Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Online

Earning a master’s in child psychology online is a critical step to a career that involves supporting children and adolescents through these important life stages. Whether you’re looking to advance in your current role or seeking a position in a new field, a graduate degree can be a path forward. Explore the common courses, career options, and other aspects of online psychology degree programs to see if they might be the right choice for you.

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What Is an Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology?

There is a broad range of programs that allow you to assess, counsel, treat, and otherwise support individuals. A master’s in child and adolescent psychology can be either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree. Consider a Master of Arts degree if you’re more interested in hands-on counseling approaches. A Master of Science program typically focuses more on research techniques. Both can prepare you for a range of career opportunities.

Online vs. On-Campus Master’s Degree Programs

Many colleges and universities offer a master’s in child psychology online program. Studying online can allow you to earn credits toward the same degree as an on-campus student. You’ll often have a similar range of courses to select from. Some lectures are pre-recorded and can be watched at your convenience, while others require you to sign on and attend a virtual lecture.

Due to the nature of counseling and diagnosing children and adolescents, your online program may require you to schedule in-person sessions with a licensed and trained counselor, but some can be completed fully online. A master’s degree is not the only requirement to become a child psychologist, so be sure to review the other requirements in addition to this material.

Child and Adolescent Psychology vs. Psychiatry

Explore the differences between child and adolescent psychology and psychiatry programs as you look for the degree that best fits your career goals. A psychology degree focuses primarily on providing psychotherapy. This can include both behavioral therapy and talk therapy.

A psychiatry degree, however, can focus more on prescribing medication. Some states allow both psychologists and psychiatrists to prescribe medication, so be sure to review state-specific differences as you search for master’s in child and adolescent programs.

Related Master’s Degree Programs

A master’s in child psychology online isn’t the only psychology program you can pursue at the graduate level. Here are some other Master of Arts and Master of Science degree types that offer accelerated psychology degree online opportunities:

  • Educational psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Behavioral psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology

These are just a few of the related psychology degree options you can consider. You can choose to concentrate on a particular area of psychology for your graduate degree, or you can choose to study a more broad psychological discipline. If you wish to take the step toward becoming a child psychologist or school counselor, then a master’s in child and adolescent psychology is a competitive choice.

Admissions Requirements for a Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs

Master’s program admissions requirements can vary. Most programs require you to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. You’ll need to fill out an application, which often includes one or more letters of recommendation alongside your resume. A GPA of 3.0 or higher helps improve your application and may be a requirement.

Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Courses

Prepare to take a wide range of courses that focus on practical and theoretical concepts in psychology. Here are some common courses that may be required or available as electives for a master’s in child psychology online program:

  • Child development
  • Child and adolescent assessment
  • Family literacy
  • Social psychology
  • Ethical practice
  • Theories of psychology
  • Child and adolescent interventions
  • Personality assessment

Consider your career goals and interests as you explore available courses. Some courses are recommended for students seeking a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, while others are great resources for child psychologists working in the field.

Master’s in Child Psychology Average Salary

Earning a master’s in child psychology online can be a major step toward becoming a licensed psychologist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 median pay for psychologists was $81,040. This average included psychologists working in many different roles.

In 2019, school psychologists earned a median annual salary of $78,200, according to BLS. The top earners earned over $132,000, while some earned $45,000 or less. The number of psychologists is expected to increase by approximately 6% between 2021 and 2031, which is about as fast as the average job growth.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Child Psychology?

Explore the many careers and opportunities available to a graduate with a master’s in child psychology online degree. Many of these careers require additional steps, such as completing practicum hours.

Child and Adolescent Therapist

Work directly with children and adolescents as they navigate new events and experience new thoughts and feelings. As a child and adolescent therapist, you may also work closely with parents and family members. Many child therapists work in private practices, though some also work in government organizations.

The median pay for this position in 2021 was about $81,040, according to BLS. The number of therapists is expected to grow approximately as fast as the average job growth, which is 6% between 2021 and 2031.

School Counselor

Evaluate student achievement and support them through social and behavioral challenges as a school counselor. This position requires you to monitor student behavior, identify signs of challenges, and promote positive outcomes. School counselors typically help students identify vocational goals and create plans to prepare for graduation and beyond.

BLS data shows that the number of school counselors is expected to grow faster than average between 2021 and 2031. The number of jobs will increase by about 10% over the decade. In 2021, the median pay for counselors was about $60,510.

Mental Health Counselor

Whether you focus on mental health support for children and adolescents or choose to work with a wider range of clients, becoming a mental health counselor can be a rewarding career choice. A master’s in child psychology online program can include courses to prepare you to assist those with depression, behavioral issues, addiction and other challenges.

These professionals earned a median pay of $48,520 in 2021, according to BLS. While the typical educational requirement is only a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to improve your application with a relevant master’s degree.

Psychology Researcher

You don’t have to work directly with children and adolescents after earning your graduate degree. Consider a career as a researcher who conducts tests, evaluates treatment options, and helps discover new ways to support children and adolescents.

While BLS doesn’t track researcher wages, the uncategorized psychology careers earned an average annual wage of $102,900 in 2021. These psychologists work in hospitals, physician offices, colleges, and other locations.


Some graduates choose to become professors in psychology departments. This career pathway allows you to inspire and educate future child psychologists and school counselors. Many professors hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree, though you may be able to become a professor with only a master’s degree.

In 2021, postsecondary teachers earned a median pay of $79,640, according to BLS. The number of postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by about 12% between 2021 and 2031, which is higher than the average job growth.

How Much Does a Master’s in Child Psychology and Adolescents Cost?

Colleges and universities offer graduate programs at a broad range of prices, so you’ll need to work with a specific program to find the exact cost of your master’s in child psychology online degree. In most cases, however, you can expect to pay between $30,000 and $50,000 for your program.

