Online Master’s In Child Psychology Programs

Earning a master's degree in child psychology can lead to a rewarding career. Here, we outline the top online degrees available.

Updated September 19, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Child Psychology Programs

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Child psychologists work directly with children from infancy through adolescence. They examine various aspects of a child's behavioral development, including environmental factors and learning patterns. States require child psychologists to obtain a license prior to beginning independent practice. Licensure candidates must hold at least a master's in child psychology.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $82,180 for psychologists, much higher than the $41,950 median for all occupations. Many child psychologists work in private practice. Depending on professional interest and training, they could also work in elementary and secondary schools, government agencies, daycare centers, or the court system.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Psychology


What can I do with a master's degree in child psychology?

A child psychology master's degree usually qualifies graduates to become school counselors, family therapists, developmental psychologists, or social workers.

How many years is a master's in child psychology?

Full-time enrollees generally take 18-24 months to complete a master's in child psychology. Some accelerated programs take only one year to complete. Part-time enrollment may take up to three years.

What certification do I need to be a child psychologist?

Child psychologists require state licensure, but not a certification to practice. However, many practitioners voluntarily seek certification as a cognitive-behavioral therapist or as a school counselor.

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Why Get a Degree in Child Psychology?

A master's in child psychology includes instruction and fieldwork, such as a practicum or internship experience. The degree prepares graduates to administer and interpret different psychological assessment tools that measure a child's intellectual abilities, visual-motor integration skills, and several neuropsychological functions. A child psychology master's degree develops communication skills for sharing findings with parents, teachers, and other professionals.

Aspiring clinical child psychologists often need a doctorate to apply for licensure in many states. A master's in child psychology usually meets the educational requirements of a doctoral program in the field. Online child psychology degree-seekers can pursue their education with minimal interruption to their career or other responsibilities.

How Much Does a Child Psychology Degree Cost?

National Center for Education Statistics data show postgraduate enrollment costs at public institutions averaged $12,171 for 2018-19. Graduate students at private nonprofit institutions paid an average of $27,776 the same year. The cost of one year of enrollment in a master's in child psychology program will likely approximate these amounts.

Some schools charge the same tuition for resident and nonresident distance learners. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition significantly impacts attendance costs, so online enrollees usually save considerably with a flat rate. Students planning to pursue an online child psychology degree should research whether prospective institutions offer this opportunity.

Schools often give online and on-campus enrollees equal access to many of the scholarship and grant programs they administer. Since they do not require repayment, scholarships and grants make a master's in child psychology more affordable.

Additional Online Student Fees for Child Psychology

Although several schools now offer an online master's in child psychology alongside an onsite program, some online child psychology degrees still require some in-person attendance. Schools may require an onsite orientation to start the program or an on-campus final thesis or capstone project presentation before graduating. For online child psychology degree-seekers far from their desired school, any onsite requirements can increase attendance costs.

Child psychology master's degree-seekers should inquire about technology fees that some schools charge online enrollees only. Calculated per credit or charged as a flat amount each enrollment period, technology fees can substantially affect degree costs.

How Much Do Child Psychology Majors Make?

BLS data show that offices of other health practitioners pay the highest annual mean salary for psychologists at $133,660. Companies offering management and technical consulting services pay the next highest salary at $116,210. Elementary and secondary schools and local government agencies follow, paying $104,360 and $101,410, respectively.

The state where psychologists practice impacts income levels. The following states pay the highest psychologist salaries: California at $124,910, Alaska at $118,270, Illinois at $115,340, Virginia at $109,060, and Colorado at $103,560.

Child psychology master's degree-holders typically earn higher median salaries than bachelor's degree-holders and associate-trained workers. According to the BLS, master's degree-holders earn a median $1,545 weekly salary. Bachelor's-trained workers earn $1,305, while employees with an associate degree earn $938. Practitioners with a master's in child psychology join a workforce with higher-than-average incomes and opportunities for career advancement.

Courses in Child Psychology

A master's in child psychology typically comprises 30-36 credits. Specific curricula differ among schools, but often include statistics, research methods, and learning disabilities foundation classes, alongside the three courses described below. Some programs offer specializations in adolescent, developmental, or abnormal psychology.

