Online Psychology Degree Programs in Rhode Island

| Staff Writers Modified on March 23, 2022

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Rhode Island hosts many colleges that educate and train aspiring mental health professionals to help clients deal with trauma, mental health disorders, and substance abuse challenges. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that each year one in five adults experience mental illness in the U.S., and one in 25 adults suffer from serious mental illness. With treatment from a qualified mental health professional, many experiencing mental illness and substance abuse dependency achieve wellness and recovery.

Psychologists provide therapy and other psychosocial services. Those interested in psychology careers in Rhode Island can look forward to robust job growth. According to Projections Central (BLS), jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are projected to grow 11.5% in Rhode Island from 2016-26. In addition, the state boasts one of the nation's top five healthcare systems.

All states require psychologists to hold a license to practice. Those interested in this career must complete the education and training needed to qualify for licensure in Rhode Island. This guide focuses on common coursework for psychology majors, state licensure requirements, and salary and job outlook to help you choose the best online psychology degree in Rhode Island.

How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Rhode Island Work?

Rhode Island boasts two of the nation's best psychology schools, Brown University and the University of Rhode Island. While neither school offers online degrees in psychology, other colleges in the state boast strong psychology programs. Providence-based Johnson & Wales University (JWU) operates a robust virtual college that offers a fully online BS in psychology and an MS in organizational psychology.

Providence College (PC) offers a fully online or hybrid online BA in social science that students can customize with a concentration in psychology. Roger Williams University (RWU) offers an online bachelor's in applied psychology in a hybrid or fully online format. Students spend the same number of years completing their psychology degree whether they choose online or on-campus learning. Some schools, such as JWU, offer flexible credit transfer policies that allow learners to graduate sooner.

School accreditation ensures online programs meet high standards. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes seven regional accrediting agencies, including the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which accredits colleges and universities in New England states. Online learners should choose psychology colleges in Rhode Island accredited by NECHE.

What Courses are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Rhode Island?

Online psychology degrees in Rhode Island consist of courses that include general education requirements, psychology courses, and electives. Students learn about the field's classical theories and delve into clinical and social psychology. See below for five courses students often take when pursuing an undergraduate online psychology degree in Rhode Island.

Cognitive Psychology

Students explore cognition from a scientific perspective as faculty explain how various mental processes, such as learning, the acquisition of language, and problem-solving, work. Faculty highlight areas of the brain responsible for these functions and may employ technology like functional magnetic resonance imaging to highlight neural activity.

Lifespan Development

Degree-seekers explore theories, concepts, and research that explain psychological development across the lifespan. Faculty explore the role that biology, the environment, culture, and other factors play in cognitive and social-emotional development from infancy through adulthood.

Abnormal Psychology

Faculty characterize what constitutes abnormal psychology and introduce students to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), psychology's principal tool for psychiatric diagnoses. Students learn about the various theories that explain abnormal psychology -- such as psychodynamic, cognitive, and animistic -- and the symptoms and treatments for various disorders.

Positive Psychology

As more Americans embrace positive psychology to improve their lives, schools increasingly offer this course to help students use concepts and practices to cope with the challenges of college life. Learners explore the scientific evidence of positive psychology's impact on health and well-being in the areas of stress mitigation, physical and mental health, and in maintaining strong relationships.

Animal Psychology

Often an elective, this course delves into the factors that influence animal behavior, such as genes, evolution, and population biology. Faculty explore how psychologists observe and design experiments to study animal behavior and provide case studies that highlight their work.

Becoming a Psychologist in Rhode Island

Each state requires mental health professionals obtain a license before they can provide services. Students must complete all the educational requirements culminating in a doctorate and post-doctoral training before they qualify for licensure as a psychologist in Rhode Island. Read on for a step-by-step guide to the process.

  • Specialize

    Psychology includes various subdisciplines that allow degree-seekers to specialize their degree. Students should choose a specialization as early as possible since this impacts which online schools they can attend in Rhode Island. The American Psychological Association (APA) manages 54 divisions that include subdisciplines in clinical, developmental, forensic, and industrial-organizational psychology.
  • Earn Your Degrees

    Aspiring psychologists need a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in psychology to obtain a Iicense in Rhode Island. Students begin their education with a bachelor's degree that usually takes four years to complete. Psychology colleges in Rhode Island vary since some offer generous credit transfer policies to allow learners to finish degrees faster.

