Online Psychology Degree Programs in South Carolina

In 1821, legislation was passed in South Carolina allowing public funds to be used to treat the state's mentally ill citizens, making it one of the first states in the country to do so. Since then, however, South Carolina's mental health services have fallen behind the national average. According to Mental Health America, South Carolina now ranks 43rd among U.S. states in terms of access to mental health services. Fortunately, efforts are currently being made to change increase access. This renewed interest in addressing mental health has caused psychology and other mental health professions to become some of the most in-demand careers in the state.

Across the country, psychology and related degree programs have become one of the most popular degrees. The projected growth in psychology professions is expected to inspire a large number of students to enroll in psychology programs in South Carolina. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions in the state is projected to grow by nearly 24% between 2014 and 2024, which is significantly faster than the U.S. average for psychologists.

Mental Health Initiatives in South Carolina

Many people and organizations in South Carolina work together to improve the mental health infrastructure in the state. For example, the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health recently analyzed the state's approach to mental health treatment and care and provided recommendations for improvement. This led to the establishment of a number of programs and services, including a jail diversion program to house mentally ill offenders in a mental health center and provide them with better care, the SC Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative (SCYSPI) to reduce and prevent youth suicide, and increased funding for the Department of Mental Health for crisis stabilization units to provide more immediate care for those suffering from psychiatric distress.

Another large mental health-related development in South Carolina was the announcement of a joint venture between the Greenville Health System (GHS) and Acadia Healthcare. The partnership is investing $64 million to create an 80,000-square foot behavioral health hospital. The new hospital will feature 120 inpatient beds and host several care services, including help overcoming addiction, psychology for all age groups, and intensive outpatient therapy.

How do I Become a Psychologist in South Carolina?

The licensing process for aspiring psychologists in South Carolina is similar to those of other states in the country, with some minor differences in the procedures and fees. Like most states, licensed psychologists in South Carolina must earn a doctoral degree, work a large number of supervised postgraduate hours, and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) before applying for a license.

Choose the Path That's Right for You: The field of psychology offers many different specializations; therefore, students should first decide the focus they want to have while pursuing an online psychology degree in South Carolina. Specialties within the field include sports psychology, child psychology, and health psychology. While clinical psychologists in South Carolina must earn a doctoral degree in psychology (PsyD) or a PhD, other related licenses, such as a counselor license, require only a master's degree.

Earn Your Degree: The availability of online psychology programs in South Carolina give students more flexibility when choosing a school or program. Students who want to earn a psychologist license have the option of earning a PhD (schools typically requires a master's degree for admission) or a PsyD (some schools allow graduates with only a bachelor's degree to enter). Both of these degrees feature heavy clinical components, although students in PsyD programs generally begin completing clinicals earlier in their academic career. Additionally, PhD programs emphasize more research and tend to take longer to complete (between five and seven years) than PsyD programs (between four and six years).

Earn Your License: After graduating with a doctoral degree, psychologist candidates must complete the required number of supervised work hours (3,000 hours in South Carolina) and pass the EPPP. The EPPP costs $600 and ensures that aspiring psychologists have at least an entry-level aptitude in the field. While an advanced psychology degree is necessary to register for the exam, students should also engage in additional studying before taking the test. To prepare, the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests utilizing the available study materials and practice exams, although studying for more than 200 hours can become counterproductive. A passing grade on the exam is required for licensing but does not guarantee employment.

Psychology Licensing in South Carolina

While becoming a licensed psychologist is the main goal for many students enrolled in psychology Ph.D programs in South Carolina, several other specializations and licenses exist. Each license has different requirements and career options. For example, students who earn only a master's in psychology online in South Carolina can qualify to become a marriage and family therapist. For many students, pinpointing the best career path can feel overwhelming. Therefore, to help ease this process, the table below highlights several different psychology licenses as well as the prerequisites and possible career outcomes that are associated with them.

Licensed Psychologist

Prerequisites: Doctoral degree, passing grade on the EPPP, and 3,000 hours of postdoctoral supervised work.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Psychology teacher

Total Fees: $500

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Prerequisites: Master's degree in social work or a related field, passing grade on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination, and 3,000 hours of clinical work.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Social worker
  • Therapist
  • Child development practitioner

Total Fees: $45

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Prerequisites: Master's degree or higher in psychology or a related field, passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), and 3,000 hours of clinical experience with at least 150 hours of direct supervision from a licensed professional.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Mental health counselor
  • Social worker
  • Therapist

Total Fees: $170

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

Prerequisites: Master's degree in psychology or a related field, passing score on the National Counselor Examination (NCE), and 3,000 hours of clinical experience with at least 150 hours of direct supervision from a licensed professional.

