How to Become a Psychologist in Delaware

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What is Psychology?


Earning a psychology degree will allow you to pursue a wide variety of career paths, from animal research to organizational behavior. Generally, those in the field use psychological knowledge and research to address problems, such as treating mental illness or substance abuse. They may also work with scientists to conduct psychological research and/or teach students at colleges and universities.

Most psychologists fall into one of three categories: applied psychologists, research psychologists, and mental health psychologists. Applied psychologists use psychological principles and research to solve real-world problems. Research psychologists focus their efforts on conducting studies and experiments using humans and/or animals to advance knowledge in the field. Mental health psychologists are probably the most familiar, as they work with people experiencing mental disorders or psychological distress.

Every job and its specific requirements differ, but some of the most common responsibilities for psychologists include conducting scientific studies of behavior and brain function, observing individuals, performing surveys, identifying emotional patterns, and discussing possible treatment plans with clients. They also often write articles, research papers, and reports in order to share findings with others in the field. Additionally, these professionals often supervise interns, clinicians, and counseling professionals.

While many graduates choose to pursue employment as psychologists, other opportunities are available, including becoming counselors and therapists. Most of these professionals focus their studies on a particular topic such as addiction, family, bereavement, or trauma. Counselors can also specialize in working with a specific population like children, teens, adults, or the elderly. These professionals may work in numerous settings, providing private or group sessions. Some even offer counseling on the phone or through telehealth sessions in addition to face-to-face.

There are many different types of counselors, but all professionals in this field are dedicated to helping people live healthier, happier lives. They are trained to assist with a variety of social, emotional, and mental health problems, as well as serve as advocates, helping their patients manage the physical and psychological difficulties that can accompany ailments. An important distinction regarding counselors is that they cannot prescribe medications of any kind.


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Psychology Education in Delaware


Are you considering enrolling in a psychology degree program in Delaware? Individuals who are interested in studying cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors may find this field particularly fascinating. Graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to observe, interpret, and record how people relate to one another and to their environments. They also learn how to use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors for individuals and groups.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for psychologists and many counseling occupations is expected to increase nationwide from 2019 to 2029. Employment for psychologists is projected to grow 3%. Some related counseling professions, on the other hand, will see a rise in employment opportunities of between 21 and 25% during this time frame. Jobs with the greatest growth include substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and genetic counselors.

Employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to grow primarily due to greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies. Professionals in this field will also be needed to work with aging populations as they deal with mental and physical changes associated with growing older, as well as veterans suffering from war trauma. Additionally, the availability of school psychologist positions is likely to increase due to more awareness of the connection between mental health and learning.

The educational services, healthcare, and social assistance industry is the fourth largest in Delaware. It accounts for $6 billion in revenue each year. Psychologists and counselors of every kind can be found in the state, although there are more community and social service workers than anything else.

Those planning to pursue psychologist and counseling positions in Delaware should strongly consider enrolling in a local college or university program. The state is small, and there are fewer academic programs available, but earning a degree somewhere else can make gaining licensure more complicated. Every state has different licensing requirements and Delaware institutions, and educators will be most familiar with the process within the State of Delaware. Local colleges and universities know how to prepare students to meet the state’s credentialing requirements best, and they tend to offer the most geographically relevant coursework.

The majority of counselors have some form of advanced education. While it is possible to find employment in Connecticut without a counseling degree, highly educated job candidates have better prospects. With programs available at every academic level, students can choose programs that align best with their individual academic and professional goals.

Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

It is imperative to realize that most psychology professionals in Delaware will require more than associate degrees. This level of education is meant to provide students with an introduction to the field and to help build the skills necessary to pursue advanced degrees in the future. While graduates may qualify for some entry-level employment opportunities in social services, management, or customer service, most people interested in psychology as a career choose to transfer credits to bachelor’s degree programs instead.

Associate degrees in counseling generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework. For full-time students, graduation requirements can generally be met within two years.

