As colleges and universities navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we're continuing our efforts to provide you with useful student resources and the latest online program information. Check our coronavirus resources page to learn more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment opportunities for psychologists will increase by 14% from 2018 to 2028, double the average rate of growth for the economy as a whole. Psychologists earned a median salary of $79,010 in 2018, roughly $40,000 more per year than the median pay for all other occupations.

The vast majority of jobs in psychology require some form of advanced degree. For example, with an online master's in psychology, you can serve as a school or industrial-organizational psychologist. To diagnose and treat mental issues as a clinical or counseling psychologist, you must first earn a Doctoral degree in Psychology. Many students pursue a master's degree in psychology online to improve their chances of earning admission into an online Psychology Phd program.

This page features a ranking of the nation's best accredited online master's in psychology programs, as well as additional information on the diverse career paths available within the field.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Psychology Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

Rank School Location
1 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
2 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
3 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
4 McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA
5 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
6 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
7 Lynn University Boca Raton, FL
8 University of Idaho Moscow, ID
9 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
10 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Psychology Programs

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Arizona State University

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 14%

ASU's online master's in psychology program teaches students an understanding of psychological theory and human behavior. Through a blend of theoretical and practical coursework, learners prepare for careers in several different fields.

Required coursework covers topics like professional issues in psychology, quantitative analysis, and research methods. The program offers elective courses in a variety of areas, including abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and psychophysiology. Students complete a total of 12 classes and each class lasts 7.5 weeks.

Applicants must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA over the final 60 credits of their undergraduate program. Prospective students should submit a completed graduate application along with transcripts, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $655/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (recommended)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Pepperdine's online master's in psychology prepares graduates for careers like market research analyst, child development specialist, and community outreach specialist. Students cover a variety of psychotherapy techniques and gain experience in multicultural counseling.

Learners complete 36-48 credits, depending on their academic background, including five foundation courses, nine core courses, and two electives. Required classes include industrial-organizational psychology, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, and theories of counseling and psychotherapy. The program does not include a practicum or internship requirement and delivers all coursework asynchronously.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. However, they do not need to submit GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master's in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,645/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-48 credits
Program Length: 18-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Saint Leo offers a master of science in psychology that does not include any in-person requirements. While taking general psychology coursework, participants learn about theories and hone analytical and research skills. Students receive an intimate education, as cohorts are capped at 15 learners.

Degree-seekers tackle courses like history and systems of psychology, advanced social psychology, and physiological psychology. In addition to traditional classes, students complete a capstone project that emphasizes research design and analysis, quality writing, and ethical decision-making.

Saint Leo encourages students to join the American Psychological Association and attend regional and area-specific conferences. Many learners also join the university's online psychology club.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $670/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

McNeese State University

Lake Charles, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Established in 1939, McNeese is a public university located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The university's MA in psychology program offers three different specializations: applied behavior analysis, counseling psychology, and general/experimental psychology. Depending on their program, students can enroll in a fully online or hybrid format. All learners complete core psychology classes and work with an advisor to determine their specialization.

The general/experimental psychology, applied behavior analysis, and counseling psychology concentrations feature 39, 58, and 60 credits, respectively. The applied behavior analysis and counseling psychology pathways require an internship and a practicum, while the applied behavior analysis and general/experimental psychology pathways require a thesis.

Applicants to any of these programs must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and a minimum GRE score of 285.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Public
Credit Requirements: 39-60 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

ULM's master's in psychology program offers a general studies track as well as concentrations in psychometrics and forensic psychology. Students can complete the general studies and forensic psychology tracks entirely online. The psychometrics concentration can be completed mostly online, except for one on-campus semester.

All psychology students must take core coursework that covers topics like quantitative methods in the behavioral sciences, research methods, and neuropsychology. The psychometrics concentration delves into issues like intelligence testing, behavior modification, and theories of learning. The forensic psychology concentration includes classes like psychopathology, counseling in criminal justice, and sociology of law.

Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores unless their GPA is below 3.0.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $400/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online or hybrid (depending on concentration)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (if GPA is between 2.75 and 2.99)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

6

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Liberty offers an online MA in applied psychology. Preparing learners with a diverse set of skills, this online master's in psychology provides a flexible format. Students can specialize in industrial/organizational psychology or developmental psychology.

