Students who pursue degrees in psychology can explore the inner workings of the mind and human behavior, trying to make meaning of the world at large. This knowledge transcends social boundaries like socio-economic status, culture, ethnicity, and occupation, making psychology is one of the most popular majors at colleges across the nation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% increase in job growth for psychologists between 2018-2028, which is almost three times the average growth rate for all occupations. Arizona offers many high-quality programs with national recognition. Two of Arizona's biggest schools make U.S. News & World Report's prestigious list of the 300 best graduate psychology programs. Arizona State University ranks 39th, while University of Arizona comes in at 45th.
Many other programs in Arizona also offer rigorous online learning that can provide learners with the credentials needed for careers in psychology. This guide explores what the state has to offer students pursuing online psychology degrees in Arizona.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arizona Work?
Psychology programs at Arizona's colleges offer fully online or hybrid bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Some schools feature online master's degrees, but keep their doctoral programs on campus. Other schools offer bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology, but no doctoral degree, on-campus or otherwise. Prospective students should examine individual school programs to ensure a perfect match.
In general, the faculty who teach on-campus programs also teach online programs, so students sacrifice nothing in terms of quality when they choose distance learning. Some programs utilize a cohort model, in which students begin and progress through the program as a group. This offers more peer support but gives little leeway for degree completion timeline. Others schools offer online programs asynchronously, meaning students can progress at their own pace within reasonable guidelines.
As more students choose online learning than ever before, employers have come to consider online degrees identical to on-campus degrees from the same school. The diploma you receive at the end of your program does not distinguish between online or on-campus attendance.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Arizona?
The courses that psychology degrees offer depend on the level of study. A bachelor's program features different courses than a doctorate in psychology. The following list outlines popular bachelor's courses in psychology, plus one master's level course.
- Developmental Psychology
This course can provide students with a survey of the most current theories and research that address intellectual and social development during infancy and childhood. Students learn about psychology luminaries who contributed to our understanding of how early experiences, chemistry, and biology can impact personality, intellect, and behavior.
- Perception and Behavior
This course explores the senses and how we use them to experience the world. The curriculum examines how the brain constructs human experience through light, sound, and other factors.
- Abnormal Psychology
Undergraduate students typically complete courses in abnormal psychology to examine the theoretical definition and practical manifestations of abnormal behavior. This includes psychopathology, criminal behavior, and dissociative identity disorders, highlighting the various clinical approaches to treatment.
- Psychology of Personality
Undergraduates are commonly required to take this course, exposing them to various personality theories and how psychologists apply them in social, clinical, and research contexts. Through lectures and case studies, students can examine classic theories of personality, such as behavioral, psychoanalytic, and cognitive.
- Behavioral Neuroscience
Students in this master's-level course explore the intersection between biology and behavior in humans and animals by utilizing brain scans to better understand normal and abnormal behaviors. This course examines development across the lifespan, including the effects of motivation and reward.
Becoming a Psychologist in Arizona
This section outlines the steps prospective students can take to become psychologists in Arizona. It outlines specializations students should consider, degree requirements, and how to become licensed to practice.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers 54 divisions for membership, which should give students an idea of the many specialization options in psychology. Those 54 divisions include categories of psychology, such as clinical, social, and experimental psychology, and subdisciplines, like gerontology, trauma psychology, health psychology, and media psychology. By identifying a specialty early, students can chart their educational goals and pick programs that match their objectives.
Earn Your Degrees
Schools in Arizona offer different specialties, and how long it takes to earn a degree can vary. Some online schools accept transfer credits from previous study or an associate degree for general education requirements, helping students graduate earlier. This reduces tuition while helping learners to finish degrees faster.
Graduate programs generally take two years to complete, but some schools offer accelerated completion. For instance, Arizona State University offers a master's through ASU Online that students can complete in 18 months studying full time. Part-time enrollees take longer.
Graduate students in any psychology program must choose an area of specialization. Schools offer specializations based on faculty research expertise, offering focus on areas like abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, behavior analysis, cognitive psychology, and health psychology.
Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. have limited online options in Arizona; the major schools — Arizona State University and the University of Arizona — do not offer doctoral programs online. Full-time enrollees in doctorate programs typically complete their degrees in 5-6 years. Graduate students can engage in more internship or practicum experiences than those in baccalaureate programs, depending on their immersion depends on their professional goals, employer needs, and specialty licensure requirements.
Most states require mental health professionals to obtain licensure to practice, and requirements vary by state and degree level. In Arizona, those seeking careers as psychologists need doctoral degrees from programs accredited by APA. The Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners mandates that the degree must be an applied degree, meaning in clinical, counseling, or school psychology. The program must also include supervised practicum and internship experiences.
Licensure applicants also need 3,000 hours of supervised experience with a minimum of 1,500 internship hours. Those who meet the education, exam, clinical supervision, and other requirements must apply for licensure as a psychologist to the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. The board determines the candidate's eligibility to sit for the examination for professional practice in psychology, which requires candidates to complete 225 multiple-choice questions and pay a licensure fee.
Other Licenses and Certifications
For those without doctoral degrees, there are still opportunities for rewarding careers in psychology. The main options include social work, clinical therapy, and professional counselor careers in Arizona. The following list offers three options for master's degree-holders.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
These mental health professionals help clients address mental, emotional, substance abuse, and related issues. For licensure eligibility, each candidate must hold a CSWE-accredited master of social work and at least 3,200 hours of supervised work experience that includes direct and indirect client contact.
Marriage and Family Therapist
These therapists are specialists in helping clients deal with mental health or emotional challenges related to marriage and family systems. For licensure, they must hold a master's degree or higher from a behavioral health science program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. They must also demonstrate at least 3,200 hours of MFT supervised work experience.
Licensed Professional Counselor
LPCs provide mental health and substance abuse counseling for Americans in every state. Licensure in Arizona requires at least a master's degree in counseling from a CACREP- or CORE-accredited program, though some LPCs hold doctorates. They must also demonstrate at least 100 hours of clinical supervision for licensure.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Arizona
The BLS projects 14% job growth between 2018-2028 for psychologists in the United States. Comparably, the projected average growth rate for all occupations is at 5%. The need for psychological services in schools, social service agencies, mental health centers, and other facilities help to drive this demand.
Arizona's 170 psychologists make an annual mean wage of $87,600, according to the BLS. The wages are comparable to neighboring states such as New Mexico ($84,080), Utah ($86,345), and Colorado ($83,630). The national mean wage is $95,610. As of May 2018, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area boasted the largest concentration of psychologists in Arizona, with 100 employed. Tucson comes in second with 40, according to the BLS.
Overall, Arizona has a fairly strong economy. U.S. News & World Report notes that Arizona ranks 34th overall on a list of the best states to live, due to its performance in the health of the economy and access to healthcare.
Arizona at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 12.20%
Population Growth Rank: 8
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 Arizona —
Frequently Asked Questions
Learners interested in psychology degrees in Arizona often have questions about the field and should research prospective schools before choosing one. Below are some of the most common questions from prospective students considering degrees in psychology.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Arizona?
An aspiring psychologist must complete a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree for this career. The cumulative educational requirements take 10-12 years to complete, and psychologists must complete a year-long postdoctoral training for full licensure.
However, other psychology-related careers, like mental health counselor or social worker, require only a master's degree. Be sure to research a variety of mental health careers to find the one that is best suited to you.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Online psychology courses are comparable to on-campus psychology courses in terms of difficulty. The most difficult courses may include statistics and research methodologies. Embracing time management, pursuing faculty mentorships, and joining a study group can go a long way toward helping online students excel academically.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists need excellent communication skills to help them break down emotional walls and build rapport with clients. They must listen to what clients say to properly assess their needs.
Psychologists must also master the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and other resources to make diagnoses and implement corresponding treatment plans. Empathy can go a long way in strengthening a psychologist-client bond.
Finally, psychologists must know how to maintain boundaries and ethical behavior for their own safety and the safety of their clients.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Arizona?
Two of Arizona's biggest schools make U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best graduate psychology programs: Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. Other schools that offer psychology degrees in Arizona include Northern Arizona University, Arizona Christian University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
A BA degree in any major focuses on broad skills in the arts and humanities while a BS is more career-oriented and technical, preparing learners for further study in the major. Depending on their intended specialties, aspiring psychologists could do well with either a BS or a BA. Students should contact their college advisors for more information.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Arizona
Accreditation is important to consider when choosing an online psychology degree in Arizona. Not only does accreditation play an important role in the regulation of educational quality and integrity, but it often impacts a student's ability to pursue licensure and continuing education programs, too.