Careers Available With This License:

  • Mental health counselor
  • Social worker
  • Therapist

Total Fees: $170

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in South Carolina

Both internships and fellowships help students gain clinical experience and determine which area of the field they want to target after graduation. Internships are typically an exchange of work for experience and/or school credit, while fellowships tend to be full-time positions that exchange advanced level work and/or research from a doctoral student or postgraduate for a salary or stipend. The following list contains some positions available to students pursuing an online psychology degree in South Carolina.

  • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Postdoctoral Fellowships: Hosted by the MUSC's psychiatry graduate medical education department, these fellowships are available in different psychological study areas, including addiction, child and adolescent psychology, forensic psychology, and geriatric psychology.
  • South Carolina Department of Mental Health Fellowship: Hosted by the forensic evaluation services within South Carolina's mental health department, this fellowship provides experience performing criminal forensic evaluations for the state. Fellows also have access to various training seminars and qualified supervision.

Psychology Careers in South Carolina

The renewed focus on mental health in South Carolina has initiated substantial growth for a variety of mental health professions. For example, increased funding in areas of youth mental health support is expected to lead to more career opportunities for child psychologists. Furthermore, the development of the new GHS mental health hospital will create new jobs for clinical psychologists and health psychologists.

In addition to this type of short-term job creation, BLS projections show that the number of psychology teachers will experience 26% growth in South Carolina over the next several years. The national projected growth (14%) for the whole psychologist profession over the next decade is expected to be twice that of the average profession in the U.S., and these careers are anticipated to grow even faster in South Carolina.

How Much do Psychologists Make in South Carolina?

As with most states, the earning potential of a psychologist in South Carolina is largely based on their experience, where they live, and what licenses they have. Although the average salary for clinical psychologists in the state is 11% lower than the national average, the strong projected growth in the field may make up some of that difference. Psychologist candidates should also consider the state's low unemployment rate and the fact that the average cost of housing in South Carolina is 9% lower than the national average.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
South Carolina 5,040 $34.92 $72,640
United States 122,310 $38.77 $80,640

Source: BLS

Mental Health Service Providers in South Carolina

In the field of mental health, large hospitals and health centers employ many professionals and have a tendency to post job openings regularly. Looking into these organizations can be helpful for job seekers. The following list contains some of the largest employers of mental health professionals in South Carolina.

  • Rebound Behavioral Health: Rebound Behavioral Health provides assistance for addiction and various mental and behavioral health illnesses. The facility is an inpatient hospital located on a 50-acre estate just outside of Charlotte.
  • Palmetto Health: Palmetto Health is a comprehensive healthcare system with a number of services and programs, including a behavioral care program and addiction services. Palmetto Health employs professionals in the areas of child psychology, chemical dependency, and addiction recovery.
  • Greenville Health System – Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health: This department cares for people of all ages suffering from many types of emotional and psychological disorders. The hospital has both inpatient and outpatient programs and is currently developing a new facility.
  • Morris Village Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center: A member of the Division of Inpatient Services of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Morris Village is an inpatient treatment center that works with people suffering from addiction and mental illness.
  • William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute: This institute is an inpatient facility that works with youths and teens in need of psychological assistance or medication. It partners with state departments, hospitals, and the Department of Social Services to locate young people in need of assistance.

Mental Health Research Centers in South Carolina

Graduates of psychology Ph.D programs in South Carolina are prepared to find positions in mental health research centers. Many of the research techniques and methods at these research institutions is similar to the work doctoral-level students completed while earning their degrees. The list below contains a few of the research centers located in South Carolina.

Professional Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

Professional mental health organizations provide access to valuable networking opportunities for current psychologists and excellent career resources for psychology students. Membership in most professional organizations grants access to conferences and industry events, allowing aspiring psychologists to talk with industry professionals, find mentors, and get involved in the industry before they graduate. The associations listed below are available to mental health professionals in the state of South Carolina.

