Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Alabama
The great state of Alabama has a lot of pride and a lot to be proud of. It’s a great place to live, study and practice psychology.
Even if we can’t all agree who should come out on top in the Iron Bowl each year, at least we can acknowledge that both UA and Auburn have excellent psychology departments, and that both of them make Kiplinger’s Best Value in Public Colleges list for American universities. They are only two of the eleven universities in the state that offer advanced degrees in psychology, each with their own particular attraction.
That’s a good thing, because Alabama is also a state with a lot of medical issues, which inevitably involve psychological problems as well. According to the CDC, more than 35 percent of ‘bama adults are obese, a big red splotch on the national map, with corresponding spikes in adult onset diabetes and other weight-related issues. At 12 percent, the depression rate in the state is double the national average. And, all too often, with depression comes suicide, also well above the national average.
From the Mobile waterfront to the streets of Birmingham, earning a master’s degree in psychology gives you the expertise to start treating those folks and many others like them.
Master’s Degrees and Professional Licensing Go Hand-in-Hand
Psychologists represent one of the fastest growing career categories in the state, with more than 1,100 projected to enter the workforce by 2022.
To earn a psychology license, you need to have a doctorate in the field, and a master’s degree is a necessary step along that path. In fact, at UA, the master’s and doctoral paths are combined.
But a master’s is also a necessity to become a licensed counselor (LPC), an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), or licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in the state.
Great Choices Are Offered Around The State For Master’s Programs
Those 11 universities offering advanced degrees in psychology are scattered all around the state, from South down in Mobile to UWA up in scenic Livingston. A couple, including UWA and UA, also offer online options that are accessible to anyone, anywhere in the state.
Each of these schools has their own particular strengths. And because the state has a variety of demands in psychological services, it pays to understand exactly which master’s program might be the best option for the field of practice you are interested in pursuing.
School and Education Psychology is a Challenge Across The South
Alabama’s underfunded and sometimes overwhelmed school system represents a particular challenge, and a particular opportunity, for psychologists and counselors.
In Montgomery, a once-dilapidated skating rink today echoes with laughter, shouts, basketballs slapping against hardwoods and the ubiquitous hum of rubber wheels circling the skate floor. The old rink was turned into a new family fun center as the brainchild of a school counselor recovering from a cancer diagnosis. Her experience in developing pretend play to teach appropriate behavior in schools has been instrumental in filling a missing niche in the community.
UA has a terrific program in School Psychology for anyone interested in developing similarly innovative solutions, or just building a career working with kids during the most formative period of their lives.
Counseling and Clinical Psychology Remain A Critical Services in Depression-Stricken States
Alabama’s depression rates make it a huge consumer of clinical counseling services. Reaching down and offering a hand to those in the darkest moments of their lives is a driver for many folks who get into counseling. The Clinical program at Auburn is a leader in research training and clinical practice, with clinics in applied behavior analysis and psychological services that provide both experience for graduate students and services for communities in need.
A Growing Industrial Base Creates A Need for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists
In 2013, Alabama ranked 5th in the nation in U.S. car and light truck production, turning out nearly a million vehicles at expanding plants run by Mercedes, Toyota, and Hyundai among others. Toyota’s massive Huntsville plant employs more than 1,400 people, adding a blue collar component to the city’s high-tech aerospace workforce.
It’s a combination that demands expertise in industrial and organizational psychology. Toyota has been one of the pioneers in workforce study and optimization and remains one of the top hiring companies in the field worldwide.
UA-Huntsville’s Experimental Psychology master’s degree offers a specialization in I-O psychology that puts you in both the right part of the state to make connections with the industry and in the hands of expert educators who can teach you all the tricks of the trade.
Alabama is a state with room to grow. For the psychological strains of both the present and future, master’s-educated professionals are going to be in demand.