Learn about psychology degrees in California and find out how you can have a career in the Golden State.

psychology degree californiaIf you want to work towards a psychology degree in California, you should be pleased with its impressive list of options.

In Southern California, Santa Barbara has excellent psychology programs at Antioch University and Fielding Graduate University. Antioch offers a unique doctoral program in clinical psychology with an emphasis on family psych. At Fielding Graduate University, you’ll find highly innovative programs like Media Psychology, through which students explore the intricate relationships between media and human behavior.

Listing all of the great choices for earning your psychology degree in California is a tall task, but other noteworthy schools include Azusa Pacific University and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto. Additionally, if you are still undecided about where in California you want to attend school, Argosy University has convenient locations throughout the state.

California Job Market

Those who are using their psychology degree in California are likely to be paid higher salaries than in other states, which should help to counteract the state’s higher cost of living. Below is a list of the median annual salaries in California for common psychology-related professions:

Psychology Career Median Annual Salary
Psychologist $93,150
Counselor $54,407
Social Worker $62,010

Sources: Salary.com’s January, 2014 Survey; Psychologist; Counselor-Higher Ed; Social Worker (MSW).

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Licensure Requirements in California

In order to use your psychology degree in California in a clinical setting, you will need to obtain licensure from the state. A criminal background check and passing scores on both the national examination and supplemental California examination for your area of study are all necessary components of any type of license. Read below for the additional requirements for each field.


  • A doctoral degree in psychology
  • Completion of a 3,000-hour work experience under supervision, half of which must be fulfilled post-degree

Professional Counselor

According to the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure, the state recently passed a law that went into effect on January 1, 2010. The new law requires professional counselors to be licensed, and California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences is still developing the regulation procedures. Applicants who require licensing prior to 2012 and do not qualify for “grandparenting” must meet the following requirements:

  • A master’s degree in counseling or psychotherapy-related content
  • Completion of 3,000 hours in a supervised work experience, of which 1,750 hours must be direct client contact and 150 hours must be in a hospital or community mental health setting

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy
  • Registration as a marriage and family therapist intern prior to post-degree work experience
  • Fulfillment of 3,000 hours of supervised work experience
  • Passing score on the MFT Written Clinical Vignette Examination upon passing the national examination

Clinical Social Worker

  • A master’s degree in social work
  • Registration as an association clinical social worker prior to post-degree work experience
  • Completion of 3,200 hours of supervised work experience
  • Passing score on the LCSW Written Clinical Vignette Examination upon passing the national examination