Online Psychology Degrees in Alabama

From big universities like Troy and Auburn to small private institutions such as Faulkner University and Huntingdon College, students interested in applying to psychology programs in Alabama can find many accredited and flexible options. The state offers distance education programs at every degree level, and graduates will enjoy Alabama’s relatively low cost of living. When combined with the ample career opportunities available to psychology students, this makes Alabama a great place to study, work, and live.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects long-term growth for various psychology-based careers in the state, including a huge 15.9% jump for mental health counselors and substance abuse social workers. The BLS also projects growth for educators and researchers in the field.

Mental Health Initiatives in Alabama

As mental health and substance abuse challenges mount throughout the United States, psychologists continue to find employment in a variety of work environments, including schools, rehabilitation clinics, detention centers, and government agencies. Alabama is no exception. Though the state lags behind the national average in terms of total patients treated for psychological health issues, those treated report approximately the same level of positivity concerning services and resulting outcomes.

Alabama has made great strides in its psychological health initiatives. The state’s Department of Mental Health reports a marked increase in funding to related organizations, including Bryce Hospital and the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, as well as growth in developmental disabilities and substance abuse disorders community programs. Autistic individuals receive particularly good care and attention, and there is a big push within the state for expanded resources. An online psychology degree in Alabama enables you to join this growing network of professionals whose work improves the lives of those most vulnerable and underserved.

How do I Become a Psychologist in Alabama?

Psychologists help their patients understand and overcome several challenges, including learning disabilities, eating disorders, and the effects of a chronic illness. Due to the nature of their work, psychologists must prove themselves to be skilled and experienced through a rigorous vetting and accreditation process.

Choose the Right Path for You: Though you may work as a mental health counselor or social worker with a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree, to be a licensed practicing psychologist you must hold a degree from an accredited psychology Ph.D. program. Because the field is vast, students can pursue advanced specializations that suit their interests and career goals, including marriage counseling and child psychology. Those wishing to teach or build careers in consulting may individualize their degree programs to heavily include topics in pedagogy, research methods, and data analysis.

Earn Your Degree: Educators and students recognize that online learning is affordable, accessible, and as academically intensive as the traditional campus. Though prerequisites vary based on school, psychology students should expect to complete at least one introductory course in the field before accessing more advanced classes. Hands-on experience is also an integral part of this type of degree and includes a postdoctoral internship recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA). The time it takes to earn a degree also fluctuates: a bachelor’s takes about four years, a conventional master’s in psychology online Alabama program takes two, and a Ph.D. program takes from three to five years.

Earn Your License: In order to become a licensed psychologist, applicants must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) — developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards — which consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and lasts four hours and 15 minutes. Most students study for at least three months prior to taking the exam. The EPPP costs $600, excluding the $200 application fee to the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology. Among the requirements to take the exam is a degree from a psychology Ph.D. program in Alabama.

Psychology Licensing in Alabama

Many students automatically think of licensed psychology when considering possible careers in the field. There are, however, other opportunities for psychology professionals who do not want to pursue a doctoral degree, including jobs that only require a degree from a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology online Alabama program. The table below shows which positions are open and what requirements must be met to pursue them, including licensure with cost.

Licensed Psychologist

Prerequisites:

  • Doctoral degree in psychology
  • 10-11 month postdoctoral internship
  • EPPP
  • The Professional Standards Examination of Alabama

Careers Available With This License:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counseling psychologist
  • University professor
  • Professional researcher

Total Fees: $850

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Prerequisites:

  • Master’s degree in psychology/social work
  • Approximately 900 supervised field hours
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker Exam

Careers Available With This License:

  • Child welfare social worker
  • Clinical social worker
  • Substance abuse specialist
  • Geriatric social worker

Total Fees: $260

Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT)

Prerequisites:

  • Master’s degree in psychology/counseling
  • Marital & Family Therapy National Examination
  • Two year’s worth of work experience as a designated associate

Careers Available With This License:

  • Master’s degree in psychology/counseling
  • 3,000 practice hours
  • National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination

Total Fees: $355

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Prerequisites:

  • Master’s degree in psychology/counseling
  • Marital & Family Therapy National Examination
  • Two year’s worth of work experience as a designated associate

Careers Available With This License:

  • Mental health counselor
  • School therapist
  • University instructor
  • Military counselor

Total Fees: $275

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

Prerequisites:

  • Master’s degree in psychology/counseling
  • National Counselor Exam

Careers Available With This License:

