How to Become a Psychologist in West Virginia
If you’re considering learning and practicing psychology nestled in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, you’ll be happy to know that there is a decent job market. Work Force WV estimates that the growth rate for psychology jobs between the years of 2010 and 2020 is about 6%. This means that you will have a fairly good shot at finding a job and most employers will offer competitive pay.
A psychologist is an essential part of treatment for many individuals suffering from mental illnesses. Many mental illnesses can be debilitating, and mental conditions are the number one cause of disability in the US. A psychologist helps their patients take back control of their lives by assessing and diagnosing mental conditions, prescribing a treatment plan and then helping their patients follow that plan. The state of West Virginia wants to make sure each psychologist who earns a license is properly qualified to care for those patients. For this reason, there are a lot of strict requirements that must be met before a license is issued.
Education Requirements for Psychologist Licensing in West Virginia
If you have obtained a degree from a doctoral program that is regionally accredited, you’re on the right track to becoming a psychologist in the Mountain State. West Virginia offers up several great doctoral programs, including those available at Charleston University, Marshall University, and West Virginia University. Please find a full list of doctoral programs (both campus-based and online) here.
If you plan to become a school psychologist, the doctoral degree rule doesn’t apply to you. You will need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree or a Certificate of Advance Study in a program with psychology as the core curriculum. You will then need to fulfill the remaining requirements of the state of West Virginia.
A doctoral degree can take anywhere from 2-4 additional years (after obtaining a Master's Degree) to earn. The length of time it takes will depend on how much education you currently have as well as which program you choose. Many programs will include internships or supervised residencies, which will count toward your supervised professional experience requirement. Read more WV psychology degrees and school programs.
Supervised Professional Experience Requirements for a Psychologist
Applicants for licensure in West Virginia will need to complete a one-year internship or a year of board-approved supervision post-degree. This internship or experience must take place under a board-approved psychologist, and at least 25% of the internship (500 hours) must involve direct contact with clients or a psychology setting. At least 2 hours per week must be face to face training from the licensed psychologist and at least 2 hours per week must include additional educational resources such as seminars, conferences, group experience, etc.
Examinations for the Psychologist License in West Virginia
The next and final step in becoming a licensed psychologist in the state of West Virginia is to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This test is considered the industry standard and it covers a range of different topics, including the different bases of behavior, assessment, diagnosis, intervention, etc. It consists of 225 multiple-choice questions, and is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The cost is about $600, but is subject to change from year to year.
Note: You may find additional information about how to earn a psychology license in West Virginia by visiting the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
Psychology Career Outlook in West Virginia
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are approximately 660 clinical counseling and school psychologists in West Virginia. In May of 2011, it was reported that those psychologists were earning an annual median wage of $52,580. The BLS defines the median wage as the center line, meaning that “half the workers in an occupation earned more than the amount and half earned less.” The lowest ten percent of psychologists on a national level earned lower than $39,060 and the top ten percent earned an annual median wage exceeding $110,410.