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Washington D.C. Psychology Doctorate

Treatment of mental health problems and behavioral disorders is growing in popularity across the U.S., including in Washington, D.C. As more people acknowledge the need for people to have access to mental health services, the demand for qualified professionals to fill those roles will rise.

This need is one of the biggest factors leading to the development of a doctoral degree, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), designed to provide hands-on training and academic coursework in the practice of psychology.

Washington requires those who wish to practice professionally as psychologists to first complete a doctoral program in psychology, which could include either a Psy.D. or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Let’s take a look at the applicable programs in the district as well as what must come next for interested individuals.

What’s On This Page

  • Washington D.C. PsyD Programs
  • Other Washington D.C. Psychology Doctorates
  • Washington D.C. Psychologist Requirements
  • Washington D.C. Doctorate Salary Outlook

List of PsyD Degree Programs in Washington D.C

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the primary accrediting organization in the study of psychology, and two APA-accredited Psy.D. degrees are available from institutions in the district, and several Ph.D. degrees in varying psychology specialties also can be earned here in Washington.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s D.C. campus has been home to an APA-accredited Psy.D. program since 2015. Today’s students can add a focus area in forensic psychology if they choose, and a total of 22 students have completed the program since its first year of operation. Nearly 70% of them have gone on to earn professional licensure.

  • Institution type: Private not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $46,252
  • Degrees offered: PsyD
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

George Washington University

GW’s well-regarded Psy.D. first earned APA accreditation in 2001, and today’s students benefit from a thoroughly hands-on approach that includes a nonprofit community health center staffed by students and faculty. Students choose one of three academic tracks beginning in their second year, adult, assessment or child/adolescent. For students who prefer a more academics-heavy doctoral program, GW is also home to several Ph.D. degrees in the field, including applied, clinical and industrial-organizational psychology. A total of 284 students have completed the Psy.D. program in the past 10 years, and 90% earned professional licensure.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $46,340
  • Degrees offered: PsyD in Clinical Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

Other Psychology Doctorates in Washington D.C.

American University

AU’s highly selective Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology admits only about five students every academic year, and the program’s mentorship-based model means each scholar receives intensive one-on-one interaction with faculty, in addition to a three-year practicum. A total of 57 graduates have earned their degrees in the past 10 academic years from this APA-accredited school, and they’ve been professionally licensed at an 86% rate.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $31,356; all students in recent years have received full tuition remission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

Catholic University of America

Catholic University’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a storied program that earned APA accreditation in 1948. Today’s students can opt to add an elective focus on children, families and cultures. The university also offers related Ph.D. degrees in human development and applied-experimental psychology. About 50 students have earned their degrees in the past decade, and all have either earned licensure or are awaiting final processing of their licenses.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $48,000; all students in most years receive full scholarships
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

Howard University

Howard University, considered by many to be the pre-eminent HBCU in the United States, has been home to an APA-accredited Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology since 1987 and an APA-accredited Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology since 2002. The clinical program was the first such HBCU program to earn accreditation from the APA. Students can choose from a few academic tracks, including child, adult and quantitative. Both the clinical and counseling programs are highly competitive, with each admitting about five students per year. A total of 32 students have completed the clinical program since 2009-10, and all have earned professional licensure.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $34,299; most students receive full or partial tuition remission
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology, PhD in Counseling Psychology
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

Gallaudet University

Home to an APA-accredited Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology since 1995, Gallaudet University is the nation’s leading educational institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It’s the only university in the world in which every program and service is designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Gallaudet’s clinical psychology program provides special training in working with deaf youth and adults, and the university also offers a specialist degree in school psychology. Just under 50 students have completed the program since 2009, and 76% have become professionally licensed.

  • Institution type: Private, not-for-profit
  • Annual tuition: $18,706
  • Degrees offered: PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Accreditation: APA
  • Visit school: Click here

How to Become a Psychologist in Washington D.C.

Earning a professional psychologist license in the district is a several-step process that starts with a solid educational foundation. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in being able to practice as a psychologist in Washington, D.C.

  1. Get your bachelor’s degree in psychology. While it’s not strictly necessary legally to have an undergraduate major in psychology, most doctoral programs prefer students who earned their bachelor’s in psychology. Other possible majors include closely related areas like social work or biology. Many doctoral programs require applicants to complete a master’s degree before they start the program, and this may be especially true for applicants without an undergraduate psychology degree.
  2. Earn a doctoral degree. The D.C. Department of Health requires all licensure applicants to have a doctoral degree in psychology, and the district accepts both Ph.D. degrees and Psy.D. degrees, but individuals who have degrees that aren’t obviously in psychology, such as those that don’t explicitly list the term in their names, may have to provide additional documentation of their education.
  3. Complete application. D.C. also requires applicants to document that they have completed 4,000 hours of supervised postdoctoral experience within a three-year span before applying for licensure. Applicants must then complete the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, and the D.C. Local Examination.
  4. Maintain valid licensure. D.C. psychologist licenses expire every other year, and professionals must submit for renewal before their licenses run out.

Washington D.C. Clinical Psychologist Salary and Job Outlook

Clinical, counseling and school psychologists in the U.S. earn an average of about $82,000 per year, but those in Washington can expect to make considerably more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for clinical psychologists in the district is nearly $107,000, the third-highest average in the U.S., behind only Oregon and California.

In addition to being well-paying, these jobs are expected to become much more plentiful in D.C. over the next several years. Clinical psychologists jobs are projected to grow by 12.2%, much faster than the average national rate for all jobs (5%).

PSYD, PHD, MASTERS PROGRAMS