Online Psychology Degrees in Georgia

Mental health positions are expected to increase across the country and in the state of Georgia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of marriage and family therapist jobs in the United States will increase by 20%, with the same job in Georgia expected to increase by 20.9%. Substance abuse and behavioral counselor jobs are also projected to grow by 20% across the country and by by 23.9% in Georgia. In many other related professions, such as social work and school counseling, Georgia should experience average or faster than average growth. With strong projections for mental health jobs and an increased focus on access to mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment across the state, pursuing an online psychology degree in Georgia has many advantages.

Mental Health Initiatives in Georgia

The state of Georgia is focused on increasing access to mental healthcare, especially for children, and preventing and treating problems related to the ongoing opioid crisis. SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Barometer for Georgia notes that adults access mental health services at a rate lower than the national average, while enrollment in substance use treatment programs has increased since 2011. According to Mental Health America of Georgia, 149 Georgia counties suffer from mental health professional shortages, and better access to care needs to be provided in these areas.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is the state department that focuses on mental health. The DBHDD has a commission on children’s mental health, which works to increase access to behavioral health services, develop four new children’s behavioral health treatment sites, and prevent suicide in young adults. The state is also invested in treating and preventing opioid-related issues. Georgia recently received an $11.8 million federal grant to combat this problem; this money is being used by the DBHDD and other community providers.

How do I Become a Psychologist in Georgia?

Counselors, therapists, and psychologists often need to obtain licensure from the state where they practice. While many states have similar requirements, such as passing an exam and a completing a number of supervised hours, the specifics vary. Differences include various application fees and other necessary application materials, such as supplementary exams or letters of recommendation.

Choose the Path That’s Right for You: The minimum degree required to become a psychologist or counselor varies based on what type of license is needed in the state where you plan to practice. Licensed psychologists generally need to have a doctorate, and some states also specify a programmatic accreditor for psychology programs. Counselors and therapists usually need at least a master’s degree. Individuals who plan to teach psychology at the college level also need a doctorate. You should consider your desired career path before choosing an institution. For example, students who plan to become licensed marriage and family therapists in Georgia need to ensure that they earn a degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Earn Your Degree: Earning a master’s in psychology online in Georgia has many advantages, including being able to attend schools not in your immediate area and having access to a more flexible schedule. However, be sure that the online degree you pursue is accredited by the appropriate councils and agencies. Application requirements differ by degree level and institution; check with a program to determine the exact prerequisites before applying. Many programs, licensing agencies, and employers require students to complete clinicals, internships, and/or practicums while in school. Individuals also need to finish a certain number of postdoctoral training hours after graduating. These can be completed through fellowships. The overall degree length also varies based on the level of the degree, number of required credits and practicum hours, and whether you attend school as a part- or full-time student.

Earn Your License: Licensure requirements vary by license and state. For example, licensed psychologists in Georgia need to pass a national exam, state exam, and oral exam. Individuals differ in the amount of study time they should undertake for these tests, but psychology graduates should plan on devoting multiple weeks or months to the task. Exams vary in length, with many containing close to 200 questions. The costs also differ by exam, ranging from $195 to $600. Your master’s or doctorate program should prepare you for much of the exam material, but don’t underestimate the value of studying. You can also take practice exams to help prepare. Obtaining certification and becoming a licensed professional does not guarantee you a job as a psychologist or counselor, but it is nearly impossible to progress in your career without a license.

Psychology Licensing in Georgia

Psychologists, counselors, therapists, and social workers can pursue several licenses in Georgia. Each certification has its own exam, fees, education, and experience requirements. It is important to determine which license to pursue early in your academic career because some licenses require that a professional earn their degree from a program that has been accredited by certain field-related accrediting bodies. The following table breaks down the requirements and fees for different psychology licenses in Georgia.

