The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average income for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Colorado surpasses the overall U.S. average. Additionally, Colorado Springs boasts one of the highest concentrations of psychologist positions among U.S. metropolitan areas, and the BLS projects a 14% increase in psychology positions nationwide by 2028.
All of these details indicate lucrative career opportunities for Colorado psychologists. However, obtaining these careers requires a license and a psychology degree. Continue reading for information on psychology programs, professional credentials, career options, and psychology organizations.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Colorado Work?
Some online psychology degrees in Colorado require no on-campus visits. However, programs have certain in-person components, such as orientation, seminars, and labs. Programs may also mandate field experiences that degree-seekers complete in person at approved settings.
Typically, schools require the same curricula for online and on-campus programs, giving distance education degrees the same value as traditional degrees. Institutions may not even mention the online format on transcripts or degrees.
Online courses usually have identical requirements as in-person courses, including exams, forum-based class discussions, research papers, and group assignments. Distance learners should also expect similar graduation times for distance programs.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Colorado?
Required courses vary among schools, particularly for programs with concentrations. Many institutions, however, insist on courses in foundational areas, such as research and social development. For this reason, students at different schools may encounter similar classes, like those listed below.
- Research in Psychology
In this class, candidates learn to choose research questions, conduct research, interpret results, and present findings in written and oral formats. Courses address statistical analysis, experimentation, and survey use for research purposes and they often introduce learners to relevant technology, too. Departments may also provide tips for assessing the academic value of publications.
- Social Psychology
These bachelor's courses examine research and theories related to human perspectives and interactions. Learners may explore prejudice as a cultural issue or persuasion techniques based on behavioral tendencies used in businesses. Courses connect this information to certain fields, such as healthcare or environmental welfare.
- Foundations of Addiction
Degree-seekers can study different forms of addiction and popular theories about why it develops. Programs address the negative impacts of addiction on an individual's health and mentality, and also on their families. This course guides learners in assessing and treating addictions.
- Cognitive Psychology
This course focuses on cognitive functions, such as language development, memory, and practical reasoning. Topics may include learning disorders and forms of dementia that hinder cognitive abilities. Candidates may complete a lab, where they explore possible treatments and technologies related to mental illnesses.
- Assessment and Measurement
In this course, students learn to determine psychological abilities and needs in their clients. Often, classes focus on testing as a strategy for making these determinations. These programs may guide degree-seekers in creating and interpreting assessments. However, other strategies for determining psychological factors may surface in these undergraduate courses. Departments also examine problems with using various measurement instruments.
Becoming a Psychologist in Colorado
Becoming a Colorado psychologist requires an advanced degree from an accredited school. Candidates should find degrees that reflect their career objectives through concentrations or fieldwork. After earning the appropriate degrees, candidates can pursue licenses. This process also requires proof of fieldwork, supervised experience, and exam scores. The following sections outline each of these steps in detail.
Some schools offer specializations for careers. Learners can focus in child psychology or school psychology to assist children, forensic psychology to work in criminal justice, or clinical psychology to treat mental and emotional disorders. Colleges and universities may also offer concentrations in areas like sports psychology or health psychology.
Earn Your Degrees
A bachelor's in psychology typically requires 120 credits, which learners often complete in four years. Colorado State University, Colorado Technical University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Colorado Christian University all offer online bachelor's degrees in psychology or applied psychology.
Online master's in psychology programs in Colorado typically comprise 30-60 credits. Graduation times vary, but typically do not surpass three years. Online psychology master's programs in Colorado frequently reflect a specialization. For instance, the University of Northern Colorado offers master's degrees in clinical mental health counseling, educational psychology, and school counseling. Colorado State University also offers a master's in industrial/organizational psychology.
Doctoral programs can take 5-10 years, with requirements varying among schools. Students may need to look outside of Colorado for an online doctoral program. This degree is required to become a licensed psychologist, though there are other mental health careers that don't require a doctorate.
Licensed psychologists in Colorado need a doctorate from an institution with regional accreditation. Doctorate degrees must also be approved by the Center for Credential and Education (CCE). Licensure also requires at least 1,500 hours of field experience after graduation and 75 supervised field hours, 50 of which should involve face-to-face settings.
Other requirements include passing scores on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards' examination for the professional practice of psychology. This exam addresses eight areas that are pertinent to psychology, such as cognitive-affective bases of behavior and growth and lifespan development. There is a registration fee for this exam. Applicants must also pay a fee to take the required mental health profession's jurisprudence examination.
Other Licenses and Certifications
While a psychologist in Colorado needs a doctorate, candidates with a master's can pursue other state licenses and certifications. These credentials often require majors, examinations, and fieldwork that relate to the field, such as social work or family therapy. For this reason, aspiring professionals should identify these credentials early to ensure that their graduate programs apply to their chosen career paths.
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
This license prepares candidates for independent social work practice and requires passing scores on the clinical or advanced exam from the Association of Social Work Boards. Applicants need 3,360 recent field hours, with some experience involving supervision, and must pay a fee. A candidate must also hold a master's accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or CCE.
