Psychologists can help people address life challenges and provide services to populations like the elderly, veterans, trauma survivors, and people living with developmental disorders. The need for licensed psychologists and other trained mental health professionals continues to grow due to greater demand in schools, social service agencies, and mental health facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth rate of 14% for psychologists between 2018-2028 — more than the 5% average growth rate for all occupations.
People interested in pursuing psychology careers in Arkansas may enroll in online programs, which allow students to balance school, work, and family obligations. The state offers high-quality psychology programs from major universities, such as the University of Arkansas, which makes the U.S. News & World Report's list of best graduate psychology schools.
This guide covers how to choose an online program in Arkansas and become a psychologist, including common courses in the field, state licensure requirements, and salary information.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arkansas Work?
Arkansa colleges primarily offer on-campus programs, but some schools have online degrees, using either fully online or hybrid formats. In general, online programs take the same amount of time to complete as their on-campus equivalents.
Asynchronous online learning provides degree-seekers with the flexibility to view lectures and complete courses at convenient times. Conversely, synchronous online programs in Arkansas require students to sign in at specific times for classes. If degree-seekers enroll in a cohort-style program, they progress through the courses as a unit with little scheduling flexibility.
Online courses are typically taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus programs, so the quality is the same regardless of the mode of delivery. Furthermore, diplomas don't typically differentiate between online and on-campus attendance. With more Americans choosing online learning, most employers have come to regard virtual learning with the same esteem as on-campus learning.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Arkansas?
Arkansas' online degrees in psychology offer courses that vary depending on the level of study and faculty expertise. The following list provides five courses typically offered in bachelor's psychology programs.
- Developmental Psychology
This course presents the relevant theories and research used to study the social and intellectual development of children. The course covers the work of psychology luminaries, like Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, Barbara Rogoff, and Urie Bronfenbrenner, to gain insight into how early childhood experiences and biology can impact personality, intellect, and behavior over the lifespan.
- Abnormal Psychology
This entry-level course summarizes the theoretical definitions and processes used to clinically diagnose abnormal behavior, providing a general overview of the topic so that students can specialize their studies in specific disorders later. The spectrum includes psychopathology, criminal behavior, schizophrenic disorders, and related causes and treatments.
- Brain, Mind, and Behavior
Students can examine how the brain functions during various processes such as dreaming, learning and memory, and language acquisition. The course also covers specializations of the left and right hemispheres and explores how the brain malfunctions through illnesses like Parkinson's and schizophrenia.
- Forensic Psychology
This course is not always offered at the undergraduate level, but it has become increasingly common due to its prevalence in popular culture. This specialization focuses on how psychology applies to law and the legal system. Topics covered may include strategies for interviewing witnesses and how to help them recover memories, clinical assessment of competency in suspects, and how to give expert testimony.
- Autism, Brain, and Cognition
Often an upper-level course taught in psychology master's programs in Arkansas, this course tries to demystify autism by exploring its multidimensional manifestations. Students can review the latest research about the cognitive and biological aspects of autism, which may include brain imaging that examines the structure and function of the autistic brain.
Becoming a Psychologist in Arkansas
This section outlines the steps an aspiring psychologist needs to take for a career as a psychologist in Arkansas. Read on for information about specializations, degree requirements, and how to achieve the credentials necessary for licensure.
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the leading professional organization for psychologists in the United States. APA manages 54 divisions, including subdisciplines of therapy, such as clinical, social, couples and family, and experimental. Psychologists can also pursue specialized areas of interest like gerontology, rehabilitation psychology, and trauma psychology.
Each specialization requires different coursework, so choosing a specialty early helps students graduate quickly. Visiting the APA website allows learners to explore various career paths. Notably, many divisions provide support for graduate students by offering discounted membership fees, access to journals, and help with funding.
Earn Your Degrees
Students must begin their training for a career in psychology with a bachelor's degree in psychology or another behavioral science. A bachelor's degree typically takes about four years to complete when students enroll full time. Schools like John Brown University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock offer online bachelor's degrees in psychology.
To become a working counselor, students must pursue a master's degree, which usually takes about two years. Students may have more difficulty finding an online degree in psychology in Arkansas at the graduate level. For example, University of Arkansas offers a master's in psychological science and an Ed.S. in psychology and counseling on campus, but only a master of social work online. A doctorate in psychology, which students can typically complete in 5-6 years, usually requires on-campus enrollment.
Regardless of the mode of delivery, graduate students will receive hands-on experience when they complete internships or engage in research opportunities with faculty members.
Most states require mental health professionals to obtain licensure to practice. The Arkansas Psychology Board requires aspiring psychologists to hold doctorates from a regionally accredited university, plus at least 2,000 internship hours and one year of post-doctorate supervised professional experience. The board reviews candidate credentials before allowing them to take the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) exam, which includes a fee.
