How to Become a Psychologist in New Jersey
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The state of New Jersey has a thriving psychology industry, as well as numerous support systems available for these kinds of professionals. Combine that with a competitive salary and it equals a premier job market that’s growing at a rate of 1.5% each year, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The state of New Jersey, like all other states, is serious about the qualifications to become a psychologist. These professionals identify mental illness, diagnose and treat millions of people in the US. The National Institute of Mental Health states that mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the US and that 57.7 million people suffer from a mental illness in a given year.
A person’s psychologist is often their greatest ally in overcoming illness and increasing the quality of their lives. The state wants to ensure that those who are licensed are highly qualified to help those patients, and therefore, have laid out a strict set of requirements to become a psychologist.
Education Requirements for Psychologist Licensing in New Jersey
If you’ve obtained a Doctorate’s Degree in psychology, you’re on the right track to becoming a psychologist in the state of New Jersey. The state requires degrees to come from programs accredited by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education, such as the American Psychological Association.
If your desired career is a school psychologist, you need only obtain a Master’s Degree from a regionally accredited school. However, this is the only exception when it comes to schooling for psychologists.
New Jersey offers up a fantastic list of psychology programs, including those available at Rutgers University, Princeton and Seton Hall University. Those who want to earn a degree can read more about the many NJ psychology schools. Many of these Doctorate Degree programs include internships or supervised residencies which can help you earn the experience and knowledge you need to be a great psychologist.
Supervised Professional Experience Requirements for a Psychologist
In order to obtain the experience to work with patients, the state of New Jersey feels individuals should gain at least 2 years (3,500 hours) of supervised practice before obtaining a license. Half of that time (1,750 hours) can be acquired subsequent to receiving the Doctorate’s Degree. It must include 1,000 client-contact hours, 200 hours of supervision (100 of which must be individual supervision with the remainder being group or individual supervision), 550 hours of work-related activities such as record-keeping, consultations, report-writing, etc.
Note: To learn more about how to earn a psychology license in the state of New Jersey, please visit the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Examinations for the Psychologist License in New Jersey
If you’ve graduated and already obtained your supervised experience, it’s time to take your examination. The required exam in the state of New Jersey is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, the industry standard. This test covers topics like biological bases of behavior, cognitive-affective bases of behavior, social and cultural bases of behavior, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, etc.
The first part is a multiple-choice examination but the second part will involve an oral examination administered by the Board. This part will be more specific regarding New Jersey’s laws and code of ethics in relation to psychology. The average cost of this examination is $600.
Psychology Career Outlook in New Jersey
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2011, there were 3,000 clinical, counseling and school psychologists in the state of New Jersey. These psychologists earned an annual median wage of $96,200. The median wage is defined as the “center line,” meaning that half of all psychologists in the state of New Jersey earn more than $96,200 while the other half earn less than this amount. Nationally, the lowest 10% of psychologists earned lower than $39,060 per year while the top 10% earned higher than $110,410.