- Marriage and Family Therapist
Candidates need a master's degree with approval from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education or CCE. Applicants must pay a fee, complete 2,000 field hours of work after graduation, and submit scores from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards assessment.
- Licensed Professional Counselor
This license requires a master's degree approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or CCE. Licensure also requires an application fee, fulfillment of supervised fieldwork, and completion of the national counselor examination.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Colorado
On average, psychologists in Colorado earn less than psychologists in New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, or Oklahoma. The national mean pay for psychologists exceeds Colorado's by nearly $12,000. However, the projected growth for Colorado psychologist positions is over 6% higher than the projected national growth, which may mean more career opportunities for psychologists in Colorado.
Essentially, while psychologists average less income than candidates in other states, field opportunities in Colorado may increase more quickly, meaning more employment options. High growth projections help make Colorado the top-ranking state on U.S. News & World Report's economy rankings.
Pay expectations vary by career and city. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists' average income in Grand Junction and Denver surpasses Colorado's overall mean income for psychologists, which is $83,630. All of these numbers exceed the median income for Colorado at $36,345.
Colorado at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 13.25%
Population Growth Rank: 5
Source: United States Census Bureau
|State||Mean Annual Salary||Projected Job Growth (2016-26)|
|Grand Junction||Denver||Boulder||Fort Collins||Colorado Springs|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary||$89,970||$88,340||$83,000||$81,300||$80,730|
|General Unemployment Rate||3.5%||2.7%||2.4%||2.3%||3.4%|
|Education and Health Services
12-Month Employment Growth
Psychology Degrees and Careers in Colorado —
Frequently Asked Questions
When considering psychology colleges in Colorado, students may have questions about program quality, types, objectives, and timelines. The following section explores these questions, though students should consider all details to find the right program. For instance, a program with an addictions concentration may be ideal for some students, even if the program requires more time to complete.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Colorado?
A psychologist license in Colorado requires a doctorate, which can take 5-10 years to earn after finishing lower-level degrees, like a bachelor's and master's. Licensure also requires post-graduation fieldwork. Overall, candidates may invest 10-15 years in earning the educational requirements for becoming a psychologist. However, the licensure process itself only requires 1-2 months.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Yes. Earning an online psychology degree in Colorado is challenging because coursework examines physiology, theory, and research for psychological treatment and counseling. Candidates must thoroughly understand these concepts to help individuals recover from or manage problems like depression, grief, and addiction, which requires an in-depth education.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists need problem-solving skills and knowledge of issues that often arise during sessions. Candidates also benefit from research skills, which they use to consult publications and other professionals regarding client problems and treatment options. Other important skills include compassion and communication when discussing client needs and organizational skills for developing treatment plans.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Colorado?
U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Denver, and Colorado State University among the top 100 psychology programs in the U.S. Other strong programs include Colorado Technical University and the University of Northern Colorado, which both offer online opportunities.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that students' employment opportunities are similar regardless of degree choice because both degrees introduce learners to foundational concepts. APA suggests choosing programs that require coursework related to career and graduate school goals rather than focusing solely on BA or BS options.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Colorado
Make sure to confirm that your potential school is accredited. Accreditation is administered on the regional and national levels and ensures that a school or program meets specific academic standards. Generally speaking, a student should look for regionally accredited schools. This type of accreditation is more widely accepted and considered to be more prestigious.
National accreditation, on the other hand, tends to be used by for-profit schools and is not typically as rigorous or widely applicable. Online schools in Colorado receive regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
It is also important to check that your psychology program has subject-specific accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA), though APA does not accredit undergraduate programs. For licensure in Colorado and most other states, your doctorate needs to come from an APA-accredited program.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Colorado
Students and recent graduates can pursue many psychology internships and fellowships in Colorado. Internships provide practical experience and can be paid or unpaid. Learners tend to complete internships in exchange for academic credit while fellowships are almost always paid and typically filled by recent graduates of master's or doctorate programs. Fellowships allow students to gain work experience that they might not be able to receive through academic training alone.
A great place to find psychology internships in Colorado is the Children's Museum of Denver. Candidates can also gain experience at health institutes or medical centers, such as the Denver Health Medical Center or the VA Medical Center. Psychology colleges in Colorado may also offer on-campus internships. Degree-seekers can consult the following list for more information on internship opportunities.
Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo
This 449-bed hospital is one of the largest employers in Pueblo. Operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, this institute provides behavioral health services for adolescents and adults.
Aurora Mental Health Center
The Aurora Mental Health Center provides mental health programs and services, including individual, group, and family therapy; day treatment; vocational support; behavioral health screenings; psychological testing and evaluation; preventative and early intervention services; and other specialized services.
Colorado Mental Wellness Network
This statewide, nonprofit, peer-operated group helps people living in recovery and educates the public about mental illness. The network trains individuals to go into their communities and work in mental health treatment facilities to provide support, advocacy, and mentorship for people in recovery from mental health or substance abuse disorders.
