As Louisiana works to expand access to critical mental health services for its residents, the need for highly trained psychologists rises. The Projections Central expects the state to increase the employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists by 11.4% through 2026, offering new graduates opportunities to find placements within this rewarding field.
The path to becoming a licensed psychologist or mental health provider can seem difficult. It requires dedication to your education and fulfilling stringent state licensing requirements. This guide helps to explain the steps you must take along the way and resources that can help you reach your career goals.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Louisiana Work?
Many online psychology degrees in Louisiana offer online learning opportunities. These courses offer students scheduling flexibility while ensuring that they develop a strong foundation in critical theories and principles in the field. Enrollees can use discussion boards, multimedia presentations, and video conferencing to communicate and collaborate easily.
Some schools require students to take part in on-campus orientation sessions or residencies. These short stays provide intensive learning opportunities and the chance to work directly with faculty on special projects. Doctoral programs often require students to attend on-campus classes for at least a portion of the degree, due to the clinical nature of the coursework. Some online programs use accelerated calendars, with students focusing on 1-2 classes over several weeks. This format allows degree-seekers to earn more credits during a year and can shorten the time necessary to graduate.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Louisiana?
While each school develops a unique curriculum, the courses below offer a sample of what you can expect to study while pursuing a psychology degree.
- Foundations of Behavior
Psychologists strive to explain why individuals act in certain ways. Theories developed regarding human behavior often fall within the broad divisions of biological foundations, intelligence, social development, or cognitive development. This course introduces students to these various theories and provides opportunities to discuss scientific literature and case studies.
- Personality Theory and Research
Psychologists have developed numerous theories about human behavior, such as humanism, behaviorism, or psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theories. This course introduces learners to major personality theories throughout history, their application, and the research supporting each theory. Degree-seekers gain an understanding of psychological research methods through this course.
- Memory and Cognition
This class observes the biology of learning and memory. Students can gain an understanding of the processes involved in storing and retrieving information. Topics include memory, attention, reasoning, language acquisition, and advances made in cognitive research.
- Analysis of Behavior
This course introduces students to the many tools and techniques available to use when analyzing behavior. Learners read about the history of these methods and research supporting their use. Enrollees can then use this information to identify the best approaches for behavior analysis and methods of intervention.
- Group Dynamics
This social psychology course examines how individuals operate within teams. Core concepts include group leadership, group effectiveness, group communication, and relationships between groups or individual members. The class also helps students understand different types of groups to facilitate cooperative work more effectively. It also examines the concept of self within a group.
Becoming a Psychologist in Louisiana
Psychologists and other mental health professionals hold a position of trust. The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists ensures psychologists treating patients meet educational and training requirements and enforce professional practice standards. The state offers psychologist, provisional, and school psychology specialist licenses. All licenses require each applicant to pay a fee and complete a background check.
You can concentrate on a particular area within the psychology field, such as child psychology, educational psychology, or counseling psychology. Many students begin with electives during their undergraduate studies. These courses can provide an ideal introduction to each specialization. Graduate and doctoral programs may require you to select a specific concentration for continued study. You can learn more by visiting this page.
Earn Your Degrees
Your education begins with an undergraduate degree in psychology. Most bachelor's degrees require about four years to complete. These programs introduce you to the science of behavior and the many subspecialties within psychology, such as biopsychology or developmental psychology. The curriculum also provides a general education curriculum with courses in math, science, history, and English.
You must attend a graduate program to become a psychologist. Some doctoral programs welcome an application from a student with a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree can enhance your application, provide the opportunity to explore a specialty, and help build the research skills necessary for a doctoral program. A master's program often requires 2-3 years, while a doctoral program represents a 5-7 year commitment. The program must include an internship that focuses on clinical practice.
Once you complete your online psychology degree in Louisiana, you must apply to the state for a provisional license. This allows you to seek supervised work experience required to become a licensed psychologist. The application requires a $200 fee, background check, and passing the state jurisprudence exam. Fees apply for the background check and exam, as well.
Louisiana requires 4,000 hours of supervised practice, the equivalent of about two years of full-time work. Once this requirement is met, the state grants permission to sit for the examination for professional practice in psychology, a multiple-choice exam covering eight content areas. You must pay the $600 test fee. Each applicant must pass the exam and undergo an oral exam before the board. Once granted, your license remains valid for one year, with 40 hours of continuing education required every two years.
Other Licenses and Certifications
Becoming a licensed psychologist can take more than 12 years of education and training. But your online psychology degree in Louisiana also prepares you for other mental health practitioner licenses, described below. Louisiana requires a minimum of a master's degree for each license.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Social workers may find employment with state or government agencies or with mental health hospitals or providers. They complete the training necessary to provide clinical mental health services, but they also help clients with accessing housing, educational benefits, and applying for medical assistance programs.
