Home » Psychology, Counseling & Social Work Licensing Requirements » Tennessee

Tennessee State Licensing Requirements

greetings from tennessee
greetings from tennessee

With a mild climate, unique attractions and the beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee has long been a popular place to visit. But have you ever thought about earning your psychology degree in Tennessee?

When you consider its access to large cities and the reasonable cost of living that includes no state property taxes or income taxes, you’ll understand why this state should be the setting of your new psychology career.

How to Earn a Psychology Degree in Tennessee

With a campus in Nashville, Argosy University is an excellent option for earning your psychology degree in Tennessee. As a psychology major, you can add a concentration in criminal justice, organizational psychology or substance abuse. Argosy University also offers graduate degrees in counselor education and supervision, organizational leadership and mental health counseling.

Or Maybe You’d Rather Take Psychology Classes Online

An added benefit of attending Argosy University is that it offers the option of earning your psychology degree online. That means attending class from home without the stress and expenses of commuting to and from a brick-and-mortar campus. It also means that you’ll need to manage your time to make your online classes work for you. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Designate a spot in your house for your studies away from distractions like the television.
  • Make a schedule in advance, and block out time each day to focus solely on studying.
  • Make sure that others in your house know not to interrupt you during your study time.
  • Give yourself short breaks, so you can grab a snack or check your personal e-mail, and set a timer to remind yourself when your break is done.

Salaries for Psychologists in Tennessee

In a larger city like Memphis or Nashville, you can expect to make more money than if you work in a more rural area. However, remember that the cost of living is also typically higher in urban areas. Overall, here is what you can anticipate earning with a psychology-related degree in Tennessee and some experience under your belt:

Psychology CareerAverage Annual Salary*
Mental Health Counselor$39,510
Marriage and Family Therapist$40,520
Social Worker$53,000

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics, Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers

*The salary information listed is based on mean state salary for each profession, 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.

How to Get Licensed in Tennessee

Once earning your psychology degree in Tennessee, you will need to get licensed to practice in the state. At the minimum, you will need to pass the national examination in psychology, counseling, marriage and family therapy or social work. Listed below are the other requirements for Tennessee licensure, depending on your field of study.


  • A doctoral degree in psychology
  • A supervised work experience totaling 3,800 hours, half of which should be completed as a qualified internship during the doctoral program

Professional Counselor

  • A master’s degree in counseling
  • Completion of a two-year supervised work experience that includes at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy
  • Completion of a supervised work experience that consists of at least ten hours per week for a two-year time period

Social Worker

Tennessee designates four different types of licensure for social workers: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master’s social worker (LMSW), licensed advanced practice social worker (LAPSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

  • A bachelor’s degree (for LBSW) or master’s degree (for LMSW, LAPSW or LCSW) in social work
  • A total of 3,000 hours of social work practice over the course of two years (for LAPSW)
  • A total of 3,000 hours of clinical social work practice within two years, all of which must include direct client contact (for LCSW)

Make the Most of Your Psychology Degree in Tennessee

If you are worried about finding a job after graduating, find solace in the professional organizations that are designed to connect you with employment opportunities and provide support throughout your career. Below, a few statewide organizations that offer memberships to students pursuing a psychology degree in Tennessee:

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy – Tennessee Division
  • National Association of Social Workers – Tennessee Chapter
  • Tennessee Association of School Social Workers
  • Tennessee Counseling Association
  • Tennessee Psychological Association

Sources: www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tn.htm#19-0000, www.naswtn.com/, www.retiretennessee.org/costofliving.html, www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/1180/1180-02.pdf; www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/0450/0450-01.pdf; www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/0450/0450-02.20090209.pdf;tassw.org/; www.tennessee.gov/sos/rules/1365/1365-01.20100729.pdf; www.tnamft.org/ohana/website/index.cfm?p=95575656249; www.tncounselors.org/; www.tpaonline.org/