Online Psychology Degrees in Massachusetts

Psychologists provide treatment and therapy to their patients, helping them cope with stress, overcome traumatic events, and deal with addiction. Corporations also rely on trained psychologists to better understand customer behavior and help find good job candidates. Earning an online psychology degree in Massachusetts prepares graduates for many career opportunities in the field, including working as mental health counselors, addiction counselors, psychologists, and therapists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of jobs in these areas to increase by between 14.6% and 18.0% by 2026.

Psychology programs in Massachusetts provide specialized training for these positions. Students may be able to begin some careers with only a bachelor’s degree, but licensed psychologists or therapists must complete a graduate program and earn a doctorate. Additionally, many of the online psychology degrees in Massachusetts provide opportunities for students to gain experience through research and clinical practice.

Mental Health Initiatives in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services ensures residents have access to qualified mental health professionals. It also provides education and guidance about critical mental health issues through the Department of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services. These agencies work with providers across the state to make sure families and individuals know where to turn if they experience bouts of depression or serious mental illness. According to the 2015 Behavioral Health Barometer Massachusetts report, an increased number of teens have been reporting episodes of depression since 2012, with 60,000 individuals (12.4% of teens) saying they suffered from depression in 2014. However, only 26,000 adolescents received treatment to help them cope with their depression. Also, about 205,000 adults reported a serious mental illness in the prior year, but almost half of those individuals did not receive any treatment for their illness. State initiatives in mental health currently include extending access, improving social inclusion in communities, and combating bullying, which can have negative mental health consequences.

How do I Become a Psychologist in Massachusetts?

Psychologists often treat patients who are in extremely vulnerable states. To ensure that these professionals provide sensitive advice, the state of Massachusetts requires all psychology practitioners and other mental health professionals to obtain a license. Psychology licensing includes completion of an approved psychology program and passing rigorous tests that require applicants to demonstrate a deep understanding of psychological principles and practice. Individuals must also pass a criminal background check, provide suitable professional recommendations, and pay the required fees.

Choose the Path That’s Right for You: It is important to consider your career goals when determining the level of education you should pursue. Clinical psychologists must complete a doctorate from an accredited school. Psychologists with a higher level of knowledge and experience often work with patients who suffer from severe mental illnesses and receive training in a wide array of treatment options. Students interested in teaching or research also need to earn doctorate degrees. However, students who only earn a master’s in psychology online in Massachusetts can still qualify for many counseling careers.

Earn Your Degree: Aspiring psychologists can specialize in many areas, including clinical psychology, counseling, or school psychology. Many doctoral programs require students to complete internships and clinical training and take anywhere from four to seven years to finish. Some graduate schools admit students who hold only a bachelor’s degree, combining master’s study with a specialized doctorate curriculum. The American Psychology Association (APA) accredits doctoral-level programs as well as predoctoral internships and postdoctoral residencies. Students can choose to pursue an online psychology degree in Massachusetts from regionally- and APA-accredited schools after completing the psychology GRE test. Competition for admission into psychology Ph.D programs in Massachusetts may be stiff, so prospective graduate students should ensure they have solid academic credentials and hands-on experience in research or counseling settings.

Earn Your License: Massachusetts requires applicants for clinical psychologist or mental health counselor licenses to complete clinical practice and internships as well as up to two years of supervised experience with individual or group counseling. State law requires applicants to pass comprehensive, industry-recognized exams, such as the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). Applicants must also submit to a criminal background check. Once licensed, mental health practitioners need to abide by the state’s ethics standards and complete continuing education hours each year to be eligible for license renewal.

Psychology Licensing in Massachusetts

Each mental health specialization has its own specific education and licensing requirements, and students need to gain practical experience in different areas of counseling depending on their desired career. For example, licensed psychologists must complete a doctorate while licensed social workers may only need a bachelor’s degree to enter the field. State law also dictates the type of work professionals can undertake, as determined by their specific practitioner license. Refer to the table below to figure out which license best fits with your career goals.

