Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Online master’s degrees in child (pediatric) psychology can take several forms. Most offer a foundational, graduate-level study of psychology, combined with a suite of electives that focus on the unique developmental processes of children and adolescents. These programs explore research methodologies, interventional strategies, and theories of personality.

It’s important to note that online master’s degrees in child psychology are currently not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Furthermore, in order to work as a child psychologist, candidates will require a more advanced degree. Careers in child behavioral therapy and school counseling also generally call for more advanced study, hands-on experience, and state licensure.

That said, online master’s degrees in child psychology will give one a broad understanding of the area and can act as a stepping stone into the field. And online master’s degrees in child psychology are a major asset to any professional who works with children.

To learn more about online master’s degrees in child psychology, read on.

Typical Admissions Requirements for Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Applicants to online master’s programs in child or pediatric psychology will generally need the following: a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; a competitive undergraduate GPA (3.0 or greater); a personal statement; and letters of recommendation.

Some programs may also ask applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. While it is not a strict requirement that one’s undergraduate degree be in psychology, it is expected that applicants will have completed some foundational coursework in psychology, statistics, and research methodology.

Courses in Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Online master’s programs in child (pediatric) psychology typically include coursework in both general psychology and child and adolescent psychology. Courses in these programs can include:

  • Child psychology and neurological development
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Intervention strategies
  • Psychopathology in early childhood
  • Theories of personality
  • Ethical practice in psychology
  • Research methods in psychology

Supervised Clinical Hour Requirements & Internships in Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Most on-campus master’s programs which function as a terminal degree require graduates to complete supervised clinical hours and/or internships, but non-terminal online programs do not.

Currently, no online master’s programs in child psychology focus on directly preparing their graduates for professional licensure, but they may require capstone projects or help coordinate internship opportunities in a student’s geographic area.

Program Accreditation for Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

As of July 2021, the American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit any master’s programs in psychology, but they have established a working group to this end. Currently, programs offering online master’s degrees in child psychology should be regionally accredited by an organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to ensure they meet all educational standards.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University

The online master of science (MS) in child psychology program at SNHU teaches students how to develop, assess, and treat the unique psychological needs of children and their families. The coursework covers developmental psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, and intervention strategies. Students will hone their research methods and learn intervention strategies, culminating in a capstone course. The program consists of 36 credits.

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition: $627 per credit

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The online master of arts (MA) in psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology can be taken with a child and adolescent concentration. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including trauma and crisis intervention, addictive disorders, evaluation and treatment of juvenile offenders, and evidence-based programs for youth.

Students will take 21 credits in foundational psychology, nine credits in child and adolescent psychology, and six credits in an applied research project focused on children or adolescents.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $1,234 per credit

CUNY School of Professional Studies

The online master of arts (MA) in psychology program at CUNY School of Professional Studies prepares students for employment opportunities in the field, and advanced studies in psychology. Students can choose to specialize in developmental psychology, which focuses on the study of human growth throughout the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Coursework includes topics such as developmental psychology and child and adolescent development. The program consists of 36 credits.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $470 per credit

University of Oregon

The online master’s in psychology program at the University of Oregon emphasizes the knowledge and skills that working professionals can use to enhance the services they provide to their communities. While not explicitly focused on child psychology, the coursework does include topics such as translational neuroscience in early childhood. Several faculty members also have child psychology expertise. The program consists of 54 credits.

  • Location: Eugene, Oregon
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Tuition: $554 per credit

Northcentral University

Northcentral University’s online master of science (MS) in child and adolescent developmental psychology program gives students a deep understanding of the social, economic, physical, and emotional components which influence child and adolescent development. Students will learn how to appraise research methods and interventional strategies, and then apply them in the context of real-world settings. At the culmination of the program, students have the option of completing a 100-hour internship in the field. The program consists of 30 credits.

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Tuition: $889 per credit

Professors to Know in Online Master’s Degrees in Child (Pediatric) Psychology

Phil Fisher, PhD

University of Oregon

Dr. Phil Fisher is Philip H. Knight Chair and professor of psychology at the University of Oregon. His research focuses on early childhood interventions in marginalized communities, and on translating scientific knowledge regarding healthy development under conditions of adversity for use in social policy and programs.

Dr. Fisher has published numerous scholarly articles on child development, and his research has been funded by a number of institutes of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Jessica Cerniak, PsyD

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Jessica Cerniak is an associate professor for the master of arts in psychology program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She received both her MA and PsyD in clinical psychology from the University of Denver.

As a licensed clinical psychologist, her clinical experience has focused on providing psychological assessment and therapy services to diverse children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Cerniak has over 15 years of academic experience and has taught at both the master’s and doctoral levels on lifespan development and child and adolescent treatment.

Isabelle Elisha, PhD

CUNY School of Professional Studies

Dr. Isabelle Elisha is the associate director for the psychology program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. She earned her MA in human development from Cornell University and her PhD in psychology with a specialization in developmental psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. Elisha’s research focuses on the cultural and contextual influences in child and adolescent development, with a strong emphasis on the roles of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status.

What Can I Do With a Master’s in Child (Pediatric) Psychology?

A master’s in child psychology is an asset to anyone working with issues related to children and adolescents, whether in an academic or organizational setting. It can also act as a stepping stone to advanced study. In combination with additional training and education, a master’s in child psychology can help one progress into work as a school counselor, child psychologist, or child behavioral therapist.

Become a School Counselor

School counselors work with children of all ages in public and private school settings. They’ll help develop students’ socioemotional skills, develop programs to help boost an individual student’s performance, offer workshops to teachers, and arrange school-wide initiatives to help meet the needs of the community.

Become a Child Psychologist

Child psychologists study the mental, behavioral, and emotional development of children. Further subspecialties include abnormal child psychology, adolescent psychology, and pediatric psychology. This is an advanced profession requiring significant training and licensure requirements, but many child psychologists earn master’s degrees before going on to doctoral study.

Become a Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapist

Child (pediatric) behavioral therapists are mental health counselors or marriage and family therapists who specialize in the treatment of children and adolescents. These therapists will develop individualized treatment plans that consider the whole child, as well as their family dynamics. While there is no specific licensure for child behavioral therapists, most are certified counselors or therapists in their state.

Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog

Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California, and he believes a strong society demands a stronger mental health system. Since early 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging topics in counseling, research, and healthcare education. Drawing upon interviews with hospital CEOs, healthcare professionals, professors, and advocacy groups, his writing and research are focused on learning from those who know the subject best.