    Once learners enroll in an online master's in psychology in Rhode Island, they should know which specialization they plan to pursue at the master's and doctoral level. The master's degree generally takes full-time students two years to complete. Some schools, such as JWU, PC, and RWU, offer undergraduate or master's programs in psychology. Students will find limited options for earning an online doctorate in psychology in Rhode Island.

    Participants engage in intensive clinical/internship experience at the graduate level, with the most required at the doctoral level. Schools generally allow online learners in bachelor's and master's programs to complete any required practicum experience at a facility or organization in their community.

  • Obtain Licensure

    The Rhode Island Department of Health's Board of Psychology oversees the state's licensure of psychologists. Candidates for licensure need a doctorate from an APA- or regionally accredited program. They must demonstrate completion of 1,500 hours of predoctoral internship and 1,500 hours of supervised postdoctoral experience.

    Before students complete the supervised postdoctoral experience, they apply to the board for a temporary permit that allows them to complete the last year under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Applicants pay $120 for the permit and an additional $230 application fee for full licensure.

    The board reviews applicants' information and approves them to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and is administered by Pearson VUE for $600. The board requires a minimum 500 score on the EPPP for approval of a psychologist's license.

Other Licenses and Certifications

Degree-seekers who do not wish to work as psychologists can receive the education and training necessary to serve as social workers, marriage and family therapists, and other mental health professionals. See below for three options.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The Board of Social Work Examiners oversees the licensing process for social workers. Applicants need a CSWE-accredited master of social work or doctorate. They must pass the Association of Social Work Board's intermediate-level national examination for licensure. After 24 months of clinical social work, applicants may qualify for a licensed independent clinical social worker credential.

Marriage and Family Therapist

The Board of Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists issues licenses for MFTs. Applicants need a 60-credit master's degree in MFT from an accredited institution. The master's must include a one-year internship and the candidate must also complete postgraduate supervised work experience. When candidates meet all requirements they must pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board's MFT exam

Licensed Professional Counselor

The Board of Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists also licenses counselors. Applicants need a 60-credit master's degree from an institution accredited by CACREP or an equivalent accrediting agency. The degree must include a one-year internship, and candidates must also complete postgraduate supervised work experience. Once they meet all criteria, applicants sit for the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor exam administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors or another board-approved exam.

Online Psychology Degree Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Rhode Island

In a ranking of the best states to live by U.S. News & World Report, Rhode Island lands the No. 26 spot overall. U.S. News examined several metrics to determine which states shine in areas of education, economy, and healthcare. Rhode Island's economy continues to thrive, ranking No. 20 compared to other states. But Rhode Island soars when it comes to meeting citizens' healthcare needs in the areas of access and quality of care, evidenced by the state's No. 5 ranking in that category.

The BLS projects a national 14% job growth rate for psychologists from 2018-28, which is much faster than average. According to the BLS, Rhode Island boasts the fourth highest concentration of jobs in this occupation compared to all others except the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Ninety psychologists work in the state making an annual mean wage of $73,080.

Professionals should note that psychologists in Rhode Island earn a lower annual mean wage than psychologists in neighboring Massachusetts ($83,550). The state's metropolitan areas provide psychologists with the most job prospects and better pay. In the

Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI metro area, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists make an annual mean wage of $77,970, while in Providence-Warwick, RI-MA they earn $87,560.

Rhode Island at a Glance

Population: 1,057,315

Population Growth (2010-2018): 0.45%

Population Growth Rank: 47

Source: United States Census Bureau

Mean Annual SalaryProjected Job Growth (2016-26)
Rhode Island$83,03011.1%
New York$94,14018.2%
National Average$95,61010.3%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist SalaryGeneral Unemployment RateEducation and Health Services 12-Month Employment Growth
Providence - Warwick$87,5603.8%3.7%
Norwich - New London - Westerly$77,9703.4%-0.5%

Source: BLS

Psychology Degrees and Careers in Rhode Island -- Frequently Asked Questions

Degree-seekers may seek additional information regarding psychology colleges in Rhode Island. See below for answers to commonly asked questions.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Psychologist in Rhode Island?

