Top Child Psychology Degree Online Programs

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WHAT IS AN ONLINE CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?

Top child psych degree programs may teach you to help a child that is dealing with challenges. These programs cover the social and emotional issues a child may face. And, they also explore treatments and therapies that could assist these children.

Many kinds of mental health pros work with children. This includes Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists. These career paths are part of a growing field. And, they could offer the chance to help change young lives.

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TYPES OF ONLINE CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAMS

Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology

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

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

This program looks at how to work with or advocate for a child or teen. You’ll study stages of a kids’ development and the impact of family, school, peers, and culture.This program focuses on clinical skills for how to counsel a child or teen. These include assessment, trauma counseling, and communication.Marriage and Family Therapy involves children and teens. So, this program looks at how to work with young people using a family therapy approach. 100 hours of clinical experience are required.
Course Examples:

  • Child Psychopathology
  • ADHD and Autism Spectrum
  • Pre Natal and Early Child hood Development
Course Examples:

  • Childhood Trauma
  • Psychopathology
  • Counseling Practicum
Course Examples:

  • Family Therapy with Adolescents
  • Child and Adolescent Family Therapy: Clinical Applications
No specific program accreditationNo specific program accreditationProgram 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 psych programs are at the grad level. This may be because a Master’s is the minimum education needed for mental health pros like School Psychologist. And, many career paths ask that you have a PhD.

MASTER’S DEGREE

At the Master’s level, you’ll gain a better knowledge of a child’s behavior and development. For instance, you could explore how a child learns, plays, and forms relationships with care givers. You’ll also study abnormal psychology, and how to treat behavioral problems.

Research may be a big part of the course. For instance, you could conduct applied research that uses theories that already exist to solve problems. Many programs also teach methods for your own research. That includes research design, plus data analysis.

Common programs include:
  • M.A. in Psychology – Child Psych. This type of program covers foundations in psych. Plus, you’ll take course work within the child psych focus.
  • M.S. in Child Psychology. Applied psych may be the focus of an M.S. program. You could study things from personality theory to intervention strategies, with a focus on children and teens.
  • M.S. in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Child Psych. This kind of program focuses on mental health concerns that can be dealt with in schools. So, you could study topics like learning disabilities and classroom behavior management.
Master’s programs include courses like:
  • Development and Psychopathology in Early Child hood
  • Family Systems and Family Therapy
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Theories of Personality
  • Intervention Strategies

Your courses may span psych theory, practice, and research.

DOCTORATE DEGREE

Many Psychologists need to earn a PhD. Those who hope to work with children could find a PhD program with this focus.

Most Psych PhD programs cover how to assess, diagnose, and treat patients. They look at factors that affect mental health and behavior, plus ways that a psych can help. Child psych PhD programs apply those concepts to kids. You’ll study a child’s development and behavior in different contexts – like the school and the family.

Common programs include:
  • PhD in Child Psych. The PhD is a research degree. So, it may include courses on procedures, statistics, and related topics. You must pass an exam and write a dissertation.
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Child Psych. The Psy.D. often takes more of a hands on approach. You may focus on applied theory instead of original research.

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

PhD programs include courses like:
  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Pediatric Psych
  • Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
  • Family Interventions
  • School Clinical Child Psych
  • Infant/Toddler Assessment and Intervention

WHAT DO CHILDHOOD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE COURSES LOOK LIKE?

Some common courses include:

Introduction to Psych: Dive into the basics of human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This course may cover the science behind how the mind works, and prepare you for future study.

Child Development: Discover how kids grow, change, and think. In this course, you may study how the mind and behaviors develop during child hood.

Social Psych: This course covers how we think and act in social ways. You could learn how people form relationships and behave around others.

Child Psych: Learn about child hood disorders and how to step in and help. In this course, you could look at disorders that affect how kids think and feel.

Theories of Personality: This course looks at different views on how personality forms. You could start with Freud’s take on the matter, on up to modern day thinkers.

Early Intervention: In this course, you may focus on infants and toddlers up to three years old. You could study programs that help a young child thrive from an early age.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE AN ONLINE CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM?

At the Master’s level, a child psych degree program may take about one to two years to earn. Programs may take more time for part time students. At the PhD level, full time students often take four to six years to earn the degree. Program length can change but it depends on your enrollment status and whether or not you have to complete a dissertation.

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CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM EXAMPLES

School# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Grand Canyon U74N/A55
Northcentral U3052 (weekly)20

THE AVERAGE COST OF AN ONLINE CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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:

School# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Northcentral University30$2,526 (per course)$25,260
Grand Canyon University74$515$38,110

TOP SCHOOLS FOR ONLINE CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAMS

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

School2016 Degrees awarded2019/20 Tuition (out of state unless *)
Mid America Nazarene University26$13,095*
U of Denver20$49,392*
Pace University New York20$30,408*
U of Kansas9$23,366
Prairie View A & M University9$12,552
Bethel University8$10,609*
Vanderbilt U7$47,208*
Ball State University5$21,666
CUNY Brooklyn College4$19,920
Regis U2$13,177*

*Estimated for full time, beginning undergrad students

CHOOSING A CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE ONLINE ACCREDITED PROGRAM

In most states, Psychologists need to earn licensure. Of course, that also applies to Child Psychs and those in other fields. While licensure standards vary by state, they may include:

  • Earning a PhD degree in psychology
  • Completing an internship
  • Completing one to two years of hands on experience
  • Passing the Exam for Professional Practice in Psychology

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

You could also pursue a cert in Child and Adolescent Psych. The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) conducts Board exams in this focus.

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

You’ll also have to complete an internship in which at least half of your training is focused on children and teens. And, you must meet requirements for post doctoral experience in this focus area. Before you get started, you may want to review ABCCAP’s requirements.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?

The most recent census data states that 2.43 million psych degree holders are currently in the work force. That includes grads of child psych 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 more demand as more people seek help with mental health concerns that affect them and their children.

Do you fit the mold of the child psych grad? The majority (90%) of degree holders were female. And, the average age of a grad in the work force was 41.3.

TOP SALARIES BY STATE FOR CHILD PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE HOLDERS

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

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
California17,310$108,350
Oregon1,040$103,870
New Jersey3,760$98,470
District of Columbia710$95,500
Hawaii450$94,550

CHILD PSYCHOLOGY CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

Child Psychologist

A child psychologist may fall under the category of Clinical Psychologists. These pros may focus on certain populations, like kids. They help patients work through issues that range from mild to severe. That includes how to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders. The majority worked for schools or were self employed.

Median Salary: $79,010 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 14% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD degree

Art Therapist

Art Therapists guide patients, that includes children, in using creativity to work through personal issues. They may focus on how to help patients with physical or emotional goals. You’ll need knowledge of the fine arts, along with psych, therapy, and counseling.

Median Salary: $47,680 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 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 road blocks. 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 2028: 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.