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Online Psychology Degree Programs in Minnesota

Psychology programs train individuals for roles as clinical psychologists who work to treat mental health disorders, substance abuse, and other challenges. They may also choose careers as “field psychologists” who conduct research studies with clients to better understand the brain, mind, and behavior.

The need for these professionals continues to grow, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which projects a 14% job growth between 2018-28. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness each year, and one in 25 adults experiences serious mental illness. These ratios indicate a need for highly qualified mental health professionals to treat a large segment of the population.

Minnesota maintains a strong education system and boasts some of the nation’s top psychology programs. In a U.S. News & World Report ranking of the 200 best psychology schools in the nation, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMN) shares eighth place with some of the world’s most prestigious schools: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

This guide focuses on how to choose an online psychology degree in Minnesota, through coursework requirements, information on state licensure, and employment forecasts.

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How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Minnesota Work?

Online programs are an ideal option for nontraditional learners and others in need of learning flexibility. Some colleges in Minnesota offer fully online or hybrid programs. UMN operates a robust virtual campus that allows learners to earn degrees without attending classes on campus. The school offers a fully online bachelor of applied science in psychology, but no online graduate options.

Concordia University St. Paul (CSP) also features a strong virtual college with a fully online BA in psychology. The Adler Graduate School (AGS) focuses exclusively on psychological science and offers fully online and hybrid programs, such as an MA in applied Adlerian psychology in leadership program, an MA in school counseling, and an MA in clinical mental health counseling.

Generally, online psychology programs take the same number of years to complete as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Like on-campus schools, some online psychology colleges in Minnesota allow learners to transfer credits, thereby accelerating degree completion. More often than not, the same faculty who teach on-campus programs teach the virtual ones, making no difference in quality.

Finally, since schools make no distinction between on-campus and online learning when they issue diplomas, employers will not know the difference. Even if they do, virtual learning continues to rise in popularity, so employers value online learning — so long as regionally accredited colleges issue the diplomas.

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

Psychology schools in Minnesota offer courses based on subdiscipline. The following list includes five popular undergraduate courses you may encounter when pursuing an online psychology degree in Minnesota.

  • Psychology of Personality

    Faculty members introduce students to various personality theories, such as psychodynamic and humanistic, along with how psychologists can apply these theories in clinical and other contexts. Degree-seekers can learn about the luminaries who developed these theories, such as Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, and Isabel Briggs Myers, and highlight other new developments in this domain.

  • Developmental Psychology

    Enrollees can explore classical and recent theories in developmental psychology, along with how early childhood experiences and other factors can help to develop an individual’s personality, intellect, and behavior. Students learn about psychologists like Sigmund Freud, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Mary Dinsmore Ainsworth, and Jean Piaget, who contributed greatly to the understanding of human development.

  • Abnormal Psychology

    Learners in this course examine clinical definitions of abnormal psychology and attendant disorders. Faculty members guide them through the subdiscipline’s theories and research, along with mental disorder classifications, treatment effectiveness, and psychotherapy.

  • Positive Psychology

    As an increasing number of Americans embrace positive psychology to improve their lives, more colleges offer these classes on campus. Degree-seekers can observe empirical evidence regarding positive psychology’s effectiveness in improving outcomes for physical, mental, and interpersonal health. Students can research pioneer psychologists like Carol Dweck and Martin Seligman.

  • Forensic Psychology

    In this course, learners can examine practical applications of psychology in law and the legal system. Faculty members expose them to strategies psychologists use to interview witnesses, manage expert testimony, and clinically assess a witness’s competency. Students learn about the field’s pioneers, such as Wilhelm Wundt and Hugo Munsterberg, and newer luminaries like Elizabeth Loftus and Ronald Roesch, who focus on eyewitness testimony and witness competency, respectively.

Becoming a Psychologist in Minnesota

Most states require psychologists and other mental health professionals to obtain licensure to practice. First, candidates must meet educational, training, and other requirements to qualify. The following sections include specializations students should consider, degree requirements, and licensure information for Minnesota.

  • Specialize

    Psychology includes dozens of sub-disciplines. Each student should decide on their specialization as early as possible since this impacts their degree planning and which schools they can attend. The American Psychological Association (APA) is a good place to explore the many program options. APA manages 54 divisions, including sub-disciplines like clinical, social, developmental, forensic, and industrial-organizational psychology.

  • Earn Your Degrees

    Students can typically finish their bachelor’s degree in four years. Some schools, such as UMN, allow enrollees to accelerate degree completion by transferring credits. Master’s enrollment requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a degree that includes psychology courses. The degree takes between 18-24 months to complete, which often includes any required internship or practicum experiences.