Throughout a Christian, faith-based curriculum, students learn about cognitive psychology theories, how to design and conduct research, and the relationship between Christian faith and psychological science.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Prospective students must submit their application along with official college transcripts and proof of English proficiency.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Applied Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

7

Lynn University

Boca Raton, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Lynn offers a flexible online MS in psychology without any in-person requirements. Designed to help students build skills and knowledge related to psychological research and human behavior, this program prepares learners for myriad careers within and beyond psychology.

Degree-seekers engage with foundational psychology courses like personality psychology, testing and assessment in psychology, and social and cultural foundations. Learners can choose to specialize in industrial/organizational psychology. This concentration includes coursework in areas like leadership and talent management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and submit a letter of recommendation and personal statement. The program does not require GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $650/credit
Credit Requirements: 37 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

8

University of Idaho

Moscow, ID Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

The U of I offers a research-heavy online MS in psychology with a human factors emphasis. By examining how people engage with technology and products in the context of mental health, students prepare for careers in fields like business, human services, and management.

Required coursework includes human factors in engineering design, sensation and perception, and human-computer interaction. In addition to traditional coursework, students routinely take on internships at companies like Motorola and HP. The program does not include any on-campus requirements.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students who do not meet this threshold may still be considered if they submit GRE scores above 300.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology, Human Factors
School Status: Public
Tuition: $549/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (for students with a lower GPA)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

9

Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

FHSU's online master's in psychology program serves students interested in school psychology. Degree-seekers can complete coursework for this program online, except for a five-day workshop held on campus during the summer semester where students work directly with children.

Required coursework covers topics like developmental psychology, advanced child psychopathology, and methods in school psychology. Before graduating, learners must also pass a comprehensive exam.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or education and must have completed at least one undergraduate course in statistics or research methods. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and submit GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online MS in School Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $288/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

10

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

SNHU's online MS in psychology program offers concentrations in child and adolescent psychology, forensic psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. This flexible program emphasizes support for working students and preparedness for advanced psychology careers.

Students learn to effectively address psychological issues, demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics, and use theories and methods to produce original research. Full-time learners can graduate within 15 months.

SNHU accepts prospective students on a rolling basis and requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. If applicants do not have a background in psychology, they must complete foundational coursework in psychology, statistics, and research methods.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master's in Psychology Online
School Status: Private
Tuition: $627/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum (full acceptance), 2.0 minimum (provisional acceptance)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

11

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent was founded by Christian minister Pat Robertson. The university's online master's degree in psychology offers six concentrations in areas like addiction, cybersecurity, industrial/organizational psychology, and leadership coaching.

Informed by the university's Christian mission, core courses discuss issues like contemporary psychology, biological bases of behavior, and research methods in psychology. Through these classes, Regent prepares learners for a variety of careers, including cyberpsychologist and organizational consultant.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Prospective students must complete an application and attend a brief, virtual interview.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $675/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-41 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

12

Indiana Institute of Technology

Fort Wayne, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana Tech offers an online master's in psychology without any on-campus requirements. Designed for working students looking to advance in their fields, this program provides an academic foundation rooted in advanced psychological principles and theories. The program's curriculum meets American Psychological Association accreditation guidelines.

During this 33-credit program, students tackle required classes like writing in psychology, legal and ethical issues in psychology, and statistics for behavioral sciences. In addition to traditional coursework, students complete a capstone research project.

Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution along with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. As this degree is designed for working students, applicants must have two years of experience working in a related field.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $515/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GMAT (if applicant does not have minimum work experience)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

13

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU began operations in 1964. The university's online master's in psychology program serves working professionals across myriad fields. Students gain a comprehensive foundation covering psychology knowledge and research skills.

During this 30-credit program, students tackle coursework in cognitive psychology, human growth and development, and psychological quantitative methods. The program culminates in either a six-credit thesis or two additional psychology courses. Students also have the option to pursue an applied health science concentration.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students who do not meet this cutoff can still earn admission by submitting strong GRE scores.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in General Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $790/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (if student does not meet GPA requirements)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

14

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

FSU's online master of arts in psychology includes 36 credits and takes approximately 18 months to complete. Designed for working professionals, this program provides a generalist focus to prepare graduates for diverse careers within psychology.

The program delivers all coursework asynchronously through the Canvas platform. Students enroll in eight-week blocks during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Coursework covers ethical and professional requirements, communication and professional relationships, social and cultural diversity, and preparing and consuming research.

