Online Psychology Degree Programs in Tennessee

Psychologists study cognitive processes and help patients maintain optimal mental health. Practicing psychologists normally hold advanced degrees and focus on specialized topics within the mental health field. Many of the top universities in Tennessee offer psychology degrees online, including public institutions such as the University of Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State University. Several of the best private universities, including Bethel University, also provide psychology courses online.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Tennessee will grow 21.5% by 2024, faster than the national growth rate. Some of the region's top mental health research and treatment facilities operate in Tennessee, and established professional organizations in the state support psychology professionals. For students pursuing an online psychology degree, Tennessee has plenty of educational and career opportunities.

Mental Health Initiatives in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) oversees statewide mental health initiatives. TDMHSAS officials organize suicide prevention training for business leaders throughout the state to help workplace colleagues detect suicidal intentions and intervene. Like many states in the region, Tennessee struggles with a growing opioid addiction problem. TDMHSAS provides services to curtail this drug epidemic, including detoxification services and the allocation of grant money for prevention and treatment programs.

Mental health and addiction issues impact the state’s criminal justice system. TDMHSAS leads research into the costs and benefits of treatment versus incarceration. The department also advocates for specialized drug courts in Tennessee that can intervene in the lives of addicts in crisis. TDMHSAS addresses the issue of homelessness resulting from mental illness by training mental health clinicians to assess patients’ housing status and connecting mental health patients who are at risk of becoming homeless with relevant programs.

How do I Become a Psychologist in Tennessee?

Graduates of psychology programs pursue a variety of career paths. Since professionals in many psychology subfields address important public health issues, many graduates need a state license for their particular profession. Although the licensing processes for professionals pursuing mental health careers are similar, details vary based on specialization and applicant background. Moreover, different state agencies oversee licensing for specific professional roles in the psychology field.

Choose the Path That's Right for You: Psychologists play critical roles in the mental health field and require extensive academic preparation to understand research trends affecting treatment practices. Practicing psychologists normally hold a Ph.D. Candidates interested in advanced psychology roles or in teaching psychology-related subjects to college students also need a Ph.D. Graduates with a master’s degree can pursue careers in psychology-related professions; for students who have earned a master’s in psychology online, Tennessee offers rewarding careers as professional counselors or therapists.

Earn Your Degree: Graduates of online psychology degree programs enter rewarding professions helping others. High school graduates interested in psychology careers should consider applying to online bachelor’s programs, which most students complete in four years of full-time study. Most psychology-related professions require a graduate degree. Requirements for many of the top master’s programs in psychology and specialized subfields, such as counseling and therapy, include a 3.0 GPA and competitive ACT or SAT scores. Some master’s programs require undergraduate coursework in psychology or statistics.
Many psychology practitioners hold a Ph.D, which normally requires two or more years of further study. Ph.D programs accept strong candidates with a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Candidates for most psychology-related licensure should have supervised work experience, such as that gained from internships and fellowships.

Earn Your License: Candidates seeking psychology licensure in Tennessee must pass the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The EPPP tests candidates' knowledge of psychology theory and mental health practice. The exam is administered by Pearson Vue testing centers, costs $600, and takes 255 minutes to complete. Psychology degree programs prepare students for this rigorous exam, but most candidates need several months of extra study time. Passing the EPPP is an important step toward a career as a licensed psychologist, but employers may set further requirements.

Psychology Licensing in Tennessee

For graduates with an online psychology degree, Tennessee holds many rewarding career options. Since psychology professionals provide treatment to the public, many positions require state licensure. Licensure regulations are set by state agencies and vary by career area. The following chart details the steps necessary to obtain licensure in some of the most popular professions for graduates of psychology programs.

Licensed Psychologist


  • Ph.D in psychology
  • Two years of supervised experience
  • Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Ethics and Jurisprudence examination
  • State and federal background checks

Careers Available With This License:

  • Psychologist

Total Fees: $1,154

Licensed Clinical Social Worker


  • Master's degree in social work or psychology
  • Two years of supervised experience
  • Association of Social Work Boards exam
  • State and federal background checks

Careers Available With This License:

  • Social worker
  • Counselor
  • Child development practitioner
    • Social Worker
    • Clinical supervisor

    Total Fees: $459

Marriage & Family Therapist


  • Master's degree in psychology or counseling
  • Two years of supervised experience
  • National Examination in Marital and Family Therapy
  • State and federal background checks

Careers Available With This License:

  • Therapist
  • Counselor

Total Fees: $574

Licensed Mental Health Counselor


  • Master's degree in counseling or psychology
  • Two years of supervised experience
  • National Counselor Examination
  • State and federal background checks
  • Mental Health Service Provider Upgrade application

