Best Online Master's In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

Updated November 17, 2022

check mark Reviewed by

Our Integrity Network

CollegeChoice.net is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

Drawing on their firsthand industry expertise, our Integrity Network members serve as an additional step in our editing process, helping us confirm our content is accurate and up to date. These contributors:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for CollegeChoice.net as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Explore our full list of Integrity Network members.

A master's in clinical psychology qualifies graduates for occupations in diverse settings. They may work in schools, workplaces, and prisons.

CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Online Clinical Psychology Masters

Clinical psychology online master's programs teach students to assess and treat behavioral health conditions, psychological distress, and mental health conditions. Master's in clinical psychology courses cover topics such as group therapy, psychopathology, and cognitive and behavioral therapy.

Graduates can find employment in school psychology, mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy. Many careers in these fields offer robust employment prospects. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 16% job growth for marriage and family therapists from 2020-2030, significantly faster than the 8% national average.

We ranked the top clinical psychology online master's programs for 2021. We also cover what to expect from a master's in clinical psychology program, how to choose the right school, and the benefits of earning this degree.

What Is a Master's in Clinical Psychology Degree?

The clinical psychology field attracts people interested in working directly with people to address mental health and behavioral conditions. To succeed in this profession, individuals need compassion, patience, and interpersonal communication skills.

Earning a master of clinical psychology online qualifies graduates for occupations in diverse settings. They may work in schools, workplaces, prisons, hospitals, and private practices. Graduates with a master's in clinical psychology often begin working under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. Specializations for these professionals may include child psychology, attachment theory, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

mini icon

Sponsored Clinical Psychology Schools

Why Get a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology?

Pursuing a master's in clinical psychology offers several benefits, including higher wages, sought-after skills, and the opportunity to help people. People with a bachelor's in psychology or social work can also experience these benefits. However, professionals need a master's degree to work in clinical psychology.

Below, we discuss these three key benefits of earning a clinical psychology online master's degree.

Pursuing a master's in clinical psychology can substantially impact earning potential. In 2019, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported 26% higher annual median earnings for full-time employees aged 25-34 with at least a master's degree compared to those with only a bachelor's degree.

Clinical psychology online master's programs help students refine their problem-solving abilities and interpersonal skills as they prepare for roles in counseling, therapy, and psychology.

Graduates from a master's in clinical psychology program work primarily with people to help address behavioral, stress-related, or mental health conditions.

What to Expect From a Clinical Psychology Online Master's

Clinical psychology online master's programs teach students about personality assessment, clinical best practices, and therapeutic approaches. Enrollees learn to apply these skills to assess and treat mental health conditions, relationship problems, and emotional difficulties.

Master's in clinical psychology online degrees usually require 36-54 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Typical classes include psychological assessment, psychopathology, and developmental psychology. While tuition costs vary by program, in-state public schools usually offer the lowest rates.

Some psychology degree master's programs provide concentrations in psychodynamic therapy, school psychology, and marriage and relationship counseling.

Admission Requirements

Top clinical psychology online master's programs often require applicants to hold a bachelor's in psychology, social work, or related field from an accredited school. However, some programs may accept candidates with a bachelor's in other disciplines if they hold relevant professional experience.

Applicants typically submit a resume, a statement of purpose, 2-3 recommendation letters, GRE scores, and an application fee. Some schools waive testing requirements for distance learners.

While schools do not usually maintain minimum GRE requirements, most universities require a 3.0 GPA or higher. GRE scores in the 90th percentile and a 3.5 GPA or higher can improve admission chances.

Concentration Options

Some clinical psychology online master's programs offer concentrations in a particular subfield. Examples include child psychology, family counseling, and behavior therapy. Other programs allow students to specialize through a mix of electives. Common clinical psychology focus areas include:

  • Child Psychology

    This focus area trains learners to assess and treat behavioral problems and mental health conditions in children. Topics include early childhood development, behavioral regulation, and childhood abandonment.
  • School Psychology

    This specialization prepares enrollees for counseling roles in K-12 schools. Coursework includes motivational psychology and behavioral psychology. Students also learn counseling theory and practice.
  • Family Therapy

    A concentration in family therapy covers family and relationship dynamics. Classes in this specialization include attachment theory, couples' therapy, and grief counseling.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

    A cognitive-behavioral therapy track delves into therapeutic approaches for altering people's thinking or behavioral patterns. Students learn about exposure therapy, token economy, and emotional regulation.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy

    This concentration prepares students for entry-level jobs in hospitals. It also prepares learners for clinical practice under a licensed clinical psychologist's supervision. Coursework focuses on developmental psychology and avoidance behavior.

Popular Clinical Psychology Courses

Clinical psychology online master's curricula feature courses in social psychology, personality psychology, and advanced clinical counseling. Popular electives include behavioral psychology, early childhood development, and grief counseling.