    Schools in Minnesota, such as UMN, CSP, and AGS, offer online undergraduate or graduate programs. Other schools in the state also offer virtual learning, so students should research many colleges and universities to identify programs that meet their needs. For licensure as a psychologist in Minnesota, each candidate must hold either a Psy.D. or Ph.D. Degree-seekers may find online doctoral psychology programs in Minnesota scarce, but there are a few.

  • Obtain Licensure

    The Minnesota Board of Psychology administers licenses for psychologists in Minnesota. Each candidate must possess an APA-accredited Psy.D. or Ph.D., or non-APA doctorate if it meets board standards. They must also complete 1,800 hours of supervised postdoctoral experience.

    License-seekers can then apply to the board to take the national examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) and the professional responsibility exam (PRE), which is the jurisprudence exam for Minnesota. The EPPP, developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, is administered by Pearson VUE for $600. The PRE, administered by Comira Testing Services, costs $100.

Some individuals interested in mental health careers do not pursue a doctorate in psychology. They can still qualify for rewarding mental health careers as social workers or professional counselors. The following list includes three such occupations and licensure information.

The Minnesota Board of Social Work licenses social workers in the state. Candidates must have a Council on Social Work Education- or Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE)-accredited master’s in social work to apply to the state board to take the Association of Social Work Board’s master’s-level exam. Once the state issues a license, the holder must complete 4,000 hours of supervised non-clinical practice or 4,000-8,000 hours of supervised clinical social work practice.

The Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy licenses MFTs in the state. Candidates must have a Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education-accredited master’s degree in MFT that includes practicum experience. They must complete 4,000 hours of supervised postgraduate experience in MFT. Prospective therapists apply to the board to complete the national Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board’s MFT exam. After passing the exam, they must take the state LMFT state examination.

The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy licenses LPCs. Each candidate must hold at least a 48-credit Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs-accredited master’s or one from a Council for Higher Education Accreditation-recognized accrediting agency. They must also possess at least 2,000 hours of supervised professional practice. These credentials qualify candidates to sit for the national counseling examination administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Minnesota

Once a student completes a doctoral program and obtains licensure, they can begin the process of securing employment as a psychologist in Minnesota. U.S News & World Report ranks Minnesota third in its best states to live list. In addition to beating out many states in education and the economy at 17th and 18th, respectively, the state also boasts one of the nation’s top 10 healthcare systems.

Nationally, psychologists can expect a 14% job growth rate between 2018-28 and to make an annual median wage of $79,010, according to the BLS. In Minnesota, 440 psychologists work, making an annual mean wage of $93,310. They can receive pay much higher than states like South Dakota ($84,200) and Wisconsin ($80,620). Furthermore, psychological scientists in Minnesota rank fifth in terms of metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington.

The best metropolitan areas for employment as clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Minnesota include Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, where they earn an average mean wage of $88,790; Rochester, $86,750; and Mankato-North Mankato, $86,590.

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Minnesota at a Glance

Population: 5,611,179

Population Growth (2010-2018): 5.80%

Population Growth Rank: 21

Source: United States Census Bureau

Mean Annual SalaryProjected Job Growth (2016-26)
Minnesota$93,3107.1%
North DakotaN/AN/A
South Dakota$84,200N/A
IowaN/A12.5%
Wisconsin$80,6205.6%
National Average$95,61010.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist SalaryGeneral Unemployment RateEducation and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington$88,7902.9%-2.3%
Rochester$86,7502.6%-0.6%
Mankato$86,5902.8%N/A
Fargo$81,8202.0%3.7%
Duluth$81,5403.8%-1.3%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in Minnesota — Frequently Asked Questions

Those interested in online psychology degrees in Minnesota may have many unanswered questions about the length of time it takes for education and training, the difficulty of psychology classes, and the best schools for psychological science in Minnesota. Read on for some common questions about entering the psychology field.

  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Minnesota?

    Each aspiring psychologist must complete a Psy.D. or Ph.D. for licensure as a psychologist in Minnesota. A learner can begin their studies with a bachelor’s degree in four years or in less time if they transfer credits. A master’s degree takes about two years, with accelerated programs sometimes available. The Psy.D. typically takes 4-6 years, and a Ph.D. takes 5-7 years to complete.

  • Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

    As with any degree, classes become increasingly difficult as students advance from lower-level to upper-level coursework and onto graduate studies. Areas of study, such as research methodologies and advanced statistics, may prove a challenge for some learners. Students should expect to engage in a challenging mix of theoretical and clinical coursework in psychology.

  • What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?

    Psychologists must master effective communication skills to build and maintain therapeutic relationships with patients and clients. They must master the field’s primary diagnostic tool, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to make the right diagnosis and implement appropriate treatment plans.

  • What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Minnesota?

    Minnesota offers strong virtual colleges, such as UMN, CPS, AGS, and the College of St. Scholastica. They all offer online undergraduate or graduate psychology programs. Students should do their research to identify other options that meet their online learning needs.

  • Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

    Students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in psychology can enroll in a BS to receive a strong science background that a BA does not provide. While the BA gives learners a well-rounded liberal arts education, a BS provides more practical experience, such as laboratory work and research experience coveted by graduate schools. As they devise an academic and career plan, degree-seekers should always consult with college advisors.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Minnesota

Students who want to become licensed counselors should only consider regionally accredited programs. External agencies have verified that these institutions meet top educational standards. Credits from regionally accredited institutions transfer easily, and other institutions and employers recognize degrees earned from these schools. Regional accreditation is the most common and esteemed form of accreditation.

National accreditation is typically reserved for institutions that provide career-specific training. Nationally accredited schools usually offer lower tuition rates and less competitive admissions requirements. However, credits earned from nationally accredited schools rarely transfer to regionally accredited institutions, and degrees earned from nationally accredited schools may not meet licensing requirements.

Prospective students researching counseling or psychology programs should also look for field-specific accreditation from the APA.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Minnesota

A psychology internship is a supervised clinical experience that involves working in a counseling atmosphere with real clients. Interns work under the supervision of licensed psychologists and regularly meet with their supervisors to review cases and applied practices. A fellowship also involves supervised experience but takes place during the postdoctoral stage and emphasizes the fellow’s area of specialty.

While internships offer undergraduate and graduate students paid or unpaid roles in psychology at relevant organizations, fellowships in psychology focus exclusively on post-doc students who receive paid experience in their specialty. In Minnesota, each psychologist must complete 1,800 hours of supervised postdoctoral experience for licensure, which can be fulfilled by a fellowship.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Practicing psychologists and students in psychological science can join professional organizations to receive invaluable access to information, resources, and support networks. Some organizations offer discounted fees to students. The following list features five organizations for psychologists in Minnesota.

  • Minnesota Psychological Association Founded In 1936, MPA works to advance the interests of psychologists in Minnesota. The organization oversees several divisions, including academics, forensics, and clinical psychopharmacology. Member benefits include advocacy and representation, a strong mentorship program, discounted education and training events, access to communications and other publications, and networking events with colleagues.
  • American Psychological Association APA serves as the main professional organization for psychologists all across the nation. The organization manages 54 divisions and boasts a membership of 118,000 clinicians, researchers, educators, and students. Members can access a comprehensive repository of information and resources. Other membership benefits include professional development, liability insurance, job listings, and networking events in each division.
  • Minnesota Counseling Association As a part of the American Counseling Association, MnCA provides legislative, professional, and networking support to the state’s professional counselors. The organization also provides free or reduced-cost workshops for its members.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA is a national organization that establishes standards for professional practice, research, and professional development in the clinical mental health counseling profession. Member benefits include access to continuing education, advanced training, job postings, and practice management technology.
  • Minnesota Association of School Psychologists School psychologists in Minnesota join MSPA for its legislative advocacy, professional training, and support. The organization, which manages seven regions, offers its members access to regional and national meetings, online webinars, and workshops.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Minnesota

  • APF Graduate Student Scholarships

    APF offers 16 scholarships annually to graduate psychology students. The awards cover costs associated with dissertations or master’s thesis research.

    • Amount Offered: $2,000-$5,000
    • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
    • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate psychology student, nominated by a Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology member, and submit a research proposal.

  • Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

    This fellowship program supports students focusing on child psychology, including school, clinical, and pediatric psychology. Fellows are chosen based on submitted projects.

    • Amount Offered: $25,000
    • Scholarship Deadline: November 15
    • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate or doctoral student and submit a detailed research project.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Minnesota

The following database is a valuable resource for students pursuing online psychology degrees in Minnesota. The database lists all online accredited psychology programs in Minnesota, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Explore each program’s details and requirements to find the best fit for your career goals and schedule.

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Mental Health Initiatives in Minnesota

With a strong healthcare system, Minnesota provides its citizens with robust access to comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s leading nonprofit that addresses the needs of those living with mental health challenges in the U.S., ranked all 50 states on 15 measures, including prevalence of mental health illness and access to care. Minnesota ranked third overall for serving both adults and youth in 2018. A high ranking like Minnesota’s “indicates a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care,” according to MHA.

Minnesota’s Department of Human Services oversees 18 adult mental health initiatives, regional partnerships that provide adult mental health services designed especially for each region. Adult mental health services include 24/7 emergency services for those in crisis, adult rehabilitative mental health services, at-home community treatment for those with advanced mental health issues, community health clinics offering mental health and substance abuse services, intensive psychotherapeutic day treatment, and residential treatment services. The state offers similar services for children and adolescents.

Data from the federal government confirms the success of Minnesota’s mental health initiatives. Minnesota reaches citizens with mental health and substance abuse challenges at rates more than double the national average, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a national agency. Minnesota has a 51.64 treatment rate per 1,000 population, compared to the 23.69 U.S. rate.

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