Aspiring psychologists spend 10-12 years completing a bachelor's, master's, and doctorate to meet licensure requirements for a career as a psychologist in Rhode Island. Some schools allow learners to transfer credits to finish degrees faster. Candidates for licensure must complete a Psy.D. or Ph.D., which takes 5-7 years.

Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?

Undergraduate courses in psychology lay the foundation for graduate-level coursework and are therefore much easier to master. At all levels, students may struggle in certain subjects but shine in others. Learners should pursue an area of specialization that truly fascinates them, and develop strong relationships with faculty who can provide academic assistance and mentorship.

What Skills are Needed to be a Psychologist?

Effective communication skills help psychologists develop and maintain strong therapeutic relationships with patients. Since problem-solving plays a key role in the profession, aspiring psychologists must hone their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Emotional intelligence helps psychologists maintain control of their emotions and monitor and modulate that of their clients.

What Schools are Best for Psychology in Rhode Island?

Degree-seekers interested in earning a bachelor's or master's in psychology should look to schools like Johnson & Wales University, Roger Williams University, and Providence College, which offer online degrees at the undergraduate or master's level. Learners should also explore colleges that seemingly do not offer online programs. They may offer unadvertised hybrid programs if they allow students to complete some general education courses online.

Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?

A BS in psychology or another major in the behavioral sciences provides aspiring psychologists with hands-on research and lab experience that a BA does not often provide. The BA focuses more on liberal arts education and less on science content by design.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Rhode Island

For students earning an online psychology degree, choosing a regionally accredited institution is crucial to ensuring that employers recognize your degree. Regional accreditation indicates an institution has been evaluated and found to meet set academic standards. Regional accreditation is more prestigious than national accreditation, which is often awarded to for-profit schools.

Institutions in Rhode Island are regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Psychology students should also ensure each prospective program is accredited by the APA. Rhode Island requires candidates for psychology licensure to hold a degree from an APA-accredited doctoral program.

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Rhode Island

Psychology students and graduates can explore a variety of psychology internships and fellowships in Rhode Island. Internships and fellowships provide practical experience to supplement classroom studies. Internships may be paid or unpaid and often award academic credit. Fellowships are typically offered to recent graduates, are almost always paid, and closely resemble entry-level psychology positions.

Both internships and fellowships give students hands-on experience at mental or behavioral health facilities. However, internships give undergraduate and graduate students short-term paid or unpaid experience in exchange for college credit. Fellowships give postdoctoral students long-term paid experience in their specialization. This postdoctoral experience counts toward the professional supervised experience that states require for licensure as a psychologist.

Butler Hospital

This nonprofit psychiatric hospital treats major psychiatric disorders and substance abuse in adults and teenagers. Butler is also the psychiatric teaching hospital for Brown University.

East Bay Community Action Program

This program provides counseling services and comprehensive psychiatric care for people with mental health disorders and substance abuse problems.

Mental Health Research at Lifespan

This academic medical system maintains mental health research programs, such as the Family Research program, the Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services project, and the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine research center.

Gateway Healthcare

Gateway is Rhode Island's largest nonprofit mental health service provider. The organization treats children and adults through community-based programs and provides residential and outpatient treatment.

Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center

This research center comprises researchers from Bradley Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital who study issues related to children's mental health.

Providence VA Medical Center Research Center

This medical center participates in mental health research projects regarding topics relevant to veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, schizophrenia, and anger.

Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

Professional organizations give members access to a community of experts and peers in a supportive environment. Through the organization, professionals complete continuing education, benefit from legislative advocacy, enjoy discount programs, and network with peers. Organizations like the APA and the American Mental Health Counselors Association provide this support to mental health professionals. See below for four organizations of interest to psychologists and psychology students.