The EPPP is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and tests aspiring psychologists' competencies, techniques, and professional ethics. It comprises 255 multiple-choice questions. Once students receive passing scores of 500, they can proceed to an oral interview and exam administered by the Arkansas Psychology Board.
Other Licenses and Certifications
Not every aspiring mental health professional needs a doctorate. There are other ways to serve the community with rewarding professions, like as a licensed clinical social worker. A few such career options are listed below.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
These professionals provide mental health, substance abuse, and emotional trauma counseling. To become a clinical social worker, the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board requires a CSWE-accredited master's degree in social work, 4,000 hours of LCSW-supervised social work experience, and a passing score on a board-approved licensure exam.
Marriage and Family Therapist
These therapists specialize in addressing challenges that people face within their closest personal relationships. The Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy requires marriage and family therapists to have a 60-credit, accredited master's degree in social work, psychology, or another mental health-related subject. Candidates must also complete a yearlong internship with 500 hours of direct contact with clients and take both a national exam and an oral exam in front of the board.
Licensed Professional Counselor
The Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy requires each LPC candidate to hold a 60-credit master's degree that incorporate CACREP or CORE curriculum standards. Candidates must complete 3,000 hours of post-master's supervised counseling experience before taking the national counselor exam and an oral exam.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Arkansas
The BLS projects a 14% average growth rate for psychologists in the U.S. — compared to the 5% average for all occupations — between 2018-2028. While U.S. News & World Report ranks Arkansas 45th in overall ratings in a review of the 50 states, there is still great potential, with Arkansas ranking 37th for a healthy business environment and 34th in growth.
Furthermore, while the 2018 national median wage for psychologists was $79,010, the mean wage for psychologists in Arkansas was $83,030 as of May 2018 — just under its neighboring states of Missouri ($86,730) and Oklahoma ($89,300). Those interested in working in Arkansas should pursue careers in the main metropolitan areas of the state, such as Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers and Little Rock. BLS notes that 80 psychologists work in Arkansas.
Arkansas at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 3.36%
Population Growth Rank: 29
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 Arkansas —
Frequently Asked Questions
Those interested in online psychology degrees in Arkansas likely have many questions about the process of becoming psychologists. The following list includes several of the most popular questions on this subject.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Arkansas?
Students will need to complete a doctorate in psychology for licensure in Arkansas. Cumulatively, they can expect to spend about 10-12 years earning the education requirements, including a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree, to qualify for licensure.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Psychology coursework consists of both theoretical and practical coursework covering the inner workings of the brain and mind. Some of the more difficult courses include research methodology and statistics. To succeed, students should embrace time management, take advantage of faculty mentorship opportunities (even at the baccalaureate level), and network with peers through professional organizations.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists need good communication skills to establish rapport with their clients. Patients should feel comfortable with their psychologists within established ethical boundaries. Psychologists must also master the field's bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to make the right diagnoses and establish appropriate treatment plans for their patients.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Arkansas?
The University of Arkansas makes the U.S. News & World Report's list of best graduate psychology schools. Students should also consider Arkansas State University, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, and Arkansas Tech University, though not all of these schools offer online programs.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
A BA in psychology incorporates more liberal arts education than a BS, which is a more career-oriented degree that covers more technical content. The BS also prepares learners for further study, such as a master's degree in psychology, and most aspiring psychologists pursue a BS in psychology or another major in the behavioral sciences. However, a BA can also be a good introductory degree for counselors. Students should contact their advisors for more information.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Arkansas
Students planning to enter psychology professions need accredited degrees. Accreditation is the process by which external agencies ensure that colleges and universities meet academic standards.
In the United States, academic institutions receive accreditation from regional or national agencies. Academically oriented institutions, including those offering online psychology degrees in Arkansas, usually receive regional accreditation. National accreditation is typically reserved for trade schools and career preparatory colleges. Of the two, regional accreditation traditionally commands the most respect.
Programs may also receive specialized accreditation from field-specific accrediting agencies. Highly regarded psychology doctoral programs hold accreditation from APA; a degree from an APA-accredited program is often required to obtain a professional psychology license. However, APA does not accredit undergraduate programs.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Arkansas
Internships and fellowships provide students and recent graduates with practical experience. Interns may be paid or unpaid and have some responsibilities of full-time employees. In contrast, fellows perform all duties expected of regular employees and earn pay similar to that of entry-level workers. Fellowships typically last for predetermined durations. Both internships and fellowships are valuable opportunities for individuals launching psychology careers.
Internships can provide students with invaluable professional experience, allowing interns to interact with and help address the needs of clients with real challenges. Several organizations, such as the Arkansas Psychiatric Clinic and Rivendell Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas, offer internships. The following list includes a sampling of these organizations.
Arkansas Psychiatric Clinic
This private clinic in Little Rock treats psychiatric problems, including addictions, child and adolescent disorders, PTSD, and women's issues. The clinic also conducts clinical trials of experimental treatment options.
