Online Psychology Degree Programs in Iowa

| Staff Modified on March 22, 2022

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Psychologists earn a median salary of $79,010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, certain types of psychologists can take home even higher salaries. Industrial-organizational psychologists, for example, earn a median salary of $97,260, with the highest-paid 10% earning nearly $200,000. The BLS also projects 12-15% growth in various areas of professional psychology between 2018 and 2028.

Students pursuing psychology careers should start by earning psychology degrees. These programs develop the skills necessary for mental health professions by examining psychological disorders, research styles, and assessment strategies.

How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Iowa Work?

Schools with online and traditional psychology programs often require the same coursework for both options. This means students can earn quality degrees in either format, particularly since degrees may not mention the online delivery.

Some programs are 100% online, while others require on-campus experiences. An online master's in psychology in Iowa may also call for field experience that students complete in person. However, these experiences can take place with off-campus organizations.

Online psychology degrees in Iowa usually require the same amount of time to complete as in-person degrees. Some schools offer five or more online semesters throughout the year, which allows enrollees to graduate more quickly.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Iowa?

While specific coursework for psychology bachelor's and master's degrees in Iowa differs from school to school, most programs explore similar concepts. We have compiled a list of some sample courses below.

Introduction to Psychology

These bachelor's courses examine foundational concepts of psychology, including biological factors that shape mental wellness and behavior. Learners may examine the history and current theories of the field, along with methods for assessing needs and identifying psychological disorders. Topics include development, motivation, and the impact of environment on mental health and growth.

Developmental Psychology

In this course, bachelor's students study types of development, including physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and personality development. This may include one course about development throughout life or several courses that address stages like child, adolescent, and adult development. Classes may also include developmental concepts for abnormal psychology.

Social Psychology

Classes address the positive and negative impacts of environment, circumstances, and group settings on behavior and mentality. Coursework covers concepts such as conformity, groupthink, attraction, and positive or negative persuasion. Bachelor's programs often incorporate current theories and research into these courses.

Introduction to Counseling

Degree-seekers can learn about theories and methods for counseling sessions, including interview techniques. Courses may train learners to use information gathered during sessions to determine client needs and develop treatment plans. These bachelor's classes also cover ethical concerns for psychological counseling and research practices for exploring client medical histories.

Abnormal Psychology

Learners can study the biology of mental, personality, and behavioral disorders, including symptoms and treatments for abnormalities. Classes may also address the history of, societal reactions to, and prevention methods for disorders. Bachelor's programs offer these courses, but typically require introductory classes in basic psychology as prerequisites.

Becoming a Psychologist in Iowa

Candidates for Iowa licenses must fulfill education, fieldwork, and exam requirements, which vary based on the specific license. For instance, a psychologist should earn a psychology degree, while a licensed independent social worker may need a social work degree. The following sections survey the requirements for a psychology license and related credentials.

  • Specialize

    Specializations for online psychology degrees in Iowa may include child, clinical, counseling, educational, forensic, health, industrial-organizational, school, and sports psychology. These specializations allow students to focus on areas that relate to career goals. For example, a sports psychology specialist learns how to assist athletes, and a school psychology specialist learns how to help preK-12 students.
  • Earn Your Degrees

    In Iowa, a bachelor's in psychology frequently requires 120-125 credits in general education, major, and elective courses. These classes explore foundational psychology ideas that include developmental and biological concepts, along with assessment, treatment, and research skills related to mental or behavioral disorders. Candidates may also complete fieldwork for bachelor's programs. Psychology colleges in Iowa offer several of these degrees online. A master's, which requires 60-80 credits, examines psychology concepts in more depth and may require a thesis and practicum experience. Students can earn these degrees online through Iowa campuses. A doctorate takes 5-10 years to complete and calls for heavy research on a particular field topic. Psychologist licenses in Iowa require this degree. However, Iowa schools do not typically offer online psychology doctorates.
  • Obtain Licensure

    A licensed psychologist in Iowa should hold a psychology doctorate with specialized accreditation through the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)/National Register Designation Project also approves programs. Schools for these degrees should hold regional accreditation through agencies such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    Candidates must complete at least 10 months of supervised experience with a total minimum of 1,500 hours. Licensure also requires passing scores on the ASPPB examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP). This exam includes 225 questions that address psychology topics like assessment and bases of behavior. There is an exam registration fee.

Other Licenses and Certifications

Candidates can earn similar licenses and certifications to help communities and individuals in different ways. For instance, a marriage and family therapist can help married couples work through struggles. Like psychologists, though, these individuals must hold state licenses, which often require education, exams, and fieldwork. Below are a few examples of mental health careers.

