Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers in South Carolina

South CarolinaCompared to its northern neighbor and sister state, South Carolina offers less post-secondary education options than North Carolina, but the landscape is hardly barren. According to the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the state had 84 degree-granting institutions and more than 245,000 students enrolled (mostly in public schools) in those institutions across the state. Many of these schools have psychology degree programs to offer to students and the degree has become one of the most popular in the state. During the 2013 school year, the same report from the Commission found that South Carolina granted 1,419 bachelor’s degrees in psychology, as well as 163 master’s degrees in the discipline. These numbers made psychology the sixth-most popular degree program in the state and that isn't exactly changing in the near future.

There are several different options for students who want to pursue a degree and career in psychology in South Carolina. The common options are an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and of course a doctoral degree. There are also a wide variety if specialties and psychological subfields such as clinical psychology, applied psychology, and school psychology to choose from in South Carolina.

The associate’s degree is the easiest to obtain as it will likely only take two years to complete, but it opens hardly any doors for students who truly wish to work in the psychology industry. Unfortunately, a bachelor’s degree isn't much better. It is easily the most popular psychology degree among students but the American Psychological Association found that only 5 percent of graduates with bachelor’s degrees in psychology were working in the field of psychology and the majority of that five percent are working in education, research, or as a psychologist assistant.

Psychologists are usually responsible for the mental and emotional health and well-being of others, and states take the health of their citizens very seriously, which is why most states have such strict psychologist licensure requirements. Psychologist licensure requirements in South Carolina state that in order to qualify to become a psychologist, candidates need a doctoral degree in psychology or a related subject and proof of extensive on-the-job training under the supervision of another licensed psychologist. This is likely one of the major reasons why the American Psychological Association estimates that 25 percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology go on to study psychology at the graduate level with four to six percent entering a doctorate program and 20 to 22 percent entering a master’s degree program.

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In the state of South Carolina, spending on higher education has gone up dramatically in the last five years and the students are the ones reaping the benefits. There are nearly 30 schools that offer a variety of different psychology degree programs and many of those are outside the capital city of Columbia. The biggest name amongst those schools is Clemson University which, along with Bob Jones University, Wofford College, and Converse College, offers doctoral degrees in psychology as well as a host of other undergraduate and graduate degrees. College of Charleston is another well-known school in South Carolina that offers undergraduate and graduate work in psychology and The Citadel, the University of South Carolina – Upstate, and Winthrop University aren't far behind when it comes to breadth and reputation of psychology degree programs.

Columbia Psychology Degrees, Schools, and Careers

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and it is also home to the largest collection of colleges and universities that offer psychology degrees in the state. There are five schools in the city that offer psychology degree programs with the University of South Carolina – Columbia being far and away the largest and best-recognized. The University of South Carolina offers an expansive list of psychology degree options and also produces the most graduates with psychology degrees by a wide margin. The other schools in the city are Columbia International University, Columbia College, and Benedict College. All of those schools offer a variety of psychology degree programs, albeit on a much smaller scale than the state’s flagship university.

Columbia is also home to the state’s largest population of psychology professionals. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 320 psychologists employed in the Columbia area as of May 2022. The annual average salary for these psychology professionals ranged between $54,440 and $87,630 depending on specialty.

Online Psychology Degrees & Schools in South Carolina

Although there are 29 schools in South Carolina that offer programs in psychology, only one of the school offers online degree programs in psychology or a psychology-related field. Lander University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology. As you can see, there is a fairly limited selection even among the schools that offer online options.

However, though there are not a whole lot of options as far as state-specific schools that offer online degrees, there are many online psychology degree options offered by schools that are open to anyone in the nation, such as Post University Online and Grand Canyon University. Also popular are Walden University, Capella University, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Many of these schools offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology that can be obtained online. These are not the only schools that are available, and it would be beneficial to consider all of your options if you are looking to obtain an online psychology degree.

Career Opportunities for Psychologists in South Carolina

There are quite a few options for employment in the state of South Carolina. According to the Bureau of Labor Services, as of May 2022, there was a minimum of 1,350 professional psychologists employed throughout the state of South Carolina. These psychologists earned an annual mean salary of between $63,140 and $105,570 depending on the specialty of the psychologist.

It should also be worth noting that in South Carolina, employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to grow by 12% between 2020 and 2030. This exceeds the national average of 10%. That 12% equates to roughly 130 new professional psychologists, making the Palmetto State intriguing for students considering a career in psychology.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET (a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor) job 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 August 2023.

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Psychologist Salary in South Carolina

Location 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States $44,500 $76,730 $105,780 $119,460 $133,470
South Carolina - - - - -

Table data taken from 2020 BLS (

Featured South Carolina Schools with Psychology Degree Programs