North Dakota offers aspiring psychologists strong employment opportunities with high earning potential. Projections Central expects a 17.2% growth in employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in the state through 2026, even faster than the brisk growth of psychologists nationwide, projected at 14% through 2028.
To enter the profession, each student must complete an on-campus or online psychology degree in North Dakota and fulfill supervised practice and testing requirements. This guide explains the educational path to becoming a licensed psychologist in the state and other exciting career opportunities available. You can also learn more about the support offered by professional organizations and scholarship opportunities to defray the cost of your education.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in North Dakota Work?
With eight psychology colleges in North Dakota, students can choose a program that meets their academic and professional goals. Several schools offer online master's in psychology in North Dakota, particularly in areas of school psychology of applied behavior analysis.
Becoming a licensed psychologist in North Dakota requires completing a doctorate in psychology. Three psychology colleges in North Dakota offer doctorates that meet state licensing requirements, which demand programs hold accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA accredits doctoral programs offered primarily in person and on campus, though online learning can enhance the curriculum. These programs must also include accredited internships, which help reduce the supervised practice requirements after graduation.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in North Dakota?
A general psychology curriculum prepares students for an in-depth study of human behavior from a scientific perspective. Courses, such as those listed below, introduce enrollees to various theories and principles of psychology.
- Brain and Behavior
This course introduces psychology undergraduates to brain structure and how it can affect behavior and actions. Enrollees learn which parts of the brain control specific functions, like learning or memory. Students can gain an understanding of the theories and principles of neuropsychology and advancements in technology that make it easier to study brain processes.
- Human Lifespan Development
This undergraduate course provides a foundation in developmental psychology, which considers brain development, social structures, and cognitive functions. Students learn about developmental milestones in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The curriculum includes the research practices used to study human development and the evaluation of scientific literature on the topic.
- Abnormal Psychology
This upper-division undergraduate course discusses common psychological disorders as identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The course examines the biological, social, and developmental factors in identifying abnormal behavior. Learners can also explore assessment methods and treatment methodologies while building empathy for people with psychological disorders.
- Behavior Modification
This undergraduate course builds on theories and principles of applied psychology to help students develop behavior modification plans for a variety of situations. Students look at evidence-based practices for behavior intervention and change, such as positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment.
- Health Psychology
This undergraduate course joins biology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and physical health. Students can gain an understanding of the theories and research of this interdisciplinary psychology field and how behavior modification can help clients live healthier lives. The course also examines how psychological disorders can affect health, such as the impact of stress on the body.
Becoming a Psychologist in North Dakota
North Dakota requires each psychologist to complete a rigorous educational program followed by supervised practice and professional exams, which can take 10-14 years in total. The North Dakota State Board of Psychologist Examiners oversees the licensing process and enforces state laws and professional ethics. The steps below outline the requirements to gain licensure in the state.
You should consider which area of psychology most interests you while pursuing your undergraduate education. Some specializations, such as school psychology, require specific courses in education and psychology. Other specializations utilize interdisciplinary courses in criminal justice, sociology, or anthropology. Internships or volunteer opportunities can enhance your resume for graduate school applications.
Earn Your Degrees
First, complete an undergraduate degree in psychology. This four-year degree often requires 120 credits. You may choose a BS or BA degree and complete a general education curriculum to complement your psychology study.
Many students continue their education with master's degrees, typically requiring 2-3 years for completion. Some schools offer accelerated master's programs that allow undergraduate students to complete master's classes. Most programs require each student to complete a thesis, as well.
Becoming a licensed psychologist requires either a doctor of philosophy degree or a doctorate in psychology. The school must hold programmatic accreditation from the APA and include a one-year supervised internship. Most doctorates require 3-5 years to complete.
The North Dakota psychology licensing process begins with an application initiation form and paying the $450 fee. The form includes sections on education, conduct, and professional ethics. Applicants must also provide information on who will supervise their work for the next 1-2 years.
Once approved, you can begin supervised clinical practice. The state requires at least 3,000 hours of supervised practice, but students can complete half of that during their doctoral internship. Each applicant must then complete a psychology licensure universal system application and pay $200. The state will grant permission to take the examination for professional practice, which costs $600, along with the state oral exam in professional ethics and legal requirements. Once granted, your license remains valid for two years.
Other Licenses and Certifications
A career in psychology offers a rewarding, fulfilling career of helping individuals live happier, healthier lives. However, a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology can also yield rewarding career opportunities without the need for a doctorate. Learn more about these related mental health careers below. Each requires state licensing and a minimum of a master's degree.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Social workers can diagnose and treat clients for mental illness. They also help connect clients to other services for a holistic treatment plan that considers mental and physical health, educational programs, housing, nutrition, and rehabilitation services.