Licensed Independent Social Worker

This licensure requires a Council on Social Work Education-approved master's degree, a minimum of 110 supervised field hours, and passing scores on the clinical exam from the Association of Social Work Boards.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Candidates need graduate degrees, preferably with accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Other requirements may include supervised experience, a license fee, and completion of an Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board assessment.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Applicants should hold relevant master's or doctoral degrees with specialized accreditation and must pay a license fee. Other criteria include supervised experience and passing scores on the national clinical mental health counselor examination or the national counselor examination.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Iowa

The BLS reports a national mean income of $95,610 for psychologists. However, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in certain metropolitan areas in Iowa earn salaries that, on average, surpass national expectations. These areas are Des Moines-West Des Moines ($97,140) and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island ($98,390). Mean incomes in these locations also surpass the average incomes for psychologists in Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Furthermore, education and health services positions in the Des Moines-West Des Moines area boast a 12-month growth projection of 3.3%, possibly due in part to the 3.6% projected increase for the Iowa population.

These growth projections and incomes indicate a positive employment outlook and high pay for candidates who earn online psychology degrees and pursue licensure in Iowa.

Iowa at a Glance

Population: 3,156,145

Population Growth (2010-2018): 3.6%

Population Growth Rank: 28

Source: United States Census Bureau

 Mean Annual SalaryProjected Job Growth (2016-26)
National Average$95,61010.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist SalaryGeneral Unemployment RateEducation and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Davenport - Moline - Rock Island$98,3903.8%-1.1%
Des Moines - West Des Moines$97,1402.5%3.3%
Iowa City$92,5702.1%N/A
Cedar Rapids$78,1102.9%-0.5%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in Iowa -- Frequently Asked Questions

Students may have questions when choosing psychology colleges in Iowa. For instance, learners may wonder what skills they need to excel, which degrees are most valuable, and how much time these programs require. The following section explores these questions in detail.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Iowa?

Earning a psychologist license in Iowa requires a doctorate. These degrees can take over five years to complete, in addition to time spent pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees. Other licensure requirements include at least 10 months of fieldwork. Altogether, candidates can invest over 10 years in obtaining this credential.

Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

Required courses for online psychology degrees in Iowa are often the same as classes for in-person programs. Typically, these courses cover technical concepts for physiology, research, and statistics, which means challenging coursework. However, degree-seekers who commit sufficient time and effort to coursework can complete all classes and fieldwork.

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?

Psychologists must understand the symptoms and treatment methods for different disorders and should excel at communication. Candidates also need compassion and patience to help push clients toward recovery. Other beneficial skills include organizational and problem-solving abilities for building treatment plans, research skills for examining new disorders, and practical experience with counseling methods for use with clients.

What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Iowa?

U.S. News & World Report ranks psychology programs at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University among the top 100 options in the nation. However, candidates should note that Iowa schools offer very few online degrees, particularly for graduate-level credentials.

Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

Often, course requirements are similar for BA and BS degrees. APA advises learners to focus on program coursework and experiences rather than the degree label because most programs share subject matter and lead to the same careers.

Featured Online 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.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Iowa

Psychology students should be mindful of their school's regional or national accreditation status. The regional accrediting body in Iowa is the HLC, which ensures that higher education institutions and programs in the state meet certain rigorous academic standards. Regional accreditation is most commonly awarded at the institutional level.

In psychology, students should also check that their programs are nationally accredited by APA. This accreditation is awarded to doctoral programs taught at regionally accredited institutions in the United States. While APA accreditation is not always mandatory to practice psychology, it is strongly recommended. Many states only recognize professionals who have earned APA-accredited doctoral degrees, and many employers only hire graduates from programs that have APA accreditation.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Iowa

For the most part, bachelor's and master's students pursue psychology internships, exchanging work for school credit. Fellowships are typically offered to doctoral students or postdoc graduates. These full-time positions allow Ph.D. candidates to satisfy a substantial portion of their required supervised clinical requirements. Fellowships are typically paid.

A psychology bachelor's or master's program in Iowa may require fieldwork at related organizations. These internships, practicums, or fellowships allow individuals to practice in practical settings, which can enhance resumes and skills. These experiences often take place in medical centers and health institutes. The groups below may offer Iowa learners opportunities for fieldwork.

Cherokee Mental Health Institute

The Cherokee Mental Health Institute is an inpatient psychiatric hospital that works with adults, children, and adolescents. A group of psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, and resident treatment workers provide group counseling, medication, activity therapy, and special education programs for patients.

Independence Mental Health Institute

Independence Mental Health Institute provides acute psychiatric services for adults, adolescents, and children in Iowa. The hospital delivers individualized care based on each patient's needs. Doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, therapists, and resident treatment workers make up the staff.

The DeLTA Center

The DeLTA Center addresses large-scale challenges in health and education by establishing new processes of learning and development. This information is passed on to the next generation of scientists and community partners.

Rural Telehealth Research Center

The Rural Telehealth Research Center conducts research related to telehealth in rural areas. The center aims to enhance rural access to care and advance the performance of telehealth systems across the nation.