Marriage and Family Therapist
These therapists specialize in helping members of a family or other closely connected groups work through conflict or address behavioral issues. They may help individuals cope with changes, such as divorce or loss of a job. They may work as part of a mental health group or in a private office.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Counselors work at hospitals, mental health facilities, group practices, or individual offices. They assist patients with mental health needs, such as overcoming depression, coping with substance abuse, and managing complex mental illnesses.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Louisiana
From the famed French Quarter in New Orleans to the outdoor sporting paradise of northern Louisiana, the state offers a diverse mix of communities, including bustling urban centers and rural regions. More than 4.6 million people call the state home, with an expected growth of 2.8% through 2018. About 570 psychologists work in Louisiana as clinical, counseling, or school psychologists, which the BLS projects to increase by 11.4% through 2026. The BLS anticipates 9.1% job growth for other psychologists.
Psychologists in Louisiana earn an average of $76,510, slightly lower than surrounding states and the national average of $95,610. However, many areas of Louisiana offer a lower cost of living when compared to the national average, with a cost of living index of 93.6. The Baton Rouge metropolitan region does offer a higher wage than much of the state, with an average salary of $116,070, among the top ten highest-paying metropolitan areas in the country.
Louisiana at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 2.80%
Population Growth Rank: 33
Source: United States Census Bureau
|Mean Annual Salary||Projected Job Growth (2016-26)|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist Salary||General Unemployment Rate||Education and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth|
|New Orleans - Metairie||$56,490||4.5%||3.2%|
Psychology Degrees and Careers in Louisiana -- Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you can find common questions students often ask before starting online psychology degrees in Louisiana. Learn more about the time required to complete your education, the academic rigor of your classes, and the type of degree you should pursue.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Louisiana?
Expect to spend four years on your online psychology degree in Louisiana, followed by 7-9 years of graduate and doctoral education. At least one year of doctoral study must include an internship. Once complete, the state requires two years of clinical work experience under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Technology allows faculty to deliver high-quality, academic rigorous course material through the convenient, flexible online learning platform. Students must meet the same learning objectives as their on-campus colleagues. Because most online courses do not set times for logging on to courses, learners must be disciplined and maintain superb time management habits to complete their assignments as expected.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
First, psychologists must be empathetic to the needs and challenges of their patients. They must utilize keen observational and active listening skills to accurately assess each patient's needs. Their analytical and problem-solving skills help them develop treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique challenges while they keep detailed, organized records of treatment sessions and patient progress.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Louisiana?
More than 20 colleges and universities in Louisiana offer psychology programs. Begin evaluating them by ensuring each school holds the proper accreditation for the degree offered. Next, consider the electives or specializations available at each school and the opportunity to take part in academic research. Students should also consider the cost of the program and any funding opportunities, such as scholarships or fellowships offered by the department.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
Both degrees can provide a starting point for your education and will prepare you to apply for graduate study. The choice of which degree to seek depends on your future career goals. The BS degree can help prepare students for research. The BA degree offers more focus on the various branches of psychology and the opportunity for electives in areas of sociology or human services.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Louisiana
Attending an accredited institution is crucial to earning a valuable degree. Most licensing agencies require candidates to hold degrees from accredited programs. Regional accreditation is the most common and most highly regarded, while national accreditation is usually reserved for vocational and technical schools. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintain databases of all accredited U.S. schools.
Psychology students should also look for accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). Licensing agencies and employers look for learners from APA-accredited programs, as they meet high standards.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Louisiana
Psychology professions employ rigorous field experience requirements. Many students in online psychology degree programs in Louisiana meet these requirements through fellowships or internships. Internships are typically unpaid positions that provide students with practical experience. Fellowships are usually affiliated with universities or research centers. Fellows work on grant-funded projects and often receive stipends.
Students can find internship and fellowship opportunities at hospitals, in-patient and out-patient mental health facilities, provider offices, with government agencies, or through nonprofit organizations. Consider your area of specialization when applying for internships and seek out opportunities that align with your career interests. The resources below can offer a starting point for your search.
Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System
ELMHS is an integrated, state-run system of mental health services with more than 450 inpatient beds. The system provides residential treatment, jail evaluations, forensic evaluation, and mental health evaluation and treatment.
Magellan of Louisiana
Magellan is a member of the Coordinated System of Care. Magellan Health provides care for children with severe behavioral health challenges.
Northwest Louisiana Human Services District
NLHSD provides mental health and addictive disorder services, along with increasing public awareness of behavioral health and developmental disabilities.
Louisiana State University's health center researches topics like post-disaster mental health, intervention strategies, and depression.
Lake Charles Clinical Trials
Lake Charles conducts clinical trials for new medications, which often treat behavioral disorders. Current studies focus on postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, autism, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
The psychology and mental health fields continue to evolve as research offers new insights into behavior and new treatments for patients. Professional associations can help busy psychologists stay up-to-date on the latest developments in treatment, legislation, and ethical responsibilities. Many organizations also help psychologists begin their careers with professional networking and referral services, access to discounted business services, and proprietary job postings.
