How to Become a Psychologist in North Carolina

Psychology Education Guide for North Carolina

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What is Psychology?


Choosing to study psychology in North Carolina can be a great decision. There are many colleges and universities that offer excellent degree programs in the field and the state has a diverse landscape, making it an ideal place to live and study. Psychology students will have access to plenty of resources including libraries, research centers, and internship opportunities. In addition, they may be able to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and networking events.

If you're looking for a psychology program in North Carolina, you have plenty of choices. There are dozens of colleges and universities that offer degrees in psychology, and the programs vary in terms of length and focus. If you're not sure which program is right for you, it's a good idea to do some research to find out what each school offers. You could start with an associate degree and decide from there if psychology is right for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all psychology programs are created equal. Some schools may have more rigorous coursework than others, so it's important to find one that fits your needs and interests but also will provide you everything you need to gain licensure, certification, or whatever else you are hoping for. You should also consider the location of the school since you'll likely want to be close to campus if you're going to be attending classes full-time, unless, of course, you choose to attend online.


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Psychology Education in North Carolina


Most people think of psychology as the study of the human mind and behavior. But psychology can be a great option for a profession. A psychology professional will have completed their education and training in the field and may be licensed to provide psychological services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. Or they can work as a researcher or research assistant. Psychology is a continually learning and changing scientific field, so there are many universities and other institutions that perform ongoing studies in the field. Most students choose to follow one of two paths in psychology: counseling or research. However, both paths can also lead to teaching in some capacity, as long as you are willing to earn a master’s or doctoral degree.

Psychology professionals can find work in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, private practices, and government agencies. They use their knowledge of human behavior to help people deal with mental health issues, relationships problems, learning disabilities, and other challenges.

Online Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

As more people look for alternatives to continue their education while working, online associate degrees in psychology are growing in popularity. An online psychology associate degree can prepare students for careers in a range of sectors including human resources, research, marketing, counseling, and many more. Knowing how people think and the basis of human behavior can help you in nearly any industry or field, so you don’t necessarily have to work in research or counseling if you choose not to.

An associate degree usually requires that students complete around 60 credit hours in order to graduate. These credits include general education courses, which will help you get an early start on any future education, and core courses focused on human behavior, theories of personality, history of psychology, abnormal psychology, and more.

The curriculum is an excellent approach to prepare students for pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology, as noted. Not only will students complete many of their general education courses, which may let them begin their bachelor’s as a junior rather than a freshman, but they can also learn how to conduct research, compose a thesis, and more. This will help them if they choose to earn a bachelor’s and gain an even deeper understanding of psychology.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (BS)

Psychology is a fascinating discipline that explores how the human mind works. Understanding these processes can be important for gaining a deeper understanding of oneself and others. A psychology degree can equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the field of psychology in entry-level positions or pursue a master’s degree, which is required if you want to become a counselor in private practice or an educator.

While attending a traditional on-campus program used to be the only (or only respectable) way to earn a bachelor’s degree, much has changed in higher education in recent years. Now you’ll find that there are many options available to you, from a traditional path to 100% online education, and even hybrid programs that allow you to attend any classes that you must in person but give you flexibility to attend those you can online. This can help you by giving you the chance to work while you’re in school, allowing you to finish some classes more quickly, or giving you the chance to attend to family obligations. There are various reliable online programs available but students should analyze their specific needs prior to enrolling in one.

Online Master’s Degree in Psychology (MS or MA)

Possessing a master's in psychology can be incredibly advantageous for the future of any student looking to excel in either a counseling or research career. It can help you qualify for better jobs, earn more money, and prepare you to gain a doctorate if that’s what you’re looking for. However, prior to choosing a school, you should evaluate how well it aligns with your unique professional aspirations, as well as determining whether or not it has the necessary accreditation to provide you with the quality credentials you need to succeed. Online programs may require less time to finish than traditional on-campus programs, and you can often go at your own speed. This can help you to begin your PhD studies or enter the workforce sooner.

