Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alaska

Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services has established a comprehensive mental healthcare plan to strengthen the state’s healthcare, behavioral health, and public health workforce. Opportunities for licensed psychologists, counselors, therapists, and other specialists continue to expand throughout the state.

Three Alaskan universities currently offer accredited, online psychology programs. Admission and degree requirements for each school differ based on degree levels. Prospective students can pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with specializations in community health, general psychology, clinical psychology, and counseling.

Students interested in earning online psychology degrees in Alaska can find useful information here about different degree paths, specializations, and internships. This guide also describes licensing requirements, career and salary prospects, and professional resources.

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How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alaska Work?

Before choosing any degree program, prospective online learners should always research the specific graduation requirements, available specializations, and course delivery formats offered by each school. Enrollees can complete online psychology degrees in Alaska in the same amount of time as traditional, campus-based programs, and some schools may offer part-time options or accelerated schedules that can impact the length of time needed to finish all requirements.

Most of Alaska’s online undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees include some residency requirements. Each program informs distance learners in advance about the in-person components.

Distance learners enrolled in accredited schools will complete the same rigorous curriculum as students taught on campus. Diplomas do not differentiate between online and traditional brick-and-mortar degrees, and prospective employers view both degrees as equally valid and competitive.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Alaska?

Online psychology programs differ by degree types, graduation requirements, course delivery formats, and available specializations. This list describes some of the more common course offerings at the undergraduate level.

  • Introduction to General Psychology

    This beginner course is a prerequisite for most undergraduate psychology majors. Course content places psychology within natural and social scientific paradigms, introducing students to the dominant theoretical perspectives and research methods used in the study of cognition; personality; perception; developmental, behavioral and neural studies; and clinical psychology.

  • Cognitive Psychology

    Most undergraduate programs offer a course on cognition that examines how mental processes enable humans to perceive their environments, process and store information, interact with others through nonverbal and verbal communication, solve problems, and make decisions. Coursework covers the components of cognitive development, including perception, memory, attention, language acquisition, conceptualization, imagery, knowledge representation, and reasoning.

  • Abnormal Psychology

    This area of psychology explores the etiology, symptoms, and treatment of abnormal human behavior. Students learn to recognize and analyze behavior that is socially unacceptable, maladaptive, self‐defeating, or the result of distorted cognitive processes. The course places special emphasis on the criteria used in clinical practice for mental disorder classification.

  • Clinical Psychology

    Designed for students planning to enter careers in clinical practice, this class introduces the clinical characteristics of major psychiatric disorders, exploring principles of therapy and scientifically acceptable treatments. This includes common psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.

  • Physiological Psychology

    Enrollees in this course explore anatomy and physiology of the central and peripheral human nervous system. This branch of psychology examines the current advances in the field of neuroscience and behavioral neuropsychology, emphasizing the chemistry and structure of the brain, along with the neurological and genetic foundations of normal and abnormal human behavior.

Becoming a Psychologist in Alaska

Earning an online psychology degree in Alaska can provide a pathway to employment opportunities in mental health services throughout the state. Because state regulations govern the steps required to work as a licensed psychologist, therapist, or counselor, prospective students should become familiar with local educational qualifications for psychology careers, the recommended degrees for their particular career goals, types of specializations, and state licensing requirements.

  • Specialize

    Employment possibilities in Alaska for qualified psychologists continue to grow, especially in high-demand specialties. Students just beginning their studies should learn about available career-focused specializations and incorporate relevant coursework into their plans of study as soon as they can. Clinical psychology — the largest specialty field — requires a graduate degree and a license. Counseling psychologists typically need master’s degrees along with specialized licenses and certifications in their practice areas.

  • Earn Your Degrees

    The length of time needed to complete an online psychology degree in Alaska depends on the type of program. As a first step, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree, which can take up to four years if enrolled full time. Advanced psychology positions in Alaska require at least a master’s degree. Most psychology master’s programs in Alaska take approximately two years of full-time enrollment to complete.

