Exploring the Best PsyD Programs in Georgia: Traditional & Online

Earning your doctorate from one of Georgia’s standout PsyD programs equips you for a challenging and fulfilling career as a psychologist. Learn about top-ranked programs, where to find financial aid, how the GA licensing process works, and more.

Last Updated: 09/09/2021

Earning a doctor of psychology (PsyD) prepares you for a career as a clinical psychologist, working in education, research, healthcare, or private practice. In Georgia, just two schools offer PsyD programs currently, and they each take a different approach: One emphasizes clinical psychology focused on the southeastern region of the U.S. and the other provides more general psychology training.

To help you explore your options, this guide highlights Georgia’s two PsyD programs plus, for comparison, one of Georgia’s best PhD in clinical psychology programs. It also details the psychologist licensing process in Georgia, provides financial aid options, and explores the booming demand and income potential for licensed clinical psychologists in Georgia.

Best APA-Accredited PsyD and PhD Programs in Georgia for 2021

Georgia currently has only two PsyD programs, so in addition to those we’ve highlighted one of Georgia’s top PhD programs to provide a broad picture of the options for anyone interested in a doctorate in psychology. These best PsyD and PhD psychology programs all have the curriculum, American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation, and student support you need to become a licensed clinical psychologist and prepare you for a career in private practice, research, or teaching. Want more? Check back for our full rankings of PsyD programs coming later in the year.

1

Georgia Southern University

The PsyD program at Georgia Southern University prepares students for clinical psychology work focused on rural settings, especially those in the southeastern area of the U.S. The program takes four years and includes both academic and experiential skill-building courses, a psychological assessment sequence, a practicum, rural practice, and professional development.

This PsyD program in Georgia is highly competitive, with only eight students enrolled per year, and selection criteria focus on admitting those dedicated to serving rural and underserved populations. In-state tuition for the first year of this full-time cohort program is $9,129. Additional costs include institution fees ($2,504) and costs for books, travel, etc.

Delivery

  • On-Campus
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time

2

Mercer University

The five-year PsyD program at Mercer University prepares students to become licensed, practicing clinical psychologists in interdisciplinary healthcare settings. Its broad training in psychology provides an understanding of how competent psychological practice includes diversity, high ethical standards, and professional attitudes and values. Mercer’s PsyD program prepares you to be part of an integrated healthcare team through interprofessional education and experiences in conjunction with Mercer’s other healthcare programs. Three years of practicum experience in the metro-Atlanta area further emphasize this preparation.

This PsyD program in Georgia also offers a combined PsyD/MPH program that prepares graduates to provide evidence-based mental health care in cost-effective ways. Through this program, students complete both degrees in five years.

Applicants for these doctoral programs must apply through PSYCAS. The process includes verifying that they meet certain undergraduate degree and course requirements, submitting GRE scores, writing a personal statement, providing a curriculum vitae or resume, and attending an admissions interview. The PsyD program costs $1,037.25 per credit hour plus a technology and facilities fee of $150 per semester.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Year-Round

Specialization/Concentration Tracks:

  • PsyD Program
  • PsyD/Master of Public Health (MPH) Program

Though programs at Mercer do not have specialization or concentration tracks, students do have opportunities for advanced specialized experience during clinical training in areas such as neuropsychology, pediatric psychology, and forensic psychology.

3

University of Georgia

The clinical doctoral PhD program at the University of Georgia trains students as clinical scientists by emphasizing empiricism, developing theoretical and research competency, identifying psychology as an integrated and basic applied science, and developing cultural competency. The program ensures graduates can function within academic (i.e., research-oriented) and applied (e.g., medical centers) settings.

This program requires strong research skills and develops outstanding clinical skills. A commitment to making significant contributions to the field of psychology is also essential, and students’ career goals and research interests strongly impact admissions.

First-year cost for full-time students is $8,878 for in-state tuition. Additional costs are a $2,266 institution fee and approximately $1,720 in additional fees (e.g., books, travel, etc.). The University of Georgia offers teaching, research, and clinical assistantships to its PhD students, which often result in full tuition waivers.

