Top Online Master’s Programs in School Psychology

Become an expert in helping students reach their potential with a school psychology master’s online degree. Explore this year’s best programs, learn what they can do for your career, find out how long they’ll take, and get tips on paying for your degree in this guide.

Earning a school psychology master’s degree online is a major investment. Before applying to programs and choosing a school to attend, you’re likely to have plenty of questions. Where can you find the best program? What does it take to get into a program? What can you expect from your classes? Where can your new degree lead after you graduate? This guide answers those questions and more, helping you take that all-important first step toward earning your master’s degree in school psychology. Get started with our list of the best school psychology online master’s programs for 2022.

2022’s Top Online Master’s Programs in School Psychology

About the ranking
1
Tuscaloosa, AL
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$$

The University of Alabama offers a joint degree program that results in students earning both their Master of Arts in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on School Psychometry and their Educational Specialist degrees in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on School Psychology. The program requires the completion of 69 credits to sit for either the Alabama Class A Certification in School Psychometry and/or the Alabama Class AA Certification in School Psychology. Some courses are offered online as well as in person. Students also gain hands-on training through practicums. Incoming students need bachelor’s or master’s level teaching certificates. 

Program Highlights: 

MA in Education Psychology – School Psychometry and Eds in Educational Psychology – School Psychology 

  • Credits: 69
  • Length: About 3 years
  • Cost: $440/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (program)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC

School Ranks in Category

Online Programs (in Subject) #1
Online Students #1
Students w/Institutional Aid #3
Institutional Aid per Student #1
2
Type:
Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost:
$$$$

Fresno Pacific University’s Master of Arts in School Psychology program is ideal for those looking to work as a licensed school psychologist at a public school in California. The curriculum is offered in a Christian setting and includes both on-campus and online coursework. Students also have various in-person learning and training requirements that include internships and practicums. Eleven of the required 62 credits are classes from the Board Certified Behavior Analyst program at Fresno Pacific University to give a solid understanding of alternative methods, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques, of educating and teaching children. 

Program Highlights: 

MA in School Psychology 

  • Credits: 62
  • Length: About 3 years.
  • Cost: $690/unit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation #N/A

School Ranks in Category

Online Programs (in Subject) #1
Online Students #3
Students w/Institutional Aid #1
Institutional Aid per Student #2
3
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$$$

Wayne State University’s Master of Arts in School and Community Psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and has both online and on-campus students. Online students attend live virtual class sessions and must also make one evening campus visit per semester and complete field experience requirements in person. Field experiences can take place in their local areas. Students also complete a paid internship during their third year. Upon graduation, students can obtain their School Psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist credentials. 

Program Highlights: 

MA in School and Community Psychology 

  • Credits: 64 credits
  • Length: 3 years
  • Cost: $705.01/credit (resident); $1,527.07/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC

School Ranks in Category

Online Programs (in Subject) #1
Online Students #2
Students w/Institutional Aid #2
Institutional Aid per Student #3

Inside 2 Accredited School Psychology Online Master’s Programs

College rankings are a great place to start your search for an online school psychology master’s, but there are other schools worth considering as well, including the two we’ve spotlighted below. They both offer accredited online school psychology master’s programs that stand out in terms of affordability, learning flexibility, and educational quality. Learn more about each program below and see if one of them meets your needs.

National University

San Diego’s National University is a private university with nonprofit status. With more than 50 master’s degree programs to choose from, National’s Master of Science in school psychology program stands out from many other schools’ programs in several ways. The 90 quarter-credit curriculum prepares students to obtain their pupil personnel school psychology credential so they can practice as school psychologists in the state of California. The curriculum consists of both online coursework and in-person training. Specifically, students complete their in-person academic requirements through an on-site practicum and internship, in addition to 16 on-site visits at one of the four California National University campuses.

For better flexibility, classes are very short, only lasting four weeks at a time. This makes it easier to quickly progress through coursework without having to take too many classes at the same time. While much of the curriculum is available online, students can also choose to attend class on campus. All students are assigned an academic program director who ensures they are on course to complete academic requirements–and therefore to graduate—on schedule.

California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania’s master’s in school psychology hybrid program consists of 36 credits and is available to students on full-time or part-time tracks. The full-time track requires classes each semester and 300 practicum hours, allowing students to earn their master’s degrees in two years. While much of the curriculum must be completed on-campus, some academic elements can be completed online. In earning their master’s degree, students will take courses such as:

  • Advanced Tests and Measurements
  • Advanced Psychology of Learning
  • Psychopathology of Childhood
  • Fundamentals of School Psychology
  • Seminar in Behavior Modification

The master’s program alone will not result in eligibility to become a licensed school psychologist. Students must also complete a 33-credit post-master’s graduate certificate and a 1,200-hour internship under the supervision of a certified school psychologist. Once this is complete, graduates can take the Praxis II exam and apply for certification as a school psychologist.

Advantages of Earning an Online Master’s in School Psychology

Attending a school psychology master’s program online offers many advantages compared to attending a traditional program or settling for a bachelor’s degree. Let’s look at three of the biggest benefits of earning your school psychology master’s degree online.

  1. Flexible academics

    Most school psychology master’s online programs contain some in-person learning elements. Usually, these come in the form of practicums. However, some programs allow students to complete some or most of their classroom requirements through online coursework, thus making obtaining this degree much more convenient.

