Perhaps you have finished an undergraduate degree in psychology or a closely related field and are working full time.
Why would you want to put your life on hold to get a Master’s degree in Psychology? First of all, you don’t need to put your life on hold.
Online degrees, which are increasing in popularity by the year, make it possible to finish a graduate degree without quitting your job, granted that you can put in some extra time and effort. In addition to their flexibility, they are also more affordable.
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What kind of online Master’s in Psychology degree should you get?
When it comes to an advanced degree in psychology, the options are plenty. If you want to focus on children’s psychology and counseling and you can picture yourself working in a elementary school, then seek out a program such as Edinboro’s.
Or perhaps you’re more interested in the intersection of psychology and crime. There are plenty of programs that allow you to specialize in everything from criminal behavior to psychotherapy.
Whichever program you choose, just know that all of these below can be completed online and at the fraction of the cost of a traditional degree.
How much money will you make with a Master’s in Psychology?
A study by the Thomas Fordham Institute found that getting a degree online as opposed to on-campus is as much as ⅓ less expensive.
Also, consider this: according to a 2009 study by the Center for Workforce Studies, the average salary for those with a BA or BS in Psychology is only $30,000 a year. However, those with an MA average $40,000 a year.
Imagine what you could do with an extra $10,000 a year. And for those who will use their MA to go on for a PhD, they can expect to make an average of $70,000 a year, more than twice they would make with a Bachelor’s degree![footnote] 1 Salaries, Student Debt, and Employment Opportunities in Psychology. Compiled by the APA Center for Workforce Studies, May 2011.[/footnote] I hope I have your attention.
What can you do with a Master’s in Psychology?
As we noted above, a MS in Psychology degree from one of these schools can land you in a fantastic career. While all of these 10 programs ensure you have a solid foundation in human development and behavior, they also all encourage you to specialize in an area of interest. These specializations can lead to a variety of opportunities post graduation.
For example, a sampling of the graduates from the programs below just goes to show that you can end up in any number of settings with a MS in Psychology. Indeed, students have gone on to become:
- Clinical Psychologists
- Forensic Psychologists
- Educational Psychologists
- Health Psychologists, and much more
What are the requirements for a Master’s in Psychology?
All of these programs are 1-2 years in length, but can be completed fully at home. This means you will have the space and luxury to earn the degree at your own pace and in your own space.
Most of these 10 programs require a few core classes, usually covering human development and lifespan, personality theories, and cognition. Then you will tailor the program to meet your personal interests and career goals.
What are the most affordable online Master’s in Psychology degrees?
More education pays big dividends, but lower costs in getting that education mean that more of that money flows into your bank account and not the pockets of student loan providers. We at College Choice have crunched the numbers to bring you the degree programs that give you the most bang for your buck. So lay back on our therapy couch and tell us about your problems finding affordable education. We’ll be here—notebook in hand—putting your mind at easy by jotting down the ten most affordable online Master’s programs in Psychology.
Source: Salaries, Student Debt, and Employment Opportunities in Psychology. Compiled by the APA Center for Workforce Studies, May 2011.
See our rankings methodology page.
Fort Hays State University
Coming in as the most affordable option for a Master’s in Psychology is Fort Hays State University (FHSU). FHSU is a school that shows up in many of College Choice’s guides for affordable degrees. Fort Hays State, located in in the city of Fort Hays, is one of six state universities in Kansas.
Fort Hays State University has recently expanded its online offerings more than is typical for a state university. Now about half of its student body are online learners. One of its online graduate degrees is its 33 credit Master’s of Science in School Psychology. As the name suggests, this degree is designed for those hoping to become school psychologists and fulfills the educational requirements for licensure in that field in the state of Kansas and a few other regions. Coursework includes:
- Behavior Therapy
- Developmental Therapy
- Professional Ethics in Psychology
- Curriculum-Based Measurement, and much more
Though this is an online degree, it’s important to note that the program does require some on-campus workshops, but these are of a few day’s duration and are offered in the Summer semester. Students who complete the degree are also eligible for FHSU’s complementary Education Specialist in School Psychology degree. FHSU has been regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
American Public University
Charles Town, WV
American Public University (APU) is an online university which, along with American Military University, is owned by a publicly traded for-profit corporation located in Charles Town, West Virginia. APU specializes in online and distance learning. The student population is overwhelming made up of American military personnel and their families. This includes more than 50,000 students.
Among their 190 degree and certificate programs is their 39-credit Master’s of Arts in Psychology. The degree, like many of APU’s degrees, is designed in consultation with a team of industry professionals with backgrounds in psychology to ensure that the course content covers issues most relevant to potential employers. The degree is not meant to be a terminal degree, but rather as a bridge to further graduate work or professional certification programs. Coursework covers:
- Learning and Cognition
- Social Psychology
- Contemporary Issues in Psychology
- Lifespan Development, and much more
It comes as no surprise that APU is deemed one of the nation’s most friendly military universities. Besides being founded by a retired military Major, the school has cultivated links with military organizations and offers substantial discounts on tuition to service members. APU has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Union College is a small liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Its campus is in Barbourville, Kentucky, and its degree programs have been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Union College offers a 37 credit hour Master’s of Arts in Psychology that can be taken either entirely online or through a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. One of the most important outcomes of the program is to impart in students the ability to adequately investigate and evaluate the academic literature in the field, giving them not only a grasp of the best research but also allowing for continual professional development. Classes relevant to this learning outcome include:
- Statistics for Mental Health Professionals
- Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
- And more
Union College offers students a few unique ways to enhance both their degree experience and their career. For students interested in the field of addiction, Union also offers a Certificate in Chemical Dependency that can augment and be taken currently with their MA in Psychology.
