Childhood and adolescence can be a turbulent time. Turns out it’s less about middle school drama and more about actual physical changes happening in young people’s brains. Do you have a knack for talking with young people? Are you a brainiac when it comes to studying the brain? Sounds like you’ve come to the right place. Child and adolescent psychologists combine talk therapy with science to make huge changes in the lives of young people.
What kind of Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology should you get?
Some specializations within child and adolescent psychology include ecosystemic child psychology, family/child psychology, and educational psychology.
- Ecosystemic child psychology looks at the role of social systems in child development. Practitioners become familiar with educational, legal, medical, and cultural systems in addition to conventional child psychology topics.
- Family/child psychology deals with the issues that face children within the family unit. This discipline encompasses many others, such as childhood obesity, adolescent development, and familial violence.
- Educational psychologists look at the ways in which humans learn. Not all educational psychology students focus on children and adolescents, but some do choose to specialize in how children learn.
Some specializations in this field will require additional hands-on training or supervised clinical practice to meet license requirements, and some require a doctoral degree. Not all positions require a license, however, so take the time to look into career paths for specific concentrations.
How much money do people make with an Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology?
In 2018, the median pay for psychologists of all types was just under $80,000 per year, or just under $38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Payscale.com’s data on child psychologist salaries, meanwhile, indicates a typical salary of about $68,500 per year.
Current Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for psychology job growth look good, too. The Bureau predicts psychologist jobs will grow at a rate of 14% between 2016 and 2026, with most of that growth among clinical, school, and counseling psychologists. While this does not guarantee any psychology graduate a job, the prospects for growth in this field well outstrip the national average.
What can you do with an Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology?
After graduating from an online master’s degree program in child psychology, students can go on to work in schools, non-profit organizations, or government agencies.
- Schools – Those who work in school settings can be special education technicians, school counselors, program directors, and program evaluators. These positions often involve working directly with children.
- Non-Profit Organizations – In non-profit organizations, psychology graduates can use their expertise to advocate and raise funds for young people and assess current research. They might be lobbyists, research analysts, or grant writers.
- Government Agencies – Child and adolescent psychologists in government agencies help develop policies and support interventions in children’s lives. These positions include research analysis, foster care management, and many types of administrative work.
What are the requirements for an Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology?
- Bachelor’s Degree – Most schools require a bachelor’s degree, though this degree doesn’t need to be in psychology. Many schools require students to be familiar with the basics of the field as well as research methods, however, so a psychology degree may be easier.
- GPA Requirement – Some schools waive such requirements, but others will expect a 3.0 or higher GPA in undergraduate work. This may be limited to just a student’s psychology courses, or the latter half of a program.
- GRE Scores – Students should expect to take the GRE before applying to an online master’s in child psychology.
- Other Documents – Depending on the program, a school may expect a statement of purpose, multiple letters of recommendation, or both.
What are the best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology degrees?
These rankings show the ten best online master’s degree programs in child and adolescent psychology. These rankings use data from U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com to rank the top programs. Academic quality, affordability, and student satisfaction all come into play when deciding which schools win out.
Students who pursue child and adolescent psychology at these schools can be confident that they will receive a quality education without going out on a financial limb, and that such an education will prepare them for professional work in child and adolescent psychology.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,242
Kicking off our list is the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. The oldest and largest of the University of Minnesota system, this public research institution is considered one of the nation’s “Public Ivy” schools. The university is a leader in innovative research, pushing forward new ideas in the world of health, technology, and psychology.
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities stands out above the rest for its MA in Applied Child and Adolescent Development. This program is offering 100 percent online and covers 32 credit-hours of classes. Your curriculum will be defined by prerequisites, and 15 credits in an emphasis area. Here’s a quick look:
- Early Childhood Assessment
- Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood
- Child Life Theory, Practice, and Program Development
- Early Childhood and Public Policy
Within the program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in one of three areas: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Life, Individual Studies. Each track includes 13 customized courses. This is a fantastic way to elevate your resume.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 96.18
Average Net Price: $11,398
Located in Tampa, the University of South Florida is a three-fold institution that maintains three schools: USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The Tampa campus is by far the largest, with over 41,000 students. As an overall school, USF ranks #68 among the 100 Top Public Schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Through the fully online MS in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health degree at USF, you’ll jump into a world of engaged professors and streamlined courses. A total of 39 courses are required for this degree. The program can be delivered as a thesis or a non-thesis degree. All students will take a series of core courses that include:
- Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health
- Cultural Competency in Children’s Mental Health
- Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Policy
- Evaluation & Research Methods in Community Health
Within your full curriculum, you will cater your degree to one of four concentrations: Developmental Disabilities, Leadership in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Research & Evaluation, or Youth & Behavioral Health. Pursuing one of these areas gives you a huge head start in a career.
College Choice Score: 93.21
Average Net Price: $24,794
The hub for conservative Christian higher education, Liberty University is one of the largest Christian universities in the world. It was founded in 1971 by conservative leader Jerry Falwell. Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University also maintains LU Online that was started in 2009.
At Liberty University, you’ll complete a fully online MA in Applied Psychology / Developmental Psychology. Your classes will be delivered in 8-week cycles, totalling 36 credit-hours. Most students finish their degree within about a year and a half. This curriculum is infused with faith-based teachings. Some of your core classes will include:
- Developmental Psychology
- Intervention & Behavioral Support
- Adolescent Psychology
- Developmental Neuropsychology
Liberty University is committed to its military students. Whether you’re an active service member or a spouse of a military member, the school will have your back. Military members receive a whopping $275 tuition discount per credit-hour. Veterans also receive a generous tuition discount package.
