Ph.D. in Educational Psychology

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A typical Ph.D. in educational psychology curriculum focuses on macro-level research and analysis. Educational psychologists use cutting-edge research and traditional psychological concepts and theories to improve teaching and learning in formal educational settings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists earn median annual salaries of $82,180. The BLS projects a growth rate of 3% for the sector, or the addition of 5,700 jobs, in 2019-2029. Educational psychologists enter a highly paid workforce and a professional arena with ample opportunities for career advancement.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Educational Psychology


  • Q. What can you do with a Ph.D. in educational psychology?

    Ph.D. in educational psychology graduates become college professors, corporate employee program directors, elementary and secondary teacher trainers, and educational policy researchers.


  • Q. How much does a psychologist make?

    According to the BLS, psychologists in all specialities earn a median annual salary of $82,180. Educational psychology degree-holders would likely garner a similar amount.


  • Q. What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D.?

    An educational psychology Ph.D. focuses on research, whereas a Psy.D. focuses on applied practice.


Why Get a Degree in Educational Psychology?



Hirers for top education positions often prefer candidates with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. Examples of these types of jobs include school principals, postsecondary education administrators, and instructional coordinators. Practitioners at this employment level earn median annual salaries higher than the national median. These professionals garner $98,490, $97,500, and $66,970, respectively.

Several colleges and universities now offer doctoral educational psychology degrees online. Educators who choose this path can often continue working while pursuing their degree. Some online programs follow accelerated schedules, allowing distance learners to graduate ahead of on-campus peers.

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How Much Does an Educational Psychology Degree Cost?



National Center for Education Statistics data show that postgraduate enrollment costs for 2018-2019 averaged $12,171 at public schools. Graduate students at nonprofit private institutions paid more than twice as much that year, averaging $27,776. Students can expect the cost for one year of enrollment in an educational psychology Ph.D. program to approximate these average amounts.

Many schools support educational psychology Ph.D. candidates through grants and fellowship programs. Some of these financial assistance opportunities include living stipends in addition to tuition and fee waivers. At the doctoral level, fellowship and grant programs often require recipients to take on teaching or research responsibilities. Doctoral candidates planning to continue working while pursuing their educational psychology degree should ensure they can do so under the program’s terms.

Additional Online Student Fees for Educational Psychology

Some schools require online students to pay a technology fee, an added expense not typically required of on-campus enrollees. Assessed per credit or per enrollment period, technology fees can significantly increase the cost of a Ph.D. in educational psychology.

Some doctoral programs include on-campus requirements, such as an orientation seminar or dissertation presentation and defense. Doctoral candidates far from their desired school should include travel and accommodation expenses when calculating attendance costs.

How Much Do Educational Psychology Majors Make?



Industry


Several factors influence how much educational psychology degree-holders earn, most notably the industry they work in. BLS data show psychologists garner the most working in other health practitioners’ offices and companies offering management, scientific, and technical consulting services. These companies pay mean annual salaries of $133,660 and $116,210, respectively.

Location


Practitioners with an educational psychology Ph.D. might consider moving to increase their earning potential. Top-paying states for psychologists include California at $124,910, Alaska at $118,270, and Illinois at $115,340.

Postsecondary Teachers


Educational psychology degree-holders who pursue careers as postsecondary teachers can also look forward to above-average salaries. Grant service companies, junior colleges, and four-year institutions pay them mean annual salaries of $127,120, $88,020, and $86,510, respectively. States that pay postsecondary teachers the highest salaries include New York at $126,560 and California at $105,100.


Courses in Educational Psychology



A Ph.D. in educational psychology typically comprises 54-66 credits over 3-5 years. Timeline factors include enrollment status, educational background coming into the program, and dissertation research and writing pace. Many doctoral programs include research, methodology and data analysis, and conceptual and theoretical foundation courses.

A Ph.D. in educational psychology often requires a practicum experience during enrollment, a postdoctoral internship, and a dissertation. Some programs require a comprehensive exam prior to dissertation research and writing.


  • Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior

    Students examine the roles biology and environment play in human development. Participants study mental processes including attention, problem-solving, and memory to develop an understanding of the cognitive bases of behavior. Learners explore the socio-affective bases of behavior by studying topics such as self-concept, emotions, and temperament.


  • Cultural Processes and Social and Emotional Development

    Drawing from various disciplines including biology, anthropology, and history, students trace social and emotional development across the lifespan. The course presents a review of empirical data and theoretical constructs currently prevalent in the study of human development within familial, societal, and cultural contexts.


  • Quantitative Research Design

    The course familiarizes students with quantitative research designs commonly used in counseling and developmental psychology. Methods include cross-sectional, longitudinal, randomized, and nonrandomized designs. Enrollees review and critique professional literature demonstrating different research designs. Degree-seekers learn how to formulate their own empirical studies with the goal of advancing research in the field.


How to Become a Psychologist

States require psychologists to obtain a license prior to beginning their career. Licensure criteria vary by state, with many requiring applicants to hold a doctoral degree in psychology or counseling. State licensure often includes experiential components, such as a supervised postdoctoral internship comprising 2,000-4,000 hours.

Licensees renew their license every 3-5 years, depending on state regulations. States usually require practitioners to complete a certain number of continuing education units to keep their license current and valid. In addition to licensure, some states want psychologists to complete specialized training in their specific field of practice.

Certifications and Licensure for Educational Psychology



While psychologists need licensure to practice, certification remains voluntary. However, many psychologists still choose to pursue an industry-recognized credential in their specialization area. Certifications present the holder as a skilled professional committed to upholding the highest standards.

Certified Specialist in Psychometry


Educational psychologists wanting to specialize in psychometrics can apply for the Board of Certified Psychometrists’s CSP credential. Candidates with an advanced degree must show completion of 2,000 hours of related work experience. Bachelor’s degree-holders can apply, but need 3,000 hours of relevant work experience.

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IPMA-HR Senior Certified Professional


The International Public Management Association for Human Resources administers this credential for educational psychologists and other professionals seeking to improve their human resources skills. Advanced degree-holding applicants need three years of relevant work experience in human resources, with one year in the public sector.

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Certified Education Technology Leader


The CETL credential serves educational psychologists planning to use technology to build transformative learning environments. The Consortium for School Networking’s credential welcomes candidates with a bachelor’s and four years of educational technology work experience.

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Ph.D. in Educational Psychology



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