Many students pursue the psychology field to help people in a professional setting. While each state outlines different requirements to earn licensure, aspiring psychologists always need years of education and multiple degrees to become licensed.
This guide outlines how to become a licensed psychologist in New Mexico, along with what to expect when earning an online psychology degree in the state. Read on to learn more about funding and scholarship opportunities, potential internships and fellowships, and the job market for psychologists in the state.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in New Mexico Work?
Online psychology degrees in New Mexico typically offer the same curriculum as on-campus degrees and can last as long as traditional programs. Many online learners prefer accelerated programs, which allow them to complete their degrees more quickly. Others enroll part-time and graduate later. As long as students pursue online programs with accreditation, employers generally view their education as on par with a traditional degree.
Students can also find hybrid programs in New Mexico, in which they complete some coursework online and some on campus. Some learners prefer this option, as it offers more opportunities for face-to-face interaction with professors and peers.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in New Mexico?
Undergraduate students enrolled in psychology programs typically encounter the following courses as a part of their school's curriculum, either as required courses or electives. Graduate courses often cover similar topics, but in more depth or at a higher level.
- Introduction to Psychology
Before a psychology major can take advanced courses, they generally need to pass an introductory class. This course covers foundational topics, such as the relationship between biology and behavior, states of consciousness, and cognitive science. Students also explore central theories about motivation, emotion, perception, and learning principles.
- Developmental Psychology
In early childhood, both biological and external processes can shape a person's psychological condition and mindset, which continues to evolve throughout their lifetime. Students in this course can examine how influences like genetics and socioeconomic status affect psychological development.
- Environmental Psychology
Enrollees in this course explore the way that physical surroundings can affect people's feelings and behaviors. This includes the natural environment (weather, geography, natural disasters) and factors like landscape architecture and urban planning. The course may also cover social landscape concepts, like crowding, personal space, and territoriality.
- Abnormal Psychology
Students in this course learn about psychological and behavioral concerns like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and personality disorders. Learners study the latest research behind these disorders, especially the possible biological and cultural factors that affect them. Students can also learn about the identification, classification, and treatment of disorders.
- Research Methods
Students must often complete a thesis or research project. Before degree-seekers can begin this work, though, they must become familiar with research methods and statistics through at least one introductory course. This course covers descriptive methods and statistics, controlled experiments, and inferential statistics.
Becoming a Psychologist in New Mexico
Becoming a psychologist in New Mexico takes years of hard work. Licensure candidates need graduate degrees, thousands of supervised work hours, and a passing grade on a board-approved comprehensive exam. This section outlines requirements that aspiring psychologists in New Mexico need to earn.
Before psychologists become licensed and begin practicing, they can choose a specialty, such as child, clinical, or forensic psychology. While students do not need to decide at the beginning of their educational journey, many undergraduate programs allow enrollees to pursue specializations to get a head start on their careers. To learn more about specializations, visit this online resource.
Earn Your Degrees
To earn licensure in New Mexico, a prospective psychologist needs to earn a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years, while a master's degree takes 1-3 years, and a doctoral degree commonly requires 4-7 years of study.
This means you will need to spend a considerable amount of time studying and conducting research at your college or university before you can apply for psychology licensure. While you can pursue undergraduate psychology programs online in New Mexico, finding online graduate programs is more difficult.
New Mexico dictates that licensure candidates must also complete non-educational requirements. After earning a doctoral degree, candidates need two years (3,000 hours) of supervised experience.
Students can cut this requirement in half if they already completed one year (1,500 hours) of supervised experience in practicum hours during their doctoral training program or finished one year (1,500 hours) of a pre-doctoral internship approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). Candidates can also earn half a year of credit (750 hours) through an internship not approved by APA.
Finally, students need to pass the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. For more information about non-educational requirements in New Mexico, visit this webpage.
Other Licenses and Certifications
Some individuals may want to work within the field of psychology without spending several years pursuing a doctoral degree. New Mexico allows mental health professionals to earn licensure in social work, marriage and family therapy, and professional counseling with bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology or related fields. Learn more about the requirements for these professions below.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
To become an LCSW in New Mexico, graduates need a master's degree in social work and 3,600 hours of supervised experience. They should also pass the Association of Social Work Boards advanced generalist or clinical exam.
