Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Illinois
Make no doubt about it—Chicago is a powerhouse of industry and commerce, and a major player in the national economy, but that doesn’t mean Illinois is free from challenges, both economic and otherwise.
In fact, statewide, the population has been shrinking in recent years, along with its economy, brought on by historic mismanagement, a budget crisis, and a 2018 State Economic Competitiveness Index report showing Illinois plunging to a dismal 48thin the nation for its public debt. A grave opioid crisis and Chicago’s national headline-grabbing violent crime rate also add to this state’s woes.
Psychologists in Illinois, whether scholars and researchers, or clinicians and psychotherapists, are needed to address this state’s most pressing issues by studying, examining, and applying psychological principles to everything from social issues to the criminal justice system to the state’s struggling economy.
In other words, whether your interest lies in forensic psychology, where your expertise is required for the psychological assessment of individuals in the legal system…in industrial-organizational psychology, where your talents are needed to examine the productivity of workers and the efficiency of operations…or in social psychology, where you’re called upon to examine the causes and solutions to Chicago’s crime problem, there’s plenty of opportunities awaiting you in Illinois.
A Career in Psychology Starts with a Master’s Degree
A doctorate degree is the minimum requirement to practice as a clinical psychologist in Illinois. However, earn a master’s degree in psychology and you’ll not only prepare yourself for doctoral work, you’ll also satisfy the educational requirements needed to pursue a license as a professional counselor through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
A master’s degree is also the minimum educational requirement to earn a school psychologist endorsement as part of a professional educator license through the Illinois State Board of Education.
Illinois’ Psychology Master’s Degrees Prepare You for Success
Illinois is home to some outstanding master’s programs, whether you’re transitioning to a PsyD or PhD in psychology, or the master’s is your terminal degree in preparation for a career in counseling or applied psychology.
For example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an MS in Psychological Science with focus areas in data analysis/research and applied/general psychology, while DePaul University offers an MS in Psychology through its esteemed Department of Psychology, known for giving students a chance to participate in original research projects and internship opportunities under the guidance of their world-class faculty.
Western Illinois University offers master’s degrees in psychology in the areas of general experimental psychology, clinical/community mental health psychology, and school psychology and boasts a highly distinguished faculty of practicing doctorate-prepared psychologists.
Chicago Crime and a Statewide Opioid Epidemic Continue to Dominate Headlines
In recent years, Chicago has garnered national headlines for all the wrong reasons. In a particularly violent weekend in August 2018, for example, 66 people were shot and 12 were killed in the Windy City.
Opioid abuse in Illinois, like many other parts of the country, also continues to be among the state’s leading public health issues and a major contributing factor for violent crime. As a result, Illinois has been awarded a $43.5 million federal grant to fight opioid abuse – part of a $1 billion opioid strategy distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
About $29 million of the grant will come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which will be used to increase the availability of addiction treatment using medication, and reduce overdose deaths through prevention and treatment programs.
From clinical and counseling psychologists to health psychologists to forensic psychologists, Illinois’ struggles with crime and drug abuse call for psychology professionals with the skills and expertise needed to study, research, and provide services in a variety of settings.
Beyond all the crime and grit of life in the city is a professional workforce better educated than ever before. Provide services in counseling psychology here and you’ll benefit from an educated population of professionals focused on all aspects of the kind of healthy living people need to keep their center in a city like Chicago, including counseling to support a healthy marriage, family life and general mental outlook.
Social and Community Psychologists Address Illinois’ Most Pressing Issues
In much of the state outside the greater Chicago-Naperville area, a declining labor force, shrinking population and lagging economy are all concerns facing Illinois. Why is outmigration taking place? What is the economic breaking point where people make the call to pack it all in and relocate to another state? And how is deficient public policy, including tax hikes, property tax burdens, and one of the most severe pension crises in the nation affecting consumer and investor confidence here?
These are just a few of the questions addressed by the social and community psychologists who study the state’s most pressing social and public policy issues and lend their insights to everyone looking for solutions, from policy makers to the corporations with operations in the state.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists Study and Implement Solutions for Chicago’s Corporations
Home to more than 400 major corporations, including 36 on the Fortune 500 list, an annual gross regional product of more than $609 billion, and a workforce four-million strong, Chicago is a force to be reckoned with. The economy here—which is said to be among the most diverse in the U.S.—relies on an efficient, effective, and healthy workforce.
Work as an industrial-organizational psychologist here and you’ll research, study, and apply principles designed to understand and improve human behavior in the workplace.