    Alaska’s state licensing board requires counselors to earn a doctorate to practice as licensed psychologists in clinical, counseling, or other approved specializations. A doctorate may take five or more years to complete, depending on dissertation and licensing requirements.

  • Obtain Licensure

    The Alaska Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners administers psychology licensure for the state. While the board offers a psychology associate license for master’s degree-holders, a licensed psychologist in clinical, counseling, or another approved specialization must possess a doctoral degree and complete 1,500 hours in a supervised post-doctoral internship. Candidates must pass two exams: the examination for professional practice in psychology and the Alaska state law and ethics supplemental examination.

    After completing these requirements, applicants should submit their documentation to the board along with an application fee. Upon approval of this application, all candidates must pay an initial licensing fee before they can practice. The master’s-level associate license requires application, temporary license, and examination fees, and an additional initial license fee upon final approval. Fee rates can change, so be sure to check with the Alaska licensing board for specific rates.

Other Licenses and Certifications

Advanced psychology positions generally require state licensing. A bachelor’s in psychology can provide a foundation for the graduate degrees necessary for professional licensure. A master’s degree serves as the minimum educational qualification for licensing in specialties like clinical practice, counseling, and marital and family therapy. Bachelor’s degree-holders in psychology often enroll in MSW programs in preparation for careers as licensed clinical workers.

An LCSW license in Alaska requires candidates to hold an MSW or doctorate in social work from the University of Alaska or another program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The MFT license requires a master’s or doctorate in marriage and family therapy or another mental health field. Applicants must pass the examination for marital and family therapy, work in a supervised clinical practice setting for one year, and complete training in domestic violence.

A licensed professional counselor in Alaska will need at least a master’s degree from an accredited program and must complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised practice within two years. Candidates must also pass the national counselor examination for licensure and certification.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Alaska

The median annual salary for psychologists is $79,010, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% increase in the overall employment of psychologists in Alaska between 2018 and 2028. The best job opportunities for doctoral degree-holders are in clinical, counseling, and school social work with postdoctorate work experience.

Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development estimates that the demand for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will increase by 9% between 2016 and 2026, with stable growth rates expected for postsecondary psychology teachers and all other psychology positions.

Psychologists working in the Anchorage metropolitan area earn the highest salaries for their specialties in the state. Other towns and rural areas offset their lower salary ranges by offering an affordable cost of living. Alaska does not impose a statewide sales tax, and many communities do not levy property taxes.

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Alaska at a Glance

Population: 737,438

Population Growth (2010-2018): 3.83%

Population Growth Rank: 27

Source: United States Census Bureau

Mean Annual SalaryProjected Job Growth (2016-26)
AlaskaN/AN/A
Washington$102,76010.0%
Hawaii$94,260N/A
National Average$95,61010.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist SalaryGeneral Unemployment RateEducation and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Anchorage$88,8105.1%0.0%
Fairbanks$67,0704.8%5.8%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in Alaska —
Frequently Asked Questions

Before enrolling in any online degree, familiarize yourself with how distance learning programs work. Make sure to research the different types of degrees offered, academic and residency requirements, and expected time commitments.

  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Alaska?

    The length of time needed to become a psychologist depends on the kind of career you plan to enter. A licensed clinical psychologist must hold a doctoral degree, which typically requires 5-7 years of study. An online master’s in psychology in Alaska generally requires 36-54 credits, completed within two years of full-time attendance. Most bachelor’s programs require 120 credits taken over four years, although some schools offer accelerated programs or allow students to study part time at their own pace.

  • Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

    Online degrees offered by accredited institutions meet the same rigorous educational standards and offer the same curriculum as campus-based programs. Distance learners should expect to spend as much time on their online coursework and assignments as their in-person counterparts.

  • What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?

    Despite differences in program requirements, all psychology degrees emphasize a common knowledge base. Undergraduate programs introduce the fundamental elements of scientific inquiry and provide an understanding of core concepts, principles, and applications.

