Child psychology involves the study of the mental, emotional and behavioral development of children, from their birth right up to their adolescence and helping children cope or overcome various problems – emotional, social and developmental. The field of child psychology includes many subspecialties such as pediatric psychology, adolescent psychology and abnormal child psychology.
According to the BLS (US Bureau of Labor Statistics), the job market for psychologists is set to grow between 2016 and 2026. To work as a child psychologist, apart from the license to practice, you need a master’s degree. Today, you have the option of pursuing a master’s in child psychology online too.
An online master’s degree offers flexibility for working professionals. Online degree programs in psychology follow the same rigorous curriculum as regular options and provide the same options of advancement for graduating students. The online format of the program is suitable for students who need to take care of additional commitments such as taking care of their family, kids, etc. apart from their work, as well as, class schedules.
Essentials of a Master’s in Child Psychology Online
Let’s take a look at the essential information about this degree before moving on to the available programs and different choices.
Requirements for Application to a Master’s in Child Psychology Online
To qualify for an online master’s in child psychology program, you need to have an undergraduate degree or some background in psychology and a basic understanding of the core concepts of the subject. Most schools will require you to take the GRE or GMAT for entry into the program.
You may get an MS (Masters of Science) or an MA (Masters of Arts) degree, depending on the school you attend. Most of the master’s in child psychology online programs require that you take between 30 and 36 credits and typically, it takes around 2 years to complete the full-time program. In addition to the credits, you will be expected to take an examination to demonstrate your understanding of the subject. And, you may also be required to complete a thesis or internship.
The cost of an online master’s degree in psychology depends on several factors. Usually, state residency is an important consideration and out-of-state students are charged a higher tuition fee by many universities and colleges. However, there are some schools which charge a flat tuition fee irrespective of the residency of the student. Another important factor that plays a key role in determining the fees is technology, which is applicable to online students. The cost for the online master’s degree ranges between $485-$1,400 per credit and you can expect to pay total tuition fees of around $15,000 to $50,000.
Accreditation is the most important factor to consider. Usually, universities and colleges in the US get accreditation from agencies that are recognized by the Department of Education. The process of accreditation involves an in-depth review of the educational programs and student services offered by the school. The accreditation status of the school impacts the credit transferability of the course and also the eligibility of the student for federal financial aid. So, you must ensure that the school offering the program you are considering has regional or national accreditation.
Master’s in Child Psychology Online Coursework
An online master’s psychology program helps to prepare you for a wide range of careers by helping you develop practical, as well as, research skills. The curriculum in the area provides a theoretical foundation in behavioral and developmental issues in children and the coursework explores cognitive dysfunctions and abnormal behaviors and also their biological, social and environmental causes. You also learn about possible treatments and interventions.
The online psychology program may also cover issues that are related to the practice of psychology like professional ethics, decision making, codes of conduct, etc. Many psychology program curricula also cover training in research, methods and analysis and this teaches how to collect data and analyze it using psychological research tools and techniques. And, you also learn to interpret the data and apply them to the psychology practice and policy.
Depending on your future plans, your master’s degree in psychology can be a stepping stone to a doctoral degree. For clinical practice in psychology, you require a Ph.D. and also a license. However, if you’re looking to work in an organization or school, a master’s degree in psychology is more than sufficient.
Master’s in child psychology online obviously delivered online. Just like a traditional master’s program, an online program is equally rigorous, but it offers a lot of flexibility and is more affordable. Here is a lowdown on some of the best online master’s in psychology programs.
Top Master’s in Child Psychology Online Courses
University of South Florida
A non-profit, public university, the University of South Florida offers a Master of Science and Adolescent Behavioral Health online degree program for students looking to impact the lives of children positively while they are growing and entering adulthood.
The program offers 4 concentrations:
- Leadership in child and adolescent behavioral health
- Developmental disabilities
- Research and evaluation
- Behavioral health
The program offers 2 track options ending in a thesis or applied field experience. The online master’s degree program can be completed in around 39 hours and the courses have a blend of theory and discussion with hands-on learning and in-depth research. The program can be completed in 2 years. You need to give your GRE exam for entry into the program.
The program offers you the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and skills in areas such as:
- Behavioral health in children and adolescents
- Policy and legislation
- Research and evaluation methods
Liberty University Online
A non-profit, private Christian university, Liberty University offers an online degree program in Master of Arts in Applied Psychology, with specialization in developmental psychology. The course explores the various aspects of the development of the human mind and personality beginning from the earliest stages.
The college follows a practice-focused approach to learning and the course includes:
- Child psychology
- Adolescent psychology
- Psychology of learning
- Developmental psychopathology
The program offers an understanding how an individual handles life events, stress, social interactions and biological changes through the various stages of life with insights from psychological areas such as developmental psychopathology and developmental neuropsychology and the studies are based in context to the Christian view of the world.
The online master’s program needs 36 credits and you can complete the program in less than 2 years. Each of the courses takes around 8 weeks to complete.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago
The Chicago School offers an MA in psychology with a specialization in child and adolescent practice. This program allows you to gain an in-depth understanding of the variables that have an impact on a child’s well-being. The flexible program allows you to enroll full time or part time and you can complete the 36 credits online.
The program is quite a rigorous one and allows you to choose your area of interest early on in the course and complete a research project over the course of the program. You can interact with your faculty and peers via video conferencing and SocialCourse, which is a virtual networking solution for online learning. The smaller programs may need synchronous virtual residency, where you can meet with other students and discuss ideas for 1-2 hours.
Now that you are armed with the information you need to pursue your master’s in child psychology online, it is a good idea to evaluate the various programs available and decide the one that is the best for you in terms of the flexibility, cost and career opportunities.