Most Affordable Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Degrees

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Do you have a knack for working with kids? Are you fan of science? Here are the best master’s degrees in child and adolescent psychology!

The most crucial developmental changes happen in the first 18 years of a person’s life. We all know that childhood and adolescence can be a tricky time. Child and adolescent psychologists combine talk therapy with science to make huge changes in the lives of young people. A degree in child and adolescent psychology will allow you to study both the biological and psychological advancement of children, through every stage of their lives. This degree is perfect for those who are fascinated by how factors like family, culture, and friends can affect a child and adolescent’s development into adulthood.

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What kind of online master’s in child and adolescent psychology should you get?

If you want to pursue an online master’s degree program in child or adolescent psychology, you can consider many specializations. Some programs are not appropriate for exclusively online programs, however, due to the need for hands-on training and clinical experience.

Some thesis-based programs target students who want to go into positions that have a strong advocacy or research component. These programs will require the completion of coursework (and sometimes a thesis), but do not have a face-to-face or clinical component. If you want to use your degree without becoming a practicing therapist or psychologist, this type of program provides a platform for doing so.

Other programs require students to find a local organization or psychologist to work with to get real-world experience in child and adolescent psychology. These programs cannot be completed exclusively online, though students can still take all coursework online and work face-to-face only during the capstone period.

How much money do people make with an online master’s in child and adolescent psychology?

In 2018, child and school psychologists made almost $80,000 per year on average. This pay scale includes many professionals with doctoral degrees instead of master’s degrees, however, and many of these positions require a doctorate.

Other similar positions which only require a master’s degree, such as school and career counselors, made closer to $56,000 per year.

Prospects for both psychologists and school counselors look stable. Open positions in these are projected to grow at a rate of about 13 to 14 percent until 2026, beating the national average.


What can you do with an online master’s in child and adolescent psychology?

Some child and adolescent psychology students go on to work in the school system, helping children directly. Others use their understanding of children’s needs to improve child-centered systems as administrators, advocate as part of a non-profit group, or consult with businesses that serve children.

  • School administrator – School administrators handle leadership and administrative duties, such as budgets, scheduling, crisis response, and strategy, for schools and other educational institutions. Those with a background in child and adolescent psychology can use their knowledge to tailor these activities to children’s needs.
  • Research analyst – Research analysts help organizations like schools and non-profit groups use data to solve problems. Those with a mix of qualitative and quantitative skills and a passion for child psychology can help organizations identify problems facing the children they serve, and find evidence-driven solutions to those problems.
  • School counselor – School counselors work with children in one-on-one and small group settings. They can identify psychological issues challenging these children, plan interventions regarding school work or disciplinary trouble, and help students find the places they can best apply their skills.
  • Social and community services manager – Social and community services managers oversee organizations that serve children. They might operate youth outreach programs or direct child mentoring groups.
  • Psychologist – While this requires a doctoral degree or specialist degree in most states, some organizational psychologist jobs require only a master’s degree. Psychologists may perform research, observe and survey children, or consult with other school professionals to solve specific problems.
  • Foster family case manager – Foster family case managers work with children in the foster care system and the families that support them. They prevent abuse within foster families, support children struggling with mental health issues, and prepare case-related documents for court hearings and state services departments.

The Best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. CUNY School of Professional Studies

    New York, NY




    The CUNY School of Professional Studies is a part of the City University of New York system. Founded in 2003, this Manhattan-based university now offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Interested in earning an affordable degree in child and adolescent psychology? Check out CUNY’s fully online Master of Arts degree in Psychology.

    Program Features

    Graduate students in this program can choose from two areas of specialization: Industrial/Organizational Psychology or Developmental Psychology. This program will prepare you with core courses, research methods, specialization courses, and electives. Students are required to complete 36 credit-hours with classes like:

    • Perspectives on Developmental Psychology
    • Biological Foundations of Behavior
    • Child and Adolescent Development
    • Atypical Development
    • Group Dynamics

    Additionally, all graduate students must also complete a capstone in order to earn their degree.


    The CUNY School of Professional Studies’ fully online format makes it the first and only degree of its kind offered at a CUNY school. The program has ranked in the Top 25 Online Master’s in Psychology degrees by Online Psychology Degrees. It also made the list for the Top 20 Best Values for an Online Master’s in Psychology by College Values Online.

