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Distance Learning Child Psychology Masters Degree Overview

Get information about online master's degree programs in psychology with a concentration in child psychology. Read about program requirements, course topics, and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

There are only a few online master's degree programs in child psychology. In addition to the online courses, students must complete clinical experience requirements at a facility that works with children and teens. Residencies may also be required. Students can enroll on a full- or part-time basis, and most programs allow students to download video lectures and course materials and complete course assignments as their schedules permit, although there are deadlines. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint may be needed to successfully participate in online courses.

Courses cover general topics such as intervention, assessment, ethics in counseling, and counseling methods. Students also learn about child and adolescent development, get instruction on working with families, and explore counseling in an educational setting. Many programs require a capstone project and seminar prior to graduation. A bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field is needed to be admitted to a master's program.

Most states require licensing for anyone who uses the title of 'psychologist.' A doctoral degree is required to earn a license, but state-licensing boards may have additional requirements.

Child Psychology Master's Degree

Master's degree programs in child psychology that can be completed entirely online are rare, although a handful of schools do offer them. The child psychology concentration focuses on coursework involving adolescent psychology, functional behavior analysis, consultation in the school, and family psychology. Most of these programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in psychology at the time of application.

Program Details and Requirements

Students enrolled in online master's degree programs in child psychology can complete most of their courses online, but are also expected to complete a residency at a school, clinical practice, or juvenile detention center. Part-time students can typically complete the program in less than two years, and some schools offer accelerated tracks which allow students to graduate with their degree within 11 months.

For the online portion of their program, students need to have a reliable Internet connection and up-to-date Internet browser. Many programs also require students to have programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

List of Popular Program Courses

Online master's degree programs in child psychology combine general graduate-level psychology courses with courses focused on child and adolescent needs. Some courses also focus on working within certain organizations, such as schools or homes for juveniles.

Ethics in School Counseling

Students in this class discuss the ethical issues faced by therapists and counselors in a school setting. These ethical concerns often extend beyond general ethical concerns associated with professional psychologists.

School Based Interventions

This course teaches students about the methods and outcomes of interventions for various psychological problems in a school setting. Students will also discuss ways to work with local educational organizations and learn effective intervention techniques.

Child Therapy

Students in this course are given an understanding of the basic theories associated with counseling children. Instruction includes discussions about the benefits of art, play, and behavioral therapies.


Career Information

Employment opportunities for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are expected to grow 20% between the years 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Growing awareness about the importance of good mental health in children and how they behave in and out of school will cause this growth. As of 2015, the median annual salary of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $70,580 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates of online master's degree programs in child psychology can continue their studies in a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program offered online or on a traditional campus. Psychologists working in a school or private practice are required by all states to be licensed.

Psychologists working in a school may become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Requirements for this certification include the completion of 60 graduate semester hours and a 1,200-hour internship. At least half of the internship must be completed in a school setting.

There are few online master's degrees in child psychology, but those available offer a blended format and include some in-person requirements such as residencies and/or practical experience working with youth. Practicing as a psychologist requires a doctoral degree, which may be available online or in person.


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