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.

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®.

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.

Read more about Financial Aid on the Best Financial Aid Guide.

Reputation matters.

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.

Note that if you want more details about psychology programs, read the main Online Masters in Psychology page.

1. Ball State University

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)

3. University of North Dakota

4. University of North Texas

5. Angelo State University (ASU)

6. California Baptist University

7. Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU)

8. Fort Hays State University

9. Eastern Kentucky University

10. Arizona State University – Tempe

11. St. Leo University

12. University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV)

13. Touro University Worldwide

14. Grand Canyon University

15. Brandman University

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.

Find out more about general Accreditation.

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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