Washington State: How to Earn a Psychology Doctorate Degree

Below is a guide that contains information about the colleges and universities in the state of Washington that offer courses to obtain a PsyD degree in psychology. It also includes information on how to obtain a license to practice psychology in the state once your education requirements are completed.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 15 schools located in the state of Washington that offer some form of an advanced degree program in the field of psychology.
  • The university with the highest net price in the state is the University of Puget Sound at $40,416. The lowest net price belongs to the University of Washington-Tacoma at $8,539.
  • The University of Puget Sound ranked on the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Psychology Majors for 2018.
  • The University of Washington psychology department is its largest department and has faculty that are known for being recognized as pioneers in the field of psychology.
  • Both Western Washington University and the University of Washington were ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2017

Top PsyD Degree Programs in Washington

Below is a list of universities and colleges in the state of Washington that offers programs where you can obtain a PsyD or Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology.

#1. The University of Washington (Seattle)

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Washington focuses on all the components of psychology that can prepare their students for their future careers including clinical psychology, cognition and development, and social perspectives. The program helps students to integrate their academic and scientific knowledge with professionalism. They will need to reach a number of goals in the program to graduate. Some program goals include helping students develop an understanding of clinical psychology and current issues, applying their knowledge when conducting research or working in the clinical field, writing grant proposals, and contributing to academic research. The program has achieved awards for its training offered to students and has been recognized by the APA for its innovative teachings and practices.

#2. Washington State University (Pullman)

Washington State University offers a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology that allows students to work closely with faculty to get the knowledge and experience they need to ensure success in their chosen field. The Clinical Psychology program is based on a scientist-practitioner model and is designed to bring both theory and research together in one place to give students the best training possible. Students will have the option to participate in both research and clinical studies prior to their enrollment in a year-long hands-on internship program. Most program graduates go onto to work as researchers, teachers, and practitioners in a clinical setting. The program at Washington State University is considered highly competitive, and students must have 18 credits of undergraduate studies in psychology and at least a 3.0 GPA. The program is accredited by the APA and has won a number of awards including the Suinn Minority Achievement award for choosing students from diverse backgrounds.

#3. Seattle Pacific Univerisity (Seattle)

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Seattle Pacific University uses faith-based education that is rooted in academics as well as a commitment to the community. The school puts a primary focus on research and effective practice. The curriculum is comprised of consulting, academia, and clinical training both on and off of campus. Students are often encouraged to assist faculty and staff with research to provide them with additional experience. The doctoral program is fully accredited by the APA and is a full-time program that takes approximately five years to complete. They base their curriculum on a “local clinical scientist” model which is an expansion of the traditional scientist-practitioner model.

How to Become a Practicing Clinical Psychologist in Washington

To obtain your license to practice in the state of Washington, the first step in the process is to acheive your educational goals. You will want to start with a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. This portion will most likely take you four years to complete the 120 credit hours needed to achieve the degree if attending full-time.

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you may consider achieving your master’s degree before applying for your doctorate program. It can slightly increase your chances of acceptance, and if not completed beforehand, it will be included in your doctorate program. Most programs take one to two years to complete.

You will also have to secure a PsyD or Ph.D. in psychology from an accredited college or university. Your doctorate program will typically take between four and seven years to complete depending on whether or, not you have secured your master’s before starting. Each program will have a different number of credit hours required.

Once you have successfully completed your degree program, there are a few more steps to complete to achieve your license.

  1. To get your license from the state, you will need to complete at least two years or 3,900 hours of supervised experience. These hours will need to include time working with patients as well as administrative tasks that are related to clinical work. You will have to complete at least 300 hours during your doctoral program and 1,500 from your pre-doctoral internship. The balance of the hours should come from additional practicum hours.
  2. After completing your hours, it is time to submit your application for review by the Board. For the state of Washington, you will need to complete both an online component and a Licensure by Examination Application Packet. These should be accompanied by a $206 application fee. Your application can also be submitted through the Psychology Licensure Universal System though it requires a $200 fee in addition to the application fee.
  3. The final step to qualify to receive your license is completing and passing the Washington psychology licensing exams. The first exam is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology which is a national multiple choice exam that costs $687.50 to take and requires a score of 500 or more to pass. After successful completion of the EPPP, you will need to take Washington’s jurisprudence exam, which is a 25 question test on the laws and regulations of practicing psychology in the state. You will complete the test online. It is open book and requires a score of 90% to pass.

Washington’s Clinical Psychologist Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a practicing clinical psychologist in the state of Washington is $86,830 placing it well above the national average listed by the Bureau of Labors Statistics of $77,000. While the salary outlook for psychologists in the state is good, so is its continued future. The number of jobs for qualified psychologists is expected to increase over 15% in the next ten years with counseling and school psychologist seeing almost a 20% jump.

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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.