

Licensing Renewal 

In Arkansas, you must renew your license annually. In order to renew, you must complete at least 20 hours of continued education. These CE programs must be approved by the Arkansas Psychology Board to count towards your license renewal.

Renewal applications must be turned in by July 1st annually and cost $300.

Where in Arkansas do You Want to Study?

Arkansas Psychology Resources

Arkansas Psychological Association – The Arkansas Psychological Association is a not-for-profit, statewide, professional organization. Their purpose is to advance the profession and study of psychology for the betterment of human welfare.

Arkansas Psychology Board – The Arkansas Psychology Board regulates the practice of psychology in the state of Arkansas. If you would like to apply for licensure, renew your existing license, or have questions about practicing psychology in the state of Arkansas, visit their website for more information.

Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas – An outpatient clinic, their mission is to “equip and empower youth, adults, and families to become healthier and contributing members of the community by providing compassionate emotional and behavioral health care.”

Arkansas Counseling Association – A state subsidiary of the American Counseling Association, the Arkansas Counseling Association provides counseling and psychology professionals with a variety of resources and information about licensure, ethics, and continuing education in their field.

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