How to become a Psychologist in Illinois

The state of Illinois requires all of it’s licensed psychologists to have a doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related subject such as educational psychology from an accredited or approved school.

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Psychologist in Illinois?

To be able to practice as a licensed psychologist in Illinois you must gain a doctorate degree; this is crucial for meeting licensure requirement. Both a Ph.D. or a PsyD are suitable, though they must be in Psychology or a closely related field such as educational psychology.

Attaining your master's degree is necessary in order to become a psychologist in Illinois, however, once you have graduated you will need to continue studying until you reach doctorate level and gain either a Ph.D. or a PsyD.

Below is the complete educational path for the Psychologists:
Psychologist Educational Track
School Programs Average Education Length Choosing Online or Campus
1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree View Programs 4 Years Online or Campus
2. Earn A Master's Degree View Programs 2 Additional Years Online or Campus
3. Earn a PHD or PsyD View Programs 2-4 Additional Years Online or Campus

Supervised Work Experience Requirements and Examination Process

Once you have achieved your doctorate degree, either a Ph.D. or a PsyD, the next step towards licensure is to complete two years of supervised work experience. The two years of supervised professional experience needed equates to 3,500 hours that must be conducted alongside a licensed psychologist. You can begin working towards the total number of hours required while studying for your doctorate but at least 1,750 hours must be undertaken after you have graduated.

After you have completed your supervised hours you need to download the Illinois Psychologist licensure packet. This contains all you need to know about proceeding with your licensure application and it includes all the necessary forms. Once the Illinois Board of Psychologist Examiners has received your application and it has been evaluated and accepted you can then sit for the Illinois state psychologist licensure examination.

The exam is run through Continental Testing and all the information you need including how to register for the exam can be found on their website. Once you have passed this exam you are then able to practice as a licensed psychologist in Illinois.

Note:  For detailed information about how to earn a psychology license in Illinois, please see the Illinois board of psychology overview of licensure as a psychologist.

What Can I Do with a PsyD vs aPh.D.D in Illinois?

Now that you have graduated from a doctorate degree you are one step closer to gaining licensure in the state of Illinois and become a practicing psychologist. It’s at this stage that the implications of whether you chose to study for a PhD or a PsyD will really begin to show. Due to the nature of the course PsyD graduates are suited to very clinical careers, which typically involve large amounts of patient contact. While this career option is also available to PhD graduates they also have the option of working in research or teaching.

While both a PhD and a PsyD work to fulfill the requirements for licensure in Illinois the two programs are very different. A PhD program focuses heavily on research and it requires al of its students to produce a thesis that contains original research and in doing so contributes to the field of psychology. A PsyD however places much less emphasis on research and demands a shorter thesis from its students. Instead of prioritising research the PsyD program spends more time on clinical work with a focus on patient contact.

Psychology Career Outlook In Illinois

As of May 2022, the average annual salary for psychologists in Illinois ranges between $76,170 and $102,400 and varies between specialty. However, these are only averages. Entry-level clinical and counseling psychologists in the state may make closer to $30,280, but the highest-earning 10% (those with the most experience in high-paying industries) make upwards of $178,550.

Find information regarding tuition, financial aid, enrollment dates and curriculum by requesting information from the programs below:

Additional Psychology Resources for Illinois:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics market trends and salary figures for clinical and counseling psychologists, school psychologists, and psychologists (all other) are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July 2023.