Especially notable at the University of Georgia are its research-related and clinical training resources. Many multidisciplinary research institutes and centers near campus offer resources that include seminars, research opportunities, grants, and training. Additional campus resources include a diversity committee, a teaching and learning center, and professional development resources.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

How Important APA Accreditation Is for PsyD Programs in Georgia

Graduating from an APA-accredited program identifies you as having a sound educational and scientific foundation for a successful career in psychology and is an important credential for potential employers, licensing boards, and the public. Both PsyD programs in Georgia have APA accreditation. Obtaining a PhD in psychology is another potential avenue for becoming a licensed clinical psychologist in Georgia; those programs must be APA certified as well. In addition, you may need internship and practicum hours in psychology fieldwork for licensure.

What to Know About Online PsyD Programs in Georgia

Currently online PsyD programs in Georgia are nonexistent. Since PsyD programs require extensive hands-on learning within cohorts, internships, and supervised work experiences, the curriculum doesn’t lend itself to online learning. Some PhD in psychology programs, like the one at Emory University, offer some online coursework, but they are still billed as on-campus programs. There are several online PsyD programs outside of Georgia, and you can find top programs highlighted in our main guide to online psychology programs. However, these PsyD programs may not meet Georgia’s criteria for licensure as a clinical psychologist. If you plan to obtain a license for clinical psychology in Georgia, check with Georgia’s Board of Psychology before committing to any online PsyD program in Georgia or elsewhere.

FAQs About PsyD Programs in Georgia

Do I need a master’s degree to get into a PsyD program in Georgia?

Neither Mercer University nor Georgia Southern University requires you to have a master’s degree for admittance into their PsyD programs, though an undergraduate degree in psychology is preferred at Mercer. Applicants must, however, meet minimum GPA requirements and have taken certain psychology undergraduate courses. Additionally, applicants without a psychology bachelor’s or master’s degree need to submit GRE subject tests for psychology to be considered for admittance at either Mercer or Georgia Southern.

Do PsyD programs in Georgia require the GRE?

GRE general test scores are required by both PsyD programs in Georgia. Mercer University looks for students with a combined score of 299 and recommends completion of the GRE psychology subject area test, especially for non-psychology majors. Georgia Southern University does not specify a minimum score for the GRE but does require the GRE subject test for psychology for those without a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. Note that both schools have waived the GRE requirement for Fall 2021 due to testing constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long do PsyD programs in Georgia take to finish?

Georgia Southern University’s PsyD program takes full-time students four years to complete, while Mercer University’s takes five years. In addition to didactic coursework, both require extensive practicum experiences and internships. While being a part-time PsyD student is possible for coursework, it may not be possible for hands-on portions including practicums and internships. For example, Georgia Southern requires students to switch to full-time enrollment for a year to meet the residency requirements and gives an eight-year limit to finish the program.

How much do PsyD programs in Georgia cost?

Not only do the two PsyD programs in Georgia diverge in their program emphasis, but they also take different approaches with tuition costs. Georgia Southern provides a lump sum tuition rate, while Mercer uses a per-credit rate. Additionally, Mercer does not list a separate rate for out-of-state students, though the face-to-face nature of its program indicates a need to live near campus. Georgia Southern’s program may come in at a lower price than Mercer’s, but it is also more specialized and accepts fewer students per cohort.

Georgia Southern University

PsyD Program

Total Credits: 114

$4,375/12+ credits in-state tuition per semester

$14,316/12+ credits out-of-state tuition per semester

Mercer University

PsyD Program

Total Credits: 100

$1,037.25/credit

Financial Aid and Scholarships for PsyD Students in Georgia

Mercer University’s financial aid options include university, federal, state, and outside scholarships and grants as well as loans, student employment, and fellowships. Georgia Southern University provides similar financial aid and scholarship information. Other financial aid options for PsyD students include funding through organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. For those interested in the PhD program at the University of Georgia, check into the possibility of full tuition waivers through assistantships.

Another resource, GAfutures, provided by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, offers a vast amount of information on Federal Aid & Scholarships along with HOPE & State Aid Programs specifically for Georgians. Find additional resources for funding your psychology education through the STEPS financial aid guide and scholarships guide.

How to Become a Psychologist in Georgia

Before beginning your psychology program, make sure you know the specific licensing requirements in Georgia. Becoming a psychologist is fairly similar from state to state, but each has its own specific requirements. Be sure to review those outlined by Georgia’s Board of Psychology. The following step-by-step list familiarizes you with the requirements for becoming a psychologist in Georgia.

