With about 22 million residents, Florida needs more mental health professionals to serve one of the most highly populated areas of the country.
As of 2019, there were about 44,000 licensed mental health professionals in the state, or about 10 mental health professionals for every 5,000 residents, based on the state's population at the time.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that psychologist employment in Florida will grow by nearly 27% from 2018-2028 — much faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations. Florida is also one of the top employers of psychologists in the country and among the top 10 highest paying states for psychologists.
|Job Title||Lowest 10%||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10%|
|Clinical and counseling psychologists||$38,790||$70,320||$166,460|
|Industrial-organizational psychologists||Data not available||Data not available||Data not available|
|Psychologists, all other||$48,690||$104,720||$127,590|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Online Doctorate Programs in Psychology
Psychologist Licensing in Florida
To become a licensed psychologist in Florida, you must meet the state's education, experience, and exam requirements.
First, each candidate must complete a doctoral degree — a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D in psychology — accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). You will also need to accumulate 4,000 hours of supervised experience before applying: 2,000 hours from an internship and 2,000 hours from post-doctoral supervised experience.
The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) is the standard exam required in all states to practice as a psychologist. Once you've taken and passed the EPPP, you can request a score transfer from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
Unlike other states, you also need to pass the State Department of Health Psychology Laws and Rules exam to practice as a psychologist in Florida. It covers state statutes and rules relevant to the practice of psychology.
When you send your application, you must also request to send your doctoral transcripts to the board. Your university, ASPBB's Mobility Program, the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, and the National Student Clearinghouse will send transcripts upon request.
To obtain licensure in psychology in Florida, applicants must meet the following requirements:
Hold a doctoral degree from an APA accredited psychology program Completion of 4,000 hours of supervised experience: 2,000 hours from post-doctoral supervised experience and 2,000 hours from an internship Passing scores on the EPPP (a score of 500)
Demand for Psychology in Florida
As the third-most populous state in the U.S., Florida has consistently seen high demand for mental health professionals. The pandemic only heightened the existing shortage of therapists, and the need for mental healthcare shows no sign of letting up.
The country's Southeast region continues to experience an opioid epidemic, which has been steadily growing for the last two decades. The Tampa Bay region's overdose rate has been reported to be significantly higher than the national average.
Substance abuse psychologists and addiction counselors are in especially high demand. According to the BLS, Florida's location quotient for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is .69, meaning that compared to the rest of the country, Florida has a disproportionately low ratio of therapists compared to the general population of the state.
In 2022, the state allocated record amounts of funding toward community mental health and substance abuse disorder facilities. Access to mental healthcare in rural parts of the state is another area of concern. Over 700,000 people live in Florida's rural counties, many of whom lack access to providers.
Florida's Bill SB 358, approved in late 2021, may help the situation. The legislation will allow Florida-based mental health professionals to provide therapy, including teletherapy, in other member states and vice-versa. Floridians would have access to a wider range of providers, especially rural residents, who are good candidates for teletherapy.
The act will not take effect until 10 states join the compact, which could take months or years. Still, the legislation signals a more flexible future for Florida-based mental health professionals.