Admission requirements include a completed application, a personal statement, official transcripts, two recommendation letters, GRE scores, and a curriculum vitae.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $169/credit in state; $421/credit out of state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.6 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

15

Concordia University Chicago

River Forest, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

CUC's online master of arts in psychology program uses a hybrid delivery format. The program includes a blend of on-campus and online courses, and it culminates in a master's thesis that includes a capstone experience.The 33-credit curriculum covers topics like quantitative analysis, assessment techniques, applied psychopathology and diagnosis, and advanced research in psychology. In addition to core coursework, students take one graduate-level ethics course.The program prepares graduates for careers in academia and research. Admission requirements include a personal statement, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a cumulative GPA of 2.85 or above. CUC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Private
Tuition: $476/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.85 minimum

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Should I Get a Master's in Psychology?

This degree guide provides a comprehensive overview of earning a master's in psychology online, including information on admission standards, common coursework, and programmatic accreditation. It also offers a list of resources specifically for psychology students.

What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?

After earning a master's in psychology, you can take on a wide variety of roles in many different industries. This psychology career guide explores the diverse professional opportunities available in the field of psychology.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online Master's in Psychology Program

Will An Online Master's In Psychology Program Provide Me With The Skills I Need To Advance My Career?

According to the APA Center on the Workforce, 52.4% of professional psychologists earned a doctoral or professional degree from 2005 to 2013. The remaining 47.6% completed their education with a master's degree. Depending on your career path, a master's degree in psychology may be sufficient for beginning your career or serve as a stepping stone toward a doctoral program. In either case, the best online master's degree in psychology programs are designed to prepare you for the next step. Earning a specialized degree can further boost your career standing in the area of psychology that interests you most.

Will An Online Master's In Psychology Program Work With My Schedule?

Online master's degree programs in psychology offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom-based education. You'll be able to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with your professor any time of day from the comfort of your home computer. The interactive technology also allows you to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other portable devices. For added convenience, many programs allow students to fulfill their supervised practicum or internship requirements at facilities located close to their home.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Master's In Psychology?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require clinical and counseling psychologists to earn a doctorate, complete an internship, and log one to two years of supervised professional experience before they can pursue licensure. However, a master's degree will be sufficient for industrial-organizational psychologists. Master's-holders in psychology may also find work as assistants for licensed psychologists in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Others graduates pursue careers in counseling, where most professionals are able to obtain licensure with a master's degree.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Psychology Program?

Earning a bachelor's degree is an important first step towards entry or advancement in many fields, but a master's in psychology is a minimum requirement for most positions in the field. While most schools offer a general graduate curriculum, specific coursework and requirements vary depending on the history and mission of the program you choose. The information in this section will give you an idea of what you can expect from an online master's in psychology degree.

Types of Psychology Degrees

Earning a degree in psychology opens graduates to an array of career opportunities beyond a private counseling practice. The critical engagement and therapeutic tactics of psychology can benefit employees and organizations such as hospitals, businesses, and schools. Psychologists rely on communication and observational skills to problem-solve situations with individual clients or small focus groups. They also work one-on-one with disabled or aging clients as a home care aide, enter the educational system as a youth counselor, or pursue an academic career as a clinical research coordinator and analyst. Various degree specializations can also prepare graduates for these psychology professions. The list below details some of the more common specializations for psychology master's programs online, from research-oriented positions to educational careers.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists apply clinical analytical skills to legal and investigative cases. Working as crime analysts or court liaisons, they translate assessment, evaluation, and treatment skills into evidence. These professionals also focus on cognitive and social psychology to comprehend the motives behind criminal actions.

Clinical Psychology

As the foundation for mental and behavioral healthcare, clinical psychology uses advanced theoretical knowledge and analysis to diagnose and treat individuals and groups. Students in this specialty explore patient consultation and research analysis, as well as the tenets of private practice and patient confidentiality. Graduates are prepared for careers in clinical case management, medical psychology, or as a psychology professor.

School Psychology

Psychologists in this field focus on children, youth, and families. They work in school settings, and meet with students and families to address social issues or emerging mental imbalances. These professionals also promote healthy lifestyle choices through preventative programs, and assist children as they transition into young adulthood.

Counseling Psychology

Students in this specialization study the emotional, social, work, and family stressors affecting modern American communities. They gain skills in crisis intervention, clinical supervision, and treatment analysis. Additional training may be available in substance abuse or geriatric counseling.