The primary types of accrediting agencies in the U.S. are regional and national. National accreditation is usually reserved for trade schools and it is not limited by geographic region. Three major national accreditors recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation operate in the U.S. Regional accreditation is more prestigious and applies to liberal arts schools. The regional accrediting body for Arizona is the Higher Learning Commission, which replaced the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2014.
In addition to choosing a school with regional accreditation, students considering psychology programs in Arizona should seek degrees from APA-accredited programs to ensure the quality of learning outcomes, faculty performance, and student services.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Arizona
Internships and fellowships provide students with opportunities to gain practical skills in professional environments. Internships allow students to work with organizations for a brief period, often receiving course credit. A fellowship is typically pursued by recent graduates or graduate students. Fellowships provide emerging professionals with additional training in a specialized area and often include a stipend.
Since aspiring psychologists must engage in psychology internships and fellowships for licensure in Arizona, they should seek out relevant organizations that offer these opportunities. Below are a few associations that provide these opportunities.
CODAC Behavioral Health Services
CODAC Behavioral Health Services has 11 locations and provides services across demographics. This nonprofit organization equips clients with the skills needed to manage mental illnesses while promoting diversity, creativity, and acceptance.
This drug and alcohol treatment center offers a variety of clinical services, including evaluations, substance abuse treatment, DUI-related services, and aftercare for individuals in recovery. Stonewall Institute offers an inclusive environment, and its staff is trained to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ+ clients.
Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center
Located in Phoenix, SARRC is a nonprofit organization that serves those impacted by autism. SARRC offers several services, including clinical workshops for practitioners. The organization's research focuses on the examination of genetic factors associated with autism.
Institute for Mental Health Research
This nonprofit organization emphasizes collaboration between researchers and practitioners to examine mental health issues. Located in Phoenix, IMHR conducts research with partners from the Mayo Clinic, Arizona State University, and the Sun Health Research Institute. The organization's research focuses include childhood anxiety disorders and substance dependence.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Professional organizations provide licensed psychologists and those studying psychology with access to the latest research, publications, opportunities for professional development, and networking engagements. Many of these organizations recognize that students have limited funds and thus they offer affordable student membership fees.
- American Psychological Association APA is the nation's leading professional organization representing psychology. The membership consists of 118,000 clinicians, researchers, educators, and students. The organization is divided into 54 divisions representing various sub-fields and areas of interest related to psychology. Membership benefits include access to publications, professional development, professional liability insurance, tuition refinancing, and continuing education.
- Arizona Psychological Association Founded in 1950, AZPA is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association. AZPA advances the profession and supports members while pursuing public interest issues in Arizona. Membership benefits include advocacy, continuing education, and access to practice tools and resources.
- Arizona Counseling Association AzCA is the leading voice for advancing the counseling profession in Arizona, using counseling practices to improve the lives of Arizona's citizens. Membership benefits include liability insurance, access to workshops and conferences, continuing education, and a members discount program.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA is a national organization that sets the standards for professional and ethical practice, research, collaboration, and professional development in clinical mental health counseling. Membership benefits include access to advanced training, professional liability insurance, practice management technology, continuing education, and job postings.
- Arizona Association of School Psychologists AASP serves about 350 school psychologists in Arizona. The organization is an affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists and offers professional development, networking opportunities, resources, and state-level advocacy for mental health professionals.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arizona
Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation Scholarship
The Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of working women through financial support and research, funds this scholarship.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: May 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be women who are 21 and older and returning to school to advance their current careers or pursue new careers. Each candidate must be enrolled in an Arizona community college.
Flinn Foundation Scholarship
Founded in 1965 by Arizona cardiologist Robert S. Flinn and his wife, the Flinn Foundation promotes the advancement of Arizona bioscience research, community leadership, and arts and culture.
