Child Psychology is a branch of General Psychology that scientifically studies how and why children change and develop from birth to early adolescence. It is also the study of subconscious and conscious childhood development through the eyes of behavioral, social, cognitive, and family aspects. Child Development Psychology goes through progressive developmental stages of a child to analyze environmental, cultural, and genetic factors based on which they evolve, grow, view the world, acquire new skills, and process their feelings. With an Online Master’s in Child Psychology, students gain a large psychological skill set. These skills can be used in various professional settings, from education to human services, to solve mental health, social, and educational issues relating to children and diagnose extreme psychiatric problems, such as autism, mood disorders, and issues arising from trauma or violence. The focus is on behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, research methods, personality, learning theory, ethical practice, and more. Graduates will understand how children grow and adapt at different stages of life while helping them reach their full potential.

Masters in Child Psychology

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Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs

To consider a Master’s in Child Psychology online program to be among the best Child Psychology graduate programs, certain factors have been considered. They are – the structure of the program, its effective delivery, the experience and quality of teaching staff, infrastructure and student services of the college, opportunities for internship and field experience, accreditation, and affordability, should be factored in. With all these crucial aspects assessed and evaluated, here are some of the best colleges for Child Psychology in the US:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
Capella University
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Northcentral University
11355 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
Montclair State University
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043
University of La Verne
1950 Third St, La Verne, California 91750
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
325 N Wells Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654
Missouri State University
901 S National Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65897
Erikson Institute
451 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive # 0001, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406
Antioch University
400 Corporate Pointe, Culver City, California 90230
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road, Manchester, New Hampshire 03106

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Child Psychology Programs

A Child Psychology degree is largely based on other disciplines that play a role in childhood and child development, such as biology, chemistry, neurology, human development, family counseling, cultural diversity, etc. It is not uncommon to find General Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Behavioral Psychology in a Master’s in Child Psychology online program. Learners evaluate and express the effects of family, community, and culture on child growth and how children grow physically, mentally, socially, and cognitively under various conditions.

The program teaches students to evaluate children’s changing needs further, better their lives by understanding the changes and challenges they face in everyday life, and suggest effective solutions based on theory and study.

Graduates of a Master’s in Child Psychology will learn how to stay informed in the field, apply the latest developments in their practice, and positively impact younger generations and tender, impressionable minds.

Masters in Child Psychology Degree Types

Students who wish to pursue a Master’s in Child Psychology online program will find only two types of degrees to choose from. Although both types are founded on general psychology and share similar courses, each one is unique in its own right and caters to slightly different professional goals while also approaching the subject from different points of view.

MA Child Psychology

A Master of Arts or MA in Child Psychology program is based on humanities and is a concentration or branch of General Psychology. As with most MA programs, the MA in Child Psychology adopts a multidisciplinary approach, using anthropology, social science, general psychology, biology, statistics, etc.

MS in Child Psychology

A Master of Science or MS in Child Psychology program is based on Psychology and other Psychology-related subjects such as cognitive and behavioral studies, neurosciences, clinical interventions, psychotherapy, psychiatry, general psychology, etc. This degree is more granular and technical in its approach to Child Psychology.

Specializations in Masters in Child Psychology Programs

The Master’s in Child Psychology online stems from the larger field of General Psychology as a whole. However, even within the field of Child Psychology, students can dive deeper and advance their knowledge and skills through a particular specialization. Some examples of such concentrations and specializations are:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Master’s in Child Development Online
  • Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Child Neuropsychology Graduate Programs
  • Human Development and Psychology Graduate Programs
  • Sport Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Child and Adolescent Development

Other examples of Child and Developmental Psychology concentration courses, built on the foundation in General Psychology, that prepare graduates for careers working with children, include:

  1. Developmental Psychology: explores a range of theoretical viewpoints better to understand current issues in childhood and adolescent growth.
  2. Child and Developmental Psychology Seminar: focuses on and integrates Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Neuropsychology, and Intervention Strategies.
  3. Intervention Strategies: Covers the most common intervention techniques in child and adolescent development and puts these techniques into practice in real-life situations.
  4. Cognitive Neuropsychology: Examines the neuropsychological approach to investigating the brain’s relationship with cognitive processes and explores strategies for studying the brain and its behavior concerning dysfunctions from birth to childhood.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs

