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Best Psychology Schools in Florida in 2021

April 9, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Florida, the Sunny State, has 171 universities and a host of colleges offering top-quality education to learners within the state. Out of these schools, 47 offer psychology degree programs where undergraduate and graduate learners can pursue further education in disciplines such as Forensic Psychology, General Psychology, School Psychology, Clinical Psychology, among many other options. 

There is no doubt that learners have many wonderful choices from which to pick. However, that does not make the decision-making process any easier. As such, this guide should help any future Forensic Psychologist, School Psychologist, or anyone looking to earn a bachelor’s degree in any of the many available psychology programs make the right choice for them. 

Best Florida Psychology Colleges and Programs

There are currently more than 3,950 professionals practicing clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and forensic psychology, among many other disciplines in the state of Florida. This makes it one of the best employers for experts in these fields. 

While some psychologists are from out of state and learned their tradecraft in different parts of the country, the simple fact remains that learners are best placed to get internships and jobs in Florida when they take up psychology degree programs in the state. 

Universities and colleges with the state of Florida are very capable of offering students a solid academic foundation in a host of psychological disciplines such as Sport Psychology, Organizational Psychology, etc. 

If you are interested in studying general psychology or want to attain a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in any other psychology discipline, there are many degree programs available. You can either attend a traditional university or an online college, depending on your specific personal lifestyle. 

The following list gives you a small glimpse into the vast possibilities that exist in the Sunny State as far as psychology programs go:

University of Florida 

The University of Florida or UF is a natural choice for most people looking to advance their education in the state of Florida, with good reason.  Founded in 1853, UF is one of the oldest and most prestigious educational institutions in the state. The university offers a host of degree programs in psychology, including School Psychology, Health Psychology, and General Psychology. 

It is by far one of the most popular institutions in the state for psychology students. During the 2018-2019 year, the university conferred 473 bachelor’s degrees to students who majored in General Psychology. The school also offers master’s degree programs in psychology as well as doctoral degrees. The best news is that the institution offers both online and on-campus learning opportunities for psychology students who prefer to have the option. 

Florida A&M University

Learners attending Florida A&M University have the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology from the facility. If you are interested in the BA Psychology program, you will have to take about 12 credits of French or Spanish. However, students who are interested in the BS Psychology program have the opportunity to specialize in any one of the following areas:

  • Education and School Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Community and Social Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Research Psychology

You will need to complete at least 31 psychology credits if you are to earn your degree. 

Florida State University

By far one of the best universities in the state, Florida State University offers learners the opportunity to pursue advanced studies in a wide variety of psychology majors, including General Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and so on. When attending university programs, students are encouraged to participate in as many departmental activities as possible. 

This allows them to network better and get a clearer picture of what they might want their professional careers to be. For example, the Psi Chi society in Florida State University (the national honor society available to psychology majors) has a host of events such as the annual undergraduate research day. 

This is where psychology majors are invited and encouraged to present their research findings to those in attendance. Students also have the opportunity to join summer programs that take them to historical cities such as London. 

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is not only one of the best universities in the state, but it is also one of the most unique in terms of program delivery. It offers an online Bachelor of Science degree program in Psychology that goes a long way in preparing learners to have a fruitful career in a host of psychological fields such as Clinical Psychology, Human Factors Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and Neuroscience.

The online bachelor program at the school is well structured and focuses on allowing students to learn how to use real-world scenarios to inform the learning process. As a testament to how successful this program is, back in 2017, it had the largest post-secondary student enrollment in the Western hemisphere. 

Beacon College

A few factors matter most when learners are trying to find the perfect college to further their studies. Some of those factors include employment or graduate school placement rates, on-time graduation rates, and how much practical experience the school will give the learners to make up those credits and increase their market value. 

Beacon College scores highly in all three of these categories. This is an accredited college that offers online bachelor programs in psychology and has an excellent track record when it comes to delivering quality education. 

The school has a 70% on-time graduation rate, 83.5% graduate school or employment placement rate, and 100% practical experience opportunities for students. The only downside is that the school only offers two psychology programs: An Associates in General Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in General Psychology. 

What Do the Best Psychology Programs in Florida Have in Common?

As is the case with almost everything, the best programs or products in this world will have a few things in common. Apart from the fact that they all offer the best possible quality of education, Florida’s best psychology programs have a few other things in common. These include:

Accreditation

All the best programs are accredited and approved by the Florida Department of Education. This should be the first thing any learner looks for when thinking of picking any of Florida’s many available schooling options. Accredited colleges and universities are not only held to a much higher academic standard, meaning that you are guaranteed quality education, but they also offer other benefits too. 

One of the most notable benefits is that you can transfer your credits from one accredited school to another. In short, if you attend an accredited online psychology program and decide that you would like your credits transferred to an on-campus university of your choice, you can do so depending on the schools in question. However, this would not be possible if the college you attended was not accredited. 

