Tennessee: How to Earn a Psychology Doctorate Degree

You can use the guide below to find out information on the universities and colleges in the state of Tennessee that offer a PsyD degree. You will find information about how to pursue your degree as well as information on how to achieve your license once your education is completed.

Quick Facts:

  • The University of Tenessee was ranked by Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Psychology Majors for 2018.
  • Vanderbilt University has the highest graduation rate in the state at 92%.
  • 16 schools in Tenessee offer some form of advanced degree in psychology.
  • Vanderbilt’s Clinical Psychology program is ranked 14th in the nation.
  • Tennesse University boasts the lowest net price in the state at $9.614.

Top PsyD Degree Programs in Tennessee

The list below includes universities in the state of Tennessee that offer PsyD or Clinical Psychology P.h.D programs.

#1. Vanderbilt University (Nashville)

The Clinical Psychology P.h.D. program at Vanderbilt University ranks 14th in the entire country, and its careful selection of students reflects in its 92% graduation rate. Only four to nine students will be admitted to the elite program each year out of about 400 students who apply. The college is a private research facility, and students will focus on research, coursework and clinical training during the program. Those wishing to specialize will be able to find courses that concentrate on their desired area as well. Concentration areas available for additional study include psychopathology, developmental disabilities, preventing, intervention, clinical neuroscience, and many others. While the tuition can seem high at $41,000, the college provides tremendous support which even includes a waiver of tuition fees for some students.

#2. University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

The University of Tennesse Psychology Program provides students with the opportunity to complete their doctorate work in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology. The school boasts many facilities to accommodate its large student body including a teaching and research hospital that provides service for eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, and parts of Kentucky. The Clinical Psychology Program utilizes a mix of research, teaching, psychotherapy, and psychological assessment. They utilize “The Tennessee Model of Graduate Education in Clinical Psychology” of combining hands-on experience and research. The program is selective with students and only admits between seven and nine students into its program each year. Many students will complete the program and acheive their degree in five or six years.

The Counseling Psychology program focuses on a scientist-practitioner-advocate model and uses a balance of research, education, and counseling practice. The School Psychology doctorate program utilizes the same techniques but applies it to an educational setting. All three of the doctorate programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association.

#3. University of Memphis (Memphis)

The Clinical Psychology program at the University of Memphis has been accredited since 1972 and focuses on a scientist-practitioner model that is heavily focused on research. Because of this, the school will often favor applicants whose strength and interest lies with research both in their future career and educational goals. The program has membership in the Academy of Psychological Clinical Service and focuses on primarily Clinical Health Psychology, Psychotherapy Research, and Child and Family Studies. The program is only open to student who have the ability to study full-time and students can benefits from research assistantships during the latter years of their program to offset the costs of their studies. Students will also have the ability to provide services for the community through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the federal prisons, and the VA center.

The University of Memphis also offers a four-year program for those seeking a P.h.D in Counseling Psychology which focuses on emotional and social learning. This program also utilizes the scientist-practitioner medical as well as research.

SEE ALSO: 5+ Online PsyD Programs

How to Become a Practicing Clinical Psychologist in Tennessee

The first step on your journey to becoming a licensed psychologist in the state of Tennessee is completing your education. You will first need to complete your bachelor’s degree which will often take four years going full-time to achieve the 120 credit hours. While majoring in psychology can help in your higher education, it is not a requirement at this level.

After achieving a bachelor’s degree, many students will choose to get a standalone master’s degree in psychology. This can help give you an advantage on your doctorate admissions but is not required as it can be part of your doctorate program. A standalone master’s degree will take 35 to 45 credit hours to achieve and often takes about one to two hours when attending full-time.

The final step in your educational journey to achieve your license to practice is completing your PsyD or P.h.D in psychology. Completion of this degree usually takes four to eight year’s when a student is attending full-time. To be able to qualify for a license in Tennessee you must receive your doctorate from a program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association or one that has been approved by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Programs will also need to include a 12-month internship in the final year.

Once you have completed your educational requirement, you will need to complete a few more steps before obtaining your license.

  1. After completing your doctorate program, you will need to submit your Psychologist Application to the Board for review. You will need to indicate that you are applying for an HSP designation. Before submitting your application, you will need to complete a criminal background check and submit it with your application. Other materials you will need to include are a Declaration of Citizenship Form, a Mandatory Practitioner Profile, and at least three letters of recommendation for directors and supervisors of your internship. You will need to send your official transcripts as well as a fee of $85.
  2. If you plan to complete your postdoctoral supervised professional experience in the state, you may or may not be required to obtain a provisional license from the board. Check with your supervisor, and if you need one, you should apply when you submit your official application. To obtain this license, you will have to include more forms with your Psychologist Application and pay an additional fee of $125.
  3. You will need to complete the required hours of supervised professional experience. In total, you will need 3,800 hours, though 1,900 should be completed during the internship portion of your doctorate program. The other 1,900 hours will need to be earned after the completion of your doctoral degree. Once completed you will need to notify the board.
  4. The final step to obtaining your license in Tennessee is taking and passing the required psychology licensing exams. This will include the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which is a multiple choice test that you will need to score 500 or higher. The test costs $687.50 in fees. After passing the EPPP exam, you will need to take the Tennessee ethics and jurisprudence exam. This exam is open book and requires a 90% or higher to pass.

Tennessee Clinical Psychologist Salary and Job Outlook

Starting salaries for a Clinical Psychologist in the state of Tennessee begin at $42,400 and run up to about $104,910 making the average $74,280. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Clinical Psychologists is $77,000, making Tennessee only slightly under the national average. The field is continuing to grow in the state, making a clinical psychology a career with a stable future.

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Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Editor-In-Chief

Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.