Psychology Master’s Degree Programs in Washington

When people think of Washington State they think of the Seattle-Tacoma area, the swelling metropolis with skyrocketing home prices and a major drug epidemic that’s been putting people on the streets in record numbers. Of course, there’s no bragging rights for being among the top metro areas in the nation in terms of the size of our homeless population. But the openness and inclusivity Seattle is known for also means diversity, with a large LGBT community, tied with Boston as the 5th largest in the country.

There’s a big demand for psychological treatment, therapy, and support surrounding the big city issues we contend with here, but also to simply help everyday people dealing with everything from issues related to coming out or transitioning, to the all-too-common seasonal affective disorder people experience during the long rainy winter months.

But the need for psychological services doesn’t end in Washington’s cities. In addition to school violence and bullying issues, the opioid epidemic hits urban and rural areas alike. In 2015, more Washingtonians died from opioid overdoses than in car accidents.

Fortunately, the state also has a lot of top-ranked schools offering master’s degrees in psychology. As the state enters a five-year plan to modernize and transform the mental health system, it’s going to be an interesting time to study psychology in Washington… and a good time to kick off a career with a master’s degree.

A Master’s Is Your Path To Licensure in Washington State

Like most states, a doctorate is a requirement for becoming a licensed psychologist in Washington. School psychologists, on the other hand, have the option of earning a master’s degree and then entering a state-approved school psychologist program. Similarly, licenses are available to marriage and family therapists in the state with a master’s in MFT or behavioral science.

In any case, a master’s degree is a necessary step on your path to practicing in Washington state.

Diverse Master’s Degree Options Reflect A Diverse State

There are 15 schools that offer psychology degrees in Washington, from sleepy little Whitworth out on the edge of Palouse wheat country to the juggernaut of the University of Washington amid the glass and steel towers of Seattle. At the end of each academic year they hand out nearly 500 master’s degrees combined.

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Each of these programs have their own strengths, which is a plus because each part of the state has it’s own needs and demands in different areas of practice.

School and Educational Psychology Proves to Be an Urgent Area

The lives of more than 300 students, their families, their teachers, and their community were changed forever when a school shooter walked into a hallway in tiny Freeman High School in 2017 and opened fire. Four students were hit and one killed in a tragedy that rocked the small farming community 20 miles outside of Spokane.

Psychologists and counselors from around the region were called in for an unprecedented effort to rebuild and restore confidence in the shaken community. One year later the town motto tells the story of their success: Freeman Strong.

State-wide, there’s never been more demand for school psychologists. A recent court decision has increased school funding, and the Washington State University psychology program has a nationally noted educational psychology program at the cutting edge of the field. With a hiring wave on the horizon, and issues ranging from bullying to game addiction sweeping through schools, it’s a good time to get into school psychology.

Addiction and Recovery Psychology Pulls People Out of Misery

As America comes to terms with the national opioid epidemic, both cities and rural areas are finding a need for qualified counselors and psychologists to handle the crisis on a scientific, rather than criminal, basis. Students in the greater Spokane area will find that Eastern Washington University has some of the state’s best addiction studies options, including a Graduate Certificate in addiction Studies available to anybody with a bachelor’s or master’s in any major, and an option specifically designed for licensed healthcare and mental health professionals looking to hone their expertise in this expanding area of practice.

Find a Career in Cutting-edge Industrial and Internet Psychology in the Tech Industry

Particularly in the thriving technology industry around Puget Sound, industrial and user experience psychologists are in demand. Amazon alone listed nearly 100 openings for psychology-trained professionals in October of 2018. Helping designers and programmers understand user psychology doesn’t take a doctorate, and offers high pay and interesting work. The social psychology and personality area of study at the University of Washington can prepare you for this sort of data-heavy, research-oriented business.

Research in Brain Science Demands Psychological Neuroscientists

Anyone with a web browser and internet access today can go to a website called and drill down to see the human brain in an unprecedented level of detail. Researchers, doctors, or just interested amateurs have complete access to an atlas and catalog of cell types and observations that have been amassed by neuroscientists and neuropsychologists working together closely at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, founded by Seattle’s own Paul Allen.

Bridging the gap between behavior and brain, researchers with psychology and neuroscience degrees are coming together to make Seattle a center for advanced neuropsychological research. Here, again, the University of Washington, with a strong medical research hospital, offers a lot of opportunity for studies in this rapidly advancing field.

These roles and more are open to Washington’s psychology professionals in a diverse and dynamic state where practices can be found everywhere from coastal fishing villages to high-tech cities to rolling farmland.

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Featured Washington Psychology Degree Programs