- Amount Offered: $120,000 or more
- Scholarship Deadline: Mid-October
- Eligibility Requirements: This merit-based scholarship is available to high school seniors. U.S. residents who have resided in Arizona for at least two years may apply. A minimum high school GPA of 3.5 is required, and students must be in the top 5% of their class. Students must score at least 29 on the ACT or 1360 on the SAT.
Dorrance Scholarship Programs
Established by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance in conjunction with the Arizona Community Foundation, this scholarship program supports first-generation students attending Arizona's public universities.
- Amount Offered: $12,000 annually, with an option for renewal
- Scholarship Deadline: February 7
- Eligibility Requirements: Students must be first-generation high school seniors with financial need. Other requirements include a minimum high school GPA of 3.0, SAT score of 1120 or ACT score of 22, and admittance to one of the following public Arizona universities: Arizona State University-Tempe, Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff, or the University of Arizona-Tucson.
College Success Arizona
Through a combination of scholarship programs and mentoring services, College Success Arizona provides low-income students with access to higher education in Arizona. The organization has provided students with more than $16 million in scholarships since its establishment in 2005.
- Amount Offered: $2,000-$3,000 per semester for a maximum of four years
- Scholarship Deadline: March 10
- Eligibility Requirements: Students must be members of and recommended by one of College Success Arizona's access partner organizations. Arizona high school graduates with significant financial need may apply.
University of Arizona Transfer Tuition Scholarship
Offered by the University of Arizona, this scholarship provides financial assistance for community college transfer students enrolling in their first bachelor's degree.
- Amount Offered: $3,000 for residents, $5,000 for non-residents
- Scholarship Deadline: July 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Each transfer student must have earned a minimum of 36 credits at a community college and be pursuing a bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona.
The Northern Arizona Native-American Foundation Scholarship
The Northern Arizona Native-American Foundation, an organization that assists Native American students in the pursuit of higher education, offers this scholarship.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: May 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Arizona residents who identify as Native American may apply. Applicants must be high school seniors admitted to any of Arizona's colleges or trade schools.
Focus to the Finish Scholarship
The University of Phoenix's Focus to the Finish scholarship assists undergraduate and graduate students with degree completion by providing 11 applicants with full tuition coverage.
- Amount Offered: Full tuition
- Scholarship Deadline: February 12
- Eligibility Requirements: Students not currently attending school who plan to enroll in a University of Phoenix degree may apply. Applicants must have completed at least nine credits in the past with good academic standing.
Louis H. and Betty J. Quayle Scholarship
Offered through Northern Arizona University's scholarship department, this scholarship assists graduate students who are members of federally recognized Native American tribes.
- Amount Offered: $4,000 per semester
- Scholarship Deadline: March 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be full- or part-time graduate students attending Northern Arizona University who identify as Native American and are part of federally recognized tribes or nations.
Phil Mickelson Award for Excellence in Psychology
Available to senior psychology students attending Arizona State University, this merit-based award was established by former psychology major and current professional golfer Phil Mickelson.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: February 11
- Eligibility Requirements: Eligible recipients must be full-time students in their final year of Arizona State University's psychology program with minimum GPAs of 3.0.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arizona
The following database includes all accredited online psychology programs in Arizona. Students interested in pursuing online psychology degrees in Arizona should use the above information about accreditation, professional organizations, and potential career paths to find the online psychology degree in Arizona that fits their goals.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Arizona
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) was established in 1982 and currently serves as the state's Medicaid program. AHCCCS administers the state's mental health services and initiatives to address mental health service provisions, including integrating and coordinating physical and behavioral healthcare across the system, ensuring that Medicaid-eligible students receive behavioral health services within schools.
A 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that between 2013-2017, Arizona residents ages 18 and older with any mental illness received services at a rate of 40.6% — comparable to the national average (43.6%) and the regional average (37.6%). The Arizona 2018 Mental Health National Outcome Measures also found the state has a penetration rate of 30.3 per 1,000 population, compared to the national average of 23.69.
SAMHSA also notes that more people of all ages pursue help for substance abuse problems today than they did in previous years. For instance, in a single day in March 2017, 41,929 people in Arizona were enrolled in a treatment program — an increase from 31,020 people in 2013. Those with substance use and addiction issues receive treatment services overseen by the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership program. Individuals with these challenges can go online to find a treatment provider.