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Online Psychology Degree Programs in Kentucky

Psychologists serve an integral function in helping Americans address mental health, substance abuse, trauma, and other challenges. Those who study psychology can demystify the inner workings of the mind and how various processes affect human behavior.

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 14% national employment growth rate for psychologists, as compared to the 5% projected for all occupations. Furthermore, psychologists earned an annual median wage of $79,010 in May 2018. Kentucky boasts some of the nation's best psychology programs. Kentucky State University and the University of Louisville both make the U.S. News & World Report's ranking of more than 200 of the nation's best psychology schools in the nation.

This page provides information about pursuing online psychology degrees in Kentucky, including coursework, licensure requirements for psychologists, salaries, and job outlook.

How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Kentucky Work?

Individuals interested in enrolling in online psychology programs in Kentucky have several options to explore. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) administers a robust psychology program that offers fully online undergraduate and graduate programs. Kentucky State University (KSU) features a fully online BA in psychology. Some Kentucky schools unofficially offer hybrid options by allowing learners to complete some general education courses online.

Online programs generally take the same number of years to complete as traditional programs. Some colleges allow students to transfer undergraduate credits, facilitating faster degree completion. Most online programs offer an asynchronous format where students log on to view courses at their convenience and complete them within the established timeline. Some programs require synchronous attendance, where students log on to classes at assigned times.

Typically, the same faculty who teach on-campus programs teach the online versions, which ensures parity. Employers value regionally accredited online degrees just as much as they do on-campus diplomas, especially considering the increasing popularity of the online format.

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

When students pursue undergraduate online psychology degrees, they study topics such as perception and behavior, developmental psychology, and abnormal psychology. At the graduate level, students can dive deeper into these issues and begin to specialize their curricula to address areas of interest. The following list includes five common undergraduate courses.

Brain, Mind, and Behavior

Students learn about the inner workings of the brain, its functions, and processes like learning, memory, language acquisition, and dreaming. Degree-seekers can also learn how brain malfunction leads to diseases such as Parkinson's and schizophrenia.

Developmental Psychology

In this course, faculty members teach students how early childhood experiences and biological factors help develop an individual's intellect, personality, and behavior. Learners examine the works of key psychologists such as Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud to explore theories and research in developmental psychology.

Abnormal Psychology

Degree-seekers in this course receive an overview of the different perspectives psychologists use to understand and treat disorders that stem from abnormal psychology, such as mood disorders, psychopathology, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Psychology of Personality

Learners examine various personality theories and their application in clinical, social, and research contexts. Students study classic theories of personality, such as trait, psychodynamic, and humanist, and learn about Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, and Sandra Bem, whose work all contributed to the field of personality.

Positive Psychology

The subdiscipline of positive psychology is a growing field, and this course is increasingly popular on many campuses. Faculty introduce learners to empirical evidence that demonstrates how positive emotions and traits such as resilience and optimism contribute to better health and greater happiness in lives and relationships.

Becoming a Psychologist in Kentucky

Those interested in psychology careers must fulfill the educational and training requirements necessary for state licensure in Kentucky. The following section outlines the benefits of choosing a specialization, what students can expect in undergraduate and graduate programs, and how to obtain licensure.

  • Specialize

    The field of psychology offers various subdisciplines for specialization. Degree-seekers should select specializations as early as possible in their academic careers. The American Psychological Association (APA) is the leading organization representing psychologists in the United States; it manages 54 divisions, including behavior analysis, clinical, rehabilitation, developmental, and experimental psychology. The APA website provides comprehensive information for students and practitioners, plus discounted membership for students.

  • Earn Your Degrees

    Individuals should begin their studies in psychological science with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a major in the behavioral sciences. Some schools, such as EKU, offer a generous transfer policy to accelerate degree completion. Learners can typically complete their bachelor's degrees in four years.

    A master's program typically takes two years to complete, but psychology colleges in Kentucky may offer programs that learners complete in as few as 16-18 months. Students can earn online master's degrees in psychology in Kentucky from EKU, with specializations in applied behavior analysis or industrial-organizational psychology. Other schools offer master's programs in psychology that students complete on campus. Students interested in online doctoral programs will find limited options in the state.

    Whether students complete graduate degrees online or on campus, they will likely need to complete internships or practicum experiences at mental health organizations or facilities.

  • Obtain Licensure

    Most states require mental health professionals to obtain licensure, and Kentucky is no exception. The Board of Examiners of Psychology oversees psychologist licensing in Kentucky. Candidates must have a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. awarded by a regionally accredited institution. Candidates must also demonstrate at least 1,800 hours of supervised post-doctoral practice experience earned in one calendar year.

    Candidates must then sit for the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP), a national board exam administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The computerized EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions, and candidates must also pass an oral examination. Both tests require testing fees.

    State licensure also requires a fee, and candidates must declare a specialization when they apply. The board recognizes counseling, clinical, school, and industrial-organizational psychology specializations.

