Child Psychology Degree Online Programs

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A childhood psychology degree online program studies human development. Including how the brain and behavior evolve. Then applies these ideas to focus on how children and adolescents grow and learn.
As a result, online courses may look into the social and emotional issues a child may face. How they impact adolescent development. And, ways to nurture their success at each stage of growth.
If drawn to this field, online students may find degree programs at all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhDs.
These programs aim to ready psychology graduates to go for a range of career opportunities. From social work to clinical psychology and more.
As a rule, an online bachelor’s degree is entry level. Grads may leave ready to go for a job in human services or pursue a graduate degree.
Graduate programs may be a gateway to some types of counseling roles. Online masters students may also get a taste of the research methods needed in a doctoral degree.
The highest level child or adolescent psychology degrees are doctorates. A PhD focuses on research. While a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is a practice degree which may help one go for licensure.


Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology

This program may help psychology students learn 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.

Course Examples:

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

No specific program accreditation

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

This program focuses on clinical skills for how to counsel a child or teen. These include assessment, trauma counseling, and communication. You may also take psychology courses that speak to normal and abnormal mental processes.

Course Examples:

  • Childhood Trauma
  • Psychopathology
  • Counseling Practicum

No specific program accreditation

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

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:

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

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).


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.


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.


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


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.


The time it takes to earn a degree in child psychology online varies. A full time student going for a bachelor’s degree tends to need four years to complete 120 credit hours. Graduate study may add two years for a master’s degree. And four to six years for a PhD. As you may have research, a practicum or want to study part time, keep in mind these impact length.


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


DataUSA lists the median in state public tuition as $8,915 per year. The median out of state private tuition is about $43,152 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


As of 2021(most recent data), DataUSA lists 2,683 schools with child psych programs. From those schools,1,419 degrees were awarded to students in 2021.

School2021 Degrees awarded2022/23 Tuition (out of state unless *)
Walden University76$12,483*
Capella University139$14,328
New York University145$58,168*
University of Pennsylvania62$63,452
U of Minnesota-Twin Cities155$35,099*
Eastern Washington University60$26,529*
Eastern Washington University60$26,529*

Estimated for full time, beginning undergrad students


In most states, Psychologists need to earn licensure. That includes fields such as behavior analysis, child and educational psychology.

While licensure standards vary by state, they may include:

  • Earning a PhD or PsyD degree in psychology
  • Completing an internship
  • Completing one to two years of hands on experience
  • Passing the Exam for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Renewing your license as per state law
  • Graduating from an APA (American Psychological Association) program

Licensed psychologists who want to work in a niche area may go for board certification. To do this, you are likely to need to pass an exam. The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) exam is one.

To sit for their exam, you must have a certain level of education in child and adolescent psychology. You’ll also have to complete an internship in which at least half of your training focuses 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.


Per the most recent data, there are 2.64 million people with a psychology degree in the work force.  Of these workers, most (90.7%) were female. And, the average age of a grad in the work force was 41.2.

Demand for psychologists in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies should remain steady. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 6% job growth to 2032. That is about as fast as other occupations.

Schools rely on psychologists to work with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. But since schools need funds to hire these pros, there may be limits on how may people they hire. As such, if you also have a doctoral or education specialist degree and postdoctoral work experience, you may have more edge.


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

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New Jersey1,400$164,110
New York4,400$128,520


Child Psychologist

A child psychologist is a type of Clinical Psychologists. These pros may focus on certain groups, like kids or troubled teens. They help patients work through issues that range from mild to severe. So parents may bring their children in for a  diagnosis and treatment plan.  The majority worked for schools or were self employed.

According to 2022 BLS data:

Median Salary: $60,140 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 5% (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.

According to 2022 BLS data:

Median Salary: $51,330per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 4% (As fast as average)

Typical Entry level Education: Master’s degree

School Counselor

School Counselors help students build social and academic skills. To do this, 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.

According to 2022 BLS data:

Median Salary: $60,140  per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 5% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Master’s degree

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