Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Nebraska

Nearly 90 percent of the towns in Nebraska are home to fewer than 1,000 people, with Lincoln and Omaha being the only population centers with more than 200,000. For psychologists in the state, that can mean small client bases and a lot of highly personal interactions in and outside of office hours. It also means working with a lot of middle-class, blue-collar, agrarian clients.

Common drivers of mental health issues such as addiction, poverty, and incarceration all come in below the national average here. All in all, it’s a pleasant place to live and forge out a career in psychology.

The average Nebraska town is not a community that spends a lot of time thinking about psychological services, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand for those services. With a master’s degree in psychology, you can become one of the select few qualified to offer professional assistance in the Cornhusker state.

A Few Schools Handle a Big Job in Nebraska

That general lack of attention to psychological services carries over to higher education, where only a handful of schools offer master’s degrees in the subject. This makes the online option the go-to choice for many students here.

The good news is that the programs that do exist in the state have a wide range of concentrations to choose from. At the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, for example, you can dive into everything from behavioral neuroscience to law and psychology. And UN-Omaha has six concentrations, plus the option to seek either an MA or an MS in either industrial/organizational psychology or school psychology. Tightly-knit programs with diverse opportunities characterize the master’s offerings in psychology here.

Nebraska Psychological Licensing Has High Standards to Meet

You can’t become a fully licensed psychologist in Nebraska without a PhD or PsyD from an APA-accredited school. Your master’s degree is a necessary precursor to that more advanced credential, however.

There’s better news for you if you are planning to become a school psychologist, however. In fact, a bachelor’s degree is all that is required for a school psychologist license, assuming you also meet the internship and other requirements.

Clinical Psychology is on The Rise in Nebraska

Clinical psychology in the Cornhusker state hasn’t always gotten a lot of respect. Historic discrimination against psychologists has left them out in the cold without hospital privileges as recently as 2002. Nebraska psychologists have been digging out of a hole in the state to establish their equal rights to practice.

With that sea change in respect came a far greater level of access to psychological services in the past 20 years. Clinical psychology has certainly made its return to the mental healthcare landscape in Nebraska. Although you’ll need to build on your master’s by eventually earning a doctorate in order to qualify for a license to practice as a clinical psychologist here, you can look forward to getting in on a career path that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to jump by almost ten percent in the state over the next decade.

Sport Psychology Has a Surprise Role in Nebraska Athletics

Everyone knows you can’t go far anywhere in the state during football season without seeing the Go Big Red flags. Huskers love us some college football and aren’t afraid to show it.

But without a professional sports team anywhere in the state, you might be surprised to learn that it’s an importance place for the practice of sport’s psychology. At UNL, sports psychologists with the Athletic Medicine department play an important role in assessing and enhancing the performance and health of all Husker athletes.

As the benefits of professional sports psychology have become more and more apparent, the demand in the state has driven the expansion of sports psychology programs. Although traditional sports psychology concentrations are one route to those positions, educational and developmental psychology master’s specializations like those offered at the University of Nebraska in Omaha are another.

School Psychologists Battle Depression Across the Plains

Nebraskans of all ages tend to be pretty well-adjusted and less likely than the average American to abuse drugs or alcohol. With state rates of autism and other developmental disabilities well below the national average also, you might think school psychologists spend a lot of time in their offices playing Tetris there.

But there is an insidious problem lurking around the edges of Nebraska society that is overtaking the youth of the state. Like most of the nation, Nebraska has been seeing big spikes in youth depression rates. And according to a 2015 SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) survey, more than half of them never get the treatment they need.

That’s an environment where expert psychologists with training in developmental psychology or school psychology can step in to make a real difference.

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