Licensed Psychologist

Must complete a doctoral program in psychology and pass the EPPP.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • School psychologist
  • Child psychologist

Total Fees: $850

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Must earn a master’s degree from an accredited school. Application is completed through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and includes passing the ASWB exam. Applicants must also have at least three professional references.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Licensed independent clinical social worker
  • Licensed clinical social worker

Total Fees: $700

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

Must earn a master’s or doctorate degree in marriage and family therapy and complete a clinical internship. Applicants must have two years of full-time supervised clinical experience and pass a licensing exam.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Marriage counselor
  • Couples counselor
  • Family therapist

Total Fees: $622

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Must complete a master’s program in mental health counseling (or a related field) and at least two years of supervised clinical experience. Professional references are also required.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Mental health counselor

Total Fees: $547

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

This is a voluntary certification available in the areas of school counseling, addiction counseling, and clinical mental health. Applicants must have a master’s degree, complete supervised practice hours, and pass comprehensive mental health exams.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Addiction counselor
  • School counselor
  • Mental health counselor

Total Fees: Fees vary based on specialty certification; annual fees apply

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Massachusetts

Fellowships and internships provide opportunities for students to gain valuable knowledge in their field. However, there some differences between these two positions do exist. An internship often includes working a set amount of hours and may or may not provide students with an hourly wage; the experience may be on a volunteer or unpaid basis. Alternatively, fellowships almost always include financial incentive (e.g., a stipend, tuition waiver, or funding for a specific activity such as travel money or support for a research project). Most fellowships are awarded based on merit, as opposed to financial need. Students pursuing an online psychology degree in Massachusetts can apply for the positions listed below.

  • South Shore Mental Health: The clinical internships offered by South Shore Mental Health are best-suited for doctorate-level students seeking clinical practice in community mental health. However, the organization also offers a limited number of internship opportunities to students pursuing a master’s degree in social work. Psychology interns choose between an adult track and a child/adolescent track. The application process includes an interview, and the internship offers a $23,000 stipend and health and dental insurance benefits.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Massachusetts General Hospital’s year-long clinical psychology internship offers doctorate students the opportunity to provide outpatient services through the adult outpatient psychiatry clinic or the child psychiatry outpatient clinic. Accredited by the APA, all interns receive a $30,000 stipend and an appointment to the Harvard Medical School. The program accepts 12 applicants each year.
  • Immaculate A. Fruscione Fellowship: Offered by the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, this fellowship supports graduate students studying school counseling. Applicants must commit to working in an urban school setting following graduation.

Psychology Careers in Massachusetts

Psychology students can find work in clinical settings, research centers, private practices, or educational institutions. According to the BLS, elementary and secondary schools employ the most psychologists out of any industry in Massachusetts, while specialty medical providers — such as psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities — offer the highest mean wage of $93,650 a year. Additionally, industrial-organizational psychology has seen rapid growth in recent years as businesses look to provide higher levels of job satisfaction and better understand employee behavior; psychologists working in this area analyze why a company may be experiencing high levels of employee turnover and help develop effective training programs. A master’s degree prepares students to enter this field.

How Much do Psychologists Make in Massachusetts?

The BLS reported that U.S. psychologists had a median wage of $75,230 in May 2016; however, salaries varied significantly based on a worker’s area of practice, employer, and location. Government agencies paid the most, with a median salary of $92,880. Pay typically increases with additional education, certification, and on-the-job experience. PayScale.com reports entry-level psychologists earn about $65,000 a year, while a psychologist with 20 or more years of experience can expect to earn about $98,000 annually. Graduating from psychology Ph.D programs in Massachusetts help students command higher salaries due to their advanced academic credentials.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Massachusetts 900 $31.64 $83,960
United States 122,310 $38.77 $80,640

Source: BLS

Mental Health Service Providers in Massachusetts

Mental health service providers offer the highest concentration of psychology positions in Massachusetts, according to the BLS. Licensed psychologists fill more than 3% of jobs in the offices of health practitioners and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals. Massachusetts requires psychologists and mental health counselors to complete up to two years of supervised practice before they can apply for licensure. Mental health service providers offer students and recent grads access to veteran psychologists and counselors who can provide mandated supervision hours and serve as mentors to young psychologists.

  • Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities operates more than 90 social services programs through 27 locations in Eastern Massachusetts, including counseling services. Its counseling center in Danvers provides diagnosis and treatment in the areas of substance abuse, depression and anxiety disorders, anger management, child and adolescent counseling, and family or marriage conflicts.
  • South Shore Mental Health: South Shore Mental Health provides residential treatment programs, outpatient clinics, and community-based interventions in homes, schools, and child care centers. The staff includes more than 100 clinicians and 600 ancillary workers who serve more than 16,000 patients each year.
  • Revere Mental Health Department: A department of Massachusetts General Hospital, the Revere Mental Health Department provides treatment for a variety of mental health concerns, including depression, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. Services are provided through outpatient clinics or through a 24-bed inpatient unit. The staff includes more than 600 psychiatrists and psychologists who train 100 residents, interns, and clinical fellows each year. Its division of public and community psychiatry partners with community organizations to help reach people in need of assistance.
  • Arbour Health System: Arbour Health System offers the largest network of behavioral health services in Massachusetts. Six in-patient treatment facilities provide 24-hour care designed to help diagnose and stabilize patients with mental health or addiction disorders. Outpatient counseling includes services for individuals, families, and groups.
  • McLean Hospital: A department of Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital specializes in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. The staff includes more than 1,900 individuals who provide services in areas of addiction, borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, geriatric care, trauma, and other mental health disorders. McLean provides inpatient and outpatient care and operates a transitional residence for patients receiving intensive outpatient care.

Mental Health Research Centers in Massachusetts

Despite numerous advances in the study of mental health over the past decades, there is still much to be learned about human behavior. Psychology programs in Massachusetts often include research components, providing students opportunities to investigate neuroscience, genetics, and psychological disorders. Research centers offer fellowships and internships to aspiring researchers as well as job opportunities to graduates of psychology Ph.D programs in Massachusetts.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital: The Massachusetts General Hospital psychiatry department supports numerous research programs and clinical trials focused on mental healthcare, including a center for addiction medicine and a center for women’s mental health. The department focuses on integrating research findings into clinical practice.
  • McLean Hospital: An affiliate of Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital staffs more than 400 research scientists who study the causes of mental illness and developmental disorders. Current projects include investigations into the biological causes of depression and stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease. The McLean Imaging Center offers advanced MRI scanning, while the Brain Bank provides researchers access to donated post mortem brain tissue.
  • Rudd Adoption Research Program: Housed within the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s department of psychological and brain sciences, the Rudd Adoption Research Program studies the psychological effects of adoption. Programs include the Re-envisioning Foster Care in America Initiative and the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project. The program’s research projects help inform public policy decisions and adoption outreach services.

Professional Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

Ongoing licensing requirements mandate that psychologists in Massachusetts earn 20 continuing education credits every two years. Professional organizations help psychologists fulfil these requirements through seminars, workshops, and conferences. Also, membership in a professional organization provides networking opportunities, assistance with job searches, and professional recognition programs. These associations help keep practitioners up to date on advances in the field. Furthermore, recent graduates and current students can connect with potential mentors from a variety of specialties.

  • Massachusetts Psychological Association: Made up of practicing psychologists and student members, the Massachusetts Psychological Association serves as an advocate for practitioners in the state. This association hosts an annual conference to bring together experts in the field and update members on the latest research and developments in mental health treatment and management. Workshops throughout the year help psychologists earn continuing education credits, and the directory of members serves as a resource to the public. Additionally, students benefit from educational information to help them prepare for licensing exams.
  • New England Psychological Association: The New England Psychological Association hosts annual meetings in the six New England states. These meetings feature keynote addresses, workshops, and presentations of scholarly works from practitioners in the region. The organization welcomes student members and supports new entrants in the field through fellowship opportunities and partnerships with Psi Chi and Psi Beta organizations.
  • Massachusetts School Psychologists Association: The Massachusetts School Psychologists Association advocates for greater resources for schools and children and continued professional development for school psychologists. Social networking and professional development events support the association’s goals, with events scheduled at various locations around the state and online.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Programs in Massachusetts

Ena Vazquez-Nutall Minority Scholarship

The Massachusetts School Psychologists Association named this scholarship after the founder of the doctoral programs at both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Northeastern University. This scholarship supports minority graduate students seeking a master’s or education specialist degree in school counseling from an accredited school in Massachusetts.