Iowa Neuroscience Institute

As part of the University of Iowa, the Neuroscience Institute conducts research across many disciplines, including cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, cellular and molecular mechanisms, and translational neuroscience. The institute aims to disseminate research and information from the neuroscience community to the world.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Members of professional organizations can explore innovative field concepts through group publications and events. These groups may also deliver training that counts toward continuing education hours for license renewal. Organizations often offer job boards and professional directories that help members advance their careers and provide networking opportunities that encourage professional relationships.

  • Iowa Psychological Association IPA is the local chapter of APA, where psychology professionals can find continuing education opportunities. IPA also delivers the Spring Conference and connects members to training and field experiences, like Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship and the William R. Bliss Cancer Center Psychology Program. IPA also offers a searchable directory of local psychologists and gives members access to a job board for field positions.
  • American Psychological Association This association provides in-person and online events, including the National Council for the Social Studies and the EQ Coaching Workshop webinars. Candidates can explore books, journals, and reports that are published by APA and also search open field positions through the site. Additional benefits involve classroom resources for all grades, including graduate students.
  • American Counseling Association of Iowa Counselors can earn continuing education credits through the ACA Conference and Expo and the Professional Development Center. Members can also participate in 12 continuing education opportunities through ACA at no cost. ACA provides career resources and publishes academic books and journals.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association Members of AMHCA can attend the AMHCA Annual Conference and participate in continuing education options like webinars and home studies. The group also provides publications like the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, The Advocate Magazine, and AMHCA White Papers. Members can benefit from liability insurance, job listings, and reduced prices for study materials through the Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences.
  • Iowa School Psychologists Association This association offers a fall workshop with presentations and discussions. Other resources include podcasts on topics like English as a second language (ESL), high school dropout rates, and students with particularly difficult behavior. Members can also browse job listings by location and view articles on literacy and mental wellness in schools.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Iowa

Iowa UMF College Scholarships

Sponsored and funded by the Iowa United Methodist Foundation, these scholarships are available to students who demonstrate academic excellence and community leadership.

  • Amount Offered: $2,150
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate leadership, academic excellence, and faithful membership to the United Methodist Church.
Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarships

These scholarships reward students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to helping the LGBTQ+ community in Iowa.

  • Amount Offered: $52,000 over four years
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, community leadership, and financial need.
MGMA Midwest Section Scholarships

MGMA Midwest Section scholarships are available for undergraduate or graduate students in a medical practice or medical practice management field. Awards seek to advance these fields and reward future leaders.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000-$3,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be in a field related to medical practice and reside in the Midwest.
Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship

The Presbyterian Church provides these awards to students with financial need working toward their first degrees in the United States. The program rewards faith-based leadership and academic excellence.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $4,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Members of Presbyterian churches with minimum GPAs of 2.5 who demonstrate financial need and maintain current enrollment in accredited colleges or universities may apply.
Geis Memorial Award

Provided to a doctoral candidate working on research related to the psychology of women, APA designed this scholarship to help promote and advance feminist scholarship and psychology.

  • Amount Offered: $15,00
  • Scholarship Deadline: April 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be advanced doctoral candidates focusing their research on the psychology of women.
Janet Hyde Graduate Student Research Grant

This grant is awarded to doctoral students in psychology interested in research regarding gender and women in psychology.

  • Amount Offered: $500
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15 and September 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must complete proposal requirements.
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

APA designed this fellowship program to support graduate research in the field of child psychology and help to nurture future leaders in the field.

  • Amount Offered: $25,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: November 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence and possess an aptitude for research.
Benton-Meier Scholarships

APA offers this award for graduate students in neuropsychology to help advance the field.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have completed their doctoral candidacies and demonstrate a commitment to quality research.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Iowa

Students interested in earning online master's degrees in psychology in Iowa can consult the following list, which details every accredited online psychology program in the state. Comparing and contrasting multiple schools can help you to find the program that best matches your academic needs.

Explore Psychology Careers

Mental Health Initiatives in Iowa

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the penetration rate for mental health services in Iowa (59.96%) more than doubles the national penetration rate (23.69%). These numbers represent every 1,000 citizens. Iowa rates are even higher for certain groups. For instance, the penetration rates for ages 0-12, 13-17, 18-20, and 25-44 in the state all surpass 70%.

The state's Division of Mental Health and Disability Services provides assistance that contributes to these high rates. This division helps with inpatient psychiatric care by offering CareMatch. Through this program, hospitals can alert other medical organizations about any space they have available for psychiatric patients.

The state also offers the Children's Mental Health and Well-Being Advisory Committee, the Tertiary Care Psychiatric Hospitals Workgroup, and Medicaid Targeted Case Management. These groups push for improved environments and practices in psychiatric care.

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