  • Substance abuse counselor
  • School counselor
  • Career counselor
  • Assistant professor

Total Fees: $275

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 of work for experience between a student and a hosting organization. Internships can be paid or unpaid and often yield college credit. A fellowship has more academic connotations and is often reserved for graduate and doctoral students as a way to enhance their degree programs or fulfill requirements therein. Fellowships often come with a stipend. The list below highlights a few internships and fellowships available for students pursuing an online psychology degree in Alabama:

  • Birmingham VA Medical Center Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship: Sponsored by the Veterans Affair Medical Center in Birmingham, this paid two-year fellowship is suited for professionals seeking the APA’s licensed psychologist designation. Fellows spend two years pursuing training and research in clinical neuropsychology and rehabilitation.
  • NINDS Summer Internships: Conducted by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders & Stroke, this internship allows students at all degree levels, including high school, to get hands-on experience by working with scientists at the Institute’s Division of Intramural Research. Students also attend lectures and conduct their own research presentation.
  • CAVHCS Psychology Internship Program: Facilitated by the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, this pre-doctoral internship allows students to work with a diverse population of patients in numerous subfields and treatment areas, including primary care and sexual trauma therapy.

Psychology Careers in Alabama

After earning your online psychology degree, Alabama offers professionals employment opportunities in many fields, from general clinical and counseling psychology to more specialized subfields including forensic, sports, health, and industrial-organizational psychology. Those wishing to pursue careers specifically aiding their local communities also find openings as school, child, and educational psychologists. The employment rate for several forms of psychology in Alabama are projected to grow 21.7% over the next several years, a number above the U.S. average and one aligned with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that employment rate for the field overall is growing faster than other industries.

How Much do Psychologists Make in Alabama?

Psychology is a vast field and professionals — including those who have achieved the highest levels of academic accreditation and professional licensure — see their earnings vary depending on their subfield, experience, place of employment, and additional voluntary credentials for areas of specialization. The table below consists of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for employment rate and average earning potentials of psychologists in Alabama and the whole country:

 EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Alabama690$39.01$81,120
United States122,310$38.77$80,640

Source: BLS

Mental Health Service Providers in Alabama

Students wishing to become mental health counselors or associated clinical counselors should take a proactive approach to finding service providers for two main reasons. First is that all licensure in this field requires numerous supervised clinical hours and finding an organization or clinic to sponsor you is a priority. Second, and more broadly: reaching out to mental health service providers is a good way to make professional connections possibly leading to internships, fellowships, and employment.

  • UAB Center for Psychiatric Medicine: As part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham network, the CPM is a research and health facility that provides services in addiction recovery, psychotherapy, neuropsychiatry, and more.
  • Bradford Health Services: Bradford is a private institution that offers residential, partial hospitalization, and outpatient care for men struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges. Bradford also provides specialized treatment programs for LGBTQ community members.
  • Western Mental Health Center: Located in Birmingham, WMHC provides several services, including outpatient group treatment, individual treatments for adolescents, adult intensive day treatments, and consultation and education.
  • Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders: A dually-licensed facility for adult women struggling with eating disorders and associated mental health issues, Magnolia Creek offers structured programs including residential stays, group sessions, family and aftercare programs, and extended nutrition and exercise guidance.
  • Gateway Residential & Day Treatment Center: Offering outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment, Gateway specializes in substance abuse, issues related to the LGBTQ population, and the particular challenges faced by veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Gateway also provides services related to independent living and foster care.

Mental Health Research Centers in Alabama

Regardless of what type of psychology degree or career you want to pursue — but especially for those interested in work at the doctoral level — identifying a mental health research center is crucial because it’s in these places that you conduct research necessary for a thesis or dissertation. Like the previous section on mental health service providers, getting your foot in the door at a research center may lead to employment and other professional opportunities.

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health: The ADPH promotes, advocates, and improves the health of state residents through outreach, policy, and research. As a primary state health agency, the ADPH has branches in every district, with smaller agencies working within cities and towns throughout Alabama.
  • The Institute for Rural Health Research: The institute was established in 2001 with the mission of improving the health of the often underserved members of the rural communities in Alabama through policy advocacy and community education and involvement supported by research.
  • The Alabama Research Institute on Aging: The ARIA seeks to improve the lives of aged persons — particularly concerning mental health — through the development and dissemination of new knowledge as well as the implementation of new interventions and treatment.

