Sports Psychology Programs in California

California provides a range of degree programs in sports psychology, depending on the educational background of the student. Universities in the state offer bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates in sports psychology (however, there are currently no doctorate degrees). These programs equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the psychological factors influencing sports performance, injury recovery, and overall athlete well-being.

  • Bachelor’s Degree: California universities offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in Sports Psychology. These undergraduate programs establish a foundation for comprehending the psychological factors that impact sports performance and prepare students for further specialization in the field.
  • Master’s Degree: Master’s programs in Sports Psychology provide advanced coursework and practical training. Students can pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) degree, acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to work with athletes in diverse settings.
  • Graduate Certificate: Designed for individuals with a master’s or doctoral degree in a related field, graduate certificate programs offer focused training in sports psychology, allowing professionals to enhance their expertise in the field.
  • Doctorate Degree: Doctoral programs in Sports Psychology, such as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), provide the highest level of education in the field. These programs emphasize research, advanced coursework, and clinical practice, preparing graduates for leadership roles and academic positions in sports psychology.

Notable sports psychology programs available in California include the Master of Arts in Applied Sport and Performance Psychology offered by the Dominican University of California, and the Master of Arts in Sport Psychology at California State University, Fullerton. These programs provide students with a solid foundation in sports psychology principles and practical skills to work with athletes and sports teams effectively.

Do Online Sports Psychology Programs Exist in California?

In response to the growing demand for flexible education, online sports psychology programs have gained popularity nationwide. California offers specific online sports psychology programs through various state universities, such as the Bachelor’s Degree in Sport and Performance Psychology offered by California Baptist University. These online programs enable students to pursue their studies remotely, providing flexibility for those with other commitments or residing outside the state.

Online sports psychology programs provide several advantages, including the ability to study at one’s own pace, access resources and materials from anywhere, and connect with professionals and students from diverse backgrounds. Aspiring sports psychologists in California can explore online programs offered by renowned universities within the state or in other states to expand their knowledge and skills in the field.

Sports Psychologist Licensure & Certification in California

To practice as a sports psychologist in California, professionals must fulfill specific licensure requirements set by the California Board of Psychology. The licensure process involves several steps:

  • Educational Requirements: Aspiring sports psychologists in California typically need to obtain a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution. This degree provides a comprehensive foundation in psychological theories, research methodologies, and clinical practices.
  • Supervised Clinical Experience: Alongside completing their doctoral program, individuals must gain supervised clinical experience. This entails working under the guidance of experienced licensed psychologists or sports psychologists and acquiring practical training in providing counseling and mental performance enhancement techniques to athletes.
  • Licensing Examination: After fulfilling the educational and clinical requirements, candidates must pass a licensing examination administered by the California Board of Psychology. This examination assesses their knowledge of psychology principles, ethics, and the application of psychological techniques in sports settings.

In addition to licensure, sports psychologists can pursue certifications to enhance their credentials further and demonstrate specialized expertise. Two popular certifications in the field of sports psychology are the Board Certified in Sport Psychology (BCS) and Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) credentials. These certifications require a combination of education, supervised practice, and passing a certification examination.

By meeting licensure requirements and obtaining relevant certifications through organizations such as the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), sports psychologists in California can establish themselves as qualified professionals in the field. Their expertise in understanding and enhancing the psychological aspects of sports performance can significantly contribute to athletes’ success and overall well-being.

Sports Psychology Career Opportunities in California

California offers a wide range of career opportunities in sports psychology. Graduates can find employment in diverse settings, including professional sports organizations, college athletic departments, sports academies, rehabilitation centers, and private practice. Common employers in the state include:

Sports psychologists in California can work directly with athletes, providing individual counseling, performance enhancement techniques, and mental health support. They can collaborate with coaches, trainers, and medical professionals to develop comprehensive athlete support programs. With the increasing recognition of the significance of mental health in sports, numerous opportunities exist for sports psychologists to make a profound impact on athletes’ lives and athletic performance.

List of Sports Psychology Programs Offered in California

Atherton, CA

Carson, CA

Graduate Certificate Programs

Carson, CA 90747-0005

Fresno, CA

Fullerton, CA


Riverside, CA

San Diego, CA

San Rafael, CA

Master’s ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs

San Rafael, CA 94901

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