Rivendell Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas
Rivendell provides behavioral and psychiatric health solutions at its inpatient facility in Benton. The hospital treats child, adolescent, and adult psychiatric disorders in addition to providing addiction counseling services for adolescents.
Arkansas Public Policy Panel
This public policy research institution provides evidence-based advocacy for people in the Arkansas prison system with mental illnesses. This research organization analyzes the costs and benefits of diverting prisoners with mental health issues to care facilities instead of incarceration.
Psychiatric Research Institute
Located at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, this institute conducts research and provides evidence-based care for children, adolescents, and adults. Researchers focus on addiction, health services, women's mental health, and brain imaging.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Professional organizations provide psychologists and students with much-needed assistance and support. This may include access to research, conferences, professional development, and networking events. Some organizations offer discounted fees to help students pay for membership.
- American Psychological Association APA, as the main organization representing the field of psychology, boasts a membership of 118,000 clinicians, researchers, educators, and students. With 54 divisions, this association offers support and resources for psychologists specializing in various subfields. Member benefits include access to research, professional development, liability insurance, and tuition refinancing.
- Arkansas Psychological Association Founded in 1949, ARPA advances psychology as a science, helping to foster the well-being of the state's residents. Member benefits include continuing education opportunities, legislative advocacy at the state level, conference discounts, networking events, and professional mentoring.
- Arkansas Counseling Association ArCA is the largest counseling organization in Arkansas, supporting working counselors and graduate students alike. This organization is divided into several divisions that address subjects such as adolescent and multicultural counseling. Member benefits include professional development, networking events, and a discount program.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA sets the standards for professional practice, research, professional development, and ethics in clinical mental health counseling. Member benefits include access to advanced training, continuing education, job postings, and practice management technology.
- Arkansas Association of School Psychologists As an affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists, ASPA supports its members in the delivery of high-quality mental health services for children and their families in schools and communities. Member benefits include access to conferences, professional resources, and listings for jobs and internships.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arkansas
Arkansas Community Foundation Scholarships
There are a variety of scholarships offered by the Arkansas Community Foundation. Applications open in January, and most scholarships are for undergraduate students pursuing associate or bachelor's degrees.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: April 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Eligibility varies, but students can use the Arkansas Community Foundation's eligibility quiz to find personalized scholarship search results matching their demographics.
Arkansas School Psychology Association Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to students pursuing degrees related to school psychology who articulate exemplary career goals.
- Amount Offered: $2,000
- Scholarship Deadline: September 1
- Eligibility Requirements: The student must be pursuing a degree related to school psychology and demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to a psychology career.
Emerging Graduate Scholarship
This scholarship supports new graduate students at Arkansas Tech. Candidates must submit essays describing career goals and detailing financial need.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: May 15
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be an incoming ATU graduate student, possess at least a 3.5 GPA, and submit recommendation letters from professors or employers.
Harold Thomas Scholarship
This scholarship, offered through the Arkansas Rehabilitation Association, supports graduate students studying rehabilitation counseling or a related field.
- Amount Offered: $2,000
- Scholarship Deadline: January 11
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a full-time graduate student at an Arkansas institution and possess at least a 3.0 GPA.
Preston Woodruff, Jr. Scholarship
This scholarship, offered by the Arkansas Student Loan Authority, helps Arkansas residents attend higher education institutions throughout the state.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: April 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Each candidate must be an Arkansas resident and submit an essay on a specified topic.
University of Central Arkansas Assistance Programs for Students with Exceptional Circumstances
This program supports University of Central Arkansas students who demonstrate academic excellence and would be unable to continue studying without assistance.
- Amount Offered: $3,000
- Scholarship Deadline: July 15 and December 1
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Arkansas
For individuals pursuing online psychology degrees, Arkansas offers diverse educational options to suit many different career goals. Many of the state's most prestigious universities offer master's programs that allow students to specialize in psychology subfields. Online psychology Ph.D. programs in Arkansas are available from select institutions. Learn about educational opportunities by exploring the following list of all accredited online psychology degrees in Arkansas.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Arkansas
The Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services in the Arkansas Department of Human Services manages behavioral health services, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, throughout the state. Under Medicaid, DHS tracks performance outcomes for treating people with mental illness. This includes a follow-up visit after hospitalization for mental illness, helping with antidepressant medication management and checking adherence to antipsychotic medications.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency keeps tabs on performance outcomes and recently noted in its Behavioral Health Barometer that more people in Arkansas are seeking help for substance abuse issues than in the past. In 2017 on a single day, 6,089 people in Arkansas were enrolled in treatment for substance abuse, as compared to 5,648 on a single day in 2013.
SAMHSA also notes that from 2013-2017, 6% of people were diagnosed with a serious mental health illness in Arkansas, compared to the 3.9% regional average and 4.2% national average. However, those afflicted sought mental health treatment at a rate of 46.5% in the state, compared to the 40.6% regional average and 43.6% national average.