Master's degree programs in psychology typically include 36 credits of non-thesis courses and a comprehensive exam. By enrolling in elective classes, students can concentrate on a subject they are particularly interested in.

Online PhD in Psychology (PhD)

Earning a PhD in psychology takes a few years. Typically, you can expect to complete two years of coursework and need one year for qualifying procedures. Once you have completed the coursework and qualifying procedures, you will need to write your dissertation. Once you have completed the dissertation, you must defend it before a committee. Earning a PhD in psychology can also add to your bottom line if you work in counseling as adding to your expertise can only help your reputation. Your total cost depends on tuition and fees, travel requirements, and financial aid.

Throughout the curriculum, you will learn the foundational principles of psychology, but in a much more in-depth way than you did in your undergraduate program. The core curriculum might focus on neuroscientific research and multicultural understanding, though this will depend on your focus. Many schools offering a psychology PhD will have different tracks you can choose from. For instance, you might be able to choose between forensic psychology, integral and transpersonal psychology, and consciousness studies with contemplative neuroscience to name just some options. No matter what they choose, students will learn the scientific method in each course. Their student-led research will become the foundation of their dissertation.

Online Psychology Certifications

If you're interested in a career in psychology, you may be wondering what online courses are available. Whether you're looking to specialize in an area like child psychology or human development, online programs, and even full certifications or certificates, may offer the training you need to become an effective practitioner in your chosen specialty. You can start by becoming certified in psychology and pursuing a graduate degree.

If you're already working, an online graduate certificate program can be a convenient and flexible way to earn a higher-level degree while keeping your job, or a way to maintain licensure if you need continuing education credits. Because online courses don't require any on-campus components, you don't have to move or relocate or leave work early to attend. Online programs are often taught by instructors who deliver courses asynchronously, which means you can work on your studies while maintaining your current job. You'll find that there are many benefits to enrolling in an online psychology program.

Become a Psychologist in North Carolina


If you are interested in becoming a psychology professional in North Carolina, there are a few steps that you need to take in order to make that happen.

  • Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology

    In order to obtain a bachelor's degree in psychology, one must complete an accredited undergraduate program in psychology. Many colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in psychology. Undergraduate curriculum in psychology typically covers the major theoretical approaches to the discipline, research methods, statistics, and psychological assessment techniques. In addition, students are usually required to complete coursework in specific content areas such as abnormal psychology, human development, social psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.

  • Step 2: Pursue a graduate degree in psychology

    Pursuing a graduate degree in psychology can be an excellent way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to gain access to or boost your current career in the field. A graduate degree in psychology can prepare you for careers such as clinical psychologist, psychology researcher, or school counselor. In addition, a graduate degree in psychology can also provide you with the opportunity to pursue further study in a doctoral program.

  • Step 3: Completing an internship in psychology

    The benefits of completing an internship in psychology are vast. First and foremost, it provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. This not only enhances their learning experience but also prepares them for their future careers. Additionally, internships allow students to develop networking connections and potentially forge long-lasting relationships with professionals in the field. If you are unable to complete an internship during your bachelor’s program, you can always look for interesting experiences during your master’s, though many earning a master’s degree already have jobs. No matter what, you will need to gain experience in the field working under a licensed counselor if you wish to get into the counseling field.

  • Step 4: Pass the licensing exam

    In order to become a licensed psychologist in the United States, one must pass a licensing exam. The exam is designed to test the applicant's knowledge of psychology and its application. The exam is also meant to ensure that those who become licensed are qualified to practice without supervision or oversight. The licensing exam can be taken at any time, but most people take it after they have completed their graduate studies.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Psychology?


