Top Online Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology 2021

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Online Master’s in Clinical Psychology Programs

Online master’s in clinical psychology programs cultivate advanced, specialized knowledge and clinical skills. Master of science in clinical psychology degrees emphasize research and science courses, while master of arts in clinical psychology programs emphasize more liberal arts coursework.

Common careers for master’s graduates include clinical psychologist, psychology professor, consultant, and manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists make a median annual salary of $78,200. Professionals often need doctoral degrees to qualify for jobs as researchers, professors, and clinical psychologists.

This guide ranks the best online master’s degree in clinical psychology programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities.

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Featued Online Clinical Psychology Master Programs

Quesions About Clinical Psychology Master Programs

true Q. What can you do with a master’s in clinical psychology?

Master’s in clinical psychology degrees support various career paths in mental health and social services. Graduates may also work in fields such as marketing, management, or human resources.

true Q. Is a MA or MS in clinical psychology better?

MS programs often provide better preparation for research-oriented careers, while MA programs better suit learners seeking practice-oriented careers.

true Q. How long is a master’s in clinical psychology?

Master’s degrees typically take two years of full-time study to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that expedite degree completion.

true Q. Is a master’s in clinical psychology hard?

Graduate programs are challenging for many students. However, learners with strong research, analysis, and writing skills often thrive in clinical psychology master’s programs.

Best Online Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology 2021

  1. Regent University

    Virginia Beach, VA

    A private university founded in 1978 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent offers an online master of arts in clinical mental health counseling based on the CACREP model, facilitating the process of getting licensed in a graduate's state of practice.

    Degree-seekers can complete the 60-credit program online except for the residency requirement. The residency consists of supervised work in an approved mental health facility along with weekly internship seminars led by Regent mental health faculty. Classes offered over the course of the program include crisis, trauma, and clinical mental health; multicultural counseling; and psychopathology and diagnosis. Those interested can enroll in the accelerated option.

    Applicants should already hold a bachelor of arts or science from a regionally accredited university. They should also demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA.The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges conferred Regent's regional accreditation.

  2. East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC

    A public university chartered in 1907 as East Carolina Teachers Training School, ECU offers a CACREP-accredited online master's program in clinical counseling with an emphasis in addictions. The school calls Greenville, North Carolina home.

    The program provides graduates with the opportunity to reduce their experience requirements for licensed clinical addiction specialist licensure by a full year. At 62 credit hours, the degree covers courses such as family treatment in substance abuse rehabilitation, diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, and treatment in addictions and clinical counseling. Prior to graduation, students also complete a supervised internship under a licensed mental health professional.

    Applicants should demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA and provide two professional letters of recommendation. Admission requires that students hold a bachelor's degree and provide a written statement of intent. Eastern Carolina University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Union College

    Barbourville, KY

    A private Methodist college founded in Barbourville, Kentucky in 1879, Union confers an online master of science in substance abuse counseling that prepares students for licensure within the state.

    Students can complete the 60-credit program online except for the practicum to allow graduates to qualify for licensing. Courses covered during the degree include psychology of addiction, theories of career counseling and development, and statistics for mental health professionals. Students graduate with a Chemical Dependency Certification Program certificate in addition to their master's degree.

    Applicants need at least a 2.0 GPA from their previous school. Transfer students may only receive credit for courses that received a C or above. Union College holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS

    A public university founded in 1902, the Fort Hays-located university offers an online master of science in counseling with a focus on clinical mental health counseling that prepares graduates for licensing in Kansas.

    Students of FHSU's 60-credit program curate a personalized study plan with an advisor to suit their individual needs. Courses covered include social and cultural foundations of counseling, lifespan human development, and childhood and adolescent counseling. A 600-hour internship rounds out the course before graduation.