Many students receive scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial assistance to help cover tuition rates and other fees. Applying for and receiving scholarships and other financial assistance can help make the cost of a master’s degree more affordable.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master’s in Child Psychology Online?

Most master’s in child psychology online programs can be completed in two years. The length of your program can vary depending on the number of courses you take at a time, along with other factors. You’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field before you start your master’s degree. The classes you complete in your bachelor’s program may help you earn your graduate degree in less time.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time Study

Part-time students often take up to four years to complete their coursework. Earning a graduate degree in child and adolescent psychology can allow you to continue to work or perform other duties while studying. This is a convenient option if you’re already working in your desired field or cannot commit to being a full-time student. Studying full-time allows you to earn your degree more quickly to move on to the next step in your career.

Accelerated Online Alternatives

If you choose an accelerated program, you may be able to earn your degree in as little as one year. Accelerated programs allow you to take classes at your own pace. To earn a master’s degree in one year, you should expect to study full-time and typically for 12 consecutive months.

Additional Steps Required to Become a Child Psychologist

For many career paths, a master’s degree in child and adolescent psychology is only one step in the process. Explore the additional steps required to become a child psychologist before committing to a master’s degree. Be sure to review state-specific steps before making a final decision.


Most master’s of child psychology programs require hands-on training as part of the program. A practicum or other similar experience can also be completed after your graduate degree or during your doctoral degree. This experience is a critical part of your education, allowing you to work alongside experienced child psychologists in different settings.

Doctoral Degree

A doctorate is required in all states to become licensed as a clinical child psychologist. If this is your career goal, then you’ll need to enroll in a doctoral degree program after successfully earning your master’s in child psychology degree online. Many postsecondary teaching positions also require or prefer you to have earned a doctoral degree.

There are many other career pathways you can pursue with only a master’s degree. A master’s degree can allow you to work in a research position, as a school counselor, and as a mental health counselor.


The specific licensure process varies from state to state, though all states require some form of licensure to practice as a clinical child psychologist. Most requirements include a number of hours of practicum experience before taking an examination. Once licensed, you’ll need to maintain your licensure through your state-specific renewal process. This typically requires renewal fees and can also include continuing education credit requirements or another examination.

Review Board Certification Options

Look for a program that allows you to become board certified by the American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. This certification is often given only if you’ve earned a doctorate degree and have experience in the field. This certification helps set your practice apart and demonstrates your expertise in the field.

Tips for Choosing an Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program

Deciding on a master’s in child psychology online program can be a difficult step in your career journey. There are many highly rated programs, so it’s important to consider which one best fits your needs as you prepare your application. Here are some tips for choosing the best program for your graduate degree in child and adolescent psychology.

Search for Accredited Programs

An accredited program offers you peace of mind that the school you choose is recognized for its academic programming. Accreditation can come from national, regional, and specialized sources. There are a number of different accreditation options at each level. Consider a program with accreditation that’s recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Compare Public vs. Private Colleges

You can apply to enroll in a master’s degree at either a public or private college. Both options offer many highly-rated online degree programs. Since a public college is funded in part by the government, the tuition rates can be lower than a private college. Private colleges are funded by endowments and tuition, and many offer competitive financial aid. Review specific schools and tuition rates after receiving financial aid to determine the best choice for your degree.

Explore Tuition Rates

Compare the cost of online master’s degrees in child psychology. This can be an important factor in the decision-making process, as the rates can vary broadly. You may not wish to choose the most affordable option, but you can consider the cost of several highly-rated schools.

Compare Available Courses

Many master’s in child psychology online programs share similar courses. If you have a particular course or set of courses you wish to take, then review the course catalogs of different programs. You may find unique electives that aren’t available at every college. For example, some colleges may not offer literacy in early childhood, specialized assessment methods, or other electives.

Child and Adolescent Psychology Organizations

Once you complete your master’s in child psychology online and take the next steps to becoming a child psychologist, there are a number of organizations to support your career. Explore the following national associations and organizations committed to providing information, research, and support to child psychologists and related professionals.

Joining a professional organization isn’t a required step to becoming a child psychologist or related career. It is, however, a strong choice for students and professionals looking to connect with the larger community. Psychiatrists, counselors, researchers, and other professionals frequently join organizations to access scientific journals, share new findings, and advocate for their field.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) provides news, research support, and other benefits to members. You don’t have to be a child and adolescent psychiatrist to become one of over 8,000 members of this nationwide organization. The organization also provides continuing certification, a thorough answer center, and regional organizations for local support.

To become a member, you can apply for a general, international, corresponding, affiliate, resident, or medical student membership. Members must pay dues and follow both the bylaws and code of ethics.

American Counseling Association

Another popular national organization is the American Counseling Association (ACA). This association is dedicated to advocacy, support, credibility, and community. You can apply for an annual membership if you’re a licensed counselor, counselor educator, or student in the field.

Members of the ACA receive a subscription to Counseling Today, a welcoming community of professionals and practice advocacy. The ACA offers continuing education credits and professional consultations for current members.

Association for Psychological Science

Consider joining the Association for Psychological Science (APS) for up-to-date information on psychological science research. The main goal of this nonprofit organization is to help researchers disseminate their findings to the public. As a member, you’ll gain access to career support and scientific journals. APS also connects you with grants and awards to help fund your research. 

Finding Your Master’s Program for Child Psychology

If you’re ready to begin your search for the right master’s program, you’re in the right place. Start now by finding out which accelerated programs are currently accepting applicants.


Psychologists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

School and Career Counselors and Advisors, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Psychologists, All Other, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

Postsecondary Teachers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

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