Most psychology master's programs also require a practicum or clinical fieldwork component. Below, we cover four common courses in a clinical psychology degree program.

  • Proseminar in Clinical Psychology

    This survey course typically occurs in the first semester of study. Students develop core proficiencies in clinical assessment and therapeutic approaches.
  • Personality Psychology

    The first part of this required class examines major theories in personality psychology. It also analyzes how hereditary factors, experience, emotions, and aging shape personality. The second part focuses on the methodology for designing personality assessment tools.
  • Behavioral Psychology

    An elective in behavioral psychology explores how life experiences and coping strategies shape human behavior. Learners analyze the psychological processes behind behavioral therapeutic techniques. Examples include exposure and response prevention, token economy, systematic desensitization, and modeling.
  • Attachment Theory

    An elective in behavioral psychology explores how life experiences and coping strategies shape human behavior. Learners analyze the psychological processes behind behavioral therapeutic techniques. Examples include exposure and response prevention, token economy, systematic desensitization, and modeling.

Featured Online Organizational Psychology Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

How Much Will a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology Online Cost?

Several factors can influence tuition costs, including school type, state residency, and program format. According to NCES data, public universities charged an average of $12,410 in graduate tuition and fees in 2019-2020, compared to $26,600 per year for private institutions.

However, many schools offer distance learning courses at a discounted rate. For example, some public institutions offer in-state tuition for all learners, regardless of state residency. Remote students can also save on commuting and relocation costs.

Some schools offer a tuition waiver and a graduate stipend to learners qualified for a teaching or research assistantship. However, these institutions may require on-campus attendance for stipend recipients. Other financial aid options include scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans.

Jobs for Clinical Psychologist Degree Graduates

A master's in clinical psychology can lead to high-paying, in-demand careers in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and industrial-organizational psychology. According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists earn a median annual salary of $51,340 and industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median $82,180 salary per year.

Clinical psychologists generally need a doctoral degree. However, a master's degree in clinical psychology suffices for some psychology careers in coaching, therapy, and counseling. Unsupervised psychologists, counselors, and therapists will also need a license.

Below, we describe potential careers for graduates with a clinical psychology degree.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors advise people with mental and behavioral conditions. These professionals assess clients' mental health and develop treatment goals. They also help clients develop strategies for coping with problems. All states require licensure for mental health counselors.

Required Education: Master's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): 23%
Median Annual Salary: $47,660

School Counselor

School counselors help students cultivate skills for academic success and address behavioral problems. They assist students in developing academic and career goals. In addition, they address academic or behavioral problems and collaborate with teachers to maximize student success. Some states require licensure for school counselors.

Required Education: Master's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): 11%
Median Annual Salary: $58,120

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists help people overcome family and relationship challenges. These therapists typically counsel groups of clients who are experiencing difficulties in their romantic and familial relationships. All states require licensure for marriage and family therapists.

Required Education: Master's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): 16%
Median Annual Salary: $51,340

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists help improve the quality of worklife. Their responsibilities include addressing workplace conflicts, improving employee morale, and working with managers to adjust leadership tactics.

Required Education: Master's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): 8%
Median Annual Salary: $82,180

Choosing the Right Master's in Clinical Psychology Program

Our rankings are a great place to begin the search for a clinical psychology master's degree. However, students should consider several other factors, including accreditation, cost, and career services.

Schools obtain regional accreditation through a third-party evaluation that assesses academics, faculty credentials, student services, and campus facilities. Attending a regionally accredited university increases job and financial aid opportunities. Some fields, including psychology, also have programmatic accreditation bodies that certify whether a program meets certain educational standards. Most licenses in clinical psychology require a degree from a program with industry accreditation from the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation.

In-state public schools tend to be more affordable than out-of-state public schools or private institutions. Online programs at public schools may offer in-state tuition to all enrollees. Prospective students should also seek financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and loans, which can also reduce program costs.

The best clinical psychology online master's programs offer various career services, such as networking events, resume and letter-writing services, and career workshops.

Why You Should Get Your Degree Online

Most clinical psychology online master's programs require some on-campus presence for practicums or clinical fieldwork. However, many schools offer distance learning options where students complete coursework remotely. These online programs provide convenience and flexibility, allowing learners to attend top schools without relocating.

With the recent rise in telehealth appointments, clinical psychologists may need computer skills to succeed in their careers. Developing these skills while earning a master's degree can make online students more employable.

Course delivery varies by school. Synchronous courses provide an immersive online environment with real-time lectures and peer discussion. By contrast, students in asynchronous classes listen to lectures and contribute to virtual discussion boards with more scheduling flexibility.

Each format comes with unique advantages. While the synchronous layout mirrors the on-campus experience, the asynchronous format allows attendees to balance school with other commitments. Students should note that meeting course deadlines in asynchronous programs requires self-discipline and time management.

Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Psychology Degrees

What do clinical psychologists do?

Clinical psychologists apply psychological principles and best practices to assess and treat behavioral problems, work-related stress, and mental health conditions in schools, workplaces, prisons, hospitals, and private practices.

Is getting a clinical psychology degree worth it?

Yes. Earning a master's in clinical psychology online prepares students for high-paying, in-demand careers in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and school psychology.

Can you get a master's in clinical psychology online?

Yes. Many top schools offer a master's in clinical psychology online. In-state public institutions offer more affordable tuition rates than private universities. However, schools increasingly offer distance education at a reduced rate.

How long are clinical psychology online master's programs?

Clinical psychology online master's programs usually require 36-54 credits and take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete. Schools may offer accelerated options that allow students to complete their degrees in less than a year.

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

Graduates can apply to a doctoral program in clinical psychology or find work in fields like mental health counseling, school psychology, and marriage and family therapy.

Best Online Master's in Clinical Psychology Degrees 2022

#1 Best Online Master’s In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

Pepperdine University

  • Malibu, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Many students attend schools such as Pepperdine University to earn degrees from a distance, and the private school develops programs with them in mind. The institution’s 12 online master's degrees are a big draw to learners who want to attend graduate school online. One option is the master's in clinical psychology program.

The program lets students earn an advanced degree without sacrificing rigor or other obligations. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments at convenient times. An online format lets faculty seamlessly integrate academic rigor, advanced career preparation, and flexible scheduling.

Applicants can expect an admissions rate of 32% each year on average, though this number can vary between programs. Degree-seekers usually need a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related field for entry into a master’s program. Contact the school to see how to apply to this program and submit the required documents.

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,640
Out-of-state
$55,640
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
8,824
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

Regent University

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Without significantly interrupting their lives, graduate students can earn degrees at Regent University, an institution that emphasizes flexibility and accessibility. Remote learners can access the Virginia Beach, Virginia, school’s catalog of 37 online master's degrees, including the master's in clinical mental health counseling. A busy schedule is no barrier to graduate education with degrees like this one.

The admissions criteria for a master's varies depending on the degree, but applicants typically need a bachelor’s in a related major. A master’s degree such as the master's in clinical mental health counseling is a worthy undertaking for many people because the investment often pays off with advanced job opportunities and potentially higher pay. Some graduates interested in research, academia, or related positions go on to earn a Ph.D.

The average tuition for students living in and outside of Virginia is $15,552 per year. Degree-seekers can apply for grants and scholarships to help pay for their education. Loans are another way to help pay for part or all of the program's tuition.

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,220
Out-of-state
$17,220
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
10,365
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

LeTourneau University

  • Longview, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At LeTourneau University, degree-seekers can choose from a variety of online graduate programs. The master's in clinical mental health counseling may appeal to graduates with a bachelor’s in clinical psychology. The program provides the rigorous education expected from a graduate program using a flexible online format.

Students benefit from the school's 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Learners complete specialized coursework and training focusing on advanced ideas and practices in clinical psychology. Graduates leave the program well-prepared for careers in academia, business and industry, or a doctoral program in some cases.

Texas students and enrollees who live out of state pay a yearly average of $18,618. The scholarships and grants available to many degree-seekers help them reduce the price of tuition. Student loans are also available, with 41% of enrollees using them to finance all or part of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,520
Out-of-state
$30,520
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
3,150
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Master’s In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Manchester-based Southern New Hampshire University is a private college with a strong catalog of academic programs and a learning experience tailored to meet learners’ needs. The institution is a leader in online graduate education, offering 22 master's degrees remotely. One of these is the master's in counseling online.

The program's flexibility and adaptability attract many graduate students. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments when convenient. A hallmark of this institution is ample experience providing rigorous degrees that emphasize both rigor and flexible learning.

Overall, about 88% of applicants get admitted each year, with some variations to be expected depending on the program. Degree-seekers usually need a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related field for entry into a master’s program. The counseling program department can provide more application information, such as what documents to submit and how to provide them.

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,756
Out-of-state
$30,756
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
113,514
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Master’s In Clinical Psychology Degrees 2021

Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private college located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University has a lot to offer. The institution’s 15 online master's degrees are a big draw to many students who want to attend graduate school online. The master's in clinical mental health counseling is ideal for learners interested in the field.

Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish longstanding goals. Caretakers, professionals, and other busy enrollees may immediately see how they can balance work, family, and their education. This format does not come at the expense of academic rigor or advanced career preparation.

In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. Contact the program or admissions department to determine entrance and application requirements. These may include transcripts and recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$19,808
Out-of-state
$19,808
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
19,567
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Featured Online Behavioral Psychology Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Recommended Reading

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.