As the second-largest state in both geographic area and population, Texas supports close to 200 public and private institutions of higher education. The state is home to scores of top-ranked psychology programs, including several that offer online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The state anticipates an increasing demand for licensed psychologists to serve the diverse needs of its 28 million residents. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a significant 20% growth in the employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Texas through the next decade, compared to a 15% increase nationally.
Choosing the ideal online psychology degree in Texas depends on your academic interests and professional goals. This guide can help you compare different degree programs, explore licensure requirements for specific careers, and delve into employment and salary prospects.
How Do Online Psychology Degree Programs in Texas Work?
Online degrees offer added convenience while providing the same level of rigorous academic training as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Employers view online and on-campus degrees from accredited schools as equally valid.
A prospective distance learner should expect to spend the same amount of time completing a web-based degree as they would in an on-campus program. Some schools feature accelerated schedules that shorten the time needed to complete the degree. Part-time options allow for additional flexibility. Hybrid classes or other residency requirements may also lengthen the time needed to graduate.
To learn more about specific course delivery formats and degree requirements, degree-seekers should always contact their intended schools before enrolling in any online psychology degree in Texas.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Texas?
While each online psychology degree in Texas employs a distinct curriculum, the list below describes some of the most commonly offered undergraduate courses.
- General Psychology
This introductory class, required of all psychology majors, presents an overview of the discipline. The course traces the origins of psychology in the natural and social sciences, examining the primary theories, principles, and research perspectives for the study of human behavior. Students become familiar with contemporary specializations in the field, including clinical, behavioral, cognitive, and developmental psychology.
- Clinical Psychology
This overview of clinical psychology introduces learners to evidence-based psychology and principles of psychotherapy. Designed for students planning to enter graduate school in preparation for careers in clinical practice, this course examines the causes, symptoms, and best practices for the treatment of common psychological conditions such as anxiety, mood disorders, and depression.
- Developmental Psychology
This course traces the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes that characterize the lifelong process of human development. Enrollees examine the diverse ways humans mature and adapt from infancy through end-of-life, focusing on the interconnections of biology, heredity, and environment and the impact of race, gender, class, and culture at each stage of the lifespan.
- Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal psychology studies socially maladaptive, disruptive, and dysfunctional human behaviors. This course examines the causes, diagnosis, identification, and treatment of abnormal behavior. Degree-seekers can analyze research distinguishing normal behavior from psychopathological disorders and learn about current treatments.
- Theories of Personality
This area of psychology examines the various theories of the dynamic organization of psychophysical systems that determine human personality. This course teaches undergraduates how to evaluate the reliability, validity, and applicability of these theories for understanding personality development. Students examine how nature and nurture can shape individual personalities.
Becoming a Psychologist in Texas
A master's degree opens up broader career opportunities in counseling and clinical practice than a bachelor's, while a doctorate prepares graduates for even more challenging positions in research, education, consulting, and professional practice. In addition to educational qualifications, aspiring psychologists must follow specific steps to obtain licensure in Texas.
Your career goals determine your specialty and license to pursue. Distance learners early in their studies should begin to build their expertise in a psychology specialization depending on their interests. For example, school psychology prepares practitioners to help students dealing with behavioral challenges in educational settings, and a forensic specialization provides training to apply psychological approaches in a criminal justice environment.
Earn Your Degrees
The length of time needed to earn an online psychology degree in Texas depends on the educational level of the program. A bachelor's degree generally requires four years of full-time attendance. Psychology master's programs in Texas usually take two years, although some schools feature accelerated formats that allow distance learners to finish all requirements in 12-18 months.
Psychologists must hold a doctorate in psychology to obtain a license to practice in Texas, which typically takes five or more years to finish, including internship and dissertation requirements. Because of the limited number of online doctoral programs, distance learners may have to attend traditional doctorate programs in Texas or enroll in out-of-state online programs.
A doctoral degree from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) is a prerequisite for formal psychology licensure. The Texas Board of Examiners in Psychology requires several other steps, with application, exam, and licensing fees totaling over $1,600.