Marriage and Family Therapist
In New Mexico, each MFT needs a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, counseling, or a related field. They should also complete two years of post-graduate work and pass an exam as prescribed by New Mexico's regulatory board.
Licensed Professional Counselor
LPC requirements in New Mexico include a master's degree with at least 48 credits of coursework in a field like counseling, psychology, or human and family studies. Candidates must also finish 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in New Mexico
Compared to national figures, the psychology field in New Mexico comes with advantages and disadvantages. For one, the average annual salary for psychologists in New Mexico ($84,080) falls below the national mean ($95,610) and those of surrounding states, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, New Mexico also has a lower cost of living, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis data.
The projected career growth rate for psychologists in New Mexico (11.1%) outpaces the national average (10.3%) and far surpasses its neighboring states of Texas (9.2%) and Arizona (5%), according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Projections Central.
Students and early-career professionals may prefer to search for jobs in the Las Cruces and Albuquerque areas, rather than the Santa Fe area. These areas generally see higher salaries and may experience higher job growth, according to BLS data, as shown below.
New Mexico at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 1.76%
Population Growth Rank: 39
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|
Psychology Degrees and Careers in New Mexico -- Frequently Asked Questions
Before choosing a psychology college in New Mexico, you may have some questions about what to expect. Below, you can read the answers to several frequently asked questions from prospective psychology students.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in New Mexico?
The full process of becoming a licensed psychologist in New Mexico could take a decade or longer, though it can be less if students enroll in accelerated programs and study full time. This full time frame includes the time spent pursuing a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree, in addition to supervised practice after graduation.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Online psychology classes are no more or less difficult than on-campus courses because both formats require students to learn all of the same material. As such, anyone studying psychology can expect to cover difficult topics and work on challenging assignments and research. Therefore, distance learners pursuing psychology should prepare themselves for rigorous coursework.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists work one-on-one or in groups with people who may struggle to express themselves. Therefore, these professionals need solid communication skills. They should listen carefully and respond with understanding and without judgment. They must also possess patience, compassion, and problem-solving skills. Finally, psychologists must hold themselves to high ethical standards.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in New Mexico?
Schools with accredited psychology programs equip students with a valuable education. Beyond that, the answer to this question depends on your specific career goals. For example, if you aim to pursue school counseling, an educational or developmental psychology concentration may be ideal, so you should choose a school that offers that specialty.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
Pursuing a BA or a BS also depends on your career goals. A BA usually integrates more general education requirements, so students can also explore other interests in their coursework. A BA student may decide to pursue a career other than psychology, like social work or law. By contrast, a BS requires more math, science, and research courses. A learner who knows they want to earn a doctoral degree and become a psychologist or researcher may prefer this option.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in New Mexico
Ensuring an institution's accreditation status is crucial. Without the approval of a reputable accrediting agency, a college diploma is virtually worthless in the pursuit of a psychology license. State licensing boards require that candidates hold accredited degrees. Most of the best psychology colleges in New Mexico carry accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional board approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Regional accreditation is preferred over national accreditation for psychology programs. This is because national accreditation typically applies to vocational and technical colleges, and credits from these programs do not usually transfer to graduate programs.
Psychology doctorate students should also look for accreditation from APA. Most state psychology licensing boards will only accept doctorates from programs accredited by APA.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in New Mexico
Like other doctors, psychologists must complete extensive hours in the field to gain the necessary practical experience before stepping into their practice. College and university programs, along with the state licensing board, both mandate field experience. Students most often meet these requirements through internships and fellowships.
Internships are often unpaid. They place a student in a job with a related company or organization that allows them to get a feel for a professional role in exchange for course credit. Fellowships, on the other hand, tend to be paid and most often take place within research or university facilities.
Degree-seekers have many options for finding psychology internship and fellowship opportunities in New Mexico. Private and public health organizations often hire interns during the summer or academic semesters, and graduate students can also apply for research funding and fellowships at universities.
New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute
This large facility in Las Vegas, New Mexico, is the only state-run psychiatric hospital in the Land of Enchantment. NMBHI has six units and provides services for adults, taking in more than 1,000 patients per year.
