Online psychology degrees in Georgia prepare graduates for many different professions. Most of these careers involve working with people and helping them overcome behavioral and mental health challenges, such as human services managers, educators, or counselors. Our guide offers information on possible careers and helps plot a course to a Georgia psychologist license.
Psychologists find work in schools, mental health centers, residential treatment facilities, or social service agencies. Graduates enjoy strong employment prospects in the state, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 32.4% increase in employment in Georgia through 2028 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. Continue reading to explore educational and career opportunities.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Georgia Work?
Most Georgia universities and colleges offer psychology programs, sometimes including online course offerings. Some students may reach their career goals through bachelor's or master's programs, while others go on to earn doctorates. Expect to dedicate four years toward an undergraduate degree and at least two more for a master's degree.
To become a licensed psychologist, you must complete a doctorate in psychology. Some programs welcome students with only a bachelor's degree, but usually students earn a master's degree before applying to a doctoral program.
Georgia licensing standards require psychologists to complete doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Currently, no online-only programs hold APA accreditation, though several Georgia universities offer high-quality on-campus programs for students seeking doctorates.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Georgia?
The core psychology curriculum varies little from school to school, with students exploring the biological and cognitive basis of human behavior. Exact course names can differ, however, as will electives and specializations.
This subsection of psychology explores how social interactions can affect one's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Social interactions or even one's perception of interactions often influence self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. This course observes cultural traditions, attitudes, stereotypes, and interpersonal relationships. Students can also explore various scientific methods used to study social psychology, such as observation and experimentation.
This course examines methods for behavioral assessment and functional analysis of individual behavior. Students can evaluate types of behavior therapy and the scientific evidence that supports each theory. Enrollees also discuss the hierarchy of complex behavioral problems, review current literature related to behavior therapy, design behavior change projects, and evaluate case studies.
This course introduces students to psychopathology, which is the study of mental illness. Enrollees learn the categories of common mental disorders and theoretical models that link emotional, behavioral, sociocultural, and cognitive factors to each disorder. Coursework explores how psychologists assess clients for disorders and develop reasoning skills to understand complex mental health concerns.
While children do not all develop skills at the same rate, psychology has identified several milestones for cognitive and emotional development. Understanding a child's capabilities at each age helps to identify developmental delays and access intervention services at an early age. This course examines the theories of child development and the impact of society, culture, or home environment.
Comparative psychology looks to the animal kingdom to better understand human behavior. This branch of psychology links biology to behavior and evolution, examining parallels between human behavior and animal behavior in foundational areas such as learning, choosing mates, and protecting young.
Online Psychology Degree Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Becoming a Psychologist in Georgia
Before psychologists can begin serving clients in the state, they must complete a lengthy education, pass rigorous exams, and satisfy supervised work requirements. The Georgia Board of Psychology oversees psychology licensing in the state and ensures psychologists adhere to the ethical and professional standards required under the law.
SpecializeA general psychology education offers students a broad understanding of psychological principles and theories. However, degree-seekers can tailor their training to specific career goals and interests through specializations. Typical areas of specialization include clinical and counseling psychology, educational psychology, or industrial psychology. Clinical psychologists may also choose a subspecialty, focusing on the treatment of a specific age group or population, such as children or military veterans.
Earn Your DegreesYou must earn an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related area, like human services or sociology. This four-year degree introduces aspiring psychologists to the theories and principles of psychology, research methods, and statistics. Most schools require a general education curriculum that develops critical thinking abilities and communication skills.
Many students pursue master's degrees in psychology, which typically require 2-3 years of study. Programs usually offer the chance to tailor your curriculum to your area of specialization, commonly requiring a thesis project and an internship.
Georgia requires licensed psychologists to complete doctoral degrees, which usually take 5-7 years. Some programs accept students without master's degrees, but your graduate work can shorten the time necessary to graduate. This degree requires a dissertation that demonstrates your research ability. Clinical programs must also include internships. While many schools offer online psychology degrees in Georgia for undergraduate and master's degrees, no schools offer an accredited online doctoral program.
Obtain LicensureAfter completing a doctorate in psychology, prospective psychologists must work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist for at least 1,500 hours. This work requirement may include post-doctoral fellowships.
Once you meet the work requirements, you can begin the licensing process. Applicants can indicate their areas of specialization on the application, such as counseling, clinical, or industrial psychology. They must also provide an affidavit of citizenship and pay a fee. Georgia requires psychologists to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and the Georgia Jurisprudence oral exam.
All psychology licenses expire on Dec. 31 of even-numbered years. Renewal requires completing 40 hours of continuing education every two years, including a course in professional ethics. The state charges a renewal fee.