After passing the national examination for professional practice in psychology and the Texas jurisprudence exam, and submission of a self-query from the National Practitioner Data Bank to verify any disciplinary history, candidates receive a provisional license from the state board. Full licensure requires 3,500 hours of supervised experience, with 1,750 of those hours completed after finishing the doctorate.
Texas recognizes specializations in clinical, developmental, industrial-organizational, and school psychology. School psychologists must fulfill separate licensing regulations that require passing the Praxis school psychologist examination and completing an internship with supervised hours in a public school.
Other Licenses and Certifications
While each licensed psychologist must hold an APA-approved doctorate to practice in Texas, master's degree-holders can qualify for specialized licenses in fields like marriage and family therapy, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling. A bachelor's degree in psychology provides a strong academic foundation for individuals interested in pursuing a master's in social work as preparation for a social work license.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
The LCSW credential requires an MSW from an accredited program and completion of 3,000 supervised hours. Candidates must pass the American Social Work Boards clinical exam, the state jurisprudence exam, and a criminal history evaluation.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Aspiring MFTs must complete a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited marriage and family therapy program along with at least 3,000 supervised hours. Texas requires candidates to pass the national examination in marital and family therapy and the state jurisprudence exam.
Licensed Professional Counselor
LPC candidates must complete a graduate degree with 48-60 credits in counseling or a related field, including 300 practicum hours, plus 3,000 post-degree supervised hours. Texas requires both the state jurisprudence exam and the national counselor examination.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Psychologists in Texas
Texas anticipates a population of 47.4 million by 2050, which means more demand for mental healthcare across the state and more trained professionals to deliver these services.
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists can expect higher employment growth in Texas than nationally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Texas has the third-highest employment level among U.S. states for this profession. Although the annual mean wage of $70,060 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Texas ranks below the national average of $81,330, pay rates for these specialists compare favorably with neighboring states.
The major metropolitan areas in Texas, which currently offer the highest rates of compensation and employment opportunities for psychologists in the state, will continue to draw professionals to lucrative and challenging positions in university, research, and healthcare settings. The Houston area, with a population of over two million, provides the best salary and job outlook for licensed psychologists, followed by San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
Texas at a Glance
Population Growth (2010-2018): 14.14%
Population Growth Rank: 3
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|
|Houston - The Woodlands - Sugar Land||$98,160||3.9%||2.4%|
|San Antonio - New Braunfels||$92,920||3.2%||3.1%|
|Austin - Round Rock||$89,850||2.8%||-1.6%|
|Dallas - Fort Worth - Arlington||$82,880||3.3%||2.8%|
Psychology Degrees and Careers in Texas -- Frequently Asked Questions
Before choosing an online psychology degree in Texas, students need to understand how distance learning works, along with the psychology degrees they will need for obtaining licensure and entering their intended careers.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Texas?
Most degree-seekers can finish their online programs in approximately the same time frame as on-campus degrees. If you plan to become a licensed psychologist, you may spend a decade or more in school. Completing post-degree internships and preparing for licensing exams will increase the time needed before you can practice.
Are Online Psychology Classes Hard?
While online courses offer flexibility and convenience, do not expect to simply coast through them. Students typically report that they spend as much or more time on their web-based courses as they do on those offered in a traditional campus environment. Accredited institutions that offer online degrees must ensure that these programs adhere to the same rigorous academic standards as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Psychologist?
Most psychologists conduct research and apply findings in their professional practices, so these professionals must be experienced in scientific inquiry, statistical analysis, and computer skills. Psychologists also need expertise in observation, diagnostics, and treatment methods. Working with diverse and vulnerable populations requires cultural competency, patience, empathy, and the ability to communicate effectively.
What Schools Are Best for Psychology in Texas?
With over 250 degree-granting colleges and universities, Texas offers many options for distance learning programs at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. If you plan to pursue an online psychology degree in Texas, look for programs that align with your academic interests and professional aspirations. Finding the best degree to fit your needs involves comparing tuition costs, curriculum requirements, available specializations, and online delivery formats.
