Although the majority of psychologists need a doctoral degree there are positions in schools, clinics, hospitals, private psychologists’ clinics, etc. where people with a masters degree in psychology can find employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next ten years, the need for qualified psychologists will grow at a rapid rate of 19% with a salary range from $41,100 to $118,130, depending on degree.
As you consider applying for a graduate program in psychology, it’s important for you to research what licensure requirements exist in your state. Not all online programs will lead to licensure so you may want to filter your choices based on your particular need.
Previously, Best Medical Degrees ranked psychology programs providing 25 Best Value Online Masters in Psychology degrees. We’ve narrowed that field to 10 of the cheapest online psychology masters degree programs. We examined these schools by accreditation, school reported tuition costs and rankings by independent sources such as Forbes, Princeton Review or U.S. News and World Report.
PAYING FOR A GRAUDATE DEGREE
There are many benefits to completing a graduate degree in terms of potential salary, employment and professional development; but, there are also financial concerns to be considered before entering a program.
Employers have realized that continued education is beneficial not only for the employee, but for the employer. It’s becoming increasingly common for employers to offer some sort of tuition assistance as part of an employees benefit package.
You should check with your Human Resources Department to see if you qualify.
Typically, graduate students don’t qualify for federal sponsored grants; however, there are bank loans that might be available. Check with your school’s Financial Aid Office and see if there are other forms of financial aid available. If you do decide to take a guaranteed student loan, it’s necessary to complete the Application for federal assistance is on the Department of Education website Free Application for Federal Student Aid..
Schools want to attract veterans, military personnel, their spouse and dependents. If you qualify, see if the school you’re considering has tuition discounts and what you need to obtain the discount.
Credible, online universities and colleges hold accreditation from independent organizations which verifies the school meets the educational standards as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Again, be certain to ascertain that the program you choose will meet licensure requirements.
1. Fort Hays State University Virtual College
Offering a Master of Science degree in general psychology and clinical psychology (listed under school psychology on the website) to prepare students for licensure. Founded in 1902 in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
As an online program, the general psychology degree requires 30 credits of coursework, comprehensive exams and an apprenticeship. Courses include studies in advanced abnormal psychology, experimental methods, neuropsychology, ethics and behavior therapy. The psychology degree requires 60 credit hours with studies in experimental methods, advanced abnormal psychology, appraisal of children, community mental health, couples therapy and appraisal of adults. A thesis is required.
2. American Public University
This West Virginia school was started in 1991 to provide long distance education for active military personnel. Today, the university offers 190 degree programs for a wide range of working professionals. APU’s Master of Arts in psychology is not a terminal degree, but provides the basis for entrance into a doctoral program.
Courses range from studies in psychological testing, design and scoring, human development, theories and research methods, substance abuse and addiction, personality development, counseling and psychotherapy, finalizing in a capstone project. American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has been recognized by the Military Times as a “Best for Vets” school.
Length of Program: 39 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $13,650; $12,675 (Military Personnel)
3. Aspen University
A Master of Arts in psychology and addiction psychology, this degree is specifically for those students wishing to work in addiction counseling. Offered by the Aspen University, located in Denver, Colorado, the school holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission which holds national accreditation status from the U.S. Department of Education. Aspen University offers a tuition payment plan at $325 per month for online students.
Classwork will involve study in psychology of addiction, advanced counseling skills, counseling ethics, diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse counseling, drug enforcement, neurobiology of addiction, research in counseling, etc., and a capstone project concludes the program.
Length of Program: 48 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $15,600
4. Southern California University
This is a Master of Science in psychology at Southern California University in Irvine, California. Founded in 1978 and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), California State University has developed an online masters degree for currently working in mental health.
Courses begin at the first of every month and students, dependent on their interests, may study a wide spectrum of psychology courses including, ethical issues in family and marriage counseling, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, research methods and statistics, human sexuality, psychology of trauma, etc. The degree is good preparation for licensure in California. You should check with your state to see if the program meets your state’s requirements.
Length of Program: 41 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $17,850
5. Grand Canyon University
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon University has been in existence since its establishment in 1949 by the Southern Baptist Church. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Now a private, for profit school, Grand Canyon University has an online Master of Science general psychology degree with concentrations in geropsychology, forensic, industrial/organizational, human factors and life coaching.
Core courses in psychology will include introduction to graduate studies in liberal arts, contemporary and ethical issues in psychology, graduate statistics, human development, psychopathology and research methods. Be certain to see if this program satisfies state licensure requirements for your state.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $18,000
6. Capella University
The Higher Learning Commission accredits Capella University. Cappella offers the FlexPath Option which assesses a students life and work experience to allow for self-paced learning; and, perhaps, complete your degree at an acceleraccredits Capella University which is a proprietary school located in Minnesota. Capella University has been in operation since 1993. The university offers a FlexPath option which, following assessment, may allow a student to complete their degree at an accelerated pace.
This is a Master of Science psychology degree with core requirements in foundations in research, tests and measurements, theory and practice and specialized courses in social psychology, lifespan development and an integrative project in the student’s final quarter of study.
Length of Program: 50 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $24,250
7. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M offers an online Master of Science psychology degree with an emphasis on creative and innovation. Located in College Station, Texas, this school has been ranked #74 in National Universities, #21 in Best Value Schools, #44 Best Colleges for Veterans, #27 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. The university was founded in 1876 and currently has an enrollment in excess of 48,000 students.
Texas A&M is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Coursework involves study in educational psychology, creative genius, creative thinking, lateral thinking and trends in curriculum and instruction. Students are required to create a professional portfolio demonstrating an implementation plan to utilize concepts learned in course study.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost of Tuition Per Credit Hour: $24,467.40
8. Northcentral University
Northcentral University, located in San Diego, California, is a regional university founded in 1996 and is a proprietary school. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting agency. Be certain, if you’re looking for state licensure, that this program meets your state’s requirements.
A Master of Arts degree, this program offers three concentrations in psychology: general, health, industrial/organizational and gender diversity. This particular online program has a uniquely flexible program with courses beginning every week.
Length of Program: 30 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $27,522
9. Walden University
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has an online Master of Science in clinical psychology which is accredited the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This university was established in 1970 by two teachers who wanted to establish a way for professionals to gain an online PhD.
This particular program allows you to choose between the general psychology model or a specialization in counseling. The school makes no claim that completion of this degree will lead to licensure; but, graduates will be able to interpret psychological theory and research, describe psychological theory, theory and research and utilize evidence-based best practices. U.S. students who enroll on November 28, 2016 and pass their first term are eligible for a $3,000 grant from the school.
Length of Program: 56 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $28,560
10. Southern New Hampshire University
Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has received ranking by U.S. News and World Report the #1 Most Innovative Schools and #101 National Universities categories. Founded in 1932 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University offers a Masters of Science in three concentrations: Child & Adolescent Development Psychology, Forensic Psychology and Industrial and Organization Psychology.
Although this degree will not lead to licensure, students will receive a solid foundation in research, theory, ethics and measurement and assessment to advance study in a terminal psychology degree. Southern New Hampshire is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Length of Program: 48 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Tuition Cost: $30