Students will be able to choose from a wide variety of elective classes, but examples of core psychology coursework include:

  • Child Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Psychology of Aging
  • Counseling

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)

A bachelor’s in psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate degrees in Delaware and all of the United States. Graduates can pursue a wide variety of careers or choose to pursue further education that can lead to more opportunities and higher pay. People with psychology degrees also tend to do well in seemingly unrelated fields, such as management and business. This is because most programs instruct students in areas that apply across many careers.

Bachelor’s degrees consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Those attending classes part-time may need an additional two to four years to graduate. Those enrolled should expect a mixture of psychology coursework, labs, and electives. Many colleges and universities also offer opportunities to select a concentration.

Some of the most common specialties in this field are:

  • General Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology

Every college and university program is different, but most are designed to help prepare students to enter graduate counseling programs.

Curriculums will vary, but likely instructional topics include:

  • Social Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Criminal Psychology and Behavior
  • Introduction to Addiction Theories

Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)

Almost half of people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology continue their education to earn advanced degrees. In Delaware, this is because many professions in the field require candidates to have master’s degrees from accredited institutions. School psychologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, licensed professional counselors, and a variety of related professionals must have graduate-level degrees. While the state does not require a particular major, programs relating to psychology, counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy provide the best preparation for success in the field. It is also worth noting that practitioners with master’s degrees tend to make significantly more money per year than those without them.

Most master’s degrees consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Programs often feature coursework in social psychology, cognitive process, and theories of personality.

Students may also select a concentration if offered:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Research
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Those enrolled should expect a combination of classroom learning, research, and practical applications. Some programs will tend more towards research, theory, or clinical work than others.

Some common courses include:

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Theories of Personality

PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)

Deciding to earn a doctorate degree in psychology can lead to many exciting, personally rewarding, and lucrative career opportunities. As the highest possible degree in the field, it is required for those pursuing careers as licensed psychologists, but not in all other related professions. Aspiring psychologists must complete a doctorate that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. This level of education does help professionals in other areas build clinical and research skills that can then be applied as needed.

Prospective students will need to choose between a doctor of psychology (PsyD) degree and the doctor of philosophy in psychology (PhD) degree. The PsyD degree is best suited for those interested in clinical work, while the PhD tends to be more appropriate for professionals pursuing careers in research.

Most doctoral degrees consist of between 60 to 90 credit hours and take full-time students five to seven years to complete. Prior to graduation, students will need to pass a comprehensive examination and write a dissertation.

Every institution is different, but some examples of possible coursework include:

  • Behavioral Assessments
  • Professional Ethics in Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Cognitive Development
  • Neuroscience

Become a Psychologist in Delaware


If you want to become a psychology professional in Delaware, the first step is identifying your ultimate career goals in the field. Because there are many different types of jobs available to graduates at all levels, it is important to identify the type of work you want to perform. Knowing your specific objectives will make it easier to select the most applicable program and degree type.

Licensed psychologists in Delaware must have doctorate degrees in order to practice. The licensure process for aspiring professionals is overseen by the Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists. In addition to a doctorate degree, this body requires candidates to complete 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience, the first 1,500 of which must be done as part of a predoctoral internship. Candidates must also apply to a psychological assistant license and pass the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP).

If you plan on pursuing a job other than psychologist, your licensure requirements will be different. It’s important to realize that every state and the District of Columbia have different licensure regulations for counseling-related fields depending on the area of specialization. For example, chemical dependency counselors in private practice must be licensed in every state. Genetic counselors, on the other hand, are only required to be licensed in about half of the United States. In Delaware, most licensed positions require, at minimum, a master’s degree in a related field. This includes professions such as marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, substance abuse counselors, and mental health counselors.

In Delaware, licensing requirements for many psychology and counseling careers are overseen by the Division of Professional Regulation. The state requires certification from the National Board of Certified Counselors prior to obtaining licensure, however. You are responsible for knowing the regulations and collecting the appropriate documents necessary to pursue your intended license. For more information regarding associated requirements, you will need to refer to your exact counseling profession’s License Law and Rules and Regulations. These are available as links from the Division of Professional Regulation website, but are also available via the State of Delaware and the Delaware Code Online websites.

