Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Mississippi
There’s a growing segment of the population here in Mississippi facing serious and chronic challenges. It has the highest poverty rate and the lowest median household income level in the country. Many residents are without health insurance. And in a whole bunch of quality of life measures, U.S. News & World Report ranks Mississippi 49th out of 50 in the nation.
With the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. state and a state flag that still incorporates the battle flag of the Confederacy, it’s a given that you’re going to find a lot of simmering racial tensions in Mississippi.
The conservative nature of the state also spearheads other social injustices. In 2004, voters overwhelmingly voted to outlaw same-sex marriage, a prohibition that lasted until the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made it legal.
That all adds up to a state that can use a lot of psychological help. With a master’s degree in the subject, you can make a lot of good things happen here.
Small Town Schools Offer Unequalled Opportunity For Psychology Education
Mississippi is still a largely rural state and much of the psychology practice happens in small towns and on the road. That’s probably where you’ll get your psychology education, too. Whether it’s in tiny Oxford or Biloxi, small towns are what Mississippi is made of; only Jackson and Gulfport break the 50,000 mark.
But that’s a great environment for earning a master’s degree, with an easy pace and few distractions to pull you away from your studies. Although the state has only a handful of schools offering psychology master’s degrees, they are all highly qualified and affordably priced.
State Licensing Options Available with a Master’s
Among the many strict requirements for the licensure of psychologists here, a doctoral degree is the most important. A master’s degree is only one step on that longer path.
There’s an exception for school psychologists, although it is equally complicated in some ways. There are three different licensing options. A class AAAA psychologist credential does require a doctorate, but the AAA credential only requires a NASP-approved specialist degree program, and the AA can be earned with a master’s degree and appropriate post-graduate psychometric studies.
You can also become a licensed professional counselor with a psychology master’s degree in Mississippi.
Clinical Psychology Offers Challenging and Rewarding Opportunities
Clinical psychology is the bread-and-butter specialization of most degree programs, like the Clinical Program at Ole Miss that emphasizes an empirical approach to clinical psychology on a scientific model. That kind of education gives you exactly the right tools to deal with individuals one-on-one in clinical practice.
Whether you plan to earn the doctorate you need for full licensure as a psychologist or your plans involve working in the school system, you’ll find pay rates better than the average worker in Mississippi. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical and counseling psychologists in the state earn an average salary of $76,460 as of May 2022. The annual average wage for Mississippi overall is only $45,180.
You Can Make a Genuine Difference in Psychological Counseling in Mississippi
Counseling is an easy career path to get into in Mississippi with a psychology master’s degree, and there are plenty of people in need of that sort of expert assistance across the state. The state ranks near the bottom in mental illness, coming in at number 48 with respect to overall mental health and access to care measures.
With a spread-out population and overwhelmed community clinics backed up with wait times of a month or more, the demand for qualified counselors is greater than ever.
A degree in counseling psychology from a Christian school like William Carey University lines right up with the community’s current counseling needs, ad you’ll find specialties here that range from school to child and adolescent counseling to gerontology.
Addiction Treatment and Therapy Are Badly Needed in Mississippi
In 2016, 211 people died in Mississippi from drug overdoses… fallout from the national opioid epidemic setting a new and devastating record in the Magnolia State.
The state actually has a lower addiction rate than most of the United States. In fact,it’s in the bottom ten in the nation for alcohol abuse, a testament to the religious nature of the community and the state’s legacy as the last to officially repeal prohibition (in 1966!).
But as a small state, the impacts of addiction are greater, and the prescription painkiller problem that has swept the country has hit Mississippi hard.
That explosion in addiction rates has driven demand for treatment. The number of people in treatment for heroin addiction in Mississippi tripled between 2013 and 2016, taxing an already strained addiction treatment system.
Trained addiction treatment counselors are the only hope the state has of stemming the gap and saving lives. And by taking on that and other psychological challenges with a master’s degree, you can make a big difference.
2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends and salary figures for clinical and counseling psychologists are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2023.