    Candidates should know that FHSU and the counseling program require separate admission. The counseling program specifically needs a 3.0 GPA within the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies. Transfer students may transfer in a maximum of six credit hours. FHSU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

  5. West Virginia University

    Morgantown, WV

    A public university established in 1867, the WVU campus dominates the city of Morgantown, West Virginia. The university offers a master of science in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling through the College of Education and Human Services.

    The 63-credit degree covers 18 required courses and degree-seekers can complete it online except for two required campus visits. The coursework, designed for accessibility, offers a dual specialization — one of only 23 programs in the country to do so. It covers physical and neurological trauma recovery as well as mental health treatment. Toward the end of the program, students participate in an internship at an approved facility. This internship must provide 300 experience hours in clinical rehabilitation counseling and 300 hours in clinical mental health counseling skills.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.8 GPA in their undergraduate work. The program requires GRE scores, as well as three letters of recommendation. The admissions department weighs GRE scores in balance with other qualifications. West Virginia University holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Why Get a Clinical Psychology Degree?

Master’s in clinical psychology degrees offer many personal and professional advantages, including the benefits described below.

Clinical psychology master’s degrees can help working professionals qualify for new jobs in industry, social services, mental health clinics, and nonprofit organizations.

Studying clinical psychology cultivates advanced skills in active listening, observation, analysis, and communication. These skills prove useful in most work contexts involving people.

Clinical psychologists in many states need doctoral degrees to qualify for licensure. To enter clinical psychology doctoral programs, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.

Professionals in entry-level social services, business, and nonprofit jobs can pursue a master’s in psychology to qualify for higher-level positions.

How Much Does a Clinical Psychology Major Make?

Master’s in clinical psychology graduates sometimes pursue management careers that demand sophisticated interpersonal skills. Graduates with relevant professional experience may qualify for high-paying jobs such as human resources manager or marketing manager. These positions pay median annual salaries of $116,720 and $137,000, respectively.

Many clinical psychology master’s program graduates pursue doctoral degrees and licensure as clinical psychologists, who make a median salary of $78,200.

Master’s in Clinical Psychology Program Requirements

Master’s degree applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some master’s in clinical psychology programs seek applicants with relevant undergraduate coursework and/or professional experience. Applicants may need to submit recommendation letters, resumes, official transcripts, and essays. Many programs also require GRE scores.

Most master’s in clinical psychology programs require around 30-36 credits. Enrollees complete core psychology courses and specialized coursework in areas such as multicultural psychology, clinical health psychology, forensic psychology, and long-term mental illness. Most master’s programs require a capstone thesis, project, or examination to culminate the degree.

Students also participate in various clinical courses and practicum experiences. Enrollees seeking licensure as psychologists must meet the American Board of Professional Psychology’s (ABPP) requirements, including earning a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

The best clinical psychology master’s programs also prepare graduates to meet experience requirements for certification by the American Board of Clinical Psychology, a specialty board of the ABPP. This certification grants specialty-level standing, indicating a higher competence level than jurisdictional licensure alone.

Accreditation and Online Colleges

Courses in a Clinical Psychology Master’s Program

The best master’s in clinical psychology programs build core skills in observation, active listening, analysis, and supportive communication. Participants also hone advanced research and writing skills while completing their master’s theses or capstone projects.

Some programs offer concentrations in areas such as forensic psychology, neuropsychology, or child and family psychology. Courses vary by program, but the following three courses appear in many master’s in clinical psychology programs.

  • Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology

    Ethics and multicultural issues courses cultivate skills for serving clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Learners also study how to support clients of differing ages, abilities, sexual preferences, and religious beliefs.
  • Psychopharmacology

    A core course in many psychology programs, psychopharmacology examines the uses, effects, and abuses of various illegal and legal drugs. Students learn how drugs influence the human body’s major systems, functions, and organs.
  • Theories of Counseling

    This course surveys major counseling and psychotherapy theories and systems. Enrollees learn various clinical applications, studying how and when these theories might apply in various situations and cultural contexts. Course participants usually get to practice their clinical skills in this course.

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