  • South Carolina Psychological Association: The SCPA works with individuals from every level of the psychology field, including students, professionals, public officials, and government agents. The SCPA seeks to advance the profession and advocates for higher standards and better practices. Members gain access to networking events, discounts on services, membership in a referral network, and continuing education opportunities.
  • South Carolina Counseling Association: The SCCA advocates for all professional counselors in South Carolina and the profession as a whole. Members benefit from professional development opportunities, industry resources, and support at the state and national levels.
  • South Carolina Association of School Psychologists: This association supports its members by providing professional development opportunities, promoting access to better mental health support, and advocating that school psychologists take on a more integral role in the education system.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Programs in South Carolina

Palmetto Fellows Program

This program rewards South Carolina's most talented high school seniors and encourages them to study in-state.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $6,700 during the first year and up to $7,500 each year thereafter
  • Scholarship Deadline: December 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must attend a South Carolina high school and enroll in a South Carolina postsecondary school. Applicants must also demonstrate academic proficiency.

Life Scholarship

The Life Scholarship is awarded to students with high academic achievement who demonstrate financial need. The award is meant to encourage more students to stay and study in South Carolina.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $4,700 (renewable)
  • Scholarship Deadline: December 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Carolina residents and attend a South Carolina postsecondary school. Applicants must also demonstrate academic excellence.

SC Hope Scholarship Program

The SC Hope Scholarship Program rewards capable students and encourages them to stay and study in the state. Funding is provided by proceeds from the SC Education Lottery.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $2,800
  • Scholarship Deadline: December 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have graduated from a South Carolina high school with a B average and plan to attend a South Carolina postsecondary school.

SC Need-based Grant Program

Established to help South Carolina's neediest students, this program gives aid to students who demonstrate financial need and plan to attend a South Carolina school.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $2,500 annually
  • Scholarship Deadline: December 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Carolina residents with financial need. They must also maintain a 2.0 GPA while attending a South Carolina postsecondary institution.

SC Tuition Grants Program

The SC Tuition Grants Program was established to help students from South Carolina pay for their first degree at a South Carolina institution.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $3,200
  • Scholarship Deadline: June 30
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Carolina residents with financial need and plan to attend a South Carolina college or university.

Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program

This program was established in honor of South Carolina's first poet laureate. Scholarships are given to students who deliver the most impressive artistic presentation.

  • Amount Offered: $2,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 5
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be South Carolina high school students who plan to attend an in-state school.

First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina Scholarship

Established to help First Choice members finance their education, this scholarship aims to empower members and reward academic proficiency.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be members of First Choice and South Carolina residents. They must also have a 2.0 GPA in high school or a 2.5 GPA in college.

LinkScholars Program

This program was created to identify and support low-income African American students who aspire to attend postsecondary school. In addition to financial assistance, the program offers social and emotional support.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: March 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduating African American seniors from eligible South Carolina high schools. Applicants must also have a 2.8 GPA. Preference is given to students considering a historically black institution in South Carolina.

South Carolina State University General Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to incoming South Carolina State University freshmen who demonstrated academic excellence in high school. The award is only available to South Carolinians in an effort to encourage more residents to stay and study in their home state.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: October 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have a GPA of 3.25 and an 1100 on the SAT (or 24 on the ACT).

Stamps, Carolina, and Hamilton Scholars

These three scholarships are awarded to University of South Carolina students who are residents of South Carolina and demonstrate the highest levels of academic excellence.

  • Amount Offered: Between $10,000 and $20,000 annually
  • Scholarship Deadline: November 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate both academic excellence and community involvement and leadership.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in South Carolina

School and program accreditation is one of the most important considerations students should have when choosing a program. Accreditation comes in two forms. Regional accreditation is given to schools and programs within a specific region of United States; South Carolina schools receive regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Public institutions in the state are also monitored by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. It is important to ensure that both of these governing bodies have given approval to any schools you consider.

The other type of accreditation comes at the national level. In the field of psychology, the most desirable accreditation is awarded by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA only accredits doctoral-level psychology degree programs and only works with regionally-accredited schools. An APA-accredited degree is not strictly mandatory to practice psychology in South Carolina, but it does reduce the number of steps a student must take to obtain licensure.

Program Database of Online Psychology Programs in South Carolina

A large number of institutions offer an online psychology degree in South Carolina, which can make the process of choosing a program seem daunting. To ease your search. the list below details every accredited online psychology program in South Carolina. It should help you find the school that best fits your academic and professional goals.

Program Database

School Degree Levels State