  2. West Virginia University

    Morgantown, WV




    This public, land-grant, space-grant, and research-intensive university is located in Morgantown, WV. Founded in 1867, West Virginia University is now home to over 25,000 bright students. Interested in earning an affordable degree that’s flexible as well? WVU now offers online programs. In fact, interested students can now earn an online Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology with a major in Child Development and Family Studies.

    Program Features

    This 33-credit program is offered through WVU’s College of Education and Human Services. Graduate students will learn about child development, family systems, research methods, and more. Here are some courses you may find on the curriculum:

    • Theories of Child and Adolescent Development
    • Socio-Emotional Development of Children
    • Comparative Study of Family
    • Survey of Family Studies
    • Socialization Processes

    All graduate students must also choose between completing six semester-hours of thesis research or three semester-hours of practical product development.


    West Virginia University known for its affordability and scholarship offerings. In fact, the WVU System granted over $300 million in total aid in 2017 alone. WVU also ranks nationally for its numerous scholarship recipients. WVU claims 25 Rhodes Scholars, 22 Truman Scholars, 42 Goldwater Scholars, and over 45 Fulbright Scholars.

  3. University of South Florida-Main Campus

    Tampa, FL




    Located in Tampa, FL, USF is a public research university that is ranked 41st in the nation for research expenditures. Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida continues to grow, boasting 14 colleges and over 180 majors for students to choose from. Now, students can pursue the fully-online Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health.

    Program Features

    This unique program offers graduate students not one, not two, but four areas of concentration. Concentrations include: Developmental Disabilities, Leadership in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, Research and Evaluation, and Youth and Behavioral Health. No matter your concentration, you’ll need a total of 39 semester-credits to graduate. Required courses may include:

    • Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Policy
    • Cultural Competency in Children’s Mental Health
    • Evaluation and Research Methods in Community Health

    Additionally, graduate students must choose between a thesis track or an applied track program. The applied track requires a field experience component. All candidates for the MSCABH program must complete a comprehensive examination as well.


    The University of South Florida is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities. In fact, U.S. News and World Report included USF on its list of Best Value Schools, as well as its ranking of Top Public Schools.

  4. Montclair State University

    Montaclair, NJ




    This public research university is located less than an hour from New York City in Montclair, NJ. With 11 academic colleges and schools, Montclair State University offers more than 300 doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate-level degree programs. Interested in earning an affordable online degree? Check out Montclair’s online Master of Arts degree program in Child Advocacy and Policy.

    Program Features

    Offered through the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, this 33-credit program combines psychology, social work, and law. Students will take two sessions per term in eight-week courses. Your course load might include the following classes:

    • Current Social Issues in Child Advocacy
    • Substance Abuse and Family Crisis
    • Family Empowerment Models
    • Child Abuse and Neglect
    • Child Welfare Policy

    Graduates of this program often go on to work for child welfare agencies, domestic violence programs, youth mentoring programs, and more.


    Ranked among the nation’s Top 100 Public Schools, Montclair State University is fully equipped to meet the demands of an online degree program. Each student is set up with a graduate program coordinator assigned specifically to the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy. Students will also have complete access to a virtual library, writing center, and tier II tech support.

  5. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    Minneapolis, MN




    This highly-ranked public research university is the oldest and largest of the University of Minnesota system. A leader in innovative research, the University of Minnesota is pushing forward new ideas in the world of health, technology, and psychology. Now, the university is offering more affordable and flexible online degree options. Check out the school’s online Master of Arts in Applied Child and Adolescent Development.

    Program Features

    This program is offered 100 percent online through the university’s College of Education and Human Development. All graduate students must complete 32 credit-hours of classes. Your curriculum will be defined by prerequisites, and 15 credits in an emphasis area. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect:

    • Early Childhood Assessment
    • Early Childhood and Public Policy
    • Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood
    • Child Life Theory, Practice, and Program Development

    Additionally, you will be able to choose from one of three specialized tracks, including: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Life, or Individualized Studies. Each track includes 13 customized courses.


    The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is consistently ranked among the top schools in the nation. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked the university among that nation’s Best Value Schools, Top Public Schools, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

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