Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in North Dakota

For a long time, North Dakota pretty much defined the category of “fly-over state.” Freezing winters and blazing summers covering mile after mile after mile of featureless plains ensured that only the hardiest and most self-sufficient folks settled there.

But the quiet, agricultural character of the state changed dramatically starting in 2006, and all because of one big chunk of rock strata submerged beneath the western half of the state: the Bakken Formation. Rising oil prices combined with improved technical methods for extracting it from shale formations like the Bakken crossed a critical juncture in that year and flipped the state on its head.

The state now boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and one of the highest GDPs. By some estimates, the state is minting two new millionaires every day as the black gold flows.

But such rapid change has serious psychological impacts. As money has flowed into the states, so have drugs and crime. And so, on the heels of the roughnecks and into the company of ranch hands, psychologists are now becoming a critical addition to the North Dakota population.

You Can Pick Any Psychology Program in North Dakota You Want, As Long As It’s One Of These Two

If you were looking for a broad selection of degree programs, you wouldn’t be looking in the fourth smallest and fourth most sparsely populated state in the union. You get two choices for master’s degree programs in psychology here, one in Fargo and the other in Grand Forks. Fortunately, both of them are great choices with a surprising number of concentrations available between them.

Fargo has North Dakota State University, with doctoral programs in Clinical Science, Health and Social Psychology, and Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience, all with a strong research focus.

In Grand Forks you’ll find the University of North Dakota, which offers graduate tracks in Clinical, Forensic, and General-Experimental psychology, all at enormously affordable tuition rates.

UND is also your best option if you aren’t living somewhere along the 29 on the east edge of the state. UND is widely recognized as one of the best schools in the country when it comes to online psychology programs. If you’re in Bismarck, Minot, or someplace even more rural, that can be a big factor for accessibility and flexibility in earning your graduate degree.

Licensing Options Are Wide Open in North Dakota For Psychology Professionals

You’ll need to dive in and get a doctoral level degree if your dream is to become a fully licensed psychologist in the state of North Dakota. Picking the right master’s program is one important part of that path, of course, and

School psychologists, however, can become licensed with a psychology master’s degree from a NASP-accredited program and the requisite internship hours.

You can become a licensed marriage and family therapist in North Dakota with a master’s in psychology. There’s also a path to licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state with a psychology master’s.

Forensic Psychology Emerges As North Dakota Crime Increases

For decades, North Dakota held a singular place at the bottom of every chart of violent crime statistics covering the United States. The popular saying around the state was “40 below keeps the riff-raff out.”

But with the oil boom came money, drugs, dislocation, and violence. Even as violence has fallen nationally, North Dakota’s violent crime rate spiked so badly that the FBI was forced to expand its presence there in 2015.

That’s turned forensic psychology into an unexpected growth industry in North Dakota. In fact, UND now offers both on campus (MS) and online (MA) degree tracks in forensic psychology as part of their general PhD psychology program.

Counseling and Support Are Important Roles in North Dakota Psychology Practice

With the influx of drugs there is an inevitable demand for addiction treatment and therapy. Both private and government employers are desperate for qualified psychological staff to fill roles in addiction treatment and counseling.

While state and federal agencies are trying to cope with the human fallout of addiction, oil and services companies are trying to avoid contributing to the problem in the first place. Employment counseling and pre-hire evaluation jobs are becoming a key part of hiring strategies. In fact, some positions are springing up specifically to focus on worksite wellness, addressing the issues of rough working conditions far from home as a way of heading off worse problems down the road.

As the population booms, more and more fields of practice are bound to open up for North Dakota psychologists. Getting in on the ground floor with a master’s degree will set you up to ride the elevator up with the economy as it continues to grow.

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