Other Licenses and Certifications
While Georgia requires a doctorate in psychology for licensure, a master's in psychology or a related degree can open a variety of career opportunities. A psychometrist, for example, needs a bachelor's or master's degree and must work under the supervision of a psychologist, but they do not need a doctorate. Georgia also offers counseling licenses for individuals completing master's programs in the following areas.
LCSWs may diagnose and treat patients with mental illness or other behavioral disorders. They also provide help with other items of daily living, such as qualifying for housing services or food assistance, often connecting clients to nonprofit and governmental agencies for additional services.
These therapists focus on interpersonal relationships within family units. They can help members overcome conflict, address behavioral disorders, or assist with building strong relationship bonds. Treatment often includes one-on-one and group counseling sessions.
LPCs serve clients with a variety of mental health needs. They may work in hospitals, inpatient or outpatient treatment facilities, or private practice. Some counselors specialize in areas of substance use, adolescent counseling, or rehabilitation counseling.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Georgia
Aspiring psychologists in Georgia will find a state with a strong economy and growing demand for psychologists. The BLS projects clinical, counseling, and school psychologist employment to increase by 32.4% between 2018 and 2028 -- faster than the national average. The BLS also projects 31.7% employment growth for postsecondary psychology teachers and 5.1% growth for all other psychological specialties.
Georgia continues to attract new residents. It ranks 12th in the country for population growth. U.S. News & World Report ranked the state 12th for its economy, citing an overall job growth of 2.0% and a .6% net migration. Psychologists can enjoy a comfortable living in the state, with the average psychologist earning $95,940 compared to the state's median income of $29,668. Potential earnings vary by metropolitan area, with individuals in the Atlanta area commanding the highest salaries.
Georgia at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2020): 10.6%
Population Growth Rank: 12
Source: United States Census Bureau
|Average Annual Salary||Projected Job Growth (2018-28)|
Source: BLS, Projections Central
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary||General Unemployment Rate||Education and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth|
|Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Roswell||$102,110||2.2%||5.5%|
|Augusta - Richmond County||$76,710||2.5%||0.8%|
Psychology Degrees and Careers in Georgia — Frequently Asked Questions
Students considering an online psychology degree in Georgia may wonder about the learning format, class difficulty, and specific degrees they should choose. The questions below can help you identify the best school for your needs.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Georgia?
The time you need to complete psychology licensing requirements varies depending on your educational path and specializations. At a minimum, you should plan on four years for an undergraduate degree, seven years for a doctorate, and one year of supervised practice. Often, your doctoral education requires a full-time commitment.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Online classes offer the same rigorous curriculum as traditional classroom courses. However, the delivery method often requires students to practice time management and self-discipline to complete assignments on time. Some learners may find that they excel with this flexible learning format, while others thrive in a more structured academic environment. You should consider your learning style when choosing an online program.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to work with clients. Their assessment and diagnosis of patients often rely on keen observational abilities and active listening. Problem-solving and critical thinking abilities help them to develop treatment plans for complex mental health issues. The legal and ethical requirements of the profession call for detailed record-keeping and organization.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Georgia?
When choosing the best psychology school in Georgia, check that it holds regional accreditation and that its doctoral program is accredited by APA. Next, consider the specializations available and your specific career and research interests. Also, evaluate the opportunity for financial assistance through scholarships and fellowships.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?A bachelor of arts degree focuses on the human services component of psychology. Students can explore various branches of psychology, such as developmental, comparative, or clinical psychology. A bachelor of science degree prepares you for research-intensive education later on, with courses in statistical analysis and scientific research design. Which degree you select will depend on your long-term educational and career goals. Both degrees prepare students for graduate-level study.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Georgia
Institutions that offer online programs can be regionally, nationally, and programmatically accredited. Online psychology programs in Georgia receive regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Regional accreditation applies to liberal arts institutions 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.
National accreditors work with institutions across the country and usually accredit institutions that teach a specific trade.
National accreditors work with institutions across the country and usually accredit 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.
Psychology schools and programs may also receive programmatic accreditation. 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 APA. Programmatic accreditation ensures that a program maintains professional standards and adheres to certain academic guidelines.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Georgia
Many state licenses require students to complete a certain number of supervised hours, which can be fulfilled through internships and fellowships. In general, aspiring professionals can complete internships at any level while pursuing online psychology degrees in Georgia.
Internships can be paid or unpaid and usually lead to college credit, and they are favored by undergrads. Recent graduates and current students in master's or doctoral programs primarily take part in fellowships. A fellow usually receives a stipend for their work.
