Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in New Mexico
A lot of folks who should have made that left turn at Albuquerque instead end up settling down in New Mexico… only about half of state residents were born there, giving the state a dynamic and energetic feel. Major federal government installations and a thriving oil and gas industry also bring in regular crops of fresh residents… and they all bring their psychological counseling and consulting needs along with them.
New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic and Latino residents and the second highest percentage of Native Americans of all the states, giving it a decidedly different flavor than even other southwestern states. The Zia sun symbol on the state flag tells the story… it’s a land proud of its native roots, and at the same time focused on its future.
Unfortunately, the present day in New Mexico needs a little bit of work. The state only recently nudged ahead of Mississippi off the bottom of the list in number of citizens living in poverty, and falls ahead of only Louisiana in terms of child poverty rates.
The kids can’t really catch a break in New Mexico, with the state leading the nation in parental incarceration rates. Ten percent of New Mexican kids have at least one parent in jail.
It’s a situation that demands attention from professional psychologists. If your long-term plans involve becoming part of the solution here, then your short term plans need to involve earning a master’s degree.
Higher Education in Psychology in The High Desert
New Mexico is a sparsely populated state but it still manages to support three psychology master’s degree programs. Although they don’t have the name recognition or cachet you’ll find in larger cities in more populated states, what you will find is a great education in psychology at a very affordable price.
It’s worth remembering, also, that New Mexico is a state that has long been over-stuffed with highly intelligent people. Los Alamos attracted the best and brightest minds in physics during the Second World War, and today the trend has continued there, at White Sands, and at Sandia Labs among other places. This brain trust has given higher education in the high desert a real boost, one that has carried over into psychology and other sciences as well.
New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, offers a highly-regarded master’s program in experimental psychology, the only one of its kind in the state. Using an apprenticeship model, the extremely selective program ensures a lot of face time for grad students as they work on research projects alongside an advisor.
Psychological Service Provider Licensing Requirements
A doctorate is the minimum level of education you need to become a psychologist in New Mexico, but there are still plenty of opportunities with a master’s degree under your belt, too. Of course, a master’s is one step along the way to that doctorate—New Mexico Highlands University, in particular, has a solid track record of having master’s degree graduates accepted to PhD programs.
But you can go directly into a career as a school psychologist in the state with only a master’s degree. You can also use a degree in clinical psychology as a qualification for becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselor or Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New Mexico.
Addiction and Recovery Services Are in High Demand in New Mexico
Any state that has large transient populations of workers ends up with substance and alcohol abuse issues over and above the normal proportion. New Mexico is no exception, with regular waves of young servicemen and women rotating through, as well as oil and gas field workers.
Even worse, the state ranked highest in the nation for underage drinking and marijuana use among adolescents under the age of 13.
That combination putjust under 5,000 folks into treatment programs in New Mexico in 2009, and all those programs are in need of professional psychological experts to help staff them.
Forensic Psychology Aims to Get New Mexico Back on Track
High crime and incarceration rates have unfortunately made forensic and criminal psychology a major practice area in New Mexico. Working in rehabilitation and counseling with convicts is one of the few ways that can reliably reintegrate them as productive members of society. That tough but satisfying job can be yours, with the right education behind you.
TheUniversity of New Mexico’s graduate psychology program has professors who have specialized in forensic neuroscience and who continue to perform groundbreaking research in the field, making this Albuquerque-based institution a great choice for students hoping to enter this field.
No matter what field you choose, New Mexico is an incredible place to live, and if you choose a New Mexico college for your psychology degree, like so many other residents here, you may never look back.