Baker College is private, not-for-profit, and career-oriented university. Its flagship school is in Flint, Michigan, but it also has additional campuses throughout the state. Baker is primarily known for its alternative, distance-based programs and for providing students a fast and flexible way to earn a professional degree.
By their focus on industry and the technical arts, Baker College’s online Master’s of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology specializes in the application of psychological theories to the workplace. Students of the program will learn to apply psychological theories and concepts in order to improve workflow, create better work environments, and improve management strategies. Classes include:
- Psychology of Leadership
- Assessment in the Workplace
- Psychology of Motivation
- And more
Professionals with a Master’s in I/O Psychology can expect growth in their field that is 6% faster than other psychology practitioners. Moreover, they will have access to job opportunities in areas as diverse as organizational development, talent acquisition, and workforce analytics. Baker College has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Angelo State University is a four-year public university in the West Texas town of Saint Angelo. It has been regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
It offers a 36 credit-hour MS in Applied Psychology degree that can be taken either fully online or a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. The program was designed for those hoping to advance within their current careers, work within the field of human services, teach at the community college level, or go on for a PhD in psychology. Coursework includes:
- Core Concepts on Psychological Science
- Social Psychology
- Theories of Personality
- Applied Economic Psychology, and more
As the “applied” in the degree title implies, Angelo state’s Master’s program focuses less on the psychological theory itself and more on the application of that theory to the resolution of real-world problems. Each course in the program requires students to apply what they have learned to solve a practical problem and also to find innovative ways in promoting greater psychological literacy in the surrounding culture. They offer both a thesis and non-thesis option.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Edinboro University is a medium sized public university and one of 15 member schools of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Edinboro’s online Master’s of Education in Educational Psychology is a niche degree aimed at forming psychologically literate educators, school psychologists, and vocational counselors.
Edinboro’s 30 credit-hour program allows students to complete their degree as part-time students within a two-year window, making it an attractive option for those working full or part time. This is an ideal program for those who want to practice psychology within the educational context. In fact, graduates have gone on to become:
- High School Counselors
- School Psychologists
- Child Psychologists
- And more
This program is affordable and flexible, and it gives working professionals an opportunity to jump up the career ladder. For example, for high school teachers who want to become school psychologists, the national average for school psychologist’s salaries is about $20,000 a year more than the national average for high school teachers. That means a two-year and $28,000 investment in EUP’s Master’s of Education in Psychology could pay for itself quickly and easily.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is a member school of the University of Louisiana system and is located in the North-Central part of the state. This MS in Psychology can be earned entirely online. And it offers two different specializations.
ULM first offers a specialization in psychometric psychology, which focuses on measuring psychological differences. a useful field of inquiry for those hoping to work as consultants, career counselors, or in the field of industrial psychology. For those interested in using their psychology degree to pursue a career in criminal justice, ULM also provides a specialization in forensic psychology. This includes classes on:
- Psychological Assessment
- Theories of delinquency, and more
We suggest that those hoping to use their MS to pursue a doctorate in psychology complete a thesis, but for those requiring no more than an MS, ULM’s program offers a non-thesis option for completion of the degree. The University of Louisiana at Monroe has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Indiana Institute of Technology
Indiana Institute of Technology is a private nonprofit university in Fort Wayne that specializes in business, management, and STEM disciplines. It is organized into five separate colleges and is home to nearly 10,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students.
This 33 credit, fully online MS in Psychology is aligned with the American Psychological Association’s educational guidelines for doctoral education, making IIT’s degree a good option for those hoping to use their MS to pursue a doctorate. Coursework includes:
- Multicultural Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychology
- Advanced Counseling Theory, and more
Learning outcomes for the program include the ability to compare major psychological theories, distinguish various research methodologies, understand professional ethics in the field of psychology, and respect individual diversity. Completion of the degree requires a final capstone course which tests proficiency in these learning outcomes and an understanding of the material taught in the required courses. IIT’s degree programs have been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tiffin University is a private nonprofit university in Tiffin, Ohio. Though it has many campuses throughout the state and region. And it has a renowned online, distance learning platform. It has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers a 37 credit online Master’s of Science in Psychology.
The program is intended for those pursuing a career in higher education as a terminal degree for those hoping to teach at the community college level or as stepping stone to a PhD in Psychology. Classes in the core curriculum include:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Advanced Theories of Personality
- And more
The degree could also be used for those hoping to enter such fields as child protective services, human resources management, and market research. Hourly credit units are offered at a discounted rate to members of the Fraternal Order of Police, Military members and their spouses, and certain public and private sector employees in the Tiffin area.
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