Licensed Psychologist

Prerequisites:

  • $100 application initiation fee
  • $200 ASPPB fee
  • Pass EPPP exam ($600 fee)
  • Pass oral exam
  • Pass Georgia laws and rules exam ($85 fee)
  • APA-accredited doctoral degree
  • Postdoctoral supervised work experience

Careers Available With This License: Clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, school psychologist, child psychologist

Total Fees: $985

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Prerequisites:

  • $100 application fee
  • Pass ASWB exam ($230 fee)
  • Master’s degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program
  • Two references
  • Directed experience
  • 120 hours supervised experience

Careers Available With This License: Clinical social worker, school social worker, community health social worker, government agency social worker, social and human service assistant

Total Fees: $330

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

Prerequisites:

  • $100 application fee
  • Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy (or similar) from a program accredited by the COAMFTE
  • Pass NMFT exam ($350 fee)
  • 500 internship hours
  • Supervised clinical experience
  • Two references

Careers Available With This License: Marriage and family therapist, mental health counselor, social service therapist, school counselor

Total Fees: $450

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

Prerequisites:

  • Master’s degree from regionally-accredited institution with at least 48 credit hours in nine required content areas
  • Supervised internship experience
  • 100 hours of postgraduate supervised experience
  • 3,000 hours of counseling work
  • Pass NCE or NCMHCE exam ($195 fee)

Careers Available With This License: Career counselor, mental health counselor, family counselor, school counselor; the NCC is a board certification and not a state license

Total Fees: $195

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Georgia

Many state licenses for psychologists and counselors require students to complete a certain number of supervised hours; these can be accomplished through internships and fellowships. In general, internships can be completed by students at any level while they pursue an online psychology degree in Georgia. These positions can be paid or unpaid and usually lead to college credit. Alternatively, fellowships are primarily filled by graduate students in master’s or doctoral programs or by individuals who recently graduated. Fellows often receive a stipend for their work, which is usually academic in nature. Students pursuing a doctorate or master’s in psychology online in Georgia can apply for the following internships and fellowships.

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Forensic Psychology: This fellowship is offered through a partnership between Augusta University and East Central Regional Hospital. There are two positions available, and fellows receive a yearly salary of $50,000. Applicants must complete their graduate program before beginning the fellowship, and students who completed a Ph.D or PsyD in clinical psychology from an APA-accredited program receive preference.
  • Medical College of Georgia-Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center Psychology Internship: This program offers 10 internships with six different track options. Interns earn a stipend of $24,014. Students participate in this APA-accredited internship in Augusta. Applicants must be enrolled in APA-accredited doctoral programs and have completed at least three years of school.
  • Georgia Pediatric Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship: This 12-month fellowship in clinical child psychology focuses on pediatric psychology, and fellows earn experience in multiple psychiatric and developmental areas. Applicants must have completed an APA-accredited doctoral program and have experience in child psychology.

Psychology Careers in Georgia

Jobs for psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors in Georgia are growing. According to Projections Central, jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will grow by 24.3%, while jobs for psychiatrists are projected to grow by 19.0%. Additionally, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling jobs should see an increase of 23.9%. The recent federal grant awarded to the Georgia DBHDD to help address the statewide opioid crisis should also spur growth in this area. Additionally, Georgia has a state commission focused specifically on children’s behavioral health; a specialization in child psychology may be a particularly good choice for employment in the state.

How Much do Psychologists Make in Georgia?

Georgia employs 2,410 psychologists; more than 2,000 of those professionals work as clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. Psychologists in the state make slightly above the national average in terms of their hourly and annual mean wage. 2,555 mental health counselors also work in Georgia; they receive an annual mean wage of $43,640. Salaries earned by psychologists and counselors typically differ based on their level of education, years of experience, and location.

 EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Georgia2,410$40.17$83,555
United States122,310$38.77$80,640

Source: BLS

Mental Health Service Providers in Georgia

The Peach State is one of the largest in the country by population and has many cities where graduates of psychology programs in Georgia can look for work. Mental health service providers are a top choice for employment, and these service providers typically offer ample job opportunities for individuals interested in counseling positions.

