This gateway course, usually taken in the first semester after declaring as a psychology major, explores the foundations of psychology in natural and social sciences, framing human behavior as a subject of rigorous scientific and empirical study. Students can learn the major paradigms, theories, and methods used in the study of human behavior, emotions, and cognition.
Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alabama
Psychology ranks among the most popular fields of study at colleges and universities across the United States. Several postsecondary schools in Alabama offer strong psychology programs that feature in-demand specializations, including family therapy, counseling, lifespan development, and behavioral neuroscience. Degree-seekers can pursue quality distance learning programs in psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
This guide can help you choose the best online psychology degree in Alabama to fit your personal needs and career goals. Take some time to explore different degree paths, specializations, and types of licensure, along with internship opportunities, career and salary prospects, and professional resources.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alabama Work?
Currently, 27 schools offer online psychology degrees in Alabama at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Students should always check with their intended schools to learn more about specific online degree requirements and delivery formats. In general, most learners can complete online degrees in the same amount of time as campus-based programs, although a few schools offer accelerated formats that reduce the time needed to complete degree requirements.
While each degree features its own unique set of foundation and elective courses, online psychology programs provide the same rigorous educational experience as brick-and-mortar programs. Prospective employers usually view online and on-campus degrees as equally competitive and legitimate.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Alabama?
The type of psychology degree you plan to earn will dictate the available courses and specializations. The descriptions below provide examples of some of the more common courses offered in undergraduate psychology programs.
This core course taught in most psychology bachelor’s programs examines how mental processes allow humans to perceive the world, store and process information, interact with others through language and nonverbal communication, and make decisions that lead to action. Topics include attention, perception, memory, language, image processing, knowledge representation, problem-solving, reasoning, and cognitive development.
Enrollees can take abnormal psychology courses in both undergraduate and graduate programs. This sub-area of psychology focuses on the symptoms, treatment, and etiology of psychopathological behaviors. Coursework explores mental disorder classification and the criteria used in clinical practice to identify abnormal behavior. Students explore anxiety, mood, personality, and dissociative disorders, including schizophrenia and psychosis.
The field of developmental psychology charts physiological, social, emotional, and cognitive change across the human lifecycle. Degree-seekers in this undergraduate course can gain an understanding of how humans mature and adapt throughout infancy, childhood, and adulthood, including how ethnicity, culture, class, and gender can affect lifespan development.
Learners can explore the neurological and genetic foundations of normal and abnormal human behavior, focusing on the structure, chemistry, and function of the brain. This undergraduate course provides an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems and explores the methods and current research in the field of neuroscience.
Becoming a Psychologist in Alabama
A student thinking about earning an online psychology degree in Alabama should research degree requirements, specialization options, internships, and procedures for licensing. An online master’s in psychology in Alabama can present broader opportunities in counseling and clinical practice than a bachelor’s degree, while doctoral programs prepare graduates for research, teaching, and consulting positions, as well as professional practice.
Online psychology degrees in Alabama offer several career-focused specializations. For example, students specializing in industrial psychology may find rewarding employment opportunities in corporate or nonprofit environments, assessing organizational effectiveness and working with human resources departments to facilitate training and evaluation. Meanwhile, a forensic specialization helps graduates pursue careers in criminal justice and the court systems.
Earn Your Degrees
Most online bachelor’s degrees include both general education requirements and foundational and elective coursework in the psychology major. However, pursuing a career as a psychologist requires advanced education. Psychology master’s programs in Alabama usually incorporate field experiences to prepare students for clinical practice. Doctoral degrees leading to formal licensure in professional practice in psychology include internships recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA).
The length of time required to complete an online degree depends on the program. A typical online bachelor’s degree usually takes four years of full-time attendance. Psychology master’s programs in Alabama vary significantly in format and degree requirements. While some programs offer accelerated formats, allowing students to finish in 12-18 months, most online master’s programs require two years. A doctorate that prepares students for the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) may take five or more years.
The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology administers the licensure program in Alabama. To practice as a licensed psychologist in Alabama, each candidate needs a doctoral degree from a graduate program accredited by the APA that includes at least 60 graduate credits of psychology courses and a supervised internship. Each aspiring professional must designate a specialization in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, or school psychology.
Before certifying competency, the board requires each licensure applicant to pass two exams: the EPPP and the professional standards examination (PSE). In addition to the $400 license application fee, applicants must pay $600 to take the EPPP and $50 for the PSE.
Other Licenses and Certifications
While the licensed psychologist designation requires a doctoral degree in Alabama, bachelor’s and master’s degree-holders can pursue other specialized licenses and certifications that lead to careers. Many students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology move into master of social work programs in preparation for careers as licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). Graduates with master’s degrees in psychology may pursue certifications in fields like counseling, marriage and family therapy, or substance abuse treatment.
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) administers the clinical exam for this credential. The LCSW designation requires a master’s in social work and 24 months of postgraduate clinical practice. Each candidate must pay an exam fee of $260.
To receive a marriage and family therapist license in Alabama, candidates must hold at least a master’s degree from a regionally accredited school and have a minimum of two years of post-degree experience. Each applicant must submit a $150 application fee and pay $295 to take the national examination in marital and family therapy.