    Careers in psychology require strong communication skills, and many positions require competence in research, statistics, and computer skills. Aspiring psychologists must be committed to ethical practices, social responsibility, and providing appropriate and equitable services for vulnerable individuals and groups.

  • What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Alaska?

    Alaska offers online psychology degrees at three accredited institutions. Alaska Pacific University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in counseling psychology. The University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks provide programs at all levels, focusing in general and clinical psychology, counseling, and educational guidance.

  • Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

    A BA emphasizes humanities and social sciences, and usually includes foreign language classes. A BS requires more math, science, and laboratory courses. Prospective students should select the program that fits their personal interests and professional aspirations. For example, you might choose a BS degree if your career goals include research-focused graduate work. A BA that includes more liberal arts courses may give you the flexibility to pursue graduate studies in other fields, including law, social work, and education.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Alaska

Accreditation through regional and national accreditors can safeguard students from enrolling in substandard academic programs. The most common type of accreditation is regional. Divided by geographic location, these prestigious accrediting agencies provide the standard for academic quality in the U.S.

Many graduate programs only accept students with degrees from regionally accredited schools. The regional accreditor for the state of Alaska is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Nationally accredited colleges typically offer vocational programs, while regionally accredited schools tend to emphasize a more well-rounded education and are seen as more prestigious.

In addition to regional and national accreditation, the top online psychology programs in Alaska feature accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). This long-standing organization ensures that psychology programs in Alaska prepare students for the rigors of clinical therapy and research.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Alaska

Psychology internships and fellowships can help students gain practical experience before beginning their professional careers. While people tend to use the terms interchangeably, there are some differences between the two.

Psychology Ph.D. programs in Alaska require students to complete internships. In these roles, students engage in practical training while earning their degrees. Fellowships typically involve more advanced field experience in a specialty area, and they tend to be filled by postgraduate students.

Students seeking internship and fellowship opportunities in Alaska will find placements in healthcare and mental health facilities, social service agencies, clinics, and governmental departments. In addition to providing valuable practical experience, many placements allow students to receive pay or earn academic credit. The resources below can help you connect with organizations that offer internships and fellowships across the state.

Alaska VA Healthcare System

The Alaska Veterans Administration offers an APA-approved internship program in psychology. These internships, intended for doctoral students, emphasize cultural diversity and service delivery in urban, rural, and frontier healthcare environments. Interns earn a stipend and may receive healthcare benefits.

Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association

This organization provides education, employment, and healthcare services to the communities of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands. Internships require travel to communities in rural and remote areas of Alaska. Interns can work with community-based providers offering many treatments, including in-person therapy and telemedicine.

Access Alaska

This nonprofit organization provides mental health services for individuals suffering from mental or physical disabilities that inhibit their ability to live independently. It conducts community programs to decrease barriers to mental health resources and has locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, and Mat-Su.

North Star Behavioral Health System

North Star Behavioral Health System maintains locations in Anchorage and Palmer. This mental health facility treats children and adolescents and assists veterans and military personnel at the Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

The state health department operates Alaska’s Division of Public Services and features many programs and services to help Alaskan residents adopt healthier lifestyles. The organization conducts research in several areas, including youth risk behavior and family violence prevention.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

This nonprofit organization assists Alaska Natives and American Indian residents of Alaska with comprehensive healthcare needs. The organization’s behavioral health department provides substance abuse and suicide prevention programs, along with conducting ongoing research to better understand the needs of indigenous communities.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Students who join professional organizations can gain access to useful resources to help them prepare for rewarding careers. Membership connects distance learners with other students and practitioners who share their interests and specialties. Professional associations provide information about research, careers, and legislation affecting the practice of psychology.