Professional Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

Professional organizations are important no matter what field you’re in because they provide a strong support network, and when the organization is large enough, the influence to legitimize whole professions, as is the case of the American Psychological Association. These organizations also offer opportunities such as networking events, academic conferences, and professional training. They also offer electronic resources like job boards, newsletters, and other literature.

  • American Psychological Association: The most influential professional organization for psychologists, the APA not only licenses many professions in the field, but also provides an impressive number of resources, from a library of cutting-edge research and scholarly work to a job center for careers all over the U.S. and abroad. The APA also holds an annual convention, drawing the largest gathering of psychological professionals in the country.
  • American Counseling Association: The ACA is the largest professional organization for counselors in the U.S. and it offers up-to-date educational seminars and news on government regulations that affect the field. The ACA also has information on continuing education and career opportunities.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association: The AMHCA advocates specifically for clinical mental health counselors and supplies resources that help professionals find work, further their education, and collaborate with peers on research and other projects.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Programs in Alabama

National Register Credentialing Scholarships

The National Register for Health Service Psychologists provides generous scholarships to cover the cost of license review fees. Those who receive National Register designation may also access continuing education and other opportunities through the APA.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: April 16
  • Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in a doctoral or postdoctoral program; licensed.

Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grants

This award provides psychology graduate students with funding for empirical and applied research that promotes and advocates for the study of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender family therapy and psychological issues.

  • Amount Offered: $11,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Nov. 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: A graduate student with proven dedication to the LGBT family issues.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

The Koppitz award 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, and developmental concerns.

  • Amount Offered: $25,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Nov. 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Graduate students who have completed a doctoral candidacy and demonstrated adequate skills in and commitment to field-related research.

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 and $4,000 for students enrolled in two- and four-year college degree programs, respectively.
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Alabama resident; First-time college student; 2.75 GPA minimum; ACT score of 26 or below

Linly Heflin Scholarship

Created to assist Alabama women in earning their undergraduate degree, this award grants $5,000 over four years or until graduation, whichever comes first. Recipients must maintain stellar academic standing, including a minimum GPA.

  • Amount Offered: $20,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Dec. 31
  • Eligibility Requirements: Alabama woman who is enrolled in a four-year degree program in the state with a minimum ACT score of 23.

NAJA Scholarship

The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. 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 and renewable
  • Scholarship Deadline: Sept. 1 and Feb. 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Students enrolled in a graduate program and who plan on working directly with children.

APF Graduate Studies Scholarship

The American Psychological Foundation awards numerous grants every year to help psychology students conduct thesis or dissertation research. Candidates must submit proposals for their project as part of the application process.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000 – $5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility Requirements: Graduate psychology student in the United States.

Gallagher Health Careers Scholarship Program

Funded by the Arthur J. Gallagher Foundation, this award helps undergraduate students earn their degree. Recipients must demonstrate a strong dedication to academic excellence, community activism and assistance, and financial need.

  • Amount Offered: $5,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: May 6
  • Eligibility Requirements: Junior or senior undergraduate student pursuing a healthcare-related career.

The Melanie Merola O'Donnell Memorial Scholarship

This award helps master’s or doctoral students earn their degree in the mental health field. Applicants must demonstrate a dedication, through volunteerism or paid work, to solving the challenges of community violence and mental illness.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 6
  • Eligibility Requirements: Graduate student 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, in order to eliminate widespread stigma and misrepresentation.

  • Amount Offered: $10,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Oct. 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Full-time graduate student or an early-career psychologist (no more than 10 years post-doctoral).

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Alabama

In order to confer valid degrees, psychology programs in Alabama must hold national and regional accreditation. The former type describes official recognition by the Council for Higher Education (CHEA), a private organization working with the U.S. government to ensure adequate levels of academic quality and integrity. The latter reflects a similar form of standardization, but regionally. The Southern Association of Colleges of Schools (SACS) oversees state accreditation in Alabama. Though national recognition is more popular due to its enforced ubiquity, the best colleges and universities seek both forms of accreditation.

Additionally, students should look for programs supported by the APA, the leading professional organization for this field. The APA champions psychology by promoting research, facilitating professional development, holding conferences, and providing additional opportunities through private funding and other resources. In fact, to be a practicing psychologist in the U.S. without membership in the APA is virtually impossible.

Program Database of Online Psychology Programs in Alabama

Below is a list of all accredited online psychology programs in Alabama, chosen with careful consideration given to factors like cost, popularity, academic rigor, and professional opportunities afforded to online students.