Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Arizona

Arizona was the last of the lower 48 states to be admitted to the union, and it still has some of that frontier spirit left. On the literal frontier, border control and immigration are fast-rising issues on the radar of Arizona psychological practitioners. Out in the desert, issues of life and death create trauma and demand treatment and counseling regardless of the lines on the map.

The state is also a player on the technology frontier. Although the state has a greatly diversified base of employers, from Walmart to JP Morgan Chase, it’s become a center for high-tech development by companies like Raytheon, Amazon, and GoDaddy. And the opportunity has drawn an influx of migrants from around the U.S., not just across the border.

Anyone who has looked out under the rising desert sun to see all the identical rooftops carpeting the valley floor on the outskirts of Mesa knows that the population is skyrocketing. The Phoenix metro area grew by nearly 50 percent in the 1990s, helping boost the state to become the second fastest growing in the United States.

It’s also a state that is aging rapidly, with all the various psychological issues that go along with an elderly population. Geropsychological service needs are increasing faster than schools can graduate specialists to handle them.

Licensed To Care: Getting a Masters Puts You On Track to Practice Psychology in Arizona

You’ll need a doctorate degree if you want to become licensed in Arizona as a practicing clinical psychologist. A master’s degree is just one step on that path. School psychologists in the state, however, require only a master’s degree in order to become certified by the Arizona Department of Education.

The type of services needed spans the gamut in Arizona, but all of them require highly educated professionals.

Arizona Schools At The Forefront of Psychological Research and Training

Each of the ten universities in Arizona that offer master’s degrees in psychology has something unique to offer students in preparation for a career in the state.

Arizona State University, in Tempe, for example, conducts banner research in cognitive and developmental psychology that has led to it being named one of the most innovative colleges in America for 2019 by U.S. News & World Report. The Child Study Lab there offers great opportunity to budding school psychologists.

In the highlands of Flagstaff, surrounded by Indian reservations and the poverty and disconnection they harbor, Northern Arizona University offers fieldwork among that underserved population.

Evaluation Services Make The Case For Immigrants and Kids

Psychological evaluations are a crucial part of the asylum and legal immigration processes, including for some visa applications. Psychologists in Arizona find themselves working for both aid agencies and the government to evaluate, assess, and occasionally treat immigrants and asylum seekers who have come across the border. They also work with the children of migrants, in and outside the school system.

Some 20 percent of Arizonan’s speak Spanish at home, so language skills are a must for delivering these services accurately, and the University of Arizona graduate program has been recognized by NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) for its multicultural curriculum emphasis.

School and Child Counseling Challenges Psychologists in a Bilingual State

The ongoing effects of the family separations policy enacted by the Trump Administration at the border is only likely to increase the demand for skilled professionals to deal with the fallout among the most innocent. It comes on top of other state issues the APA has expressed concern over affecting legal and illegal residents alike.

Psychologists from ASU have been among those to weigh in on the debate, and graduates of the program will be among those dealing with the fallout from the debacle.

Neuropsychological Research and Treatment Abounds Among a High Geriatric Population

As the Baby Boomers retire, they’ve been retiring to the sunshine. Low taxes, affordable housing, and plenty of heat make Arizona a favorite destination for retirees. It also means that Arizona psychologists are left to deal with a disproportionate number of age-related psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and dementia.

In Bullhead City, ground was broken in 2018 on a new dedicated geri-psych hospital to help fill the need for psychological services among the booming geriatric population. In Tucson, the University of Arizona’s faculty include professors who publish in the Journal of Gerontopsychology and are experts in the field.

Spikes in Crime Lead to Demand for Forensic Psychologists

ASU has a nationally recognized forensic psychology program, which is, unfortunately, all too useful in a state where violent crime rates are up and that ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. for all crimes. High rates of incarceration and recidivism create a big demand for qualified forensic psychologists across the state.

There is hope and opportunity anywhere that master’s-educated psychologists find themselves, though. Any field of practice in Arizona can open doors and allow you to make the world a better place with the right education.

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