A NEW post-graduate degree will enable psychology students to complete their entire qualification in Bendigo.
The La Trobe University Bendigo campus will offer a Master of Professional Psychology from this year.
It is hoped the one-year course will help address a shortage in the workforce, particularly in rural and regional areas.
La Trobe University senior lecturer in psychology Dr Carina Chan said the course was a pathway for students to become registered psychologists.
"There is a very strong demand from the market, especially from our students, as well as our industry stakeholders," Dr Chan said.
She said people referred to psychologists faced a long wait for services.
Prospective post-graduate psychology students from central Victoria also found it difficult to relocate to metropolitan areas to complete their qualifications.
Dr Chan said the new course was aimed at students that had completed both undergraduate and honours psychology programs.
To become registered psychologists, students would need to complete a year of training and a year of supervised practice in the field.
La Trobe's new course was designed to be accessible to applicants outside of Bendigo, with a blend of online and on-campus studies.
"We do hope students trained in this program will have that passion to stay in the regional workforce," Dr Chan said.
Australian Psychological Society fellow and generalist clinical endorsed psychologist Dr Cara Tucker urged central Victorians considering entering the profession to embark on the process.
"We can be there to support you along the way," she said.
The Thrive Wellness and Consulting director has opened up her practice to students, some of whom she has employed.
Dr Tucker said Bendigo had a good foundation from which to train psychologists, with a good amount of practitioners willing to help.
"There is an influx of people that have been here for a fairly long time... but they're starting to want to retire," she said.
"So we've got to have this breath of fresh air of new students... because they're ready to step out and and enjoy a bit more of their lives."
She said it was important students that had connections in the community and a passion for practising psychology in rural and regional areas were supported to do so.
"They're more likely going to stay and have more longevity," Dr Tucker said.
The Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System showed people living in rural and regional areas faced additional barriers to accessing quality mental health care, including stigma.
About one in five Victorians experience a mental illness in any given year.