  • Rhode Island Psychological Association A state affiliate of APA, this organization works to promote the application of science-based psychological principles, advance education and training, and ensure the highest standards of ethics. Members gain access to clinical tools and resources, continuing education, and social events.
  • American Psychological Association APA is the nation's leading scientific organization representing psychology and psychologists. APA's membership consists of 118,000 mental health professionals, including clinicians. APA manages 54 divisions that cover various subdisciplines and interest areas. Member benefits include a subscription to Monitor on Psychology, professional liability insurance, lesson plans for teachers, discounts on APA databases, and discounts on APA journals.
  • Rhode Island Mental Health Counselors Association A local chapter of the American Mental Health Counselor Association, RIMHCA represents licensed mental health counselors in the state by providing advocacy and the latest information on issues pertaining to counselors. Membership benefits include continuing education, trainings, and networking opportunities.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA affiliates with state chapters across the nation. The organization sets the standards for practice, ethics, professional development, and advocacy in the mental health counseling field. Member benefits include advocacy, professional liability insurance, health and wellness benefits, and access to various publications.
  • Rhode Island School Psychologists' Association RISPA collaborates with schools, families, and communities to provide optimal mental health care to the state's children. Member benefits include advocacy, professional development, and networking events.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island School Psychology Ethnic Minority Scholarship

This scholarship supports minority psychology graduate students in Rhode Island. Residents of Rhode Island who attend out-of-state programs may also apply.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: April 22
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduate psychology students in Rhode Island or Rhode Island residents pursuing their degree in another state. Applicants must speak a language other than English or be a person of color.
Benton-Meier Scholarships

The American Psychological Foundation offers two annual scholarships for graduate students in neuropsychology. The funds support doctoral student research.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must have completed doctoral candidacy, must have IRB approval for a research project, if required, and must have chosen an area of specialization.
Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant

The APA supports this grant for graduate students and early-career professionals. The grant funds research to improve the public's understanding of the psychological pain physically disabled people experience.

  • Amount Offered: $10,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: October 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a full-time graduate student or a psychologist with fewer than 10 years of professional experience and must have IRB approval, if required.
APF Graduate Student Scholarships

Each year, the American Psychological Foundation awards 21 scholarships for graduate student research. The committee evaluates applicants primarily based on their research proposals.

  • Amount Offered: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate student enrolled in a master's or Ph.D. program in a COGDOP-member psychology department.
Kenneth B. and Mamie P. Clark Fund

This scholarship supports research into the relationship between academic achievement and self-identity in children. The award goes to a graduate student or an early-career psychologist.

  • Amount Offered: $9,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate student or a professional with fewer than 10 years of professional experience. Applicants must be familiar with the work of the Clarks, and must have IRB approval, if required.
Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grants

These grants support graduate student research related to LGBT family psychology and family therapy, with preference given to dissertation candidates.

  • Amount Offered: $11,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: November 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate student who is committed to issues related to LGBT families and must have IRB approval, if applicable.

Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Rhode Island

Before pursuing an online psychology degree in Rhode Island, prospective students should explore available options to select the program that best fits their academic and professional goals. The database below includes all accredited psychology programs available online in Rhode Island, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.

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Mental Health Initiatives in Rhode Island

The Division of Behavioral Healthcare Services (DBH) oversees two main program areas in the state: mental health services and substance abuse treatment and prevention services. Rhode Island residents receive access to licensed treatment providers through a network of community mental health centers.

DBH's peer support pairs those seeking treatment with current or former patients who understand the process of recovery and can render support. Families of those afflicted with mental illness also get support from Family Support services. Furthermore, the Office of the Mental Health Advocate, an independent state agency staffed by attorneys, provides free legal and advocacy services to protect the dignity of those in mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities, and to prevent inappropriate admission to psychiatric institutions.

In a ranking of the 50 states, nonprofit Mental Health America found that Rhode Island ranked No. 6 in 2018 for giving citizens access to insurance and mental health treatment. The national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) confirms Rhode Island's success in addressing mental health and substance abuse in the state. According to SAMHSA, in 2018, Rhode Island had a 24.98 treatment rate per 1,000 population, greater than the 23.69 U.S. treatment rate.

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