Careers Available With This License:

  • Counselor
  • Therapist

Total Fees: $629

National Certified Counselor


  • Master's degree in counseling or psychology
  • Two years of supervised experience
  • National Counselor Examination
  • State and federal background checks

Careers Available With This License:

  • Counselor
  • Therapist

Total Fees: $554

Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Tennessee

Obtaining a psychology-related license requires years of supervised work experience. Internships and fellowships provide psychology students and graduates with practical training in mental health professions. Interns typically perform limited functions in work settings and are often unpaid. Fellows are paid and have responsibilities similar to those of entry-level employees. Fellowships typically last for predetermined durations. Below are internships and fellowships available to students in psychology programs in Tennessee.

  • Cherokee Health Systems Psychology Internship: This APA-accredited internship provides students with clinical experience. Cherokee Health Systems, a nonprofit organization based in Knoxville, serves the behavioral health needs of uninsured and low-income residents of East Tennessee. Find more information on the Cherokee Health Systems website.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Developmental Disabilities: The University of Tennessee organizes this respected postdoctoral fellowship program at the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities in Memphis. Fellows provide care for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities. Apply through the UT website.

Psychology Careers in Tennessee

The academic field of psychology informs many related professions and encompasses several specializations. According to the BLS, the majority of psychologists in Tennessee are clinical, counseling, or school psychologists. Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental disorders, usually in hospital or outpatient settings, and counseling psychologists help patients cope with mental and emotional problems. School psychologists provide counseling-related care to students in educational settings. Many psychology students enter the rapidly growing field of industrial organizational psychology, helping large companies develop efficient ways to conduct training and streamline work processes.

How Much do Psychologists Make in Tennessee?

Psychology degrees prepare students for a variety of specialized professions, which each award different salaries. Typically, professionals with higher education and more experience earn higher salaries. Pay rates also vary by location. According to the BLS, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Tennessee earn an average of $74,280 per year, slightly less than the national average. However, the cost of living in Tennessee is also lower than the national average.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Tennessee 1,880 $38.45 $79,975
United States 122,310 $38.77 $80,640

Source: BLS

Mental Health Service Providers in Tennessee

Although the BLS projects strong job growth in the psychology field in Tennessee, graduates may struggle to find employment opportunities in certain specialized subfields. Being familiar with the largest mental health service providers in the state helps candidates find employment, as large clinics and hospitals hire often and provide opportunities for advancement.

  • Cherokee Health Systems: This Knoxville-based nonprofit operates clinics serving uninsured and low-income residents of East Tennessee. Cherokee offers behavioral health and addiction services on a sliding payment scale.
  • Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute: Based in Nashville, this large medical institution provides long-term and short-term psychiatric care. It also houses a forensic division that serves the state’s criminal justice system through expert diagnostic services.
  • Mirror Lake Recovery Center: Mirror Lake provides drug and alcohol addiction treatment to adults in Middle Tennessee. This private facility offers detoxification, residential, and partial hospitalization programs to help patients overcome addiction problems.
  • Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute: Located in Chattanooga, this large mental health institution provides behavioral health and psychiatric services to residents of East Tennessee. Moccasin Bend specializes in caring for patients involuntarily committed due to long-term mental illnesses or brain injuries.
  • University of Tennessee Psychological Clinic: UT provides psychological and counseling services to students, faculty, and members of the public at its respected Knoxville clinic. UT Psychological Clinic offers quality behavioral care and allows UT psychology students to gain research experience.

Mental Health Research Centers in Tennessee

Psychology professionals depend on emerging research to inform diagnostic and treatment practices. Practitioners must be familiar with the largest psychology research institutions in the state to remain updated on research trends. For students in psychology programs in Tennessee, these research facilities are potential sources of employment after graduation.

  • Center for Applied Psychological Research: This center at the University of Memphis promotes scientific investigation into the human mind to find solutions to individual and community mental health problems. The university-affiliated research organization receives funding from the state government and external grants. Its work supports state and local mental health initiatives.
  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center: This medical research center at UT Memphis investigates behavioral and neurological disorders associated with aging. The Health Science Center leads statewide research into dementia.
  • Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research: Located at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, this medical research facility investigates issues related to drug and alcohol dependency. The center supports education and outreach programs to prevent substance abuse.

Professional Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

Psychology professionals and students benefit from joining professional organizations, which offer resources that help members develop their careers. These groups often arrange internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates. Some organizations publish academic journals in which members can publicize research findings and read about trends in the field. Many professional organizations hold conferences, which allow mental health practitioners to network with colleagues. Organizations representing specialized psychology professions work with the state government to develop practice standards and to influence legislation.

