Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

Online master's in psychology programs prepare degree-seekers for doctoral studies. Graduates can also work in business, law, or public policy. Learners can choose a concentration such as sports or veteran psychology.

Updated September 8, 2022

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Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

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Online master's in psychology programs prepare degree-seekers for doctoral studies. Graduates can also work in business, law, or public policy. Learners can choose a concentration such as sports or veteran psychology. Core classes typically explore advanced psychopathology, lifespan development, and research methods. Students earning a master's in psychology online also complete a practicum.

Applicants generally submit undergraduate transcripts, recommendation letters, and a resume. Some programs also require standardized test scores and an interview. This guide covers typical classes, concentrations, tuition costs, and salary potential. The final section details how graduates of online master's in psychology programs can become licensed psychologists.

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Questions About a Master's in Psychology

How many years does it take to get a master's in psychology?

Full-time students usually graduate in 18-24 months. Part-time learners may need up to three years to complete an online master's in psychology program.

Can I be a therapist with a master's in psychology?

After earning an affordable master's in psychology, many graduates work as licensed therapists. However, licensed psychologists need a doctorate.

What is a psychologist's salary?

Psychologists earn a median salary well above the median for all occupations. Factors including education, employer, and location impact earning potential.

Why Get a Master's in Psychology?

After earning a master's in psychology online, graduates can become marriage and family therapists and substance abuse counselors. Many positions in the field pay high median salaries and feature strong job growth. Graduates can also pursue a Ph.D. in psychology. This terminal degree and experience qualifies holders for a psychologist license.

Working professionals and recent college graduates can benefit from online master's in psychology programs. Typically, the same professors teach online and on-campus classes. Online learners can access student services, and many programs feature asynchronous curricula.

How Much Does a Master's in Psychology Cost?

The cost of online master's in psychology programs varies by school. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master's degree was $66,340 in 2021. Learners may also need to pay for a criminal background check prior to beginning a practicum or internship. In-state public schools typically offer the lowest tuition rates. Some public schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates.

Learners can reduce out-of-pocket expenses by applying to schools offering institutional aid. Some schools award merit-based scholarships to students with excellent undergraduate grades. Schools may also offer grants to learners with financial need. Additionally, learners can apply for need-based funding from the federal government.

Additional Online Student Fees

Like on-campus students, online degree-seekers pay for textbooks and graduation fees. Online learners may also pay a per-credit or per-semester technology fee. Students may need to upgrade their laptop or internet service to meet their program's technology requirements. Many computer companies offer student discounts.

Graduates who pursue licensure pay additional fees. Aspiring therapists and licensed psychologists should budget for licensure fees. Other costs may include professional certifications. Graduates can join professional organizations to receive discounts on certification fees.

How Much Do Psychologists Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists earn a median annual salary of $82,180. Specialization impacts a psychologist's earning potential. Industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median of $96,270 per year, while clinical and school psychologists earn a median of $79,820 annually. Psychologists in California, Alaska, and Illinois earn the highest average salaries, ranging from $115,340-$124,910.

Licensed psychologists need a terminal degree. Psychologists with licensure and experience often pursue tenure-track teaching positions. The BLS reports that postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $80,560 per year. Psychology professors in California, New York, and the District of Columbia earn the highest average salaries.

Courses in Psychology

Affordable master's in psychology programs feature core classes on topics such as industrial-organizational psychology, research and evaluation methods, and trauma in diverse populations. Learners typically complete in-person practicums or internships. Many programs require a thesis or capstone project.

The following core classes help students build a foundation for doctoral studies and careers in the field. Class names and academic requirements vary by program and can impact graduates' opportunities. Learners should compare prospective schools' course catalogs before applying.

  • Industrial Organizational Psychology

    This class introduces industrial-organizational psychology fundamentals, such as how work setting affects employees. Degree-seekers analyze team dynamics, organizational leadership best practices, and multiculturalism's benefits and challenges. Learners develop emotional intelligence and assessment skills. Graduates can use knowledge from this class to become licensed industrial-organizational psychologists.
  • Research and Evaluation Methods for Mental Health Professionals

    Therapists and psychologists must know how to conduct and interpret psychology research. This class trains students in design methods, measurement, and correlation. Degree-seekers explore statistics and program evaluation. Students learn to analyze research publications and contribute to scholarship.
  • Trauma and Diverse Populations

    Many therapists and psychologists help patients recover from trauma. Students in this class analyze traumatic events' effects on people of different ages. Coursework emphasizes risk and protective factors, recovery best practices, and cultural contexts. This class prepares learners to become licensed marriage and family therapists and clinical counselors.

Specializations for Psychology

The top online master's in psychology programs feature specializations, also known as concentrations or tracks. A specialization prepares learners to work in a specific area, such as child and adolescent development, forensic psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology. Degree-seekers specialization coursework after completing core classes.

When researching affordable master's in psychology programs, learners should consider each school's specialization options and curriculum requirements. Students should look for specialization options that align with their career goals. Many online master's in psychology programs feature the following concentrations.

