Virginia: How to Earn a Psychology Doctorate Degree

Virginia is the leading the country in terms of employing high-level clinical psychologists. Today, our guide will walk you through all of the steps required in order to become a licensed and practicing psychologist. We will highlight three of the best programs in the state for acquiring your PsyD degree. Let us begin.

Quick Facts:

  • George Mason is considered one of the top ‘up-and-coming’ universities in the nation.
  • Radford University has a student body of under 10,000 total students, making it an appealing mid-sized school.
  • Virginia residents can attend the University of Virginia for just $15,192 per year.
  • Radford sports nearly a 60% graduation rate for first-time, full-time students.
  • Attending George Mason University costs $10,952 per year in tuition.

Top PsyD Programs In Virginia

The following list of schools have programs available for a PsyD in Psychology:

#1 George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

George Mason University is consistently lauded as one of the top, up-and-coming schools in the nation. Located just outside of Washington D.C., George Mason offers more than 80 graduate programs ranging from bachelors to doctorate. Students pursuing their PsyD from George Mason will work alongside esteemed faculty members as they explore the social and psychological perspective that has formulated much of our modern theories in psychology. Students will have to acquire around 76 credits in related coursework as well as 12 dissertation research credit hours in order to acquire their degree.

#2 Radford University (Radford, VA)

Radford is a medium-sized public university that has always focused on a healthy connection between students and faculty members. This modern school leans on technological advancements in order to make their campus as functional as possible. Originally founded in 1910, there are fewer than 10,000 students on campus to take advantage of the 150 undergrad/graduate programs. The PsyD program at Radford has a focus on rural mental health, diversity and social injustice. Students will learn the ins and outs of practicing psychology at a local level with people of every design. Radford is backed up by accreditation by the APA. Students will end up with more than 2,000 internship hours by the end of their Master’s degree.

#3 University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

Founded by Thomas Jefferson himself in 1819, the University of Virginia has a rich and textured history. The University of Virginia is a private institution that accepts students who showcase exemplary promise. The University of Virginia is routinely ranked in the top two or three of universities in the country. Students attending the PsyD program will receive extensive education in both clinical and social psychology. Students will research, treat, and educate one another.

How To Become A Practicing Psychologist In Virginia

Acquiring your license to practice psychology at a professional level in the state of Virginia requires years of school and cooperation with the Virginia Psychology Board. You’ll have to accomplish several different tasks en route to acquiring your license and these tasks and tests will take place over a seven-year period, at least.

SEE ALSO: 5+ Online PsyD Programs Accredited

Individuals hopeful to acquire their license for practice in Virginia must first start by achieving their bachelor’s and master’s degree from a certified facility. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree will take up to four years of full-time study that will entail nearly 120 total credit hours. Moving on from a bachelor’s degree, students will proceed to acquire their Masters of Science or Masters of Arts degrees. Your Master’s degree will take an additional two years and up to 54 total credits depending on the institution. In order to get into an MA program, you’ll have to submit your GMAT and GRE scores.

After your Master’s is complete, you’ll move on toward your doctoral work. You’ll want to graduate with a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology. There are differences between the two degrees, so refer to the APA website for their distinctions. During your doctoral program, you’ll have to complete at least three years of study while providing evidence of an internship. Some studies will require you to engage in a hands-on practicum as well.

Once you’ve completed your primary education, you are ready to pursue certification:

  1. Getting licensed to practice in Virginia requires at least 1,500 total hours of supervised, professional experience (SPE). This experience must be garnered after your post-doctoral experience and under the appropriate supervision of a licensed practitioner of psychology. These hours must be accrued in a three year period at most, but also no shorter than 12 months.
  2. After you’ve completed your SPE, you will submit a written evaluation from your supervisor to the Board.
  3. The Virginia Psychology Board may also require face-to-face client interactions, as noted in the application that you will be filling out.
  4. Once you’ve submitted your Registration of Residency form, you’ll be able to move on to your examinations. The exams mandated by the Virginia Psychology Board include:
    1. Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (500 score to pass)
  5. After you have successfully passed the EPPP within a two-year period, you will be ready to submit your Licensure by Examination form to the Board, along with the $200 filing fee. Along with this document, you must submit several additional forms which will include:
    1. Internship Verification, Post-Degree Supervision Verification, Verification Of Pre-Doctoral Supervised Practicum Hours
    2. Self Query Report, Official Transcript w/ Graduate Degree, EPPP Clinical Scores
    3. Areas of Graduate Form, NPDB Form
  6. After all of your forms have been received and verified, the Board will move forward with your licensure.

Virginia Clinical Psychologist Salary and Job Outlook

The state of Virginia is looking to lead the charge into the future regarding the field of clinical psychology. According to research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia has projected a stunning 18.3% employment growth trend over the next ten years for clinical psychologists.  Additionally, clinical psychologists in the state of Virginia are considered the top earners in the state with a mean annual wage of $87,000. The top earners in the field are making more than $150,000 annually as practicing clinical psychologists.