  • Tennessee Association for Addiction Professionals: A state affiliate of the National Association of Addiction Professionals, TAADAC supports addiction service workers in Tennessee. TAADAC advocates for addiction treatment employees by monitoring and commenting on proposed legislation pertinent to the profession. The organization helps members comply with licensing requirements and holds events through its regional chapters.
  • Tennessee Association of School Psychologists: School psychologists face issues and challenges unique to working with student populations. TASP connects members with professional development resources pertinent to this specialized field. TASP also organizes regular conferences for school psychologists in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee Psychological Association: TPA promotes psychology as a science and profession in Tennessee. Members receive access to online forums, ideal for communicating new ideas in the field, and access to conferences where members meet psychologists from across the state.

Scholarships for Online Psychology Programs in Tennessee

Aspire Award

This grant, funded by the Tennessee lottery, provides further financial assistance for Tennessee HOPE Scholarship recipients who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

  • Amount Offered: $750
  • Scholarship Deadline: September 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Tennessee high school graduate with a 3.0 GPA, must demonstrate a family income of $36,000 or less, and must meet the requirements for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship.

Chancellor’s Scholars Program

The University of Tennessee offers this scholarship to promising incoming freshmen who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement.

  • Amount Offered: $4,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be an incoming UT freshman with at least a 3.75 GPA and must have a score of 30 or higher on the ACT or 1400 or higher on the SAT.

Enrichment Scholarship

This scholarship supports undergraduate students at Middle Tennessee State University who demonstrate academic achievement.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a full-time MTSU undergraduate student with at least a 3.0 GPA and must not have received any other MTSU scholarships.

Helping Heroes Grant

This grant, awarded by the Tennessee state government, supports Tennessee veterans pursuing undergraduate degrees.

  • Amount Offered: $1,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: September 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must prove honorable discharge from the military and service in Afghanistan, Iraq, or in the War on Terror.

Jack Diller Educational Award

This scholarship, awarded by the Nashville Predators NHL team, supports college-bound students from Middle Tennessee who are recommended by teachers or coaches. Candidates submit essays describing their commitment to education.

  • Amount Offered: $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 12
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a college-bound high school senior from Middle Tennessee with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Ned McWherter Scholarship

Offered by the Tennessee state government in partnership with colleges in Tennessee, this renewable award supports state residents pursuing undergraduate degrees.

  • Amount Offered: $6,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Tennessee resident with a GPA of at least 3.5 and an ACT score of 29 or better.

Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation Scholarship Program

This scholarship supports employees working in Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association (TGCSA) affiliate stores who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $2,500
  • Scholarship Deadline: February 27
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be an employee of a TGCSA store or the spouse or child of an employee.

Tennessee HOPE Scholarship

This scholarship, funded by the Tennessee lottery, assists graduates of Tennessee high schools who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in the state. Award amounts vary based on year of study.

  • Amount Offered: Up to $2,250
  • Scholarship Deadline: September 1
  • Eligibility Requirements: The student must be a Tennessee high school graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Tennessee State University Academic Higher Achiever Scholarship

This competitive scholarship offers full tuition, room, and board to exceptional incoming Tennessee State University freshmen.

  • Amount Offered: Varies
  • Scholarship Deadline: January 15
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Tennessee high school graduate with a 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of at least 21.

Tennessee Student Assistance Award

This grant, offered by the state government, supports Tennessee undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The scholarship amount depends on whether the recipient attends a public or private institution.

  • Amount Offered: $2,000 or $4,000
  • Scholarship Deadline: December 31
  • Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a Tennessee resident who demonstrates financial need on their FAFSA.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Tennessee

Accreditation is the process by which external agencies verify the quality of educational institutions and programs. In the United States, academically oriented universities, including those offering degrees in psychology, typically receive regional accreditation. Tennessee schools are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Colleges that specialize in career preparation traditionally hold national accreditation. Of the two forms of institutional accreditation, regional accreditation commands the most respect.

In addition, individual departments and programs often hold field-specific accreditation. The most highly respected psychology degrees are accredited by the American Psychology Association, a membership organization representing psychology researchers and mental health practitioners. Some specialized programs may hold accreditation from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, an international group representing mental health practitioners in the United States and Canada.

Program Database of Online Psychology Programs in Tennessee

Many of the top universities in Tennessee offer undergraduate and graduate courses in convenient online formats. For students seeking an online psychology degree, Tennessee institutions offer a variety of specializations. Use the following database of all accredited online psychology programs in the state to explore educational options in Tennessee.

Program Database

School Degree Levels State