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Children's Hospital Colorado operates PMHI, which offers clinical services and conducts interdisciplinary research in the areas of child and adolescent mental health. This center focuses on conditions such as eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
The Institute for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser's Institute for Health Research participates in evaluation research and clinical trials, publishing and disseminating their findings for the greater mental health community. Current mental health research projects include studies on depression and suicide prevention.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Professional organizations help psychologists stay current on ideas and technology used in the field by offering workshops, conferences, and seminars. At times, these events qualify as continuing education credits for license or certification renewal. Groups may also publish field journals, offer webinars, or list members in directories for professional exposure. Additional benefits may include job banks and resume feedback.
- Colorado Psychological Association CPA offers webinars that qualify for continuing education credits. Candidates can submit resumes for feedback and sign up for CPA's newsletter, The Colorado Psychologist. Other benefits include a list of open field positions and placement on CPA's directory of Colorado professionals. Members can participate in group activities at discount rates and seek professional guidance from the CPA Ethics Consultation.
- American Psychological Association APA hosts events like the Work, Stress, and Health Conference and delivers both in-person and virtual training opportunities. The group also offers resources for K-12 and college educators and connects professionals with continuing education options in different specializations, such as addiction or grief. Candidates can view jobs through the site and explore resources and APA publications on topics like eating disorders, suicide, and anxiety.
- Colorado Counseling Association CCA delivers seminars, workshops, conferences, networking opportunities, and information on Colorado licensure. The group advocates for improved practices in mental health and maintains a searchable member directory. Currently, CCA membership surpasses 24,000.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA publishes the Journal of Mental Health Counseling and The Advocate Magazine. Members can also participate in group webinars that count for continuing education requirements. These webinars address topics such as risk prevention, cancer patients, and marketing practices. The association also hosts events, including a yearly conference.
- Colorado Society of School Psychologists CSSP connects individuals to relevant organizations, including the Colorado Department of Education and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Members can access a job board and attend events like the Fall Conference, pre-conferences, and a networking breakfast. CSSP also offers the Crisis Response Team and PREPaRE training workshops for K-12 schools.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Colorado
University of Colorado Denver offers these awards to underrepresented undergraduate students studying the behavioral and biomedical sciences.
- Amount Offered: 60% of tuition for the final two years of school plus a stipend
- Scholarship Deadline: March 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Honors students majoring in biomedical or behavioral sciences with an interest in pursuing post-graduate education may apply.
The Sabine Scholarship in Psychology Award
Cornelia Sabine was a longtime supporter of the department of psychology at Colorado College. The school offers this scholarship to one of its psychology students each year in her memory.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: N/A
- Eligibility Requirements: An applicant must be a psychology major at Colorado College.
The NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Program
The National Association of School Psychologists created this program to support minority students who want to become school psychologists. The program includes mentorship opportunities.
- Amount Offered: $5,000
- Scholarship Deadline: October 30
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be an ethnic minority in one of the following groups: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, or Hispanic. They must also be full-time or part-time students, U.S. citizens, and NASP members with minimum 3.0 GPAs, enrolled in NASP-approved psychology programs.
Point Foundation LGBT Scholarships
The Point Foundation offers numerous scholarships for students who have experienced marginalization because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Applicants fill out one application to become eligible for a series of scholarships.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: January 29
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be students who have been marginalized because of their gender identities or sexual orientations. Specific eligibility varies by scholarship.
The American Psychological Foundation's Walter Katkovsky scholarships offer financial aid for licensed psychologists early in their careers (no more than 10 years out of school) to help them obtain training in psychopharmacology.
- Amount Offered: $5,000
- Scholarship Deadline: February
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have applied to a psychopharmacology program accredited by the APA, be early-career psychologists, and possess experience with research-based intervention as well as patients who have medical and psychological problems.
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship
The APA offers this award to graduate students conducting research related to child psychology. The goal of this program is to encourage young scholars to pursue careers in child psychology.
- Amount Offered: $25,000
- Scholarship Deadline: November 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have finished their doctoral candidacies, show competence in conducting research, and have IRB approval.
Early Career Psychologists Credentialing Scholarships
These scholarships are offered by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists to help cover application fees for aspiring health service psychologists.
- Amount Offered: Application fee cost
- Scholarship Deadline: October 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have graduated with a Ph.D. in the last 10 years from ASPPB/National Register-designated or APA/CPA-accredited programs and be licensed psychologists.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Colorado
If you know that you want to pursue an online psychology degree, Colorado offers many options. The following database includes all of the accredited online psychology programs in Colorado. This resource makes it easier to find an online psychology degree in Colorado that fits your academic and career goals.
Explore Psychology Careers
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Colorado
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Colorado's mental health endeavors reach 24.9% of state citizens. This percentage surpasses the national penetration rate of 23.7%. SAMHSA also reports that these numbers increase with certain age groups. In particular, Colorado's penetration rate for state residents who are under 18 exceeds 30%, whereas the national percentage for this age range is 28.5%.
Colorado's mental and psychological initiatives may contribute to the state's comparatively high penetration rates. For instance, the state participates in aspects of the Little Children, Big Challenges initiative, which helps children become analytical individuals who persevere through struggles. The state also offers Colorado Crisis Support Services and the Colorado Education Initiative, which help improve communities. Residents can also benefit from the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative, which promotes mental health among youth.
Funding sources for these Colorado programs include the Mental Health Block Grant and Medicaid.