A bachelor's degree in psychology qualifies graduates for many different career paths. Psychology majors may be interested in working as a mental health counselor, psychometrist, human resources specialist, market research analyst, or social worker. Many other opportunities also exist for those with a degree in psychology as it can prepare you for work in nearly any field due to its focus on human behavior. Additionally, the skills learned during an undergraduate program, such as critical thinking and data analysis, can also be applied to a number of different occupations. For example, many psychology majors go on to work in advertising or web development because of their strong writing and communication skills.

Potential Careers for Psychology Graduates


  • Substance Abuse/Addictions Counselor:

    A substance abuse or addictions counselor is responsible for providing counseling and support to individuals with substance abuse and addiction problems. They will work with clients to help them overcome their addiction, develop coping and life skills, and make positive changes in their lives. The counselor will also provide support and guidance to family members and loved ones of clients.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or a related field
    • 2+ years of experience working with individuals with substance abuse and addiction problems
    • Knowledge of substance abuse treatment methods and approaches
    • Ability to build rapport with clients and provide support and guidance

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in North Carolina is $52,850
  • Family and Marriage Therapist :

    A family and marriage therapist is a professional who helps couples and families resolve conflicts and improve their relationships.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A master’s degree in counseling or a related field
    • Licensed by the state in which they practice
    • Several years of experience working with couples and families

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists in the US in 2021 was $49,880
    • The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists in North Carolina is $46,900
  • Psychology Researcher:

    A psychology researcher will be responsible for conducting psychological research in order to further the understanding of human behavior. They will design and carry out experiments, analyze data, and write reports on their findings. The researcher may also work with other psychologists in order to share ideas and collaborate on projects.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field
    • Strong research and writing skills
    • The ability to work independently

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychologists in the US in 2021 was $81,040 and survey researchers earned $59,740. Social science research assistants earned $49,720
    • The mean annual wage for psychologists, all other in North Carolina is $87,210 and survey researchers earn $57,050. Social science research assistants earn $53,360
  • Psychology Professor:

    A psychology professor is responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate students about psychological theories, research, and applications. They design and teach courses, conduct research, advise students, and serve on departmental committees.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • PhD in Psychology
    • Previous teaching experience at the college level

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2021 was $77,860
    • The mean annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in North Carolina is $80,960
  • Career Counselor:

    A career counselor is responsible for providing guidance and support to individuals who are seeking employment. They will work with individuals to assess their skills and interests, develop a plan for finding a job, and provide resources and support throughout the process.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in counseling, human resources, or a related field
    • Experience working in career counseling, human resources, or a related field

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for school and career counselors and advisors in the US in 2021 was $60,510
    • The mean annual wage for educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors in North Carolina is $52,870.
  • Community Health Worker:

    A community health worker will work to improve the health of individuals and communities by providing education, outreach, and support services. They will also work to promote healthy lifestyles, connect people to resources and services, and advocate for policies that support health and wellness.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • High school diploma or equivalent<
    • One year of experience working in a community health or social service setting
    • Certification as a Community Health Worker (CHW)

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for community health workers in the US in 2021 was $46,590 and social and community service managers earned $74,000
    • The mean annual wage for community health workers in North Carolina is $45,790 and social and community service managers earn $69,480
  • Residential Counselor:

    A residential counselor is responsible for providing direct care and supervision to residents in a group home setting. Duties include but are not limited to, monitoring residents' activities, providing support and guidance, administering medication, and maintaining a clean and safe environment.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • High School Diploma or equivalent
    • Valid driver's license
    • CPR and First Aid certification

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for rehabilitation counselors in the US in 2021 was $38,560. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for rehabilitation counselors in North Carolina is $40,850. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earn $52,850
  • Clinical Therapist:

    A clinical therapist provides counseling and therapy to individuals, families, and groups in order to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or related field
    • Licensed as a Clinical Therapist
    • 2+ years of experience as a Clinical Therapist

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $48,520 and clinical and counseling psychologist earned $82,510
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in North Carolina is $52,850 and clinical and counseling psychologist earn $94,480

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