How to Become a Psychologist in Arizona

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What is Psychology?


Finding a psychology degree in Arizona is becoming easier with each passing year. Much like the rest of the US, there is a growing need and demand for mental health professionals. Arizona has a younger population that embraces the importance of mental health, with a median age of 38. In general, roughly 30% of millennials have a behavioral health condition, and this rate is rising each year. Those who have not yet been diagnosed often self-medicate to manage their conditions, which can also lead to additional physical health and emotional or behavioral issues.

Another reason that the best psychology colleges in Arizona are growing at rapid rates is due to the fact all ages, races, and ranges of socioeconomic standing are facing many additional stressors today. For example, unemployment has been relatively high in recent years throughout the US, which is also increasing anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health triggers. This results in an increasing need for more mental health professionals.

In fact, in 2019, only 54% of millennials and 64% of baby boomers felt their mental health was in good or excellent condition, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield report on millennial health. In a post-Covid world, these figures are likely to be significantly worse, thus demonstrating an even greater need for more psychology professionals in all fields and industries.


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Psychology Education in Arizona


The state of Arizona is also experiencing a shift in industry, with a growing number of tech companies entering the state as they depart California. These shifts can create uncertainty for some populations and potentially drive out or drive down other industries. Such changes can also lead to mental health destabilization resulting in a greater need for well-trained psychology professionals. Psychology careers in Arizona are also facing a shift to telemedicine as younger generations accept and prefer online medical care over in-person treatments. Arizona degrees in psychology are now incorporating these practices into curriculums to meet these changes in preferences.

A psychology professional can take on many roles and responsibilities in any number of industries and specializations. In general, a psychologist is a person with a PhD or doctorate in psychology. They might work with individuals, groups, communities, or organizations. Psychologists work with people to assess and diagnose each mental, emotional, or behavioral circumstance while establishing a custom treatment plan.

Many specializations exist within the psychology profession. It’s possible to work with a specific type of condition, such as trauma or addiction. Other psychologists might prefer to work with specific age groups or group types including children, teens, families, marriages, retirees, and more. These mental health and behavioral health professionals often work independently; however, a growing trend exists for individuals to work in schools, hospitals, government agencies, veterans offices, corporate offices, prisons, laboratories, colleges and universities, and courtrooms.

Psychology professionals also exist in a variety of capacities. This might include support roles, research roles, and education. And a growing number of professionals are working entirely online through telemedicine.

Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

While it may not be possible to become a psychologist with an associate degree, it is possible to pursue alternative psychology careers with as little as a two-year degree. These careers often come in the form of support roles, such as a psychiatric technician. Many of these psychology support positions require a two-year degree or a specialized certificate. It’s common for LPNs and nursing assistants to pursue these degrees and roles. Many of these individuals have additional career goals that lead to continued education and greater pay. Work experience will also be an important factor in securing top jobs with an associate degree in psychology.

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Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in psychology will have greater psychology career opportunities. However, these options are still limited without a graduate degree in psychology. Psychology degree holders at the bachelor level often pursue careers that are not associated with psychologists. These psychology professionals help people in different capacities.

Many graduates choose to work as social workers or case managers for government entities. They might also work as career counselors or at rehabilitation centers. A growing trend is for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in psychology to work in sales, marketing, and human resources. Some people even use a four-year psychology degree to secure jobs as criminologists, library assistants, or probation officers.

The psychology education provided in this degree offers tremendous insight into the psyche of human behavior, which can be highly advantageous in many areas. Depending on the job, it’s possible that a career in the field of psychology with a bachelor’s degree might still require state licensure. Individuals will also require the ability to excel in communication, writing, and research to succeed.

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Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)

A master’s degree in psychology or an MBA in psychology will provide greater opportunities at a professional level. In most states, these degrees are necessary to become a licensed counselor of any sort. This degree is also part of a career pathway for individuals who want to advance their career options in business, education, and government agencies. Graduates can also pursue research with these degrees. The requirements will depend on the employer, the job, and the state. These degrees also provide significantly higher pay. In some states, it’s possible to secure high-level psychology careers, such as positions in occupational psychology and sports psychology. Again, this will depend upon the state and the employer.

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PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)

A PhD in psychology will provide the most opportunities in the entire field. This degree takes commitment. It can take 12 years or longer to complete all the necessary education to earn. This timeframe will depend on whether or not a student is able to commit as a full-time student or whether they can only dedicate part-time hours to the degree. It’s important to remember that mandatory supervised hours are also a requirement to graduate and to become licensed within all states. This can add a few years to the process.

As licensed psychologists, professionals can choose any number of generalizations or specializations such as clinical, pediatric, substance use disorder, forensics, special education, family counseling, neuropsychology, and more. It’s also possible to become a professor or to work in research with this degree and graduates will likely earn higher salaries with a PhD. However, this will depend upon your employer and specialization.