Other Licenses and Certifications

Not everyone interested in a career as a mental health professional will earn a doctorate or pursue a career as a licensed psychologist. Individuals who hold a master's degree can enjoy rewarding careers as social workers, marriage and family therapists, or licensed professional counselors. Below, we outline the licensure requirements for each of these professions.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The Kentucky Board of Social Work requires a master's degree in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and at least 200 hours of supervised, post-master's experience for licensure eligibility. Each candidate must apply to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards clinical-level examination.

Marriage and Family Therapist

The Kentucky Board of Marriage and Family Therapists requires MFT candidates to hold a master's degree in MFT, counseling, or a related field from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. The degree must include a 300-hour practicum of direct client contact. The board awards associate MFTs to eligible candidates, which makes them eligible to sit for the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards national exam.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

The Kentucky Board of Licensure for Professional Counselors requires candidates to hold 60-credit master's degrees in counseling or a related field from regionally accredited colleges. They must complete 4,000 hours of supervised post-master's experience that include 1,600 hours of direct counseling. Candidates must either pass the national counselor exam or the national clinical mental health counseling examination for licensure.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Kentucky

The BLS provides national and state data highlighting job prospects for psychologists. The agency projects an overall 14% national growth rate for psychologists between 2018-2028. Comparably, the average growth rate for all occupations is 5%. About 150 psychologists work in Kentucky, making an annual mean wage of $91,020. Psychologists in Kentucky make more money than those who work in Indiana ($88,470), Illinois ($87,410), Tennessee ($87,260), and West Virginia ($82,970), but less than those who work in Virginia ($97,200).

Students interested in pursuing psychology careers can find more career options in metropolitan areas like Louisville-Jefferson and Lexington-Fayette counties. Overall, Kentucky ranks modestly at 40th on U.S. News & World Report's overall rankings, ranking 39th in economy and 44th in healthcare. Kentucky fares much better when it comes to access to healthcare, landing at 17th in that category.

Kentucky at a Glance

Population: 4,468,402

Population Growth (2010-2018): 2.97%

Population Growth Rank: 32

Source: United States Census Bureau

Salary and Projected Job Growth for Psychologists in Kentucky Compared to Nearby States
  Mean Annual Salary Projected Job Growth (2016-26)
Kentucky $91,020 4.8%
Tennessee $87,260 4.3%
Illinois $87,410 N/A
Indiana $88,470 13.6%
Ohio $92,900 8.7%
West Virginia $82,970 13.3%
National Average $95,610 10.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Economies of Metropolitan Areas in Kentucky
  Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary General Unemployment Rate Education and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Louisville - Jefferson County $95,900 3.8% 3.0%
Huntington - Ashland $91,950 5.0% 1.4%
Cincinnati $89,600 3.9% 5.0%
Lexington - Fayette $86,590 3.4% 3.6%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in Kentucky -- Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals interested in online psychology degrees in Kentucky may have questions about the coursework's degree of difficulty, which schools offer online programs, and what skills students need to master for successful careers as psychologists. Here are the answers to a few common questions.

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

An aspiring psychologist will need to earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree, meaning a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. A bachelor's degree takes four years without transfer credit, and a master's takes two years, though some schools may offer accelerated programs. The Ph.D. takes 5-7 years; the Psy.D., 4-6 years; and the Ed.D., 3-5 years to complete. Candidates must also complete at least 1,800 hours of supervised post-doctoral practice experience for licensure.

Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

Psychology coursework becomes increasingly difficult as students advance from the baccalaureate level up to graduate studies. Enrollees should expect to complete coursework in statistics and research methodologies, which may pose a challenge for some students. As the coursework advances, students complete a mix of theoretical and clinical coursework made easier if they pursue faculty mentorships.

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?

Aspiring psychologists should develop finely-tuned communication skills to interact with clients and peers. Psychologists need advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills to help clients address complex issues. Superb listening skills can help these mental health professionals establish and maintain effective therapeutic relationships with clients.

What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Kentucky?

There are a few options for psychology degrees in Kentucky. KSU offers a fully online BA in psychology, but no online graduate degrees. EKU features an online bachelor's degree in psychology with seven specializations, including autism spectrum disorders, forensic psychology, child and family psychology, and psychiatric rehabilitation. EKU also offers master's programs in applied behavior analysis and industrial-organizational psychology.

Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

A BS in psychology provides a strong science background that a BA does not offer, but both degrees can be a great foundation for a psychology master's. The BA's curriculum focuses on liberal arts while the BS requires more laboratory work, experiments, and research. Students should always consult with college advisors to develop academic and career plans.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Kentucky

Whether you're considering a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate, you should ensure that your school maintains accreditation when choosing an online psychology degree in Kentucky. Accreditation is the process by which school are assessed and legitimized by government and industry agencies. Psychology colleges in Kentucky typically need regional accreditation, while individual programs receive accreditation from specific governing agencies for psychology.

For psychology programs, the gold standard is accreditation from APA, which only accredits doctoral programs. There are other accrediting organizations for master's programs, like the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or the National Association of School Psychologists.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Kentucky

The terms "internship" and "fellowship" are often used interchangeably, as both offer opportunities for students to augment their academic work with professional experience. However, internships are typically available to both undergraduates and graduate students, while fellowships are usually reserved for students at the graduate or doctoral level. Internships may be paid or unpaid, while fellowships typically include a stipend.