Being a concentration of the larger Master’s in Psychology, almost all Master’s in Child Psychology online programs focus on behavior, Statistics, clinical intervention, research, and several Psychology-related subjects. Although the curricula of programs vary by college and program structure, in general, they tend to include Child Psychology courses, such as (but not limited to):

  • Parenting and Multigenerational Influence
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Introduction to Pastoral Counseling
  • Ethical Practice in Psychology
  • Intervention Strategies
  • Child and Developmental Psychology
  • Lifespan Development
  • Applied Statistics for Psychology
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct in Psychology
  • Critical Issues in Child Development
  • Intimate Relationship Development
  • Adulthood and Aging in the Family System
  • Human Prenatal Development
  • Lifespan Development
  • Applied Statistics for Psychology
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Child Advocacy Research Methods and Evaluation
  • Child Advocacy Policy and Practice
  • Child Welfare Policy
  • Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Policy
  • Cultural Competency in Children’s Mental Health
  • Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health
  • Psychological Assessment in Counseling
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct in Psychology
  • Applied Research Methods in Developmental Psychology
  • Theories of Personality
  • Atypical Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics
  • Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Theory and Technique of Substance Abuse
  • Cultural Diversity in Counseling
  • Career Development
  • Trauma and Crisis Intervention
  • Family Systems and Family Therapy
  • Evidence-Based Programs for Children and Adolescents
  • Behavioral Principles and Theories of Learning
  • Career Development Theories and Techniques
  • Assessment of Intelligence
  • Lifestyle Development
  • Multicultural Diversity and Advocacy
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Behavioral and Emotional Disorders

As for learning outcomes and skills acquired from a Master’s in Child Psychology, graduates will acquire the ability to:

  • Demonstrate ethical behavior in all facets of the Child Psychology field.
  • Design, develop, conduct, and evaluate research in the field of Child Psychology.
  • Critically Assess and evaluate a child’s emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development, and use therapy and intervention if necessary.
  • Promote the overall well-being and mental health of children and communities.
  • Adopt empathy for collaboration and diversity of perspectives.
  • Integrate theory, methods, and research in Child Psychology.
  • Safeguard the interests, professional integrity, and responsibilities of Child Psychology and Child Psychologists.

Accreditation for Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs

Accreditation assures students that an institution and/or program meets established criteria for faculty quality, instruction, learner services, and financial stability. Accredited online Child Psychology courses also ensure that employers, professional societies, and other approved higher education institutions accept the degree. The American Psychological Association or APA Child Psychology programs also allow transferring credits from one accredited University to another.

Programmatically, some Master’s in Child Psychology online degrees are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Where programmatic accreditation may not be available, regional accreditation such as by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), are equally credible.

The Accreditation Guide illustrates the many advantages of accreditation and its importance.

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs

Most online Master’s in Child Psychology online programs take full-time students about 18 to 24 months to complete. Part-timers, on the other hand, can look at durations typically ranging from 24 to 48 months. But in the end, a Child Psychologist’s years of school depending on the program’s structure, coursework, internship or fieldwork, and thesis.

Online Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs Admission Requirements

Applicants to a Master’s in Art Therapy online must have received a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited university, much like applicants to other Master’s programs in the field of Health Care, such as Clinical ResearchCounselingKinesiology Exercise ScienceOccupational TherapySpeech Pathology, Sports Psychology, and so on. At most colleges, Child Psychologist education requirements are:

  • An Application Form with the prescribed Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.3 or higher, on a 4.0 scale.
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • 2 to 3 Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must have received an undergraduate Psychology Degree online, or on campus, or a Bachelor’s Degree in another discipline with undergraduate coursework in the areas such as Introduction to Psychology, Social Science Statistics, Research Methods in a Social Science, etc., to be eligible for the online Master’s in Psychology program. Those who do not meet this requirement may have to take prerequisite courses in Foundations of Psychology, Foundations in Statistics, Foundations in Research Methods, etc.

Note: Standardized test scores such as GRE and GMAT are not required for admission, but this and other admission requirements depend on the college and program one is applying to. Students must check with the college’s admissions office or read the program guide/prospectus for updated and exact information.