Prospective counselors can apply for licensure by examination or reciprocity, which only applies to individuals who already hold a current license in another jurisdiction that is in good standing. Candidates must submit the State of Delaware and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background checks (CBC) and all applicable examination scores, such as the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). Other requirements for exam applicants include an official transcript sent from the school showing 30 – 60 graduate credits and an evaluation of coursework.

Careers for Psychology Graduates


Choosing to earn a psychology degree will open many career pathways in Delaware. While salaries and daily duties will vary, some of the most common professions available include:

  • Psychiatric Technician
  • Social Work Assistant
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Community Service Manager
  • Administrative Service Manager
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • School / Guidance Counselor
  • Career Advisor / Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Victim Advocate
  • Child Counselor / Psychologist
  • School / Education Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Substance Abuse / Addiction Counselor
  • Family and Marriage Therapist
  • Psychology Researcher
  • Psychology Professor – Postsecondary
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Private Practice Counselor
  • Community Health Worker
  • Residential Counselor
  • Clinical Therapist
  • College Counselor
  • Family Therapist
  • Group Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Substance Abuse / Addiction Counselor
    Substance abuse and addiction counselors work with patients who are struggling with or recovering from the abuse of one or more substances. They are often responsible for providing individuals and groups with counseling, as well as creating treatment plans, implementing therapeutic treatments, and evaluating patient progress. These professionals also maintain documentation and update patient histories as observations are made. According to PayScale, substance abuse and addiction counselors make an average base salary of $39,900 per year.
  • Residential Counselor
    Residential counselors work in live-in patient facilities where they provide counseling services to residents. They oversee treatment for a variety of patient types, from people with disabilities or addictions to the elderly or troubled youth. Depending on the facility, these professionals may assist with crucial situations or resolve conflicts within the residence by providing individual and group counseling. According to PayScale, residential counselors make an average base hourly rate of $14.46, or approximately $39,700 per year.
  • Mental Health Counselor
    Mental health counselors diagnose and treat patients suffering from mental health problems and illnesses. They often specialize in a particular area of care including eating disorders, addiction, and young adult development. These professionals utilize one-on-one and group counseling sessions to help their patients work through and/or resolve issues. According to PayScale, mental health counselors make an average base salary of $44,250 per year.
  • Grief Counselor
    Grief counselors, also known as bereavement counselors, assist people as they work through issues related to the deaths of loved ones. They are responsible for guiding patients through the various stages of grief, promoting healthy coping mechanisms as much as possible. According to PayScale, grief counselors make an average base salary of $46,850 per year.
  • School / Guidance Counselor
    School and guidance counselors work with students to help them achieve their personal, academic, social, and development goals. They may also assist new students in adjusting to a school, as well as providing guidance when they are preparing to enter college. These professionals also often consult with parents, intervene during challenging situations, refer support services, and help students overcome various obstacles. According to PayScale, school counselors make an average base salary of $51,350 per year.
  • Clinical Social Worker
    Clinical social workers provide therapy to individuals who require mental or emotional support. They are also responsible for performing a variety of related tasks such as coordinating patient care interactions, negotiating with their party groups, communicating with patients, and conducting psychosocial evaluations. These professionals may work in hospitals, mental health clinics, residential nursing facilities, home healthcare companies, or substance abuse treatment centers. According to PayScale, clinical social workers make an average base salary of $57,600 per year.
  • Psychiatrist
    Psychiatrists determine whether or not their patients have mental disorders by evaluating symptoms, behaviors, and past medical histories. They help identify issues that are currently present and provide guidance regarding recovery. These professionals also assist patients in managing, easing, or healing disorders with the use of treatments and/or medications. According to PayScale, psychiatrists make an average base salary of $215,600 per year.

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