Most programs include a practicum or internship experience and require students to complete a culminating activity prior to graduation. A master's in child psychology usually requires a thesis as the culminating experience. However, some schools offer a coursework-only program and others accept a capstone research project as the final activity.

How to Become a Child Psychologist

States require psychologists to earn a license before practicing. Licensure requirements vary by state, with most requiring clinical candidates to possess a doctorate in psychology or counseling. In some states, a master's satisfies licensure educational requirements for practitioners planning to become school counselors or industrial-organizational psychologists.

Licensees must renew their license every three or five years, depending on the state where they practice. As with initial licensure requirements, specific renewal criteria also vary by state. Most states require completing a certain number of continuing education units in between renewal periods.

Certifications and Licensure for Child Psychology

An industry-recognized credential, especially in a broad field such as psychology, helps distinguish certified professionals from other practitioners. Certifications present holders as knowledgeable and skilled professionals committed to and capable of providing expert service in their specialization field.

As an American Board of Professional Psychology affiliate, ABCCAP requires candidates to meet criteria with both boards' approval to earn the credential. Candidates need a doctorate in child psychology, a valid license in the field, and one year of supervised postdoctoral work. The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists requires candidates to possess a master's or doctoral degree in psychology, social work, occupational therapy, or a related field. Applicants also need six years of postgraduate experience providing cognitive-behavioral therapy services. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) accepts certification applicants with at least a master's degree in counseling or psychology. Candidates must show completion of 3,000 hours of postgraduate counseling experience over a two-year period. NBCC may waive the work experience requirement for licensed candidates.

Online Master's in Child Psychology 2022

#1

University of South Florida

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of South Florida offers a variety of top-ranked graduate programs, including an online master of science in child life studies program. In addition to on-campus students, 24,241 students enroll in the public institution's online programs. Enrollees can choose online learning to access flexible scheduling options that make earning a degree easier.

Degree-seekers in the child life studies program develop field-specific knowledge and skills that apply to many professional roles. In addition to completing major courses, students customize the master's curriculum by choosing electives. The online program prioritizes flexible scheduling and career-specific training. Graduates can transition to a career or advance their current career in the field after earning their master's degree. The institution's career services and alumni network can help master's students locate and secure professional opportunities.

Learners pursuing a master's degree from the school can access support services including career advising and financial aid counseling. Online learners at the institution pay affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Private scholarships and institutional fellowships can also help learners fund their master's studies. The average cost per credit for online master's programs at the school is $907.

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#2

Missouri State University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Missouri State University educates undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers from its campus in Springfield. The school's academic offerings include 24 online master's programs and 28 online master's programs.

Distance degree-seekers can pursue an online graduate certificate in forensic child psychology from the institution. The program prepares learners to pursue positions in the field or advance their current career. The school provides support services, such as academic advising and career counseling, to support graduate students' overall success.

The school supports online enrollees through affordable tuition rates and institutional funding. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs. Private scholarships and institutional fellowships can also help learners fund their master's studies.

Missouri State University at a Glance:

Students Receiving Aid: 97%

Students Receiving Loans: 44%

Total Master's Programs: 52

Total Online Master's Programs: 52

Accepts Transfer Credits: No

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#3

University of La Verne

School Information
Location La Verne, California
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 73%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

With a main campus in California, the University of La Verne delivers undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields. The school offers graduate programs for online and on-campus learners. Online students can enroll in the master's in child and adolescent development from the institution.

Enrollees prepare to enter the workforce by completing rigorous coursework and receiving faculty mentorship and career advising. Designed with working professionals in mind, the program offers flexible enrollment options. While most master's degree-seekers graduate in 1-2 years, part-time enrollment may extend degree completion time.

The institution holds accreditation, which means students can submit the FAFSA and determine whether they qualify for federal financial aid. The school reports that 62% of enrollees fund their education using student loans. In addition, 98% of students receive some form of financial aid to cover degree costs.

University of La Verne Fast Facts:

Total Programs: 87

Number of Online Programs: 4

Online Master's Programs: 21

Number of Online Students: 1,743

Religious Affiliation: Non-affiliated

Transfer Credits Permitted: No

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