  • Skyland Trail: Atlanta’s Skyland Trail is a residential facility that treats adults in areas including major depression, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The facility also has intensive outpatient and day treatment programs where clients receive treatment each weekday.
  • Pastoral Institute: The Pastoral Institute, located in the city of Columbus, provides counseling to couples, families, children, and individuals. The children’s center offers services to children and teens, and the institute recently started a child and adolescent psychiatry program.
  • Eating Disorders Recovery Center of Athens: The EDRCA focuses on eating disorders, including anorexia, compulsive eating, and bulimia. The center also offers individual and group treatment related to aging, pain management, and assessment and treatment services.
  • Mental Health Comprehensive Services (MHCS): Located in Atlanta, MHCS has over 30 staff members and provides mental health services to patients of all ages. Services include couples, family, and individual therapy; group therapy; and medication management and substance abuse therapy.
  • Gateway Behavioral Health Services: This community-based, public organization offers mental health services to residents of eight different counties in coastal Georgia. Services vary by county but include child, adolescent, and adult mental health programs and addictive disease counseling and care.

Mental Health Research Centers in Georgia

Not all graduates who earn an online psychology degree in Georgia want to work for service providers; some may prefer to focus on the research aspect of mental health. Finding a region with multiple mental health research centers can lead to more job and internship opportunities. Georgia’s large cities and state universities house several research centers focused on mental and behavioral health.

  • Owens Institute for Behavioral Research (OIBR): The OIBR is part of the University of Georgia and focuses on social and behavioral research. Centers within the institute focus on family research, behavioral health and delivery systems, and gambling.
  • Rural Health Research Institute: The RHRI focuses on many rural health issues, including mental health. Part of Georgia Southern University, this institute works on several federally-funded issues, including senior wellness. The founding directors of the RHRI published one of the first texts focused on the mental health needs of rural communities.
  • Grady Behavioral Health Services: GBHS, located in Atlanta, is the largest hospital in the state and hosts the largest mental health academic community in the region. Grady’s behavioral health services include research and treatment of behavioral health issues. Research at Grady has also addressed trauma and schizophrenia.

Professional Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

Professional organizations are not only for licensed psychology professionals; they can also help students and recent graduates who earned an online psychology degree in Georgia. In addition to student membership rates, these organizations offer newsletters, job boards, professional development, and networking opportunities, including yearly conferences and events. Joining as a student or recent graduate is also helpful when looking for practicums, internships, and career advice. The list below mentions a few of Georgia’s professional organizations for workers in mental health.

  • Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA): LPCA members have access to free workshops, newsletters, and regional conventions. Students working on their licensure can also receive aid during exam preparation.
  • Georgia Psychological Association (GPA): The GPA offers continuing education opportunities with discounted registration costs for members, eNewsletters, opportunities for volunteering and involvement, and exclusive partner discounts for members. Undergraduate and graduate students can take advantage of a low $35 student membership.
  • National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Georgia: NAMI Georgia provides healthcare and works to increase acceptance for those suffering from mental health. Members receive the NAMI Advocate magazine and discounts at the national convention.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Programs in Georgia

Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program (GTEG)

Georgia residents attending private colleges in the state can apply for aid from the GTEG program. Its purpose is to encourage Georgia residents to attend an in-state college.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $1,425 per year
  • Scholarship Deadline: Varies by institution
  • Eligibility Requirements: Students must be Georgia residents enrolled full-time at an eligible private college in Georgia, be an undergraduate student working towards a degree, and maintain certain academic standards.

Georgia HERO Scholarship

This award is for Georgia National Guard and U.S. Military Reserves members who have been in combat zones; the spouses or children of these individuals are also eligible.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $2,000 per academic year with a maximum of $8,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Award is first come, first served while funds are available
  • Eligibility Requirements: Categories for eligibility vary and include stipulations regarding dates and terms of service in active combat zones as well as age limits for the children of military members. Scholarship recipients must attend an eligible Georgia institution.

