Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in New Jersey
New Jersey is in the middle of just about everything going on on the East Coast, and that’s true of the psychology field as well. Triangulated in between Philly, New York, and Washington D.C., practitioners in every corner of New Jersey frequently find themselves spread between the diverse communities and practice settings found in neighboring states.
But that’s not to say that New Jersey doesn’t have big psychological needs or interests at home. Often seen as a commuter community writ large, New Jersey is actually one of the most heavily urbanized regions in the country… with all the attendant strife and pressure. Urban revitalization from the slums of the 70s and 80s has been a priority in recent decades, driving demand for social and psychological services in places like Newark and Jersey City.
As a vibrant, ethnically, and religiously diverse state, New Jersey has a wealth of opportunities in almost every imaginable practice area for psychologists. And if you want to take advantage of them, you’re going to need a master’s degree at a minimum.
Fortunately, Excellent Options in Education Abound in New Jersey
New Jersey is a populous state with a higher education system to match. You are looking at nearly twenty institutions offering graduate degrees in psychology, ranging from top-ranked Princeton (listed, predictably, in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Psychology Majors for 2018) to the surprisingly affordable Rutger’s- New Brunswick, which comes in on Kiplinger’s Best Value Public School’s list.
Strict Licensing Means You Must Pay Attention to Your Education
New Jersey has stringent licensing guidelines for psychologists that require a doctorate for most roles. The exception is for school psychologists, who can get a credential to practice with only a master’s degree in the field.
You can also use a master’s degree in psychology to fulfill the educational component of New Jersey state licensing requirements for becoming a licensed marriage and family therapy (MFT) counselor.
Marriage and Family Therapy is a Must in Commuter Communities
It’s true, New Jersey does have its own identity and industrial base… but it’s also true that an awful lot of residents commute to cities in other states. The 2010 Census revealed that the state is number two on the list of regions filled with “mega-commuters.” A trip to the office of more than an hour each way, experienced by nearly 15 percent of Garden State residents, adds a lot of stress to work and family relationships.
Giving couples nearby options to work out differences and stay on a healthy track is important. And because a master’s degree is the highest level of education you need to become an MFT in the state, an excellent local MA program with an MFT specialization, like the one offered by Kean University in Union, can get you into the field fast serving the needs of couples and families.
Industrial Demands Continue to Drive Psychological Trends in the Garden State
Although New Jersey is home to a lot of commuters, there is plenty of big business scattered around the state, from big pharma companies to telecommunications. These are fertile grounds for practicing industrial-organizational psychologists, the sort of graduates that are coming out of the Montclair State University I/O psychology program.
Even more intriguing work along the same lines lies in the state’s highly regulated but highly popular gambling industry. The industry makes use of organizational psychologists in many aspects of its operations, from customer service to security design.
Autism Treatment and Applied Behavior Analysis Have Strong Advocates in New Jersey
Autism and other behavioral conditions aren’t restricted to New Jersey, but the state produces some of the best psychologists suited for working with those conditions and populations out of any state in the union. This strength can be tracked right back to New Jersey psychology grad schools, such as Rider University. Rider’s MA in Applied Psychology with a focus in applied behavior analysis can set you up to either progress to a doctorate in the field or to become a therapist specializing in such treatments.
With the highest autism rate in the nation, including 3 percent of 8-year-olds in the state, there is a lot of work to be done in autism treatment close to home in Jersey.
Whether it’s working in clinics or casinos or the privacy of your own independent practice, there’s work to be done in the psychology field in New Jersey. With the right education, you can get started almost immediately.