How to Pay for Masters in Child Psychology Online Programs

A Master’s in Child Psychology online program in the United States can cost several thousand dollars to pursue. The cost of this Master’s degree continues to grow year after year, necessitating a look at reliable funding options that can alleviate the financial strain of advanced education. Some such funding options include:


Several universities give qualifying students merit-based scholarships, alumnae-funded grants, and fellowships. Scholarships are often awarded by private entities based on academic achievement, community service, cultural heritage, religious affiliation, and other criteria. Some scholarships are purpose-specific, such as  Disability ScholarshipsAfrican American Scholarships, and Scholarships for Women, which target certain students and sections of society. (Note: Be aware of the many Scholarship Scams online.)


Grants are a good funding choice to consider for student and education-related expenses such as books, study materials, travel, student accommodation, and so on, in addition to tuition fees. Grants are normally focused on financial needs rather than academic achievement.

Graduate Assistantships

Students seeking a Master’s degree in Child Psychology may be eligible for Graduate Teaching Assistantships or Graduate Research Assistantships at certain Universities. Graduate Assistants support classroom and/or research functions and assist senior teachers in carrying out their responsibilities in exchange for a stipend that can help finance their Master’s degree.

Working on Campus

Universities often encourage students to study and work on the same campus. Part-time work can be found with a paycheck, which can help pay for tuition, or even with student and education-related expenses.

Student Loans

Federal loans, bank loans, and private loans can be reasonably easy ways to fund a Master’s program for those willing to pay interest on a loan. But borrowers should avoid defaulting on payments and accruing interest, both of which will surely increase student debt.

Further information on other funding mechanisms is illustrated in the best Financial Guide.

Scholarships for Masters in Child Psychology Students

Several Universities give out scholarships for a Master’s in Child Psychology online program. But there are individuals and private organizations that also offer scholarships based on merit, community, culture, religion, and ethnicity, among other such criteria. Some scholarships, from a pool of many, worth considering are:

APF Graduate Student Scholarships

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) annually awards 21 scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 for graduate students in Psychology, sponsored by several Individuals. Application Deadline: June 30th, 2024.

Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant in Memory of John Holland

The Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant in Memory of John Holland awards $17,000 to students who investigate how personality, culture, and environment influence work behavior and health. This grant is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA). Application Deadline: September 15th, 2024.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

The Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship program, administered by the American Psychological Association (APA), supports graduate research projects and scholarships in Child Psychology, with an award of $25,000. Application Deadline: November 15th, 2024.

Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grant

Another Scholarship administered by the American Psychological Association (APA) is the Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grant that awards up to $50,000 for work related to the psychological understanding of gifted children and youth. Application Deadline: Closed for 2024; TBA for 2024.

Lizette Peterson-Homer Injury Prevention Grant

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) sponsors the Lizette Peterson-Homer Injury Prevention Grant of $5,000 for research on preventing injuries in children and adolescents through accidents, violence, abuse, or suicide.

FAQs about Child Psychology Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

How to become a Child Psychologist?

The first step to becoming a Child Psychologist is to complete an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology or a related field, with courses related to or in General Psychology, Research, Statistics, etc. The next step is to apply for a Master’s in Child Psychology online program and fulfill all admission requirements. The third and last step is to earn a Doctoral Degree, specialize, gain certification, and apply for licensure to practice as a Child Psychologist.

How long does it take to become a Child Psychologist?

What degree do you need to be a Child Psychologist?

What classes do you need to become a Child Psychologist?

What are the requirements to become a Child Psychologist?

How many years of college to be a Child Psychologist?

What to do with a Child psychology degree?

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a Child Psychologist?

Is it hard to become a Child Psychologist?

What education do you need to become a Child Psychologist?

What is applied developmental Psychology?

Why become a Child Psychologist?

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Child Psychology Graduates

There are many careers in Child Psychology that graduates of a Master’s in Child Psychology can pursue. Generally, jobs for Child Psychology majors can be found in sectors and professional work settings such as:

  • Health Care Organizations
  • Child and Family Service Agencies
  • Early Childhood Education Programs
  • Governments—Local, State, or Federal
  • Law Enforcement
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Religious Organizations
  • Group Homes
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Community Colleges

The popular job roles that most graduates take on are:

