Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Missouri

MissouriMissouri might surprise some as a state with a real wealth of postsecondary education options, including many in psychology. The state is actually quite the hotbed for colleges and college students. According to data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, in 2009-10, fall enrollment reached more than 410,000 undergraduate and graduate students and the state has an impressive 138 degree-granting institutions within its borders, far more than the national average which is just 90. Psychology is one of the state’s most popular degree programs and the numbers back that up. IPEDS data showed that for the 2009-2010 school year, Missouri conferred more than 2,400 bachelor’s degrees in psychology and another 868 master’s degrees in psychology as well.

Those numbers prove what should go without saying and that is that Missouri has plenty of colleges offering psychology degree programs at every level of education and in a diverse set of psychology specialties. The plethora of choices also means that students who are interested in psychology schools in Missouri should do their own extensive research because unlike many industries, psychology has strict educational and experiential barriers to entry and different programs can help you open different career doors.

Missouri wants to ensure that the folks who apply to psychology licensure in the state are well-qualified because they will be charged with identifying problems with and caring for others who have difficulty doing it on their own. As a result of extensive and detailed Missouri psychology licensure requirements, not all psychology-related degrees will qualify you to be a psychologist. If you want to become a licensed psychologist in Missouri, you will almost definitely need to obtain a doctoral or professional degree and you will also need to have extensive real-world work experience on your resume.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology can open doors in psychology research and education, or it can serve as a great start to a plan that includes graduate study in psychology, but as of 2008, the American Psychological Association reported that only five percent of recipients of a bachelor’s degree in psychology were actually employed in a psychology-related field. Those who want to be psychologists need to go on to graduate school, which is why, according to the APA, 25 percent of baccalaureate recipients in psychology go on to study psychology at the graduate level as well.

We will get to schools centered near three of Missouri’s largest cities – Saint Louis and Kansas City – further down, but considering there are almost 40 schools in the state with psychology degree offerings, you don’t need to pick one of the major cities for your psychology education if you don’t want to. The biggest school outside of the major cities is the University of Missouri in Columbia. The school has a nationally ranked clinical psychology degree program amongst other doctoral degree programs and also offers psychology degrees at the master’s and bachelor’s level as well. Southeast Missouri State University is another state school with expansive psychology degree offerings as are Missouri Western State University and Missouri State University. If you are looking for a smaller school with a more intimate setting, Southwest Baptist University offers bachelor’s degrees in psychology, as does Lindenwood University and Lincoln University. If none of those are what you are looking for, also check out College of the Ozarks and Drury University, both of which offer more than one bachelor’s degree program in psychology as well.

St. Louis Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers

As Missouri’s largest and most famous city, it’s not hard to see how Saint Louis gradually became one of the best places in the state to look for college education, and that includes psychology. The University of Missouri-Saint Louis has a nationally ranked clinical psychology degree program as does Saint Louis University, and the School of Professional Psychology at the Forest Institute, which also maintains a campus in Springfield. Smaller schools in the city that offer psychology degrees include Washington University of Saint Louis, Webster University, and Fontbonne University, and all of these schools offer more than one psychology degree program.

Saint Louis is also the center of the industry when it comes to employment thanks to its large and active professional psychology community that offers plenty of opportunity for career advancement and networking with like-minded professionals. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2011, there at least 1,200 professional psychologists employed in the Saint Louis metropolitan area and those psychologists were making an annual median wage of between $66,060 and $84,552 depending on the specialty of the psychologist. That is a fair chunk of change and definitely salaries that people can comfortably earn a living off of.

Kansas City Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers

Kansas City is not far behind Saint Louis in terms of size and recognition and its nearby college choices and bustling professional psychology committee aren't far behind Saint Louis either. The biggest university in the city is the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which offers a multitude of psychology degrees at every level and in a number of different specialties. It is the only place in the city where you can earn a doctoral degree. The much smaller but still prestigious schools in the city are Avila University, which offers a handful of psychology degree programs, and Rockhurst University, which offers a small number of bachelor’s degree programs in psychology.

The city’s population of professional psychologists isn't nearly as large as the population in Saint Louis, but they are still a prominent part of the city’s workforce and are active and influential within the community. According to the BLS, the Kansas City metropolitan area was home to at least 500 professional psychologists in May of 2011 and those psychologists made an annual median wage of between $64,937 and $92,726 depending on the specialty of the psychologist.

Online Psychology Schools & Degrees in Missouri

There are only a handful of state-specific schools in Missouri that offer online psychology degrees at the postsecondary level, but there are also a number of national online psychology education providers who operate in Missouri and they usually tend to offer more flexible options for interested students. Park University in Parkville only offers online psychology degrees and they offer both an associate’s degree in social psychology and a number of online bachelor’s degrees in different psychological fields. Columbia College in Columbia offers nearly a dozen fully online bachelor’s degrees in different psychological fields and the only other state-specific school that offers online psychology degrees is Central Methodist University, which offers online bachelor’s degrees in psychology and an online master’s degree in counseling.

The online psychology education providers that operate nationally usually tend to offer a variety of online psychology degrees at every level and also offer specialty degrees within the psychology field. If you are looking for an online doctoral degree in psychology, schools like Walden University, Keiser University Graduate School, and Capella University offer programs designed to help you accomplish that goal. And if you are just looking for a bachelor’s degree in the subject online, consider the University of Phoenix or Rocky Mountain College, which are just a few of the many schools that offer online bachelor’s degrees in psychology.

Career Opportunities for Psychologists in Missouri

In a state this populous, you should already know that there will be a brimming population of professional psychologists who could help aspiring psychologists connect with like-minded professionals, get started on their psychology careers, or help guide them through what can be a difficult process. The BLS reported that in May of 2011, there were more than 1,600 professional psychologists that were employed in Missouri and those psychologists made an annual median wage of between $63,876 and $85,633 depending on the specialty of psychologist, proving that psychology in Missouri can be a lucrative position if you are qualified and capable.

There is another small modicum of good news for aspiring psychologists in Missouri as employment within the profession is expected to grow over the next decade, although not nearly at the same rate as some other states in the area. The Missouri Department of Economic Development estimates that between 2008 and 2018, employment of clinical, school, and counseling psychologists will grow about six percent, which is equivalent to approximately 110 jobs. There will be an estimated 60 job openings over the same period, an underwhelming number to be sure, but one that proves that opportunity is available for aspiring psychologists in Missouri.

Psychologist Salary in Missouri

Location10%25%Median75%90%
United States$41,690$66,810$95,710$109,770$127,710
Missouri$42,240$71,100$95,710$102,150$109,910
Kansas City, MO-KS$52,560$79,680$90,900$99,160$107,440
St. Louis, MO-IL$42,240$77,600$90,910$96,430$103,670

Table data taken from 2016 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm)

Featured Missouri Schools with Psychology Degree Programs