Accredited online master’s degree programs in psychology prepare students to work in a variety of professional occupations, including school psychology and industrial-organizational psychology. Some students pursue an online master in psychology in order to prepare for a traditional or online PhD in psychology program, which is typically required for those who want to work as clinical, research or counseling psychologists. Most online psychology masters degree programs offer both thesis and non-thesis degree options. The best online master’s degrees in psychology often provide students with supervised internship opportunities, which may be required for licensure and certification. Students with an online bachelor’s degree in psychology have limited opportunities within psychology fields and often work in business administration or education.
How long does it take to earn a psychology master’s degree online?
The best online masters degree programs in psychology typically take between 2 to 3 years to complete. Thus, approximately 65 quarter-credit hours of coursework are required.
What are the admission requirements for an online master’s in psychology?
Many of the top online masters degree programs in psychology require applicants to submit the following for admissions purposes:
- Application form
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Revised Graduate Records Exam scores (Revised GRE)
- Personal statement or Essay
- Letters of recommendation
Online masters psychology programs generally desire that candidates have either a bachelor’s degree in psychology from an accredited school, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as:
- Human Resources
- Public Administration
What types of online master’s degrees in psychology can students pursue?
Accredited online masters in psychology schools offer a variety of online masters degrees in psychology. The types of masters degrees that students can pursue in the field of psychology include:
- Educational Psychology: Students enrolled in a psychology masters degree online program in educational psychology learn how cognitive, emotional and social processes are involved in student learning. They discuss current issues in student outcomes, instructional processes and learning disabilities.
- Clinical Psychology: Students in this field of psychology learn to assess and treat a variety of mental illnesses and abnormal behaviors. Most online master’s degree psychology schools require students in this specialization to complete rigorous residency and field training requirements that help develop practical clinical skills.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Graduate students in this specialization learn to conduct employee assessments in order to identify the best people for particular jobs within an organization. They focus on strategies to improve employee performance in order to promote business productivity.
- Developmental Psychology: A developmental psychology concentration explores how individuals develop over the course of a lifetime. Students will gain an understanding of the developmental processes that occur during the different stages of human life, from infancy to old age.
- Social Psychology: Students in this area of psychology study how an individual acts within the context of a group. Topics covered in this type of concentration include social learning theory, social ecology, criminal behavior and attribution theory.
What can students expect to learn in an online psychology master’s degree program?
Graduate students enrolled in an online masters degree psychology program learn many valuable skills, including patient assessment, data collection and experimental design. Students also study key knowledge areas in psychology, from behavioral and cognitive psychology to the principles of psychoanalysis.
Common classes taken by students enrolled in top online master programs in psychology include:
- Psychopathology- This course is required in most psychology master’s degree programs as it provides an overview of common mental illnesses and abnormal behaviors. Students focus on anxiety, depression and gender identity disorders, as well as anorexia and schizophrenia.
- Neuropsychology- In this class, students study brain behavior and brain function. They will learn about developmental disabilities, behavior control disorders and the effects of aging on the brain.
- Forensic Psychology- This online master degree in psychology course applies principles of psychology to the legal system. Students use case studies to examine issues in civil commitment and legal competency, and learn about producing psychological evaluations for courts.
What careers can students pursue after graduating from psychology masters programs online?
Psychology master’s programs online graduates can consider a wide spectrum of different career options, including:
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist- Industrial-organizational psychologists provide business managers with strategies to improve hiring protocols, training programs and employee productivity and morale. Industrial-organizational psychologists earn about $87,330. This field is expected to grow 35% over the next decade.
- School Counselor- School counselors typically work in elementary, middle and high school settings. Their primary responsibilities include helping students with social and behavioral problems, teaching students life skills and working with parents and teachers to identify student academic needs. The median salary for school counselors is $53,380. Job growth is expected to be 19%.
- Mental Health Counselor- Mental health counselors usually work in hospitals, family service centers and alcohol and substance abuse centers, helping patients develop strategies to overcome mental and emotional disorders. Mental health counselors make less than other occupations in this field, with an average salary of $38,150. Jobs in this occupation are expected to grow 37%.
The job outlook for psychologists is growing at 22%. This is because a large number of psychologists are retiring and therefore many new positions are opening up both publically and privately around the country. The median pay for a psychologist is $68,640/year, but with a Master in Psychology, this salary can be greatly increased. By achieving a MA in Psychology, professionals can choose to pursue a doctorate, get into research, or pursue a specified field of psychology aimed at helping individuals and communities become healthier. Here are some things professionals should look for when deciding where to apply or enroll in a Master in Psychology program.
There is a wide range of Master in Psychology specializations available and the niche chosen will greatly impact the career of a professional. Some examples of master’s options include Experimental Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, and Child Development. Each of these ,aster’s are offered as an MA (Masters of Arts) or a MS (Masters of Science). Masters of Science are typically much more research based. Professionals who know they want to go onto earn their PhD may be better off applying directly from undergraduate into a PhD program, however a master’s program can work as an in-between step for those unsure whether or not they want to pursue a doctorate.
Research and Publication
Research and faculty publication greatly impacts the notoriety of a university’s psychology program. Many esteemed psychologists choose to move into teaching at the university level and are fought over by the best programs. Students and professionals interested in graduate work should take time to read up in some of the most respected psychology publications and look for which universities are yielding research results in studies and fields that are of interest to them.
Depending on if a person opts for a MA or MS in Psychology, curriculum and coursework will vary greatly. In general, all perspective students should look for a graduate program which combines academic training in general psychology with research h in the student’s preferred specialization. This balance of theory and hands-on training will help graduates be prepared for the work force whether they choose to work as a resident psychologist in a corporate setting, in a private practice, or in the field of research. Professionals with a MA or MS in Psychology can move into many exciting career fields such as Behavioral Therapist, Psychology Associate, Neuropsychometrist, Health Project Coordinator, and more. Also, MA graduates can enjoy higher salaries than those offered to peers with BAs. For example, a school psychologist can make up to $96,000/year or an Executive Director position in some cases offers up to $144,000 – both positions which require a master’s.
The following rankings of the top Master in Psychology programs were determined through an assortment of methods for the most un-bias results including student surveys, assessment of graduate experiences and job placing, and more. Program reputation based on the opinion of experts and peers was also considered.