Georgia Public Safety Memorial (GPSM) Grant

The GPSM gives funds to children of public safety officers in Georgia who were killed or permanently disabled while on the job.

  • Amount Offered: Award can include the total cost of attendance (up to $18,000 per year)
  • Scholarship Deadline: Award is first come, first served while funds are available
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be attending an eligible institution in Georgia as a full-time undergraduate, degree-seeking student.

Georgia State University Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Scholars Program

In-state graduate tuition for up to 60 credits, fees for five full-time semesters, stipend for supplies and books, and reimbursement for the prep course and exam fees for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam

  • Amount Offered: In-state graduate tuition for up to 60 credits, fees for five full-time semesters, stipend for supplies and books, and reimbursement for the prep course and exam fees for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam
  • Scholarship Deadline: Indicate interest in admissions essay
  • Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be U.S. citizens, accepted to the graduate program at GSU, agree to participate in a specific internship, and agree to work for a state rehabilitation agency (or similar) within two years of completing the program for a specified period of time.

College of Coastal Georgia Jane N. Marquess Psychology Scholarship

The Jane N. Marquess scholarship is awarded to a College of Coastal Georgia student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: January 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must have completed core courses, been admitted to the psychology degree program, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and be recommended by the faculty.

Georgia College McDaniel Research Scholarship

Given in honor of retired faculty member Dr. Bill McDaniel, this scholarship is given to students in recognition of excellent psychology research projects.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 18
  • Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a rising senior for the upcoming fall, plan to graduate in the spring (or later) after the scholarship is awarded, and complete a research project.

Georgia College Clyde E. Keeler Award

Given in honor of professor Clyde Keeler, this award is awarded to undergraduate students for completing research projects in the departments of psychological science, chemistry and physics, or biological and environmental science.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: End of the fall semester
  • Eligibility Requirements: The research project must have been completed no more than two years before the fall deadline. The project must have been experimental and submitted with a report that followed certain formatting requirements.

Georgia State University Elizabeth A. Kenny Scholarship in Psychology

This scholarship is awarded to a psychology major who is a rising junior or senior at Georgia State University.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: End of February
  • Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a rising junior or senior, pursuing a psychology major, and be nominated by a member of the faculty.

Georgia State University Outstanding Psychology Honors Student

The Outstanding Psychology Honors award is given to a psychology major at GSU.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline:End of February
  • Eligibility Requirements: Student must graduate in the fall, spring, or summer of the year during which the award is given and be an honors student in the psychology department.

Georgia State University Theresa Nash Bernstein Scholarship

Awarded to undergraduate or graduate students, this award allows an individual to travel abroad for study or research.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: End of February
  • Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be undergraduate or graduate students in psychology who plan to travel abroad for academic purposes.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Georgia

Institutions that offer online programs can be regionally, nationally, and/or programmatically accredited. Online psychology programs in Georgia receive regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). The SACSCOC accredits institutions in over 10 states, from Texas to Virginia. As regional accreditation applies to many different institutions in the area, it is very standardized and is considered the most rigorous form of accreditation. Some institutions only accept transfer credits from other regionally-accredited colleges and universities. Additionally, some state licenses and psychology Ph.D programs in Georgia require applicants to have a regionally-accredited degree.

An alternative to regional accreditation is national accreditation. A national accreditor works with institutions across the country and usually accredits institutions that teach a specific trade. Credits and degrees from nationally-accredited colleges may not be recognized by other schools. However, students at both nationally- and regionally-accredited institutions can receive federal financial aid.

There is also programmatic accreditation for psychology schools and programs. For example, a marriage and family therapy program can be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and a psychology doctoral program can be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Programmatic accreditation ensures that a program maintains professional standards and adheres to certain guidelines.

Program Database of Online Psychology Programs in Georgia

With a number of research centers, mental health providers, and accredited institutions, Georgia provides future psychologists with many resources and job opportunities. When considering an online psychology degree in Georgia, it is important to enroll in an accredited program. The database below contains all of the accredited online psychology programs offered in the state and should help make your search easier.