Top Child Psychology Degree Online Programs


What is an Online Child Psychology Degree?

Top child psychology degree programs may prepare students to help children with challenges. These programs cover developmental, social, and emotional issues children may face. And, they explore treatments and therapies that could assist.

Various kinds of mental health professionals work with children. These include Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists. These career paths are part of a growing field. And, they could offer the chance to make a difference in young lives.

Master’s Degrees

Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology

This program focuses on working with or advocating for children and adolescents. You’ll study kids’ developmental stages and the impact of family, school, peers, and culture.

Courses include:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
  • ADHD and Autism Spectrum
  • Pre-Natal and Early Childhood Development

No specific program accreditation


M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders

This program focuses on clinical skills for counseling children and adolescents. These include assessment, trauma counseling, and communication.

Courses include:

  • Childhood and Adolescent Trauma
  • Psychopathology
  • Counseling Practicum

No specific program accreditation


Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy – Child and Adolescent Family Therapy

Marriage and Family Therapy often involves children and teens. So, this program focuses on working with young people using a family therapy approach. 100 hours of clinical experience are required.

Courses include:

  • Family Therapy with Adolescents
  • Child and Adolescent Family Therapy: Clinical Applications

Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE).

Child Psychology Degree Online Programs

Most child psychology programs are at the graduate level. This may be because a Master’s is the minimum education required for mental health professions like School Psychologist. And, many career paths require a doctorate.

Online Master’s in Child Psychology Programs

At the Master’s level, you’ll gain a better understanding of children’s behavior and development. For instance, you could explore how children learn, play, and form relationships with caregivers. You’ll also study abnormal psychology, and how to treat cognitive or behavioral problems.

Research may be a big part of the curriculum. For instance, you could conduct applied research that uses existing theories to solve problems. Many programs also teach methods for original research. That includes research design, plus quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

There are several kinds of child psychology Master’s programs. They include:

  • M.A. in Psychology – Child Psychology. This type of program covers foundations in psychology. Plus, you’ll take coursework within the child psychology concentration.
  • M.S. in Child Psychology. Applied psychology may be the emphasis of a Master of Science program. You could study everything from personality theory to intervention strategies, with a focus on children and adolescents.
  • Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Child Psychology. This kind of program focuses on mental health concerns that can be addressed in schools. So, you could study topics like learning disabilities and classroom behavior management.

Your courses may span psychology theory, practice, and research. They could include:

  • Development and Psychopathology in Early Childhood
  • Family Systems and Family Therapy
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Theories of Personality
  • Intervention Strategies

Plus, most Master’s in Psychology programs call for a capstone. This involves completing a project in your area of study.

Online Doctorate in Child Psychology

Many Psychologists, including Clinical and Counseling Psychologists, need to earn a doctorate. Those who hope to work with children could find a doctoral program with this specialization.

Most Psychology doctoral programs cover how to assess, diagnose, and treat patients. They explore factors that affect mental health and behavior, plus ways professionals can help. Child psychology doctoral programs apply those concepts to kids. You’ll study children’s development and behavior in different contexts – like the school and the family.

Two common kinds of programs include:

  • PhD in Child Psychology. The PhD is a research degree. So, it usually includes courses on experimental procedures, statistics, and related topics. Students must pass a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation.
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Child Psychology. The Psy.D. often takes more of a practical approach. Students may focus on applied theory instead of original research.

That said, either kind of program could help you prepare for a psychology career path. And, both PhD and Psy.D. programs may feature clinical training.

Courses you could take at the doctoral level include:

  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
  • Family Interventions
  • School-Clinical Child Psychology
  • Infant/Toddler Assessment and Intervention

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Child Psychology Degree Online?

At the Master’s level, a child psychology degree program may take about one to two years to earn. Programs may take longer for part-time students.

At the doctoral level, full-time students often take four to six years to earn the degree. Program length varies depending on your enrollment status and whether you have to complete a dissertation.