- Louisiana Psychological Association This statewide affiliate of the APA has served licensed psychologists in Louisiana for 70 years. The fall and spring conferences offer networking opportunities and up to 18 hours of continuing education. Members can take part in special interest groups, such as school psychology or neuropsychology, and receive access to a members-only listserv. The organization also advocates on behalf of its members in legislative and governmental proceedings.
- American Psychological Association Members of this national organization can receive subscriptions to American Psychologist and Monitor on Psychology to stay informed of changes in legislation, new research, and treatment resources. The APA also provides discounts on scientific journals and databases and continuing education programs. New psychologists can benefit from a financial planning guide and discounts for business services, including liability insurance.
- Louisiana Counseling Association Members can earn continuing education credits through the annual conference or workshops held throughout the year. Other resources include subscriptions to the LCA Journal and quarterly newsletter Lagniappe. In addition to networking opportunities, professional counselors can place listings in the referral bank or access the proprietary job bank.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association This national organization offers webinars and home study programs to meet continuing education requirements. The website includes an archive of webinars for on-demand learning. Members can receive discounts on study packages for advanced training in behavioral science or the National Board of Forensic Evaluators. New counselors benefit from discounts on practice management services, such as Therapy Sites and Therapy Partner, and discounts on liability insurance and health and wellness expenses.
- Louisiana Association of School Psychologists The organization helps to inform school psychologists of the latest research in student assessment, academic intervention, special education monitoring, and crisis intervention. Members include school psychologists, retired psychologists, students, and affiliates. Psychologists can share their research through conference papers and presentations, with continuing education workshops offered during the conference. The organization also promotes the role of school psychologists and maintains a proprietary job board.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Louisiana
Associated Grocers-Sam S. Politz Scholarship
This annual scholarship is awarded in honor of Sam Politz, former president of Associated Grocers, to Louisiana high school students.
- Amount Offered: $1,000 per semester for eight consecutive semesters
- Scholarship Deadline: March 1
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must have a minimum 3.5 GPA, have taken honors or AP classes, and plan to attend an accredited university on a full-time basis.
Roger J. Clouatre Memorial Scholarship
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation awards this scholarship to a student from Ascension Parish who has a record of achievement and demonstrates good character.
- Amount Offered: $500
- Scholarship Deadline: April 30
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must show leadership qualities, possess a 3.0 GPA or better, and maintain a dedication to their community.
Cheryl D. Conkling Memorial Scholarship
These scholarships are awarded annually in honor of Cheryl Conkling, who graduated summa cum laude despite serious hearing difficulties. The scholarships support students who have overcome hardships to excel academically.
- Amount Offered: $1,500 per semester, up to $12,000
- Scholarship Deadline: July 2
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. Preference is given to students from East Baton Rouge Parish.
Louisiana GO Grant
These renewable awards help Louisiana residents with financial need to attend Louisiana colleges and universities.
- Amount Offered: $300-$3,000
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Louisiana resident attending an eligible school on at least a half-time basis and must demonstrate critical need.
Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarships
Patrick Taylor believed in the concept of "paying it forward," and his foundation distributes more than a dozen scholarships in his honor.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Louisiana resident enrolling as a first-time student with a 2.5 GPA.
TOPS Opportunity Award
The Taylor Foundation awards scholarships to support Louisiana students attending Louisiana colleges.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must meet the Louisiana TOPS residency requirements and possess a minimum 2.5 GPA.
President's Distinguished Scholarship
These scholarships are awarded to exceptional students at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
- Amount Offered: Varies; $8,000-$10,000, an iPad, a study abroad stipend of up to $4,500
- Scholarship Deadline: February 29
- Eligibility Requirements: The student must have at least a 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of 33-36.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Louisiana
Louisiana offers many reputable programs for students pursuing online psychology degrees. Research each potential program's course requirements, scheduling options, and available concentrations to find the best psychology program to fit your goals and lifestyle. The list below includes all accredited online psychology programs in Louisiana.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Louisiana
Opioids contributed to the deaths of 450 Louisiana residents in 2018, a 184% increase since 2012. As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and affect the workforce, mental health leaders have worked on a series of initiatives aimed at addiction prevention and treatment. The 2019 plan includes better data collection and analytics, education and awareness campaigns, intervention and rescue activities, increased access to high-quality treatment programs, and recovery support services.
Overall utilization rates for mental health services in Louisiana lag far behind national utilization rates. While 23.69% of the U.S. population utilized mental health services in 2018, only 8.41% of Louisiana residents sought treatment. The Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health operates a network of acute care and behavioral health clinics throughout the state, working with private and public hospitals and caregivers. It also offers two psychiatric facilities for individuals with severe mental illness. The state continues to work on its coordinated system of care to help provide the best treatment in the most appropriate setting, particularly for children and youth.