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Those seeking a psychology degree don’t do it to see a few letters behind their name; they do it because psychology is an interesting field that allows them to help people while often making a very good living. But being able to help others starts with a great education. While there are many elements that play into a good education, accreditation is by far the most important.
Accreditation is voluntary process by which a school is evaluated by an independent accrediting body and found to present an education that meets rigorous quality standards. Accreditation means that the degree a student earns from that school means something – it shows that the student has the education necessary to hit the ground running in their psychology career. Let’s dive into further detail on Accredited Online Masters in Psychology.
www.onlinemasterscolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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 GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.
Why is Accreditation Important for an Online Psychology Master’s Degree?
It’s important to attend an accredited online master’s psychology program. But why does accreditation matter so much?
Licensure requires it.
In most states, psychologists must be licensed. To become licensed, they must meet certain criteria, including scrutiny of their educational program. The required education element for licensing must be met by graduating from an accredited post-secondary institution.
Ensures it’s not a diploma mill.
There was a time when online education was fraught with uncertainty, as accreditation hadn’t yet caught up with the new format of distance education. And even today, there are some colleges that will try to slip under the radar and offer programs that don’t meet the standards of a high-quality education. To avoid this, always look for an active accreditation status.
Boosts employment prospects.
Accreditation sets a “floor” as to the level of training a professional should have and employers expect new hires to complete their education at an accredited school, even if not required by a certification or licensing body. Most job applicants will have graduated from an accredited school, so employers won’t even bother to look at the resumes of those who graduated from lesser institutions.
Required for further education.
While a master’s degree is a higher-level degree, it’s not the highest. Should someone want to further continue their education with a doctorate degree in psychology, they will only get credit for their prior education if it came from an accredited school. If they did not attend an accredited institution, this could mean that all their hard work must be completed again in order to obtain a degree in good standing before embarking on the doctoral program.
Required for school transfers.
Just as completing education at an accredited school is an eligibility requirement for a subsequent degree, it’s almost always a requirement for recognition of transfer credits. If students choose to change programs halfway through, they may have to start from scratch and all previous coursework will go to waste.
Get more financial aid.
Most forms of financial aid, especially federal grants and loans, require applicants to attend an accredited school. By not enrolling at an accredited school, there will be little to no financial assistance available for most master’s students, even through many private scholarships.
Another reason to attend an accredited program is for its positive and strong reputation and it imparts to graduates. Since an accredited school provides a high-quality education, students can rest assured that its reputation will continue with them through their long career. However, graduates from a non-accredited school might be seen as academically or professionally dishonest – and that’s not a good way to start any career.
Accredited Online Masters in Psychology Programs
There are so many online master’s degree programs to choose from that it can be daunting to decide which school to apply to. To help master’s students narrow down their options, here are a few spotlight schools offering Accredited Online Masters in Psychology.
Well-known as a leader in online programs (and as the beloved alma mater of David Letterman), Ball State University offers two Accredited Online Masters in Psychology programs that can be taken entirely online. The degree in Quantitative Psychology prepares graduates to focus on data-related situations and research. This Master of Science degree requires 33 credits and takes about two years to complete. Two concentrations are offered: quantitative and mixed methods.
The degree in Educational Psychology takes students on a journey that prepares them to work with individuals and groups in the realm of education. This Master of Arts program requires completion of 30 credits, which can be completed in 18 months or less. Specializations are available in neuropsychology, applied behavior analysis, human development, gifted and talented, or custom specializations that allow students to focus strongly on what matters most to them.
2. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
With a robust list of more than 100 master’s degrees available online, there’s no wonder that Southern New Hampshire University is not only very online-friendly for Accredited Online Masters in Psychology students, but has affordable tuition as well.
SNHU offers three Accredited Online Masters in Psychology programs. Though some of the basis courses will be the same across all three degrees – such as those that focus on research and data collection – the concentration courses for each one will allow master’s students to target the areas that will prepare them for a future career. Here’s a brief rundown of the concentrations:
Child and Developmental Psychologystudents will encounter courses in intervention strategies, cognitive neuropsychology, developmental psychology and ethical practices in psychology.
Forensic Psychologystudents will take courses in the intersection of law and psychology, assessment specific to forensic psychology, psychology in the courtroom and theories of personality.
All master’s programs in psychology require completion of 36 credit hours, which can be completed in as little as 15 months, assuming a student is taking two courses per term.
3. University of North Dakota
Ranked the No. 1 online master’s program in the nation, the Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology fromUniversity of North Dakota takes only two years to complete when attending part-time. 30 credit hours are required and cover what graduate students need to know to testify as an expert witness, provide research-based evaluations, and assist courts and agencies in forensic issues, among other duties. The program offers intense tutoring, advising, tech support and library services. Master’s students are required to attend class on-campus for one week during the capstone portion of their program.
4. University of North Texas
The University of North Texas offers more than 20 online master’s programs, and three of them are related to psychology. A full-time student can complete their master’s studies in as little as 15 months. Here are the three options:
• MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. This program requires 48 credit hours, and nine of those are dedicated to over 700 hours of field work. Students can expect to graduate within two years.
Various start dates throughout the year make these programs even more flexible for online students.
5. Angelo State University (ASU)
The Master of Science in Applied Psychology is the only one of four psychology programs at Angelo State University to be offered online. Students can choose from the thesis or non-thesis option; either way, they can expect to complete 36 hours for graduation. To help pay for the cost of earning the master’s in psychology program, ASU offers the Carr Academic Graduate Scholarship, which every enrolled grad student is considered for; it is based on merit and undergraduate GPA.