Top College Programs in Arizona for Psychology

  • Arizona State University
  • University of Arizona
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Arizona Christian University
  • Prescott College

Become a Psychology Professional in Arizona


The field of psychology has a wide spectrum and endless career options in many different industries. While the industries of healthcare and wellness have traditionally been the primary sources of psychology-related jobs, a wide array of industries are capitalizing on the benefits of psychology professionals at all levels and job types. It’s possible to work in many areas of research such as scientific research, product research and marketing research. Professionals can work in education as professors, counselors, teachers, or therapists. And people can work for business and healthcare in a variety of aspects, such as human resources and technicians.

Individuals with associate or bachelor’s degrees in psychology will require specialized certifications to qualify for certain positions. With the right certification, training, and experience, students at this level can enter a variety of roles. Such training includes mental health first aid training; psychological first aid training; Alzheimer caregiver certification; interpersonal social rhythm therapy training; death, dying, and bereavement certification; co-occurring disorder specialists certification; mental health facilitator training; personal life coach; and others.

Licensure and supervised work experience are necessary for most states to become a practicing psychologist or counselor. This will require anywhere between 600 to over 4,000 hours of supervised work experience. The number of hours will depend on the psychology specialization and position. In Arizona, social work, counseling, substance abuse counseling, marriage and family therapy, and other roles require licensure.

Careers for Psychology Graduates


  • Psychiatric Technician
    A psychiatric technician is a crucial part of the mental health team; they might also be referred to as mental health technicians. These psychology support careers will often assist with recording conditions, leading recreational activities, following the guidance of doctors, and helping to admit and discharge patients. Each role will have varying degrees of responsibilities based on education, work experience, and employer.
  • Community Service Manager
    Community service managers often work to create services and programs that are necessary for the well-being of community members. This might also include administrative duties, data analysis, program reviews, improvement implementations, manage awareness programs, and more. These individuals are often employed by non-profit or government organizations. And many community service managers will specialize inworking with a select demographic such as older adults, the homeless, veterans, or children.
  • Child Psychologist
    A child psychologist works specifically with children and the families of children. This type of psychologist spends time administering tests to children as well as leading therapy sessions and conducting research. They work to treat children with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Other child psychologists might work in research for the government, academia, or private organizations.
  • School Counselor
    School counselors work for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and higher learning institutions. Those employed by K-12 schools typically work with kids to help them with common issues at various milestones in their youth such as developmental concerns, behavioral disorders, home issues, and more. They will evaluate, analyze, and treat kids on a case-by-case basis.
  • Psychiatrist
    A psychiatrist is different from a psychologist in that they are medical doctors with expertise in mental health. They both diagnose and treat individuals who suffer from mental illness; however, a psychiatrist is able to prescribe medication. As such, psychiatrists often work with individuals who have more serious conditions. And they often work with other medical professionals to determine the source of both physical and mental health concerns.
  • Addiction Counselor
    Addiction counselors work with patients suffering from different types of addictions including substances, behavioral disorders, gambling, shopping, the Internet, video games, porn, social media, and many others. These professionals might work with individuals, groups, or both. They will also work with patients to help rebuild and repair personal and professional relationships. Addiction counselors help people to learn and manage their triggers as well as to provide aftercare.
  • Family and Marriage Therapist
    Family and marriage therapists remain highly in demand. They often work in private practice with individuals or couples, as well as entire families. These individuals are exceptional at conflict resolution practices. They can also work with patients on challenging changes occurring in their life rather than simply attempting to repair a marriage such as losing a job, death of a spouse, or divorce.
  • Research Psychologist
    A research psychologist analyzes questions and tests hypotheses whilst using strategic scientific methodologies to determine human behavior and thought. These researchers could be involved in a wide array of subject matter including genetics, physiology, cognition, behavior, social interactions, brain activity, interpersonal relationships, and more. Such work can also be associated with political, economic, societal, or cultural factors.
  • Psychology Professor – Postsecondary
    Psychology professors typically work with undergraduate or graduate students on various psychology themes and subjects such as clinical, child, developmental, abnormal psychology, and others. These professors will often have to inspire classroom discussions as well as to lead lab work. They typically also work on publications and research as part of their employment responsibilities.
  • Human Resource Specialist
    Human resource specialists use psychology in a number of ways within businesses, government agencies, and organizations. They will use psychology to find employees who are the best fit for a position, the team, and the employer. It’s possible they will use psychology to look for possible signs of a disgruntled employee. They can also use their education to find the best ways to motivate team members to maximize their performance. These are just a few examples.

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