  • Amount Offered: $3,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The selection committee considers the applicant’s interests and expertise, as reflected in a résumé and written personal statement, as well as financial need.

Dr. Doren D. Fredickson Graduate Scholarship

Offered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Education, this merit-based award supports applicants to graduate programs in either school counselor education or school psychology.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: Spring
  • Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship program gives preference to students with work experience in teaching or counseling or to applicants with military service.

Psi Chi Graduate Scholarships

The International Honor Society in Psychology offers eight graduate scholarships to help pay for tuition, fees, and book costs. The scholarship considers financial need, activity with the honor society, and future career plans.

  • Amount Offered: $3,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: July 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be a member of Psi Chi seeking a degree in psychology or a related field. A personal essay must be submitted with a letter of recommendation from a Psi Chi faculty sponsor.

Behavioral Health Initiative Scholarship

Open to master’s degree students who work at community health agencies, this scholarship represents a partnership between William James College and the sponsoring agency. The award may be renewed for up to three years.

  • Amount Offered: Determined by financial need
  • Scholarship Deadline: January 3
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be an employee at a Community Mental Health agency and planning to enroll in a master’s program in clinical mental health counseling at WJC. Applicant must also commit to completing their program within three years.

Filipino American Psychology Scholarship

Sponsored by the Asian American Psychological Association, this award seeks to increase the number of Filipino Americans entering the psychology field to increase research on mental health issues related to the population and improve outreach to the Filipino American community.

  • Amount Offered: $500
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Open to students seeking a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology, this scholarship program considers academic ability, extracurricular involvement, a personal essay, and letters of recommendation.


SBS Internship Award

Awarded by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, this internship award helps defray the financial hardship caused by unpaid internships.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: November 22
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be in good academic standing, and students with confirmed offers of employment receive priority for funding.

Joel D. Lapin and Family Scholarship in Social Sciences

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers this award to a student in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with financial need. Students transferring from Massachusetts community colleges who are the first in their family to attend college receive priority funding.

  • Amount Offered: $1,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: TBA
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have declared a major in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and a GPA of at least 3.0. The scholarship may be renewed for another year with continued academic achievement and financial need.

Helen Hamilton Scholarship Fund

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts administers this scholarship, which supports students seeking a degree in a social services (or a related field) who have a commitment to community service.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 31
  • Eligibility Requirements: This need-based scholarship program accepts applications from residents of Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply. The application requires completion of a personal essay.

George H. and Margaret B. McDonnell Family Scholarship

Administered by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, this scholarship supports graduates of Holyoke Catholic High School seeking a career in social work or a related health field.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 31
  • Eligibility Requirements: Undergraduate and graduate students who graduated from Holyoke Catholic High School may apply. The application includes a personal essay and considers financial need.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky Scholarship

Presented by the American Psychological Foundation, this scholarship supports a graduate student’s research project. Applicant must be nominated from a psychology department that is a member of the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applications are judged based on a research proposal. Students must include a proposed budget for the scholarship funds. All proposals must include a recommendation from the student’s research advisor.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Massachusetts

Attending an accredited psychology program in Massachusetts provides students with a quality education and ensures that their academic credentials meet state licensing requirements. Schools offering undergraduate degrees in psychology or counseling can maintain regional accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Students should check the U.S. Department of Education’s database of regional, national, and specialized accrediting agencies when evaluating a school.

Graduate programs often seek specialized accreditation for psychology or counseling. When looking at online psychology programs in Massachusetts, you should make that a program holds accreditation from the APA or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The APA only accredits doctoral-level psychology degrees, internships, and fellowships, while the CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral programs in counseling. The United States Department of Education recognizes both agencies as being reliable authorities for judging the quality of a program. These agencies evaluate curriculum standards to ensure students receive a robust education in the areas needed to pass licensing exams.

Program Database of Online Psychology Programs in Massachusetts

Before choosing an online psychology program in Massachusetts, students should carefully consider their ultimate career goals and look for schools that provide hands-on training that aligns with those aspirations. Massachusetts requires all clinical psychologists to obtain a license, so be sure that your school prepares its graduates for the licensing process by providing the appropriate coursework and supervised practice opportunities.