6. California Baptist University
TheMaster of Science in Counseling Psychology at California Baptist University requires the completion of 62 major units and takes two years to complete. Students can choose between synchronous, instant messaging and communication learning, and asynchronous learning which offers master’s students a more self-paced approach via email, message boards, web platforms. This program prepares students for licensure as a marriage and family counselor in the state of California; out-of-state students should check with their licensing board before enrolling to ensure the education meets their own state requirements. Though this master’s program might cost a bit more than others on the list, robust financial aid offers help level the financial playing field.
7. Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU)
Two master’s degrees in psychology online are available through SAGU, including those in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Human Services Counseling. (Please note that only the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares master’s students for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas; out-of-state students should check with their state regulations to ensure the program meets their requirements, too.) Small class sizes and access to a variety of support services help set SAGU apart as does the fact that students graduate with an average of 20 percent less debt than those at other universities.
8. Fort Hays State University
Accredited Online Masters in Psychology students at Fort Hays State University can take part in three different psychology-based programs: Counseling – School, Counseling – Clinical Mental Health, and School Psychology. However, students should be aware that each program is actually a hybrid, requiring anything from 50/50 classroom/on-campus work to hands-on training after completing online courses. Depending upon the course, master’s students will take two to three years to complete their degree program. Though the program takes longer than those at other schools, the tuition cost is much lower than most.
9. Eastern Kentucky University
The Master of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University is a 100 percent online program that can be completed in 36 credit hours. As an added bonus, the school accepts up to 12 credit hours for transfer, thus cutting down significantly on the time it takes to earn the master’s degree. Online tutoring and other resources are available for all students during their 8-week terms. Significant tuition discount exists for members of the military and their qualified family members.
10. Arizona State University – Tempe
Students seeking an Accredited Online Masters in Psychology can opt for the Forensic Psychology or Psychologyprograms at Arizona State University. These Master of Science programs offer an accelerated seven and a half weeks per class; the Forensic Psychology program requires 11 total classes for 33 credit hours, while the Psychology program requires 12 total classes for 36 credit hours. Full-time students can complete the program within 18 months, but those who need more time can take courses as their schedule allows, as long as they complete their pursuit of the degree within six years of admission.
11. St. Leo University
The online Master of Psychology at Saint Leo University is a fully asynchronous program that takes 36 credit hours to complete. Students take one course per 8-week term, allowing them to dive deep into the material. With no more than 15 students per cohort, master’s students enjoy more personal attention. The unique Capstone project allows students to research what interests them and show off their exceptional communication and ethical decision-making skills. Aspiring students will be happy to learn that the tuition charged here is less than the average tuition of most private universities.
12. University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV)
TheMaster of Science in Educational Psychology is available for aspiring students through UNLV Online. This 33-credit program requires psychology grad students to maintain a 3.0 average and complete a thesis, which they will then successfully defend before the degree will be awarded. The other option is a comprehensive examination at the end of the program. It’s important to remember that UNLV cannot provide online programs to certain states; to see if a specific state of residence offers a degree from here, check out the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements page.
13. Touro University Worldwide
Those seeking an Accredited Online Masters in Psychology program can turn to the onlineMaster of Arts in Psychology through Touro University Worldwide. This program requires master’s students to complete 12 courses, three of which are electives that lead to one of three specializations: Media, Educational, or Health Psychology. There are no admission fees or hidden fees, and students can bring down their tuition rates through generous use of financial aid through the school, including scholarships and grants. Military members and qualified family members receive a 40 percent discount on tuition.
14. Grand Canyon University
The online offerings of Grand Canyon University are robust; so much so that there are numerous programs that focus on counseling and psychology topics. The Master of Science in Psychology program offers seven concentrations, including those in forensic, general, health, human factors and geropsychology. In most cases, the program requires 36 credits divided into 8-week courses; students can transfer in up to 12 credits, thus bringing their time in the classroom down to less than one year.
15. Brandman University
With five potential counseling and Accredited Online Masters in Psychology programs, Brandman University prepares students for careers in marriage and family counseling, school counseling, and clinical counseling. As an example of what to expect, the marriage and family counseling 60 credit hour program can be completed within two years, perhaps sooner with accelerated learning; the program leads to eligibility for licensure in 37 states. The financial aid office can guide master’s students through the many scholarship opportunities available to help pay for the cost of their master’s education.
Online Master’s in Psychology – What is Institutional Accreditation?
When it comes to accreditation there are two types to consider: programmatic and institutional. Programmatic refers to the accreditation of specific degree programs while institutional (sometimes known as “regional” accreditation) refers to accreditation of the school itself. Ideally, a master’s student will earn a degree from a program and graduate from a school that are both accredited. However, this is not always possible because not all programs have an accrediting body. One example of this is psychology programs at the master’s level.
When researching online master’s psychology programs, prospective students should ensure the program school has institutional accreditation. Students can locate that information on a school’s website, but sometimes it can be tricky or confusing to figure out. That’s why a good place to confirm accreditation is the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Just remember that the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t accredit schools or programs; however, they do recognize the organizations that accredit schools.
For those who decide to earn a doctoral degree in psychology, there is a programmatic accreditation to seek out. Specifically, the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA) which accredits doctoral degree programs. The APA CoA is also tasked with accrediting doctoral internships and postdoctoral residency programs.
Additional Resources for Accredited Online Masters in Psychology Programs
Now that everything pertinent about accreditation for the master’s programs in psychology has been covered, why not learn more about the degree itself? Here are some of our other pages on psychology that can help you understand what to expect from the online psychology master’s program:
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