  • Alaska Psychological Association This state affiliate of the APA works to advance the profession of psychology and promote access to psychological health and well-being across Alaska. Membership includes free ethical consultations and opportunities for professional development. AK-PA also sponsors a listserv to promote dialogue and share information about state and national issues in the field.
  • American Psychological Association As the most prominent professional organization for psychologists, APA promotes the field of psychology as a science and its application to enhance health and welfare. The association establishes academic standards and guidelines for the accreditation of professional training in psychology. Student members receive discounts on continuing education and publications and they can access the APA job bank.
  • Alaska Counseling Association This state branch of the American Counseling Association provides training for counselors, maintains a code of ethical conduct, and monitors legislation affecting access to counseling services. Students may apply for a discounted membership rate, allowing them to attend workshops and conferences and participate in monthly teleconference meetings.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA represents the interests of clinical mental health counselors by promoting rigorous standards for training, clinical practice, and professional ethics in the field. The association establishes and revises standards for the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Members can use its career center and receive discounts on continuing education, health and liability insurance, and publications.
  • Alaska Association of School Psychologists This organization advances the profession of school psychology through education and professional development. ASPA promotes child and adolescent mental health, academic excellence, and diversity through best practices within school psychology. Membership benefits include a quarterly newsletter, access to a job bank, and information about networking events.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alaska

  • Art Jess Scholarship

    This scholarship was established by the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation in memory of longtime resident Art Jess. Alaska Natives or American Indians are given preference.

    • Amount Offered: $1,000
    • Scholarship Deadline: April 25
    • Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is open to residents of Alaska pursuing postsecondary education. Applicants need a minimum GPA of 2.5.

  • JJ Klein

    Founded by Alaska residents Joyce and Jerry Klein, this scholarship supports students with average academic performance. Students with GPAs greater than 3.5 are not eligible.

    • Amount Offered: $10,000
    • Scholarship Deadline: April 25
    • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduates or seniors of an Alaska high school with GPAs of 2.0-3.2. Each recipient of the scholarship must have financial need and be accepted to one of Alaska’s colleges or vocational schools.

  • Norton Sound Health Corporation Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Norton Sound Health Corporation, this scholarship supports tribes of Alaska’s Bering Straits region.

    • Amount Offered: Varies
    • Scholarship Deadline: Graduating seniors: April 30; spring semester college students: December 31; fall semester college students: June 30.
    • Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is open to Alaska high school seniors and students currently enrolled in an Alaska college. Preference is given to tribal members and students earning a health-related degree.

  • Benjamin B. and Virginia M. Talley Scholarship

    This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled full time at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It provides tuition assistance for students who demonstrate strong leadership skills.

    • Amount Offered: $500 annually
    • Scholarship Deadline: February 15
    • Eligibility Requirements: Undergraduate students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and graduate students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students from Homer, Anchor Point, and Nikolaevsk are preferred.

  • Dr. John Halligan Scholarship

    This scholarship was established to assist students pursuing careers in medicine.

    • Amount Offered: $2,500
    • Scholarship Deadline: April 25
    • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduates of an Alaska high school and enrolled in a health sciences program full time at a University of Alaska campuses. High school seniors who have been accepted to the University of Alaska can also apply.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Alaska

The database below features all of the accredited online psychology programs in Alaska. While selecting a degree can feel daunting, familiarizing yourself with this information should make it easier to find the program that best fits your academic and professional goals.

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Mental Health Initiatives in Alaska

Alaska continues to fall behind the national average in key mental health outcome measures for access to services for adults and children. The state ranks 46th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental healthcare.

As the need for psychology and counseling services continues to grow, government-sponsored programs are creating initiatives for prevention, intervention, and outpatient and inpatient care. The Division of Behavioral Health, under the jurisdiction of Alaska’s Department of Health and Human Services, offers a continuum of statewide behavioral health services, including mental health and substance abuse assistance.

The state also operates the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, which provides emergency and court-ordered in-patient services, as well as aftercare recovery and support. Meanwhile, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority provides funding to develop an integrative mental health program for the state and expand the availability of services to Alaskans experiencing mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and related disorders.

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