Is a BA or a BS in Psychology Better?
A BA emphasizes the liberal arts, including foreign language study, in addition to major requirements. This degree suits the needs of students still exploring their professional goals, preparing them for entry-level positions and graduate studies in psychology, social work, education, law, and business. A BS requires more math and natural science courses. This option appeals to degree-seekers who have already chosen a career path and need a research-focused graduate program.
Accreditation for Online Psychology Programs in Texas
Accreditation is the process by which outside agencies verify that colleges and degrees meet quality standards. Colleges and universities receive accreditation from regional or national agencies. Psychology students should select regionally accredited programs to ensure they can transfer credits and receive professional licenses after graduation.
National accreditation is typically reserved for vocational and for-profit schools while regional accreditation is considered more prestigious due to its higher academic standards. Most major universities in Texas hold accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Specific departments and programs can also seek programmatic accreditation as a further form of quality verification.
Top psychology doctorate programs have APA accreditation. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, representing psychology professionals in the United States and Canada, sometimes accredits psychology programs, as well.
Psychology Internships and Fellowships in Texas
Professionals in psychology-related fields normally need supervised work experience to qualify for state licenses. Internships and fellowships offer candidates opportunities to gain experience. Internships involve limited work responsibilities, and interns may be paid or unpaid. Fellows perform job duties akin to normal employees and normally receive pay equivalent to other entry-level workers.
Public and private research centers and healthcare facilities across the state partner with psychology colleges in Texas to provide internship and fellowship opportunities. Placements in these organizations offer students practical experience outside the classroom in specializations that directly relate to their career goals in areas such as substance abuse, neurological disorders, and childhood mental development.
Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
Based in Temple, this large medical institution provides hospital services, including psychological care, for military veterans. The center specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, substance abuse counseling, and homelessness prevention.
Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center
Heart of Texas Region MHMR provides inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment at its Waco facility. The center specializes in early childhood interventions for patients with intellectual disabilities. Heart of Texas Region MHMR also treats adolescents and adults with mental health and substance abuse problems.
Center for Forensic Psychology
This research center, hosted by the University of Houston, advances scientific understanding in forensic psychology and promotes awareness of the legal implications of psychological issues. Staff members provide expert testimony for attorneys and courts throughout Texas.
Children's Research Center
As part of the University of Texas psychology department, this Austin-based research center specializes in issues of childhood mental development. CRC researchers explore the scientific understanding of cognition, language learning, and social awareness in children.
Neuroscience Research Center
NRC is part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. It supports interdisciplinary understanding of the human brain, studying cognition and behavior, neurological disorders, and brain trauma.
Professional Organizations for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
Professional associations in psychology offer career resources for practitioners, researchers, educators, and students. Members can receive information about licensing regulations, professional development, and legislation that affects clinical practice. Aspiring psychologists who join professional associations can gain competitive advantages as they prepare to enter the workforce through networking opportunities, employment listings, and internship information.
- Texas Psychological Association TPA represents the interests of over 1,500 psychology practitioners and graduate students in Texas. The association provides opportunities for professional development through workshops, online courses, and annual conferences. Members can receive information about licensure, explore comprehensive resources on Texas mental health law, and acquire expert counsel on issues related to ethics, managed care, and practice management.
- American Psychological Association As the leading scientific and professional organization in the field of psychology, APA administers the accreditation of doctoral programs in psychology. Student members benefit from employment services, graduate school and career guidance, and research, internship, and scholarship opportunities. The association offers a comprehensive, web-based library of databases and demonstration videos.
- Texas Counseling Association TCA is the Texas branch of the American Counseling Association, and it advances the counseling profession in Texas. The association sponsors over 30 local chapters throughout the state, providing professional development conferences and career centers. TSA members may apply for educational endowment fund grants to support graduate studies, original research, conference attendance, or continuing education opportunities.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA establishes standards for education, licensing, clinical practice, and professional ethics in the field of mental health counseling. The association restricts membership to licensed counselors who hold master's degrees or higher. Students enrolled in accredited graduate programs may apply for non-voting membership. The association sponsors a job bank and offers discounts on continuing education and insurance and liability coverage.