Hospitals, research centers, mental health facilities, and government agencies all offer practical learning opportunities for psychology students. Below, explore some of the opportunities available for internships and fellowships in Georgia. Consider your overall career goals when applying for internships, and try to match the work to your selected specialization.
Atlanta's Skyland Trail is a residential facility that treats adults, offering intensive outpatient and day treatment programs. Treatments are for issues like major depression, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
The Pastoral Institute, located in Columbus, provides counseling to couples, families, children, and individuals. The children's center provides services for children and teens, and the institute recently started a child and adolescent psychiatry program.
Mental Health Comprehensive Services
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 use therapy.
Owens Institute for Behavioral Research
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, delivery systems, and gambling.
Rural Health Research Institute
The RHRI focuses on 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.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Membership in a professional organization can help you stay informed about the latest research studies, new treatments or diagnostic tools, and available resources to assist your patients. These organizations also offer opportunities to build a network of mental health professionals, take part in state and national advocacy efforts, and gain recognition for professional accomplishments.
- Georgia Psychological Association This state association serves more than 950 members across many psychological specialties. GPA advocates for its members in front of the Georgia legislature, with a lobbying team and legal and legislative committees. Members gain access to continuing education programs and can take part in public education efforts. GPA also offers free ethics consultations, access to an online professional network, and listings on the organization's website and referral page.
- American Psychological Association This national organization supports students and early career psychologists with setting up their practices, offering help managing student loans and finding discounts on business and insurance services. APA also gives members five free continuing education credits each year, discounts on books and other materials, and access to the award-winning magazine Monitor on Psychology and the scientific journal American Psychologist.
- Georgia Counseling Association The statewide affiliate of the American Counseling Association offers regional networking events, continuing education opportunities, and public service events. Members enjoy participation in legislative and public advocacy projects. Members can also gain membership in the national organization with benefits like access to insurance and educational resources.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association In this organization, mental health counselors can stay up-to-date with professional training and access continuing education resources, including webinars and home study courses. Individuals can also save on training and certification in advanced behavioral sciences or forensic evaluation. It also offers certifications in multiple counseling specialties, such as substance use or military counseling.
- Georgia Association of School Psychologists GASP provides a professional organization dedicated to the needs of school psychologists. It offers state and regional professional activities, including workshops, conferences, and legislative advocacy. Members can access online discussions, a membership directory, and proprietary job listings. Annual awards offer professional recognition, and students can apply for scholarships.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Georgia
Georgia residents attending private colleges in the state can apply for aid from the GTEG program, which encourages Georgia residents to attend in-state colleges.
- Amount Offered: Up to $1,275 per year
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies by institution
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must be undergraduate students living in Georgia enrolled full time at an eligible private college who maintain certain academic standards.
This award is for Georgia National Guard and U.S. Military Reserve 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 total 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 eligible Georgia institutions.
GPSM gives funds to children of public safety officers in Georgia who were killed or permanently disabled while on the job.
- Amount Offered: Up to $18,000 per year
- Scholarship Deadline: Award is first-come, first-served while funds are available
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be attending eligible institutions in Georgia as full-time, undergraduate, degree-seeking students.
This scholarship, offered by Georgia College in honor of retired faculty member Dr. Bill McDaniel, is given in recognition of excellent student psychology research projects.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: March 18
- Eligibility Requirements: Students must be rising seniors for the upcoming fall semester, plan to graduate in the spring (or later) after the scholarship is awarded, and have completed a research project.
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 December
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be rising juniors or seniors pursuing a psychology major and nominated by a member of the faculty.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Georgia
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities operates a network of community-based providers to help residents overcome mental health and developmental disabilities and live independently. Providers focus on recovery from mental illness and helping individuals living with physical or cognitive disabilities live independently. Georgia's mental health professionals served 137,169 individuals in 2018, accounting for about 13.15% of Georgia's population.
Current initiatives focus on suicide and substance abuse prevention. The state works with agencies and nonprofit organizations on projects like the Georgia Teen Institute and Generation Prescription Drug, which educate young citizens about the dangers of illicit and prescription drugs. The Drugs Don't Work program addresses the workforce development needs of employers as well.
Georgia received a grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration in 2017 to develop a targeted response to the state's opioid crisis, with $11.8 million going toward increased access to treatment and reducing opioid-related deaths.
- Georgia 2018 uniform reporting system mental health data results. (2018).
- Georgia board of psychology. (n.d.).
- Georgia department of behavioral health and developmental disabilities: mental health for adults. (n.d.).
- Long-term occupational projections (2018-2028). (2021).
- Overview of Georgia. (2021).
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2021).
- U.S. census quickfacts. (2021).
- Williams R, et al. Census reports Georgia growth shift, setting up political battle lines. (2021).