College Choice Score: 86.25
Average Net Price: $16,538
Primarily an online institution, Capella University is a for-profit school that operates out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over 36,000 students attend Capella University and are enrolled in its nearly 150 unique degree programs. The majority of the students at Capella University are enrolled in master’s programs.
The Harold Abel School of Psychology offers an MS in Psychology with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Development. This is a fully online program that requires 55 credit-hours in order to graduate. The first 20 credits are in core subjects, and the next 30 are specialization courses. Here’s a quick look:
- Adolescent Psychology
- Human Prenatal Development
- Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology
- Quantitative Design and Analysis
The degree at Capella University can be completed through either the Guided Path format or the Flex Path format. The Guided Path sets out a structured course schedule for you to follow in order to help you stay on track. The Flex Path is self-guided and self-paced. This is a great option if you want to finish your degree earlier.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
College Choice Score: 85.51
Average Net Price: $24,444
Specializing specifically in psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is unique in its focus. It was founded in 1979 by established psychologists who wanted to push forward high-quality training in the field. Today, it offers over 20 different programs within psychology to around 4,300 students.
The MA in Psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology brings students into the Child and Adolescent concentration. This is an online program that you can complete either part-time or full-time. The curriculum dives into trauma intervention, addiction disorders, and more with classes like:
- Family Systems and Family Therapy
- Trauma and Crisis Intervention
- Evidence-Based Programs for Children and Adolescents
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has strong academic partnerships with a number of schools and organizations. For example, the school offers financial discounts for students transferring in from Kaplan International, LA County Community Colleges, Sophia Learning, UC Irvine Extension, and more.
College Choice Score: 85.46
Average Net Price: $26,520
Founded in 1996, Northcentral University is an online university that delivers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. It operates out of five academic schools, one of which is the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Around 10,000 students attend Northcentral University each year.
Northcentral University features an MS in Child and Adolescent Psychology that spans 30 credit-hours. This online degree encompasses 10 total courses and takes most students around 20 months to complete. You can look forward to classes that deepen your understanding of relevant topics such as:
- Socioemotional Development
- Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
In addition to your 30-credit-hour program, you’ll have the choice to participate in a 100-hour internship in an area organization. This is an optional feature to put your skills in action. An internship experience is often what sets you apart from the rest of the pack in a hiring situation.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 85.32
Average Net Price: $34,984
Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University is home to over 80,000 students. Most of its student population, however, attends through online learning. Southern New Hampshire University is made up of six unique schools and colleges—including the College of Online & Continuing Education.
At Southern New Hampshire University, you’ll undertake a 36 credit-hour MS in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development Psychology. This program lets you accelerate your degree forward with 10-week terms. Most students finish in 15 months. You’ll find a wide variety of classes like:
- Cognitive Processes
- Theories of Personality
- Intervention Strategies
- Developmental Psychology
Southern New Hampshire University is widely known for being one of the fastest growing universities in the country. It also has been recognized for its ingenuity. In fact, last year U.S. News & World Report gave it the #1 spot in its list of Most Innovative Schools.
CUNY City College
College Choice Score: 84.88
Average Net Price: $8,547
One of the many institutions affiliated with the City University of New York system, CUNY School of Professional Studies offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It is located in Manhattan, but also delivers a number of online options for students. In fact, CUNY School of Professional Studies housed the CUNY’s first fully online program.
If you attend the MA in Psychology at CUNY School of Professional Studies, you’ll have two options for specializing: Industrial/Organizational Psychology or Developmental Psychology. The curriculum is divided out for you into core courses, research methods, specialization courses, and electives. You’ll meet 36 credit-hours with classes like:
- Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Atypical Development
- Group Dynamics
Other outlets have been abuzz about the program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. This year, it ranked in the top 25 Online Master’s in Psychology degrees by Online Psychology Degrees. It also recently made the list for the Top 20 Best Values for an Online Master’s in Psychology by College Values Online.
West Virginia University
College Choice Score: 84.83
Average Net Price: $10,814
A shining point for the state in higher education, West Virginia University is a public research university with land-grant and space-grant designations. Over 32,300 students are in attendance. It maintains an R1: Doctoral University according to the Carnegie Foundation, and continues to push collegiate research forward in innovative ways.
Within in the online MA in Educational Psychology at West Virginia University, you’ll find a major in Child Development and Family Studies. Through 33 credit-hours, you’ll sort through child development, family systems, research methods, and more. Here’s a deeper look into the curriculum:
- Comparative Study of Family
- Socio-Emotional Development of Children
- Survey of Family Studies
- Socialization Processes
West Virginia University is the proud home to a number of prestigious alumnus. In fact, the school ranks nationally for its numerous scholarship recipients. WVU claims 25 Rhodes Scholars, 22 Truman Scholars, 42 Goldwater Scholars, 46 Fulbright Scholars, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Montclair State University
College Choice Score: 82.68
Average Net Price: $15,131
Located just 10 miles from the “Big Apple,” Montclair State University is a public research university in New Jersey with a lot to offer. It is made up of 11 academic colleges and schools. Although Montclair State University is a mid-sized university of 21,000 students, it maintains an impressive student-to-teacher ratio of 23:1.
Offered through the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, you’ll tackle an online MA in Child Advocacy and Policy. This curriculum interweaves psychology, social work, and law. You’ll take two sessions per term in 8-week courses. Over 33 credit-hours, your course load might look like the following:
- Child Abuse & Neglect
- Substance Abuse and Family Crisis
- Family Empowerment Models
- Child Welfare Policy
Montclair State University is fully equipped to meet the multi-faceted demands of an online degree program. You’ll be set up with a graduate program coordinator assigned specifically to the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy. You also will have complete access to a virtual library, writing center, and tech support.