  • Child Development Specialist
  • Child Care Specialist
  • School Psychologist
  • Developmental Play Specialist
  • Care Coordinator
  • Child Care Center Manager
  • Child/Youth Program Director
  • Sexual Health Educator
  • Family Program Administrator
  • Executive Coach
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Research Assistant
  • Community Outreach Specialist
  • Nonprofit Program Manager
  • Foster Care Coordinator
  • Group Facilitator
  • Resource Specialist
  • Child Protective Services Manager
  • Adjunct or Part-Time Psychology Faculty
  • Instructor, Teacher, or Professor
  • Before/After School Program Director
  • Intervention Advocate
  • Early Childhood Education Specialist
  • Research Assistant
  • Consultant

Important: Many of the jobs in Child Psychology require additional education, training, certifications, or licensure beyond a Master’s Degree. In some states, becoming a Child Psychologist and practicing clinically or otherwise requires a Doctoral Degree such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D.

Salaries of most jobs in the field of Child Psychology are quite alluring. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists earn a mean annual wage of $89,290, with 90% of them earning $138,550 (as of May 2020). Similarly, Education and Childcare Administrators, Preschool and Daycare, earn a mean annual wage of $54,940Postsecondary Psychology teachers earn up to $148 840, with the median annual wage for the profession being $85,050 (as of May 2017).

The job market for Psychologists (including Child Psychologists) is projected to grow by 3% between 2019 and 2029, which is as fast as average, while that for Social Workers is projected to grow by 13% – much faster than average. Marriage and Family Therapists will see a rise of 22% jobs between 2019 and 2029, while Social and Community Managers will be 17% more in demand in the same period.

Certifications and Licensing for Child Psychology Graduates

Certifications are extensions of a Master’s program. They add credence to a graduate’s knowledge and ability to use their skills in real-world scenarios. A Child Psychology certificate is almost always essential for most careers that require licensure. The Institute of Child Psychology offers one such certification through its Certification in Children’s Mental Health Fundamentals. Another is the Child Psychology Certification, awarded by the New Skills Academy.

Graduates of a Master’s in Child Psychology should always consider being certificated if they intend to work and/or apply for licensure instead of pursuing further studies.

A Child Psychology Master’s program in itself does not lead to state licensure but can prepare graduates for a rich and rewarding career working with children and pursuing doctoral studies. Licensure is required to work as a Child Psychologist and can be obtained through additional programs (such as a Ph.D., which focuses on research, or a Psy.D., which focuses on clinical practice) and training that complements the Master’s Degree. However, each State has its independent and unique requirements and licensing rules, and graduates are advised to check for these with the State’s Licensing Board.

But in general, to demonstrate their core competencies in Psychology, candidates for licensure from all states are required to take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) test. In addition to educational qualification and the EPPP test, states also ask for supervised clinical hours to be put in.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) has a nifty ‘Handbook on Licensing and Certification Requirements’, now updated as the ASPPB PSY|Book, which provides basic information for licensure of Psychologists in the United States and Canada.

Additional Resources for Child Psychology Professionals

The field of Child Psychology is constantly evolving and requires students and Psychologists to be aware of new developments, techniques, and knowledge to learn more and advance in their careers. Graduates of a Master’s in Child Psychology online will do well to connect with like-minded peers and professionals, network, share, discuss, and deliberate on advancements in Child Psychology. Some resources that can be of immense help in this endeavor are:

  1. American Psychological Association
    Apart from listing out various scholarships and grants, through the American Psychological Foundation (APF), for the study and research of Psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA) also offers books, journals, publications, news & events, and information on careers.
  2. Association for Psychological Science (APS)
    The Association for Psychological Science (APS) promotes, protects, and advances the interests of scientifically oriented psychology. It offers research topics, meetings & events, journals, the ‘Observer’ magazine, information on funding and employment, and podcasts.
  3. Association for Research in Personality (ARP)
    The Association for Research in Personality (ARP) is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of personality structure, processes, and development and offers journals, newsletters, and awards, apart from hosting conferences.
  4. Child Mind Institute
    The Child Mind Institute focuses on three key areas of education, care, and research. The site has articles on treatments, learning and development disorders, ADHD, trauma and stress-related disorders, managing disruptive behavior, and more, along with guides, events, a blog, and a symptom checker.
  5. claims to be the world’s number 1 positive Psychology resource, with some 6,300 practitioners joining their community every week. There are resources on emotional intelligence, resilience and coping, stress and burnout prevention, optimism and mindset, mindfulness, and more.
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