Each candidate must hold a master’s degree from an approved and accredited program that includes both a supervised practicum and internship hours in direct service work with clients. An aspiring counselor must also complete 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised experience in a professional counseling setting. In addition to the $200 application fee, each candidate must pay a $300 LPC license fee.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Alabama
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Alabama is $69,070, placing it below the national median salary of $85,340 for these occupations. However, median annual salaries for psychologists in Alabama are competitive with neighboring states, especially considering the state’s relatively low cost of living. Alabama has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country and ranks among the least expensive states for housing, transportation, and food costs.
Psychologists seeking employment in Alabama can find the most opportunities in schools, outpatient health facilities, government offices, and social services agencies. For example, the Auburn-Opelika region — the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state — offers salaries for psychologists that are well above the national median. Salaries for psychologists in Columbus also rank above the national median, and unemployment rates have stabilized below the national average across the state.
Alabama at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 2.26%
Population Growth Rank: 36
Source: United States Census Bureau
|Mean Annual Salary||Projected Job Growth (2016-26)|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary||General Unemployment Rate||Education and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth|
Psychology Degrees and Careers in Alabama —
Frequently Asked Questions
Before choosing to enroll in an online psychology degree in Alabama, make sure you understand how distance learning works, what you need to know about the field of psychology, and what kinds of programs fit your career plans.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Alabama?
Most distance learners finish online programs in roughly the same time frame as traditional, campus-based degrees. However, some online programs use accelerated formats that shorten the time needed to finish the degree. Fulfilling internship and thesis requirements can lengthen the time needed to complete a master’s or doctoral program. Preparing for post-degree licenses and certifications will increase the time needed to enter the field.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Do not expect to breeze through easy classes simply because they take place online. Online degrees offered by accredited institutions must meet the same rigorous academic standards as campus-based programs. In most cases, distance learners spend just as much time on their assignments as their on-campus peers, and online courses are sometimes more challenging than those taught in a traditional campus environment.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
The ability to communicate with and understand the needs of diverse populations ranks among the most important skills for a psychologist. Working with vulnerable individuals and groups in clinical settings also requires a strong ethical foundation and commitment to integrity. Because most psychologists conduct and apply research, they must also acquire computer literacy and proficiency with statistical analysis and observational techniques.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Alabama?
Home to 61 colleges and universities, Alabama hosts a full range of nationally ranked online psychology programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Later in this guide, you’ll find a database of all accredited online psychology degrees in Alabama, which will allow you to compare program costs, online formats, curriculum requirements, and available specializations. This should help you determine the best program for your specific educational needs and career goals.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
The answer to this question depends on your interests and needs. A BA generally contains more liberal arts and general education courses outside your chosen major, usually including a foreign language requirement. A BS incorporates more science and math courses and usually emphasizes statistics, research methods, and lab work. Depending on what skills you need, both degrees can be a great choice.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Alabama
To confer valid degrees, psychology programs in Alabama must hold regional accreditation. That means accreditation from an agency that is officially recognized by the Council for Higher Education (CHEA), a private organization working with the U.S. government to ensure academic quality and integrity.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) oversees regional accreditation for schools in Alabama. Some institutions have national accreditation, which is usually reserved for professional or trade schools. For psychology programs, it’s best to choose a regionally accredited school rather than a nationally accredited one.
If you are pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, look for programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the leading professional organization for this field. APA does not offer accreditation for undergraduate degrees, and there are currently no APA-accredited psychology master’s or doctoral programs that are fully online.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Alabama
While the terms “internship” and “fellowship” are often used interchangeably, there are some crucial distinctions between the two. An internship is an exchange between a student and a hosting organization of work for experience. Internships can be paid or unpaid and they often yield college credit. A fellowship is more academic and is often reserved for graduate and doctoral students seeking to enhance their degrees or fulfill requirements. Fellowships often come with a stipend.
Internships and fellowships can provide undergraduate and graduate students with valuable professional training and research opportunities under the supervision of seasoned practitioners. Healthcare facilities, social work agencies, and clinics collaborate with psychology programs in Alabama to offer these placements, often for credit. The list below highlights some organizations in Alabama where distance learners can pursue internships and fellowships.
ADPH promotes, advocates for, and improves public health in Alabama through outreach, policy advising, and research. As a primary state health agency, ADPH maintains branches in every district, with smaller agencies working within cities and towns throughout Alabama.
The Institute was established in 2001 with the mission of using policy advocacy, community education and involvement, and scientific research to improve the health of rural Alabama’s underserved citizens.
As part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham network, CPM is a research and healthcare facility that provides services in areas like addiction recovery, psychotherapy, and neuropsychiatry.
ARIA seeks to improve the lives and mental health of Alabama’s aging population by developing and disseminating new knowledge and implementing new interventions and treatments.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Undergraduate and graduate students should consider the benefits of joining professional organizations in the field of psychology. These organizations can connect you with other students who share your interests and provide networking opportunities with seasoned professionals. Many associations also offer job boards, career guidance, and discounts for students.