Common Courses

While every university and college psychology degree course will differ from institution to institution, there are some common courses that they all simply must-have. Here are some of the common courses that learners will come across regardless of which facility they register with:

  • Developmental Psychology: Here, learners tackle the most recent theories trying to explain and understand human psychological and biological development processes and how they affect the intellectual and social development of society in general. 
  • Abnormal Psychology: This is one of the most fundamental courses in every undergraduate psychology program. This course seeks to look into what makes up abnormal behavior in humans by examining the practical manifestations of disorders. These disorders could include criminal behavior, which calls for criminal justice studies, psychopathology, and dissociative identity disorders. The course also explores some of the available clinical treatment options. 
  • Perception and Behavior: This course looks at how humans perceive their immediate surroundings and how their sensory systems work in concert with their brains to create perception and influence behavior. 
  • Psychology of Personality: Here, learners can study a host of personality disorders and seek to understand them using different methods such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria. 
  • Forensic Psychology: Thanks to a litany of TV crime series, this particular course has seen an upsurge of interest. Through this course, learners explore different avenues of applying psychology to law, criminal justice, and the legal system in general. You would tackle subjects such as clinical assessment of competency, interviewing witnesses, rendering expert testimony, and so on. 

Delivery Method

Depending on which program you choose, online or on-campus, the delivery method will involve frequent interactions with the faculty, lots of reading materials, and at least one fieldwork course that gives you real-life supervised experience. 

For the most part, many of these programs are affordable, reasonably easy to get into, and all but guarantee an excellent chance at having a wonderful career in the field of psychology. 

Why Attend Psychology Colleges and Programs in Florida?

When looking at reasons why you should attend psychology colleges and programs in a specific state such as Florida, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Some of these questions include:

What Do Psychology Colleges and Programs in Florida Have that Other State Programs May Not?

While every state has its own special brand of incentive for learners to join their university and college programs, not very many have what Florida state universities and colleges have to offer. 

The one thing that stands out about these programs is that they go above and beyond to prepare the learners for licensure within the state. The psychology degree programs you take in any of the accredited universities and colleges in Florida meet the state’s educational requirements for legal licensure in the field of psychology. 

Not only that but thanks to the fact that the state has a robust psychology industry, psychology students can quickly begin building valuable networks within the community to put themselves in a better position for employment later on. 

They can do this by attending many of the annual professional seminars or events, going on internships for their fieldwork requirements, volunteering their services at any of the many clinical psychology facilities or psychology schools, and becoming members of an associated professional association. 

Furthermore, Florida has positioned itself as one of the most affordable states as far as higher education is concerned; that is why it ranked first in the US News & World Report for best state rankings as far as higher education is concerned. With an annual state average of just over $6,000 in terms of in-state tuition costs, Florida psychology programs are by far some of the most affordable in the nation. 

Because the average national in-state tuition costs stand at just over $10,000, attending a Florida psychology school presents an interesting financial preposition. Couple that with the fact that the average student debt after graduating with a psychology degree from any Florida educational institution stands at $24,041, which is a good $4,000 below the national graduate’s average student debt stands at $28,950. You begin to see why this state stands out.  

What Are Some of the Pros and Cons of Attending Psychology Colleges and Programs in Florida?

Many advantages come with attending psychology schools in Florida. Some of the most notable reasons why you should consider doing so include:

Pros:

  • Excellent facilities: The state of Florida has some of the best schools in the country, offering robust psychology programs that are comprehensive and very affordable.
  • Flexibility: While many traditional colleges and universities require you to attend on-campus classes, the state also has a host of institutions that offer online psychology degree programs. These allow students who may not be residents of the state or who have busy lifestyles to attend classes at their own convenience while still getting the same level of quality education as their on-campus counterparts. 
  • Affordability: Florida state is the second most affordable state as far as higher education costs are concerned. This cost goes lower when you take up an online psychology course as opposed to an on-campus option. However, even on-campus options costs can be cushioned by getting any of the many grants and financial aid packages available to students attending schools in the state. 
  • Networking opportunity: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Florida has a 3.2% unemployment rate and an impressive job growth rate of about 22%. The state also has a robust community of psychology professionals, schools, sporting franchises, and the general population that requires qualified psychologists’ care and services. Students have the opportunity to network with these professionals. They have a much higher chance of finding employment after graduation, thanks to the variety of networking opportunities during their coursework. 

Cons:

  • Financial Aid: While it is true that there are many financial aid options for all manner of students attending higher learning institutions in the state of Florida, some are not accessible to students who are not legal residents of the state. Funds such as Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program only cater to residents of the state. For the most part, students will find it challenging to qualify for many other lucrative options unless they are Florida’s legal residents. 
  • Localized Networking: To be fair, this problem is not unique to the state of Florida. Students attending full-time programs in the state have wonderful networking opportunities stemming from the vibrant psychological community at their disposal. This puts students who are not attending on-campus classes, online programs at a slight disadvantage. However, this disadvantage is slightly balanced because most online institutions have reliable connections to help their students find fieldwork and internship placements in their locations outside of Florida. 

Colleges and universities in Florida offer high-quality, affordable education to learners and wonderful networking opportunities. Furthermore, the weather in Florida is always hospitable, and the culture is quite vibrant. 

What to Expect in a Florida Psychology College Program

Universities and colleges in Florida offer a wide range of psychology programs, from bachelor’s degrees to master’s degrees and even doctorate degrees, depending on the learner’s education level. Many community colleges offer 2-year associate degrees in general psychology. 