Educational Psychology

Coursework in this specialization explores the ways people gain knowledge in order to better understand their mental and social development. Students also explore educational retention by examining the variety of settings and contexts in which people learn. Graduates may work as a learning disability counselor or consultant, or as a K-12 school counselor.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY

Most online psychology master's programs are offered as either an MA, which focuses on the liberal arts aspects of the field, or as an MS, which is more research-oriented and grounded in the natural sciences. When choosing a program, be sure to select one that best suits your specific career goals. Regardless of which program you choose, each degree path should include some fundamental courses. Below are a few examples of general curriculum courses that you can expect to find in any psychology program:

  • Lifespan Development

    This course provides students with an advanced look at human development from conception through death, with emphasis on biology, social/emotional, and cognitive changes as they relate to counseling and other applied practices. While this topic deals with all branches of psychology, this course is particularly relevant for students who want to work as clinical psychologist or other positions of personal counseling.

  • Gerontology (or the Psychology of Aging)

    The course is designed for students who want to work with aged populations as nursing home psychologists or professional caretakers. Coursework provides an overview of the social and emotional changes that happen to an individual later in life, including intellectual functioning and mental illness. The course also explores ways to assist the elderly through professional treatment and agency referrals or placement.

  • Human Neuropsychology

    This course explores the causes, consequences, and treatment of brain disorders and diseases and prepares students for a wide variety of careers, including substance abuse counselor or forensic psychologist. Students also learn about the functions of the brain in normal human functioning and exceptional conditions such as brain damage and neuropsychological syndromes in order to help them properly help diagnose and treat these conditions.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master's in Psychology?

The average masters in psychology requirements are a curriculum of 30 to 36 credit hours. Students can earn their degree in two years or less with full-time enrollment, though many schools will allow up to five years for those who want to enroll part-time. Those who want to pursue a more scientific track may find that their program requires campus visits, usually scheduled during summer sessions far in advance to accommodate work schedules and other obligations. Many online master's programs also require a capstone project or thesis work, and depending on what a student chooses to accomplish, this may add some time to degree completion.

Some online psychology programs structure their classes based on a cohort model, where students progress through the coursework with the same group of peers in order to build a community of professional relationships. However, most online courses are offered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. When researching online programs, it is good to ask yourself which model, or combination of models, will work best with your own learning process.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Psychology Prepares for

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

    Many graduates choose to pursue an LPC title in order to work as a licensed counselor at their own practice or another site, like a mental health facility, a university campus, or a psychiatric hospital. The LPC is granted at the state level and each state has its own set of requirements, such as a certain number of practicum or experience hours.

  • Teaching of Psychology Certificate

    Earning the TPC is a good way for those who want to pursue a career as a college instructor to boost their overall job prospects. Offered through certain university departments, the TPC is a post-baccalaureate program that gives graduates the chance to learn fundamental teaching skills as well as specific practices related to the field of psychology.

  • Licensed Clinical Social (LCSW)

    Required for all clinical social work, this state license guarantees the quality of therapeutic analysis. Social work can cover issues in mental health, substance abuse, public health, marriage counseling, or family therapy. This license typically requires two years — or about 3,000 supervised clinical hours — and LMSW licensure to qualify for the exam (see below).

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

    Another state license, the LMFT typically follows standards set by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. To sit for the exam, most states require an accredited professional degree and two years of monitored clinical experience. Students can meet their clinical requirements and gain real-world experience through nonprofits, charitable organizations, or mental health clinics.

  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

    The LMHC also requires clinical experience prior to licensing; however, the amount of training varies by state, with clinical experience ranging from between one year to 3,000 supervised hours. Most states require a degree from a school program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

  • Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

    The LMSW is the foundation for LCSW certification, and qualifies you to work as a social worker under direct supervision of an LCSW. To be eligible for this license, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards exam, which costs $230.

Admission Requirements for Psychology Master's Programs Online

Once you decide to return to school for a master's degree in psychology online, it is important to review program admission requirements. Though submission materials vary by school, most institutions require similar information about your background and professional aspirations.

All schools require proof of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, though applicants without a degree in a related field may be required to complete prerequisites prior to enrolling in the master's program. This can include coursework in abnormal psychology, statistics, or an introduction to research methods.

The GRE is another popular requirement. The exam's subject test in psychology focuses on subspecialties such as biological, cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology to demonstrate a student's aptitude for specific areas. Some schools accept strong GRE subject test scores instead of an undergraduate degree in a related field.