  • Child and Adolescent Development Psychology

    This specialization explores the unique psychological needs of children and adolescents. Learners develop strategies to help improve the lives of children and young adults. Typical classes include developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and intervention strategies. Many learners specializing in this area pursue a Ph.D.
  • Forensic Psychology

    Forensic psychologists work in law enforcement. These professionals interview victims, suspected criminals, and potential jury members. Students prepare for this role through coursework in assessment for forensic psychology, the intersection of law and psychology, and psychology in the courtroom. Many forensic psychology jobs require a doctorate.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

    Industrial-organizational psychologists study how individuals and groups perform in various workplaces. These professionals must understand human motivation and interactions. This specialization typically requires classes covering motivation in the workplace, the psychology of leadership, and organizational consulting. Graduates help their employers increase productivity.

How to Become a Psychologist

Most psychologists need a doctorate and a license. Aspiring postsecondary teachers typically earn a Ph.D. Psychology students who plan to treat patients enroll in Psy.D. programs. Most Psy.D. programs feature a one-year internship in clinical settings. Both doctoral degrees feature experimental procedures and statistics classes.

Clinical psychologists treat patients directly. They use interviews and tests to diagnose patients and recommend solutions. Rehabilitation psychologists help people with disabilities live independently. School psychologists assist children and adolescents with behavioral or social problems.

Licensure for Psychologists

After earning a psychology doctorate, most graduates pursue licensure. Licensure requirements vary by state. In New York, candidates need a doctorate, passing exam scores, and two years of supervised clinical experience.

New York licensure candidates must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which costs $688 as of February 2022. Candidates must also submit a $294 licensing fee with their application. Application processing takes up to six weeks.

New York psychologists maintain their license by earning 36 continuing education credits every three years. Renewal costs $229, as of February 2022.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Psychology

#1 Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

Fort Hays State University

  • Hays, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Fort Hays State University provides psychology students with a highly ranking online master's in school psychology. The program equips learners with advanced training that can lead to career advancement in their field. Some master's degree-holders go on to pursue a doctorate.

The school invests in an online platform that prioritizes user-friendliness and efficiency. Students can juggle their various responsibilities thanks to this program's flexibility. Degree candidates benefit from faculty support and services such as career advising.

Degree-seekers interested in pursuing a master’s usually need a bachelor’s in the major or a related field to apply. School data show the acceptance rate stands at 91%, but some programs may differ. Financial aid options such as loans and scholarships can help students pay for tuition, which costs $3,582 per year for Kansas residents.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,990
Out-of-state
$14,070
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
15,908
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

American Public University System

  • Charles Town, WV
  • 4 years
  • Online

A private college located in Charles Town, West Virginia, American Public University System offers 32 online master's degrees. One option from this leader in online graduate education is the master of arts in psychology.

The program's adaptability appeals to students with hectic schedules who demand flexibility. Learners can watch video recordings and complete coursework in the evenings, weekends, and at other convenient times. This school boasts robust experience providing rigorous degrees that emphasize both rigor and flexible learning.

In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. Consult the program to learn how to submit transcripts and recommendation letters if required.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,804
Out-of-state
$6,804
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
45,249
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

Union College

  • Barbourville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

An emphasis on accessibility is a key part of Union College’s mission. The Barbourville, Kentucky, school delivers various programs for online students, including a ranked master of arts in psychology. Graduate education here is designed to be accessible for working people, including professionals and caregivers, who need flexible schedules.

Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the same field or a related one. The psychology master's program provides advanced education beyond a bachelor’s, preparing enrollees for career advancement and other opportunities. Preparation for a doctoral program is another benefit of this degree.

Tuition costs $9,600 annually. Qualifying learners can use grants and scholarships to help fund their education. Many students may also want to consider loans as an option to afford tuition.

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,330
Out-of-state
$26,330
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
1,140
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
71% 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 Psychology Degrees

Baker College

  • Owosso, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private college situated in Owosso, Michigan, Baker College administers a comprehensive catalog of degrees. The institution’s 12 online master's degrees appeal to learners who want to study from wherever they live. One option includes the master of science in industrial and organizational psychology.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. Caretakers, professionals, and other busy enrollees may immediately see how they can balance work, family, and their education. The program does not sacrifice rigor. Degree-seekers get advanced preparation for higher-level work and further education.

According to the latest data, the school accepts about 73% of applicants each year, but that may vary by program. A bachelor’s degree in the field, or a related one, is the usual threshold for entry into a master’s program. The best way to find out more is to contact the program to explore entrance and application requirements like transcripts and recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,720
Out-of-state
$9,720
Retention Rate
49%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
7,606
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Master’s In Psychology Degrees

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Angelo State University enrolls students in one of the nation’s best master of science in applied psychology programs for online degree-seekers. The program equips enrollees with advanced training valued by employers in their profession. Master's graduates can can also pursue a doctorate later on if they choose.

This school’s online format attracts degree-seekers who see the appeal of remote learning. This flexibility gives students more control over their schedules and makes it easier to juggle multiple priorities. Another key benefit is the support enrollees receive from faculty and the academic community, whether they study on campus or online.

Applicants usually need a bachelor’s in order to be considered for this program. The school accepts around 77% of all who apply, though different programs post different averages. Texas enrollees pay around $4,059 per year for tuition. Learners can use grants, loans, and scholarships to help fund their education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,332
Out-of-state
$14,460
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
10,568
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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