Marriage and Family Therapist
These therapists may work in private practice, a therapist group, or mental health organizations. MFTs can diagnose and treat mental health concerns, such as depression, and help members of a family cope with changes or conflict.
Licensed Professional Counselor
LPCs work in hospitals, mental health centers, community-based treatment programs, or private practices. They serve clients with mental health concerns and chronic mental health conditions.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in North Dakota
High marks in infrastructure, opportunity, and fiscal stability make North Dakota an attractive option for establishing a career. U.S. News & World Report ranks the state 15th overall. Approximately 760,000 people call the state home, with more than 70,000 square miles of territory. Farming is one of its top industries, with 90% of the land used in agricultural production of beans, canola, and flaxseed.
The BLS reports clinical, counseling, or school psychologists in North Dakota earn $87,090 each year, making it the top-paying state in the region and among the top 10 best-paying states in the nation. Psychologists earn from $43,490 in the bottom 10th percentile to more than $128,520 in the 90th percentile. Employment options look bright, as well, with a projected increase in employment for psychologists of 17.2% through 2026.
North Dakota at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 13.01%
Population Growth Rank: 6
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 North Dakota -- Frequently Asked Questions
Carefully consider your educational options when selecting an online psychology degree in North Dakota. Speak with enrollment advisors, faculty members, and enrollees to gain a comprehensive understanding of each school's academic offerings and expectations. The questions below can help you begin your evaluation of psychology colleges in North Dakota.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in North Dakota?
Aspiring psychologists should dedicate 12-14 years to their education and training. A full-time student can complete an undergraduate degree in four years, with another 2-3 years for a master's degree. A doctoral degree requires 3-5 years and should include a one-year internship. North Dakota also requires 1-2 years of supervised practice before granting a full psychology license.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
Online psychology classes cover the same material as on-campus classes. Faculty members use assigned readings, class discussions, multimedia presentations, and video lectures to deliver their classes. Assessments may include research projects, group presentations, or proctored exams. Online enrollees need excellent time management skills and self-discipline to meet all online class deadlines.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Psychologists use many methods to assess and treat their clients. Many assessments require attention to detail, active listening, and observational skills. Developing a treatment plan that addresses complex behavioral disorders requires analytical ability and problem-solving skills. Above all, psychologists need to possess empathy and compassion for their patients.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in North Dakota?
With more than 15 psychology colleges in North Dakota, degree-seekers can explore many program specializations and curriculum options. When evaluating colleges, ensure that each institution holds regional accreditation with a curriculum that meets your interests and career goals. Also, check that it offers support services for online students, such as library access or academic counseling.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
Many undergraduate online psychology degrees in North Carolina offer BS and BA options. Your selection depends on your career and educational goals. The BA degree incorporates more liberal arts courses and electives. The BS degree provides additional instruction in areas of science, math, and statistical analysis. Either degree is sufficient in meeting basic requirements for becoming a psychologist in North Dakota.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in North Dakota
Institutions receive accreditation nationally and regionally. National accreditation is typically awarded to institutions that focus on a specific style of education, such as vocational schools. Regional accreditation is more common, rigorous, and highly regarded than national accreditation. North Dakota schools are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students should also look for field-specific accreditation, which indicates an industry authority has verified the program's quality. Psychology students may see master's programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, Ph.D. programs accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System and the APA.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in North Dakota
Psychology licensure requires supervised clinical hours, which most students obtain through internships and fellowships. Internships are typically components of master's and doctoral psychology programs, while graduates pursuing supervised training take part in fellowships.
The APA accredits high-quality internship opportunities, and completing a hands-on learning program is an essential element of an accredited doctoral program. Internships may last a year or more, and North Dakota allows this experience to count toward your supervised practice requirement for licensing. The list below can help you start your internship search. However, you should try to match your internship to your area of specialization and career interests.
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
Emphasizing family support, this nonprofit delivers affordable residential and outpatient therapeutic services. Areas of focus include gambling, domestic violence, at-risk youth, and severe emotional disorders in children.
Pride Manchester House
Pride Manchester is an eight-bed residential psychiatric treatment facility for children with emotional disturbances. The facility provides intervention and counseling to keep children out of foster care.
Center for Psychiatric Care
This Grand Forks-based private psychiatric clinic provides counseling and psychotherapy to patients who are at least four years old. The center specializes in treating depression, anxiety, and autism.
Center for Rural Health
This division of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine collaborates with healthcare professionals, human services organizations, government agencies, and policymakers to improve rural and tribal health.