Many of these colleges are accredited and therefore understand universities and other colleges offering bachelor’s degrees. This agreement allows students taking associate degree in psychology to transfer their credits and complete the advanced coursework necessary for a bachelor’s psychology degree. 

Once they take up these advanced classes, most psychology students go much deeper into their chosen graduate school specialty. These Master’s programs take anywhere from 2 to 3 years, depending on the student’s availability, schedule, and coursework speed. 

Doctorate programs offer learners a chance to complete their fieldwork and independent research in any one of the many available disciplines such as Forensic Psychology, Clinical Psychology, among others. At this stage, every psychology student is advised to ensure that their coursework is in proper alignment with their desired focus area. 

What Are the State Academic Requirements for Psychology College Programs in Florida?

To get admitted to psychology college programs, there are some requirements imposed on students both by the state and the respective colleges in question. Of course, most of these requirements will depend on your level of education and the program you choose, but typically, they tend to need the following:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree: Depending on your intended course, you will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree and attained at least a 3.0 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. The institution can either be American or a comparable international institution. 
  • A Graduate Degree: If you are going to go the graduate degree route, you will need to have earned it from a regionally accredited institution and attained at least a 3.5 GPA. The institution can either be American or a comparable international institution. 
  • GRE Test Scores: You will need to present results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). An important point of note is that the ETS (Educational Testing Service) does not retain these scores for longer than five years. This means that you might have to retake the test if your scores are older than that period. 

You will also need to provide three letters of recommendation (depending on the institution), a personal statement, and a CV, as well as your transcripts. 

What Does the Average College Program Look Like When Placed in Florida?

It’s only natural that the course catalogs will vary from psychology school to psychology school. However, every school strives to provide learners with the richest possible elective options. 

These courses are designed to help the learners evaluate the many different specializations with the psychology discipline. Learners at the graduate level can use these elective courses to carry out their research and perform their fieldwork and get into their preferred specialization. 

With that in mind, here is an overview of what the average college psychology program might look like: 

Human Development

This is a fundamental course in psychology that studies how human behavior evolves through the different stages of a person’s life, from infancy to adulthood. The course blends various psychological subfields, including social psychology, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology, to better understand human development. 

As a learner, you can expect to frequently review historical data on issues such as social and family influences, language development, learning, identity development, and so on. 

Culture and Psychology

Cultural norms are some of the factors that psychologists use to evaluate human behavior. They try to study any behavior that falls outside of those norm parameters and understand why it might occur. This is a fundamental course that seeks to understand the role that culture and societal pressure play in human behavior and development. 

Learners in more advanced courses such as master’s and doctorate degrees must attain supervised fieldwork credits in real-life situations depending on their specialty. These psychology students also need to present original research work before graduation. 

Online Psychology Degree Programs in Florida

With most of the world going digital and billions of people being connected to the internet, traditional institutions have quickly started adjusting to the need for online learning platforms. 

You will be hard-pressed to find a school that does not have at least a few of their psychology courses as an online option. With that in mind, here are a few things you need to know about online psychology degree programs in Florida:

What Courses Are Part of an Online Psychology Degree Program in Florida?

There are a host of courses that make up a part of online degree programs in Florida. As a learner, you can expect to take on any one of the following options when you sign up for an online psychology degree program in the state:

  • Counseling Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

These courses are often offered in any one of two ways depending on the college or university of choice:

  • Entirely online: The learners never have to take any on-campus classes, and their learning is entirely facilitated remotely; even their fieldwork requirements are organized to take place at their convenient locations. 
  • Hybrid: This is where the learners take most of their classes online but have to carry out some on-campus tutoring or courses. For the most part, these learners often get supervised fieldwork from school faculty and have as much access to the school’s resources as full-time on-campus students. 

Online schools in Florida and the rest of the country have a few things in common – they have set up proper structures to offer seamless schooling to learners. These structures often include:

  • Comprehensive coursework created by qualified instructors
  • A robust online Course Management System (CMS) run by the school
  • Accelerated or convenient module delivery
  • Field experience facilitation 

The beauty of online learning is that it presents the learner with the same quality of learning material (taken from traditional textbooks and integrated into a digital platform) as typical on-campus learning. The biggest difference is that online learning is much cheaper and more convenient. 

Why Choose an Online Psychology Degree in Florida?

There are several good reasons why choosing an online psychology program in Florida could be a good idea:

  • It is affordable – online classes tend to be much cheaper than their on-campus alternatives.
  • Remote learning – you can conveniently receive a high-quality education from your current location instead of moving to Florida.
  • Flexible – this kind of learning is perfectly ideal for people who have a hectic and busy lifestyle. 
  • Module delivery – Online courses are often delivered in 4 – 7 week modules, making them much shorter than their on-campus alternatives.
  • Access to learning material – depending on the college or university you choose; you will always have access to learning material whenever you need it. 

There’s more to Florida than just excellent weather. The state also offers some of the best learning opportunities for psychology students. This guide should help you start your exciting journey towards finding an excellent psychology school in Florida.

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