- Texas Association of School Psychologists TASP is a state affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists that helps school psychologists improve academic skills, social-emotional functioning, and mental-behavioral health for Texas students. TASP provides advocacy before state legislators, the state licensing board, and other state agencies. Membership benefits include professional development conferences and access to employment listings.
Scholarships for Online Psychology Degree Programs in Texas
Aimee Melissa Davis Memorial Scholarship
The Austin Community Foundation provides this scholarship for graduating high school seniors in Travis, Williamson, or Hays Counties living with diabetes. Applicants must plan to attend college in the fall and demonstrate financial need.
- Amount Offered: $5,000
- Scholarship Deadline: April 8
- Eligibility Requirements: Students with type I diabetes graduating from Travis, Williamson, or Hays County high schools may apply.
Association of Texas Leaders for Education Scholarship
This scholarship supports full-time undergraduate students at Texas colleges and universities.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: March 15
- Eligibility Requirements: Texas high school graduates with GPAs of 3.0 or higher attending college or university full time in the state may apply. Applicants must submit school references.
Century Scholars Program
Texas A&M University and select Texas high schools collaborate to organize this competitive scholarship. The program funds outstanding Texas A&M first-year students from underrepresented high schools.
- Amount Offered: $20,000
- Scholarship Deadline: Dec. 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Outstanding students from the 108 participating high schools may apply.
City of Houston Public Service Recognition Week Scholarship Essay Contest
The Houston city government hosts this essay contest as part of its annual Public Service Recognition Week. High school students from the greater Houston area submit essays about how city employees can improve Houston.
- Amount Offered: $500-$2,000
- Scholarship Deadline: March 21
- Eligibility Requirements: High school students in the Houston area must submit essays to apply.
Distinguished Young Bobcat Award
The Stelos Foundation awards this scholarship to incoming first-year students at Texas State University.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: March 29
- Eligibility Requirements: High school students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher planning to attend Texas State University may apply. Applicants should be committed to community improvement.
Fort Worth Scottish Rite Foundation Scholarship
This Fort Worth-based Masonic organization provides scholarships for graduating Texas high school students attending colleges and universities in the fall. The foundation makes award decisions based on academic merit.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: March 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Texas high school seniors with competitive GPAs may apply.
Kappa Zeta's Fairrilla E. White Scholarship
This Dallas-based sorority awards scholarships to female students beginning their studies at Texas colleges and universities.
- Amount Offered: $1,500
- Scholarship Deadline: March 14
- Eligibility Requirements: Female high school seniors with outstanding academic records from Dallas county may apply
This scholarship, awarded by the Dallas Foundation, benefits African American male students from Dallas.
- Amount Offered: $1,000
- Scholarship Deadline: May 1
- Eligibility Requirements: Male African American students who attend high school in Dallas and demonstrate financial need may apply. Applicants must possess GPAs of at least 2.5.
Find Online Psychology Degree Programs in Texas
Many of the top universities in Texas offer undergraduate and graduate courses in convenient online formats. Texas institutions offer many specializations for students seeking online psychology degrees. Use the following database of all accredited online psychology programs in the state to explore educational options in Texas.
Explore Psychology Careers
Mental Health Initiatives in Texas
The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division (MHSAD) of the Texas Department of State Health Services develops strategic initiatives and provides resources for mental healthcare services across the state. MHSAD works with local healthcare agencies to maintain crisis hotlines and provide behavioral counseling.
According to Mental Health America, Texas ranks 38th overall for prevalence of mental illness and mental healthcare access. Children and youth in Texas experience lower rates of access to mental health services compared to other states. In response to this challenge, the Texas legislature established the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. This initiative promotes mental health research among state medical schools and funds workforce expansion for professionals specializing in child and adolescent mental health.
Texas, like many states, is suffering an opioid addiction crisis. Opioid abuse accounts for almost half of all overdose deaths in the state. The Department of State Health Services has developed strategies to address opioid addiction by expanding education and training for addiction professionals.