Child Psychology Degree Online Programs That Could be Completed in 55 Months

Grand Canyon UniversityMaster’s74N/A55 months
Northcentral UniversityMaster’s3052 (weekly starts)20 months

How Much Does a Child Psychology Degree Program Cost?

Northcentral University30$2,526 (per course)$25,260
Grand Canyon University74$515$38,110

NCES lists the average cost of attending a public, four-year school as $19,189 per year. It costs more to attend private and for-profit schools, at about $39,529 per year. Compare tuition for the following schools that offer child psychology programs:

Top Schools for Child Psychology Degree Online Programs

NCES lists 14 institutions with clinical child psychology programs. From those schools, 114 degrees were awarded to students in 2016. The most degrees awarded were Professional Doctorate degrees and Master’s degrees (tied, at 37.7% each!).

MidAmerica Nazarene University26$13,095
University of Denver20$49,392
Pace University-New York20$30,408
University of Kansas9$23,366 (out of state)
Prairie View A & M University9$12,552 (out of state)
Bethel University8$10,609
Vanderbilt University7$47,208
Ball State University5$21,666 (out of state)
CUNY Brooklyn College4$19,920 (out of state)
Regis University2$13,177

Becoming an Accredited Child Psychologist

In most states, Psychologists need to earn licensure. Of course, that also applies to Child Psychologists and those in other specialties. While licensure requirements vary by state, they generally include:

  • Earning a doctoral degree in psychology
  • Completing an internship
  • Completing 1 to 2 years of clinical experience
  • Passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology

And, once you have earned certification, you’ll have to maintain it. To do so, you’ll usually need to take continuing education courses.

You could also pursue certification in Child and Adolescent Psychology. The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) conducts Board examinations in this specialty.

Applicants for ABCCAP certification must be licensed psychologists. You must also have education and experience in child and adolescent psychology. Ideally, that includes graduating from a psychology program accredited by APA (American Psychological Association).

You’ll also have to complete an internship in which at least half of your training focused on children and adolescents. And, you must meet requirements for postdoctoral experience in this specialty area. Before getting started, you may want to review ABCCAP’s eligibility requirements.

What can I do with a Child Psychology Degree?

The most recent census data states that 2.43 million psychology degree-holders are currently in the workforce. That includes graduates of child psychology programs.

This field is growing faster than average, with 14% more Psychologist jobs projected by 2026. School Psychologists may be needed to help students with special needs such as learning disabilities. And, Clinical and Counseling Psychologists may see greater demand as more people seek help with mental health concerns affecting themselves and their children.

Do you fit the mold of the typical child psychology grad? The majority (90%) of degree-holders were female. And, the average age of a graduate in the workforce was 41.3.

Top Salaries by State for Child Psychologist

The following salary data is for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists. They may work with children and other populations.

New Jersey3,760$98,470
District of Columbia710$95,500

Careers with a Child Psychology Degree

Child Psychologist

Child Psychologists may fall under the category of Clinical Psychologists. These professionals sometimes specialize in specific populations, like kids. They help patients work through issues ranging from mild to severe. That includes diagnosing and treating mental and behavioral disorders. The majority worked for schools or were self-employed.

Median Salary: $79,010 per year
Job Growth Through 2026: 14% (Faster than average)
Typical Entry-level Education: Doctorate

Art Therapist

Art Therapists guide patients, including children, in using creativity to work through personal challenges. They may focus on helping patients with physical, cognitive, or emotional goals. You’ll need knowledge of the fine arts, along with psychology, therapy, and counseling.

Median Salary: $47,680 per year
Job Growth Through 2026: 5 to 9% (As fast as average)
Typical Entry-level Education: Master’s degree

School Counselor

School Counselors help students build social and academic skills. They may discuss students’ success and help them address roadblocks. And, they may help students plan for the future by assessing their strengths and interests. The majority work for elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges.

Median Salary: $56,310 per year
Job Growth Through 2026: 13% (Faster than average)
Typical Entry-level Education: Master’s degree

© Education Connection 2019. All Rights Reserved.

EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features.

Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.