Psychology Programs in Washington

University of Washington in Spring
University of Washington in Spring

According to the American Psychology Association, getting a psychology degree opens doors and offers a valuable skill set in today’s competitive job market. And with good reason! Job prospects for psychologists are looking good as people across this country continue to realize the incredible importance of good mental health.

If you’ve considered getting a degree in psychology, now is a great time to pursue it.

Why Choose to Study Psychology in Washington?

U.S. News & World Report yearly ranks all fifty states in order by measuring specific outcomes for its citizens. Using over seventy metrics—including healthcare, education, crime, economy, and opportunity—it ranks performance of all states. This year, it ranked Washington #1, meaning the state is a good place to study, work, and live!

In addition to being #1 overall in the state rankings, Washington specifically ranked #2 in higher education, with these 5 schools ranking the highest in the state specifically for studying psychology.

In order from highest to lowest ranking—

  • University of Washington
  • Gonzaga University
  • Seattle University
  • Washington State University
  • Seattle Pacific University

Any of these schools would be a great place to study and earn a degree in psychology in the state of Washington.

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Psychology Job Opportunities and Salary Expectations in Washington

Job prospects and salary expectations for a psychologist in Washington are better than the national average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a psychologist in the U.S. in 2020 was $82,180 per year. In that time time frame, in the state of Washington, the median pay for a psychologist was between $99,030 and $124,910, depending on level of education, number of certifications, and number of years in the profession, etc.

According to, here are the highest paying cities in Washington for psychologists, from highest to lowest:

1. Seattle ($106,555 yearly)

2. Everett ($101,250 yearly)

3. Yakima ($99,438 yearly)

4. Tacoma ($97,097 yearly)

5. Lakewood ($96,456 yearly)

As for job prospects, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts continued growth for psychologists nation-wide through 2029, meaning jobs will continue to be available for trained, licensed professionals. Specific to Washington, the Employment Security Department predicts as many as 1,330 new psychology-related jobs will open between now and 2028. This forecasted job growth will continue to create good opportunities for students who wish to study and work in Washington.

So in addition to being a great place to study and live, Washington is and will continue to be a great place for psychologists to work.

Where in Washington do You Want to Study?

Washington Licensing and Certification Requirements

Psychologists in Washington are regulated by the Department of Health and the Board of Psychology Credentialing. Licensing is based on education, examination, and practical experience.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, here are the basic license and credentialing requirements to be a psychologist in the state. Highlights include—

  • Must graduate from a doctoral program from a regionally accredited institution
  • Must take a minimum of 40 semester-length credits and three academic years of full-time grad study
  • Must complete 1+ year of study in residence (750 face-to-face hours of educational meetings may be accepted as residency requirement)
  • Must have taken an internship and have practicum experiences that successfully meet board requirements, including 3,300 hours of supervised work covering internship and practicum experience.
  • Must complete an original dissertation

More board requirements exist, but these are the highlights. See a more complete list of board requirements here.

In Washington, licenses must be renewed each year. To acquire renewal, psychologists must submit a renewal card as well as the current fee at the time of renewal. Additionally, every three years, psychologists must complete 60 hours of continuing education. Four of these hours must focus on ethics. Every six years, psychologists must take six continuing education credits related to suicide intervention.

Washington truly sits at the top of the list both as a place to live and a place to practice a psychology-related profession. One of the reasons Washington psychologists are respected nationwide is because of their prioritization of ongoing education and personal development and enrichment.

Resources for Psychologists in Washington

  • American Counseling Association of Washington State – This grassroots organization exists to represent professional counselors and students of all counseling specialties in the state of Washington. The goal of this not-for-profit group is to grow and enhance the counseling profession in the state. They offer continuing education, networking, public service announcements, and legislative movements on behalf of counselors.
  • Washington Mental Health Counselors Association – This organization seeks to promote quality mental health services in the state by influencing public policy and working together with other counseling organizations.
  • Washington Professional Counselors Association – This organization focuses on exam preparation and professional events and training. It stays up-to-date on any updates regarding the field of counseling and works with its members to attain the highest possible level of qualifications in the field.
  • Washington State Association of School Psychologists – This volunteer organization consists of everyone from grad students to retired school psychologists and everyone in between. In addition to providing ongoing professional development, the group is known for advocating on behalf of students and families as well as working to assist school psychologists and improve the mental health of students across the state.
  • Washington State Psychological Association – The WSPA was founded in 1947 and is considered to be the major representative for psychologists in Washington. With over 400 members, the group enjoys the benefits of continuing education, robust networking opportunities, and helpful professional resources.
  • Washington State Department of Health: Psychologist – The Department of Health manages all licensing requirements, board exams and professional development requirements in Washington.

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