In addition to the GRE, applicants can demonstrate their dedication to the field through local volunteer and internship positions.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Psychology Degrees

When searching for an online master's in psychology program, you should look for national, regional, and field-specific official recognition. National accreditation is the standard and is conferred by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Nonprofit schools are unable to operate without this designation. Regional accreditation is granted by seven national organizations and is more important because it denotes that the college or university meets the specific standards of the state where it operates. Most employers look for regional accreditation when hiring candidates.

National accreditation is the standard and is conferred by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The DOE and CHEA oversee national accreditation of colleges and universities in the United States. The DOE is a government institution that works to create and enforce a cohesive set of educational standards, while the CHEA is a non-governmental organization that works towards similar goals.

Since the DOE and CHEA works towards similar goals, it is rare to find a school that is accredited by one and not the other. The USDE and CHEA are also responsible for maintaining the credibility of organizations of regional accreditation. To see what colleges and universities have the DOE and CHEA's stamp of approval, visit their websites.

There are also industry-specific organizations that establish and maintain standards and offer accreditation. Those pursuing a master's in psychology online should be aware that the American Psychological Association (APA) only gives out its stamp of approval to doctorate programs.

Another organization to look for is the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Although the organization is relatively new, some of the best psychology master's degrees online operate under its direction.

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Psychology?

Graduates of a master's in psychology degree program are well prepared for a rewarding career. Job availability will largely depend on the kind of degree one earns, as well as the degree specialization. Some of the most common career paths for licensed degree-holding psychologists can be found below.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists observe, diagnose, and treat patients suffering from a range of emotional and mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, and addictions. They often work alongside other psychologists and medical professionals to discuss patient history and determine how to best administer therapy.

Neuropsychologist

Neuropsychologists study the way that mental health disorders, emotions, social interactions, and other factors affect brain activity. They often work with patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or are experiencing mental decline due to factors like age or developmental disability.

School Psychologist

Found at all academic levels, school psychologists work with students who are living with mental health disorders or interpersonal problems. They often conduct tests on their patients, and may meet with parents, teachers, and other individuals who are invested in their clients' welfare.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply their training to areas of criminal justice, such as crime scene investigations or legal proceedings. They study evidence to determine criminal motives, evaluate accused criminals and defendants for mental acuity, and often have the final say as to whether or not a person is fit to stand trial.

Marriage and Family Therapist

These therapists engage with families coping with difficult issues. Marriage and family therapists encourage communication in a neutral zone, and help family members process personal or professional losses, resentments, or difficult life changes. They also encourage families to find ways to express their feelings and cope with challenging situations.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Counselors monitor and evaluate patients struggling with substance abuse and addiction. They develop treatment plans and build development goals collaboratively with patients and their families. These professionals may also create outreach programs to help multiple members of the community.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Organizational psychologists apply analysis and therapeutic concepts to companies and organizations. They promote workplace productivity and mental wellness through one-on-one consultations, group workshops, and workplace initiatives. They also act as confidants for workers in stressful environments and advocate for positive communities.

Continuing Education Requirements for Master's in Psychology Graduates

Graduating from an online master's in psychology program and passing state licensure exams does not mark the end of your education. To maintain licensure, you must pursue continuing education opportunities throughout your career. The objective of this additional training is to keep professionals up-to-date on the latest innovations in the field, as well as updates to analysis and treatment. Though continuing education requirements vary by state and subfield, all psychologists should aim to complete between 20-60 continuing education credits every two years. Various professional associations, such as the APA, provide ongoing education opportunities through online courses, intensive workshops, and professional conferences. An I-O psychologist, for example, may take ongoing educational courses on stress and coping or human motivation, while an educational psychologist could pursue cognitive neuroscience and the latest research on early childhood development.

Employment and Salary Outlook for Online Master's in Psychology Graduates

Job Placement: MPsych vs Bachelor of Psychology

Although a bachelor's in psychology will lay the groundwork for a successful career, jobs are limited for candidates who complete their education with an undergraduate psychology program. Bachelor's-holders may qualify for roles as case managers, technicians, career counselors, and other non-clinical titles. Interestingly, only 27% of individuals with a bachelor's in psychology go on to pursue careers in this field.