Internships provide undergraduate and graduate psychology students with paid or unpaid practical experience at mental health organizations. Fellowships are typically paid, and they provide post-doc students with supervised, specialized training that meets licensure requirements. The following list includes several organizations that offer these opportunities.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Psychiatric Center Hazard

ARH's Psychiatric Center in Hazard offers full inpatient behavioral and mental health services to a 21-county region in Eastern Kentucky.

Adanta Community Mental Health Center

Based in and around central Kentucky, Adanta provides clinical, human development, and regional drug prevention services, including mental healthcare, child and family services, substance abuse treatment, and developmental disability treatment.

Pennyroyal Center

Established in 1967, Pennyroyal is a community healthcare organization that serves eight Western Kentucky counties, offering mental health services, crisis and emergency management, substance abuse counseling, and intellectual and developmental disability services.

University of Kentucky Rural and Underserved Health Research Center

Dedicated to improving healthcare in rural areas, UK's research center focuses on access and quality of services, including mental healthcare.

University of Louisville Behavioral Health Alliance

As part of UL's School of Medicine, Behavioral Health Alliance works to improve the quality of and access to mental and behavioral services in Kentucky through training and research.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Professional organizations provide students and practicing psychologists with invaluable resources that help advance their studies and careers. Member benefits include access to the latest research, publications, professional development, and networking opportunities. The following list features five prominent psychology organizations in Kentucky.

  • American Psychological Association APA boasts a membership of 118,000 clinicians, researchers, educators, and students. The organization oversees 54 divisions representing subdisciplines, such as clinical, developmental, and industrial-organizational psychology. Member benefits include access to publications, professional development opportunities, and professional liability insurance.
  • Kentucky Psychological Association Since 1932, KPA has represented the interests of psychologists in Kentucky. Membership includes undergraduate and post-doctoral students, and benefits include professional advocacy, access to continuing education events, networking and referrals, and free practice consultations.
  • Kentucky Counseling Association KCA is the state branch of the American Counseling Association, the largest organization representing professional counselors around the world. KCA member benefits include access to the annual convention, professional development workshops, graduate student services, and scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA is a national organization that sets standards for ethical practice, collaboration, advocacy, and professional development in clinical mental health counseling. Member benefits include professional liability insurance, continuing education, publications, and discounted health and wellness plans.
  • Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools As an affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists, KAPS represents school psychologists in Kentucky. Member benefits include discounted rates for the state conference, regional KAPS training events, and access to school psychology resources.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Kentucky

Jaggers-Cave Scholarship

Named for psychology professors C.H. Jaggers and Mary Lourine Cave, Western Kentucky University offers this scholarship for in-state, undergraduate psychology majors.

  • Amount Offered: Varies based on financial need
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Junior or senior students at WKU with Kentucky residency and strong academic standing may apply.

Dotson Graduate Scholarship

Named for Western Kentucky University psychology professor Dr. Elsie Dotson, this scholarship supports graduate psychology students based on academic merit and financial need.

  • Amount Offered: $600
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Incoming or current graduate psychology students who demonstrate academic merit and financial need may apply.

APF Graduate Student Scholarships

APF awards these scholarships for graduate or doctoral students pursuing any area of psychology.

  • Amount Offered: $2,000-$5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must provide proof of graduate or doctoral student standing and submit a research proposal.

Benton-Meier Scholarships

Offered by APF, these scholarships are awarded to two graduate students who are interested in neuropsychology.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Students who have completed their doctoral candidacies and demonstrate research in the area of neuropsychology may apply.

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

This scholarship awards graduate students whose work focuses on the stigma attached to mental illness and the barriers it presents to effective mental health treatment.

  • Amount Offered: $5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: May 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Students with graduate standing who demonstrate a commitment to issues of mental illness stigmatization may apply.

Beth Rom Rymer Scholarships

Offered by APF for graduate psychology students enrolled in psychopharmacology programs, this scholarship encourages recipients to become prescribing psychologists.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must provide proof of graduate student standing and enrollment in a psychopharmacology program.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Kentucky

The following database is a complete listing of online psychology programs in Kentucky, making it simple to find and compare degrees. Note that every institution included in the list is accredited and offers degrees either fully or partially online.

School Degree Levels State

Mental Health Initiatives in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities administers state and federally funded mental health and substance abuse treatment services through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Behavioral Health (DBH).

The Adult Mental Health Services and Recovery Branch delivers behavioral health services through 14 regional community mental health centers. Adults with serious mental health illnesses can receive evidence-based treatments and recovery services through these centers. DBH also offers adult substance abuse treatment and recovery services and operates a branch dedicated to services for children.

Kentucky outperforms the national average in reaching people with mental health challenges. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a national agency, reports that Kentucky had a 35.41 treatment rate per 1,000 population, compared to the 23.69 national rate.