Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Iowa

Iowa is a tale of two states. Look beyond its rolling fields, low unemployment rate and thriving economic conditions, and you’ll also soon discover that this state, by most accounts, is in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Fortunately, Iowa’s biggest headline makers, whether positive or dismal, spell opportunity for psychologists here. So, whether you have aspirations of being part of the state’s ambitious plan to strengthen mental health services or you want to take advantage of the increasing demand for clinical and counseling psychological services that coincide with its strong economy, you’ll benefit from a host of professional opportunities here.

Your Path to a Career in Psychology Begins with a Master’s Degree

If you have aspirations of working as a clinical psychologist in Iowa, you’ll need a doctorate degree in psychology. A master’s will help you get there, but it can also prepare you for an array of other professional opportunities in the field.

For example, a master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement needed to practice as a mental health counselor or marital and family therapist in Iowa. Both of these professions require licensing through the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Similarly, you’ll need at least 60 semester hours beyond a bachelor’s degree to qualify for a support services license as a school psychologist through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners if you want to work as a school psychologist in Iowa.

Master’s Degree Options in Psychology Available at Iowa’s Esteemed Universities

Iowa’s options for master’s-level study in psychology are impressive.

For example, the University of Iowa’s MA in Psychology is housed within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, which brings a 125-year legacy of being committed to educational achievement and interdisciplinary research. It’s the seventh-oldest psychology department in the U.S., and also home to renowned psychologists like Kenneth Spence, Albert Bandura, and Leon Festinger.

The University of Northern Iowa also offers a master’s in psychology that comes complete with your choice of an emphasis in either clinical science or social psychology. As a student here, you’ll have opportunities to work in the university’s Psychological Assessment Clinic, a not-for-profit training facility that offers psychological and educational assessments to people of all ages.

Iowa’s Efforts to Improve Mental Health Spell Opportunities for Psychology Professionals

Iowa, in the simplest terms, has a serious mental healthcare deficit. Currently, the state ranks dismally low in terms of access to mental health treatment, including 44thin the nation for its mental health workforce availability and dead last for the ratio of state psychiatric beds to residents.

Fortunately, Iowa’s leaders have proposed an innovative and ambitious plan that will strengthen mental healthcare services throughout the state and provide a wealth of new professional opportunities for the psychologists, counselors and social workers who work here.

Some of the plan’s efforts will include six new access centers—short-term facilities for Iowa residents experiencing mental health crises…doubling the number of Assertive Community Treatment Teams, who closely monitor people with mental illness and encourage them to stay on their treatment plans…and launching a 24-hour crisis line, which includes on-call experts who can answer questions about mental health issues and obtain referrals for treatment.

Violent Crime, Opioid Addiction Continue to Plague Rural Iowa

Small towns and cities across Iowa are struggling with violent crime and drug addiction, far outpacing the state’s metropolitan areas. Violent crime in Iowa increased about 3 percent between 2006 and 2016; however, in communities with less than 10,000 residents, the rate rose 50 percent. Drug addiction continues to be a major driver of crime here. In fact, meth-related prison admissions rose to 586 in 2017.

Psychological services related to Iowa’s rising urban crime rate may include everything from forensic psychology in the courts and law enforcement agencies to social work and community psychology in organizations like the Rural Iowa Health Association, the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center, and the Iowa Association for Rural Health Clinics.

Taking Advantage of Iowa’s Robust Economic Conditions

From Des Moines, which landed the fifth place position on Forbes’ 19th annual ranking of the “Best Places for Businesses and Careers” to Cedar Rapids, whose economic rebirth following the devastating floods of 2008 was nothing short of exceptional to earning a reputation for being the “Best State in the U.S. to Pursue the American Dream,” Iowa is where business is born and dreams are made.

Pursue a career in industrial/organizational psychology in Iowa and you’ll lend your expertise and insight to major corporations like Rockwell Collins, Principal Financial Group, and Pella, where you’ll examine worker productivity, health, and well-being.

Or pursue a career in health psychology or clinical and counseling psychology and you’ll find plentiful opportunities in private practice or in settings like the University of Iowa Healthcare, the state’s leading healthcare organization.

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