Note that, though practicing clinical psychologists in Georgia must be licensed, there are exceptions for those with PsyD or PhD degrees who do not wish to operate in clinical practice. Those exceptions are outlined in the 2010 Georgia Code.

Additionally, Georgia does grant licensure by endorsement in specific situations, including giving a licensed psychologist from another state permission to practice in Georgia. The licensure by endorsement process is similar to that for licensure by examination and is detailed in the General Instructions for licensure provided by the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. These instructions also give information on Licenses of Limited Duration.

Step 1

Complete the required education, internship, and work experience

Becoming a licensed clinical psychologist in Georgia requires a PsyD or PhD from an APA-accredited program. Programs must include three or more years of graduate education, including a predoctoral internship and 1,500 hours of supervised work experience (SWE) completed over 11-24 months. Note that slightly different qualifications may apply to degrees earned outside the U.S. or in certain specialty areas. Get details regarding the necessary education and training requirements to become a psychologist in Georgia at the state’s Rules of State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Step 2

Complete the application for licensure process

When you have completed your SWE or have less than a year before you finish, you can complete the application initiation for licensure. During this process, candidates indicate specialty areas, treatment and assessment competencies, and populations served. In addition to an application initiation form, applicants must also submit a $100 fee, official transcripts, references, and a notarized statement affirming the authenticity of application material and confirming the applicant is a legal citizen and over 18.

After you complete this step, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) will provide information on completing a PLUS application online. This application fee is $200. After it is approved by the ASPPB, you’ll receive notification that you can take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

Step 3

Pass the EPPP and Jurisprudence and Oral Exams

The first exam, the EPPP, requires $600 for registration. You’ll also pay $87.50 to Pearson VUE to reserve a testing date, time, and location. After you pass the EPPP, you can then take the Georgia Psychology Jurisprudence Examination. This exam, prepared by the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists, costs $85 and covers current law, rules and regulations, and general provisions.

The final part of the process is the Oral Examination, which you take after passing the EPPP and Jurisprudence exams. This exam provides an opportunity for the board to learn about an applicant’s expected type of practice and to examine their preparation and readiness to operate as a psychologist within that anticipated practice. You must submit a case study to the board at least seven days before your oral examination, and the exam must be scheduled within two months of satisfactory completion of your SWE.

After passing the EPPP, Jurisprudence Exam, and Oral Exam and completing your SWE, the State of Georgia will grant you a license to practice psychology. You can search for a professional license to verify your licensure through the secretary of state.

See the Licensure by Examination information provided by the State of Georgia for additional details regarding the process for licensure as a clinical psychologist in Georgia.

Step 4

Keep your license current

License renewal in Georgia costs $250 and occurs every two years. Specifically, your license is current from January 1st of odd-numbered years through December 31st of even-numbered years. You must complete at least 40 continuing professional education credits (CEs) during those two years for your license to be renewed. CEs can be obtained by taking academic courses, teaching, and publishing. At least six of your CEs must be in professional ethics at a workshop you personally attend. Review Georgia’s Continuing Education Requirements and license renewal information for details.

Job Outlook and Earnings Potential for PsyD Psychologists in Georgia

While the median pay for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Georgia is below the median average nationally, Georgia’s demand for clinical psychologists is much higher—and that may lead to higher salaries. The average job growth rate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Georgia is 32.4%, more than double that of the national rate of 14.7%. This equates to an average of 320 annual openings through 2028.

Even though the median income is lower than national averages, it’s still substantial. For example, the annual median income for clinical psychologists in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area is $76,810, and those in the Augusta-Richmond County area make $74,680. Both are just below the national median income of $79,820 and the Georgia median income of $74,830.

Job Outlook for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists in Georgia

Employment (2018)New Jobs Created
(2018-2028)
Job Growth Rate
(2018-2028)
Average Annual Openings
(2018-2028)
Georgia2,81091032.4%320
United States162,00023,80014.7%14,600

Source: Projections Central

Annual Salaries for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists in Georgia

10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Georgia$38,870$74,830$153,070
United States$46,410$79,820$138,550
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA$38,430$76,810$187,200
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC$36,190$74,680$110,160
Columbus, GA-AL$42,100$73,170$132,230
Dalton, GA$26,640$72,430$91,620
Macon, GA$46,940$64,030$100,580
Savannah, GA$44,000$68,800$114,850
Valdosta, GA$42,380$73,280$89,560

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020