A graduate degree in psychology will help improve your job placement rate and boost your earning potential. The BLS notes gaps in pay and employment between college graduates with a bachelor's and those who advance on to a graduate degree program:

Graduate Type Unemployment Rate Median Weekly Salary
Bachelor's Degree 2.2% $1,248
Master's Degree 2.0% $1,497

Source: BLS

Salary Potential for Master's in Psychology Graduates Over Time

Pursuing a career in psychology can be deeply rewarding, but also very lucrative. As the table below illustrates, psychologists experience progressively higher wages throughout their career, whether in counseling, therapy, or clinical psychology. Generally speaking, professions that focus on research and scientific study — including clinical, neurological, and forensic psychology — earn more across the span of one's career than those dedicated to community outreach, such as school psychology or substance abuse treatment. Note that these median annual wages are profession-wide averages; actual salary will vary by state and professional setting.

Job Title Entry-Level Employees (1-4 Years) Mid-Career Employees (5-9 years) Experienced Employees (10-19 years) Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Clinical Psychologist $69,630 $81,420 $90,134 $94,780
Neuropsychologist $84,560 $94,050 $111,600 $112,820
School Psychologist $53,780 $63,680 $69,690 $75,410
Forensic Psychologist $51,400 $82,150 $85,270 $92,110
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist $49,110 $56,530 $61,310 $62,420
Substance Abuse Counselor $35,590 $40,940 $43,460 $47,960
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $64,480 $91,420 $108,120 $95,000

Source: PayScale

Where Do Master's in Psychology Graduates Work?

Graduates of an online master's in psychology degree can be found in a variety of work environments. For example, childhood and young-adult psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools, child welfare offices, substance abuse clinics, and hospitals. Educational psychologists work as therapists and educators in secondary and post-secondary schools to encourage mental wellness and train future psychologists and therapists.

The BLS indicates that there are many psychologists employed in the Midwest and on the East and West Coast.

By contrast, industrial occupational psychologists work within companies or institutions to promote adult wellness. They act as office practitioners, human resources representatives, and upper-level management. The BLS ranks California as a state in particular need of more I-O psychologists. Similarly, geriatric psychologists and therapists are needed in out-patient clinics, hospitals, home healthcare providers, and retirement communities.

Psychologists may additionally act as a liaison for healthcare companies and programs to design and troubleshoot healthcare initiatives, and decrease stigma against healthy healthcare management. The following tables detail industries with strong employment opportunities and commensurate salaries for online master's in psychology degree holders.

Industries With the Highest Levels of Employment for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
Industry Employment Annual Mean Wage
Elementary and Secondary Schools 43,570 $77,430
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 16,300 $92,130
Individual and Family Services 7,100 $81,160
Outpatient Care Centers 5,840 $82,700
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 5,510 $85,090

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Industries for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
Industry Employment Annual Mean Wage
Child Day Care Services 180 $120,130
Home Health Care Services 280 $105,440
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 20,040 $100,300
Outpatient Care Centers 5,830 $99,870
Junior Colleges 120 $96,930

Source: BLS

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different psychological approaches is crucial to your career success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the most prominent organizations established for professional psychologists. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

American Psychological Association

The nation's leading organization for professional psychologists, the APA today boasts more than 118,000 members. The website features a vast online library, a job board, continuing education opportunities, and a Psychology Help Center with links to blogs and articles about various psych-related topics. The APA also serves as the official accreditation agency for collegiate psychology programs.

American Board of Professional Psychology

Established in 1947, the ABPP oversees the standards and criteria used to certify and license practicing psychologists. The board awards certification to qualifying applicants in 15 different niche areas, including clinical psychology, couple and family psychology, and school psychology.

National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers

NAPPP is dedicated to promoting professional psychology through academic research and public advocacy. Members receive discounted electronic health records and reduced malpractice insurance, along with free continuing education courses, training tools, and job leads.

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

The AAMFT maintains chapters across the United States and Canada, and provides a directory of state licensing boards. This association brings together clinical and psychiatric professionals and students, and provides job search engines and ongoing education venues to maintain excellence across the field of marriage and family therapy.

National Association of School Psychologists

A major center for psychologists, NASP gathers professionals and graduate students to increase awareness of contemporary issues in school psychology, and connect established career professionals with new generations. The international community base encourages cross-cultural awareness and outreach.

Society of Neuroscience

Relevant for psychologists in clinical and therapeutic fields alike, the Society of Neuroscience promotes understanding of complex neural connections and their greater role in human behavior and cognition. The organization offers access to the society's journal, JNeurosci, an annual meeting, and community education and awareness programs.

Paying For Your Online Master's in Psychology Degree

Despite the relative affordability of a psychology degree online, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.