This statewide hospital system operates 45 medical centers and 289 clinics, many of which offer behavioral health services to patients of all ages. Sanford manages clinical trials and research projects.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
North Dakota helps ensure psychologists stay current in the latest research and changes in laws by requiring continuing education credits as part of the license renewal process. Psychologists must document 40 continuing education credits every two years. Professional organizations help psychologists access high-quality, relevant professional education and help new psychologists connect with other professionals across the state.
- North Dakota Psychological Association This state affiliate of the APA promotes the psychology profession and mental health services at the state and community levels. Members join a network of practicing psychologists and gain access to professional development and training opportunities. The organization also hosts a members-only directory. Interested members can become active in leadership roles or special programs, such as federal advocacy or disaster recovery.
- American Psychological Association The APA promotes high-quality education for psychologists and advocates for rigorous licensing processes and high professional standards. Members can access free continuing education programs and discounted business services that can help set up their psychology practice. This national association also provides access to scientific studies and peer-reviewed journals.
- North Dakota Mental Health Counseling Association This organization promotes professional networking among mental health professionals across the state. It advocates for state initiatives to expand mental health services and ensures that members stay up to date on the most recent state and federal legislative changes. It also offers training opportunities and a members-only practice directory.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association This national organization provides free continuing education credits and access to on-demand webinars and home-study learning programs. Your dues also include subscriptions to the association magazine and research journals. Members also enjoy discounts on liability insurance and several practice management services and software.
- North Dakota Association of School Psychologists Members enjoy state conferences that provide networking opportunities and continuing education courses. Scholarships help members pay for additional professional development training. The organization also keeps members informed of legislative initiatives related to school psychology practice and training. Members include students, school psychologists, retired school psychologists, and affiliated service providers.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in North Dakota
NDCA Graduate Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to full-time students in accredited master's programs in counseling or human development.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: November 6
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must attend North Dakota State University, the University of Mary, the University of North Dakota, Minnesota State University Moorhead, or Northern State University.
American Indian Education Fund
The American Indian Education Fund awards up to $450,000 annually. Scholarships consist of financial assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and life coaching.
- Amount Offered: Varies
- Scholarship Deadline: April 4
- Eligibility Requirements: Each candidate must be a member of a Native American tribe and a full-time student. The American American Indian Fund considers academic performance, passion, drive, and resilience.
AISES Burlington North Santa Fe Scholarship
AISES awards this four-year undergraduate scholarship to a Native American student residing in one of 13 states, including North Dakota, and pursuing a degree in one of eight disciplines, including medicine.
- Amount Offered: $2,500 per year for four years
- Scholarship Deadline: March 31
- Eligibility Requirements: High school seniors with minimum 2.5 GPAs, tribal membership, and AISES membership may apply.
AISES A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society supports full-time Native American students enrolled in accredited programs in specific fields, including medical sciences.
- Amount Offered: $1,000 for undergraduates; $2,000 for graduates
- Scholarship Deadline: March 31
- Eligibility Requirements: Each applicant must possess a 3.0 GPA, tribal membership, and AISES membership.
American Psychological Foundation Graduate Scholarship
An arm of the APA awards these scholarships to 22 graduate students enrolled in accredited master's or doctoral programs. Recipients must apply their funds to research expenses related to a thesis or dissertation.
- Amount Offered: $2,000-$5,000
- Scholarship Deadline: June 30
- Eligibility Requirements: APA members enrolled in an interim master's programs must receive departmental nomination to apply.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in North Dakota
Professional psychologists dedicate many years to their education, and students considering on-campus or online psychology degrees in North Dakota have many reputable options to explore. The following database includes all accredited online psychology programs in North Dakota, along with details to help you select the best program for your academic and professional goals.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in North Dakota
North Dakota behavioral health providers serve a smaller percentage of residents than national averages, with a 18.37 penetration rate per 1,000 citizens in 2018. Another 2018 state report found North Dakota residents struggle with alcohol use, with higher-than-average rates of drinking and alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths. Law enforcement also documents the increasing use of illicit drugs, such as methamphetamine and heroin. The state has centered many of its behavioral health resources on in-patient and residential services.
Several initiatives in the state seek to strengthen community-based and out-patient treatment options for residents across the state, with an eye on early intervention and prevention. Access to care remains a top priority, especially in rural communities. The state has explored numerous options to expand care, such as telemedicine, which allows patients to contact mental health providers by phone or video conference.
Case management also helps providers address multiple client needs, such as medical care, housing assistance, or family services. A federal grant for substance abuse prevention and treatment supports research-backed treatment services and a continuum of care.