- Alabama Psychological Association Founded in 1950 as the state affiliate of the American Psychological Association, aPA promotes psychology as both a science and a profession in Alabama. Undergraduate and graduate students may apply for membership at a greatly reduced rate, giving them access to job listings and opportunities to present their research at the association’s annual conference.
- American Psychological Association As the leading scientific and professional organization for psychologists, APA administers consultation and accreditation programs, provides continuing education, and maintains a major job center for psychology positions across the U.S. APA offers several resources for students, including lists of accredited psychology programs, graduate education and career guidance, and internship opportunities.
- Alabama Counseling Association This state branch of the American Counseling Association promotes the interests of counselors across Alabama. The association offers publications, continuing education, advocacy services, and leadership training. Students members of ALCA receive reduced registration fees for the annual conference, and the association invites graduate students to present their research at the conference’s poster sessions.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association Established in 1976, AHMCA is the major professional association representing the interests of clinical mental health counselors. AHMCA promotes rigorous standards for education, training, clinical practice, and professional ethics. The association maintains a career center and offers its members discounts on continuing education courses, health insurance, liability coverage, and publications.
- Alabama Association of School Psychologists AASP, an affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists, provides a variety of services for school psychologists and school psychometrists. The association sponsors professional development opportunities in Alabama and in collaboration with affiliate organizations in Mississippi and Tennessee. AASP also educates the public about psychological services and practices and sets professional standards for school psychologists in Alabama.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alabama
Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grants
Offered by the American Psychological Foundation (APF), this award offers psychology graduate students funding for empirical and applied research that promotes and advocates for the study of psychological issues related to lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender family therapy.
- Amount Offered: $11,000
- Scholarship Deadline: November 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduate students with proven dedication to LGBT family issues.
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship
Also offered through the APF, the Koppitz fellowship provides funding for graduate students who want to conduct research and create scholarly works in areas of child psychology related to school, pediatric care, education, or developmental concerns.
- Amount Offered: $25,000
- Scholarship Deadline: November 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduate students who have completed a doctoral candidacy and demonstrate adequate skills in and commitment to child psychology research.
APF Graduate Studies Scholarships
APF awards numerous scholarships every year to help psychology graduate students conduct thesis or dissertation research. Candidates must submit proposals for their projects as part of the application process.
- Amount Offered: $2,000-$5,000
- Scholarship Deadline: June 30
- Eligibility Requirements: Graduate psychology students in the U.S. may apply.
CollegeCounts Scholarship Program
Funded by the Alabama Treasury, this award helps first-time college students who have demonstrated financial need. The award is non-renewable, and recipients must be enrolled at an accredited institution in Alabama.
- Amount Offered: $2,000 for two-year college students; $4,000 for four-year college students
- Scholarship Deadline: February 28
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be Alabama residents and first-time college students with a minimum 2.75 GPA and an ACT score of 26 or above.
Linly Heflin Scholarship
Created to assist Alabama women earning their undergraduate degrees, this award grants $7,000 over four years or until graduation — whichever comes first. Recipients must maintain stellar academic standing.
- Amount Offered: $28,000
- Scholarship Deadline: December 31
- Eligibility Requirements: Alabama women enrolled in four-year degree programs in the state with a minimum ACT score of 23 may apply.
National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. Scholarships
NAJA provides awards for professionals who plan to work directly with children in areas of psychology, counseling, mental health, hearing impairment, and learning disabilities.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: September 1 and February 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be graduate students who plan to work directly with children.
The Melanie Merola O'Donnell Memorial Scholarship
This award helps master’s or doctoral students earn their degrees in the mental health field. Applicants must demonstrate their dedication to solving the challenges of community violence and mental illness through either volunteer or paid work.
- Amount Offered: $2,500
- Scholarship Deadline: March 5
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduate students in the mental health field.
The Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant
This grant is awarded to professionals whose work educates the public on the psychological pain felt by those with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, helping to eliminate widespread stigma and misrepresentation.
- Amount Offered: $10,000
- Scholarship Deadline: October 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Full-time graduate students or early-career psychologists (no more than 10 years postdoctoral).
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alabama
Below, we have compiled a list of all accredited online psychology programs in Alabama, chosen with careful consideration of factors like cost, popularity, academic rigor, and professional opportunities afforded to online students.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Alabama
Alabama ranks 46th out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. for access to mental health services. While the state lags behind the national average for key mental health outcome measures, Alabama has made great strides in recent years to address the psychological health of its citizens, expanding services and introducing several new mental health initiatives.
Alabama participates in the national Stepping Up program, which reduces the number of incarcerated individuals with mental illness through partnerships with the courts, law enforcement, government, and healthcare providers.
The state’s First Episode of Psychosis program addresses the treatment of youth and young adults experiencing symptoms of early psychosis, helping them stay in school, locate and maintain employment, and build their relationships with family and support networks.
In collaboration with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Education, and local education agencies, the School-Based Mental Health Services program delivers mental health resources to children and adolescents. This includes access to mental health support services, early intervention and prevention, and treatment services.
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