Eating Disorders Institute of New Mexico
Based in Rio Rancho, this institute focuses on eating disorders, body image distress, and obesity. The clinic's staff uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help people improve their emotional and physical health.
Sage Neuroscience Center
This private facility in Albuquerque is the premier mental health clinic in New Mexico, offering substance abuse help, depression counseling, child and adolescent therapy, and psychiatric services.
Center for Psychiatric Research
This center, located on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, specializes in addictions, schizophrenia, brain imaging, mood disorders, and neurodevelopment.
Southwest Institute for Health Disparities Research
As a project of New Mexico State University, this research facility is designed to research and address health issues along the border with Mexico, including mental health and substance abuse challenges.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Professional associations can provide many benefits for psychology students and professionals. For instance, students or early-career professionals can connect with potential employers through networking opportunities and conferences. These groups also publish scholarly journals that can help students with research. Read on for five relevant associations in New Mexico.
- New Mexico Psychological Association Specifically for licensed psychologists, this group aims to advance the psychology field in New Mexico. Members can subscribe to the organization's newsletter, attend events, and participate in continuing education courses. The association also keeps a professional directory and provides a search engine for community members who want to find psychologists within the state.
- American Psychological Association This national organization connects over 118,000 professionals, researchers, educators, and clinicians within the psychology field. APA publishes the latest research through journals, plans conferences, and runs a career center for those starting in the profession.
- New Mexico Counseling Association Members of this group can attend workshops and conferences, search job openings, and take advantage of counseling resources. NMCA operates through four divisions: a mental health counseling branch, an ethical and religious values group, an LGBTQ+ counseling division, and a career development association.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA sets professional ethics standards for mental health counselors and offers continuing education resources through research and webinars. The association also provides advocacy initiatives to promote the field's interests at the legislative level. Although this association operates at the national level, members often join state chapters.
- New Mexico Association of School Psychologists As the state affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists, NMASP connects more than 200 school psychologists with education diagnosticians and other education professionals. The group hosts an annual conference in the fall and professional development opportunities in the spring.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in New Mexico
New Mexico Higher Education Department Legislative Lottery Scholarship
These state-sponsored scholarships go to students at New Mexico universities and community colleges.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must take at least 15 credits per semester at a New Mexico university or 12 credits at a community college while maintaining a minimum 2.5 GPA.
New Mexico Scholars Program
The program provides aid for students to attend the College of Santa Fe, St. John's College, or the College of the Southwest.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: Students in the top 5% of their classes who attend college full-time as undergraduates by their 21st birthdays may apply.
New Mexico Student Incentive Grants
Administered by the New Mexico Department of Higher Education, these scholarships go to students from the Land of Enchantment who attend New Mexico public schools.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: Students must be enrolled at least half time at a public university or tribal college to apply.
Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarships
These grants are sponsored by the Presbyterian Church and are awarded to full-time undergraduates.
- Amount Offered: $4,000
- Scholarship Deadline: May 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must have completed one year of college, demonstrate need, maintain a GPA of 2.5, be a member of the Presbyterian Church, and remain active with the church during school.
Sussman-Miller Educational Assistance Award Program
Named for educational advocate Shirley Sussman Spiewak, the Sussman-Miller scholarship goes to undergraduates studying full time at public or nonprofit universities.
- Amount Offered: $500-$2,000
- Scholarship Deadline: April 16, June 17
- Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be New Mexico residents who receive financial aid.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in New Mexico
To find a specific program, take a look at the database below. This database offers information about different online psychology degrees in New Mexico. All programs in the database hold accreditation.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in New Mexico
Mental health is a significant and difficult issue in New Mexico. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in the state in 2015 -- the fifth-highest suicide rate in the country, according to the state's health department.
New Mexico runs initiatives to combat mental health illnesses and high suicide rates. The Office of School and Adolescent Health operates bilingual youth hotlines and Project TRUST, an initiative that provides mental health services for Native American youth. The state's Human Services Department recently added behavioral health services into the Centennial Care program, which can help anyone with Medicaid.
Despite these programs, a 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that New Mexico needs to continue to improve mental health services. In response, the state's Human Services Department announced that it would increase funding for Medicaid and mental health services.