  2. Professional credentialing

    To become a licensed school psychologist or other related professional, a master’s degree is usually the minimum degree required. Most master’s in school psychology online programs are combined with another academic offering, such as a graduate certificate or Education Specialist (EdS) credential. Taken together, graduates become eligible to be fully licensed school psychologists.

  3. Specialized training

    While school psychology is a fairly specialized area of practice, there are additional opportunities for greater levels of specialization as you earn a school psychology master’s online. For example, students can take specialized classes to prepare them to work with certain types of students, such as children from different cultural backgrounds, children with learning disabilities, or children of a certain age group.

What You’ll Learn in Master’s in School Psychology Online Programs

The curriculum in a master’s degree school psychology online program will vary to some extent based on your specialization. However, most programs cover the same core concepts and include the practicums necessary for students to apply their knowledge and experience in a real-world setting. Here are some common classes you’re likely to encounter.

Popular Courses

  • Research Methods and Techniques

    Psychology places great importance on understanding statistics and how to conduct and interpret research. This class teaches students about research methods that make use of the scientific method as they apply to the academic context and student subjects. Students will also receive instruction relating to the critical analysis of completed research.

  • Behavioral Principles of Learning

    In this core class, students examine experiment-based psychological concepts that relate to learning. This includes classical conditioning, operant behavior, stimulus, motivation, schedules, and parameter-based behavior.

  • Human Developmental Psychology

    Humans develop through their entire life spans, but much of this development occurs during childhood, especially in school. This class takes modern research and classical theories about how people grow mentally and change psychologically from birth into adulthood, with a special focus on human development of school-aged individuals.

  • Ethics, Standards, and the Practice of Psychology

    This class covers three common moral challenges that many psychology practitioners face in the course of working with clients. Skills taught in this class include how to identify and handle the legal questions, ethical challenges, and professional issues commonly encountered by psychologists.

  • School Psychology Practicum I

    This is the first of two practicums in which students learn about the school setting and how they can apply their expertise. Students work under the supervision of a licensed school psychologist and observe how academic processes occur at the administrative and classroom level.

Specialization Options

At the master’s level, online school psychology programs are usually a concentration within themselves. However, some school psychology programs offer further areas of specialization. By taking a few more courses, you can gain additional knowledge and skills to more effectively work with certain types of students. To give you an idea of what’s out there, we’ve identified specialization options sometimes found in school psychology programs.

  • Bilingual

    The bilingual specialization is intended for students who possess fluency in a language in addition to English and wish to work with students who also speak languages in addition to or in place of English. By completing the courses in this concentration, students will be eligible to obtain relevant linguistic certifications as provided by their state.

  • Multicultural

    This specialization is intended for educators with an interest in working with children who come from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds but who are not bilingual. Students learn how to work with these children in a culturally sensitive manner.

  • Early Childhood

    This comprehensive training gives graduates the foundations they need to effectively work with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, plus their parents. Courses cover concepts on how to teach and assess young children.

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis

    Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) uses the principles of operant conditioning to modify an individual’s behavior to improve their social interactions. This specialization prepares students to obtain certifications so they may apply ABA principles when treating school-aged students.

  • Autism

    The past few decades have brought far greater awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorders. This specialization provides a broad overview of autism, how it can affect student learning, and how best to work with autistic students.

Accreditation for Master’s in School Psychology Online Programs

Accreditation refers to an independent review of a school or program to ensure it provides a quality education. Attendance at an accredited institution is often required to receive financial aid. It’s also necessary to ensure employers and other schools recognize the degree a student has worked so hard to earn.

There are two main types of accreditation. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school. Most institutionally accredited schools receive their accreditation from regional accrediting bodies. Programmatic accreditation applies to a specific program. The primary programmatic accrediting body for master’s in school psychology online programs is the National Association of School Psychologists. But only a few universities have programs with NASP accreditation. Instead, many universities have schools or departments that have Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accreditation and offer a school psychology master’s level program that is recognized or approved by the NASP. Additionally, some programs may receive programmatic accreditation from the appropriate state education agency for their state, such as a teacher credentialing commission.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in School Psychology

School Psychologist

School Psychologist

School psychologists use theories and concepts from psychology and apply them to the academic setting to assist students in their learning and behavioral challenges. These professionals generally need licensure or certification to practice; to obtain either of these credentials, you’ll usually need a master’s degree plus a graduate certificate or EdS credential.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$45,240

$78,200

$132,670

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

School Counselor

School counselors work with students and teachers to improve the academic performance and social growth of students. Most states require school counselors to have a master’s degree. The online master’s in school psychology can help school counselors not only meet the eligibility requirements to practice, but also provide applicable training to help students learn as effectively as possible.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$34,380

$57,040

$96,090

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Counseling Psychologist

Counseling psychologists use various methods to treat clients dealing with challenges in their everyday lives. Some counseling psychologists focus on treating individuals who are struggling in school. A master’s degree in school psychology can make counseling psychologists far more effective in this task.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$45,240

$78,200

$132,670

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Developmental Psychologist

Developmental psychology involves the study of how individuals grow and develop through their life spans. Due to the rapid cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral development that occurs in children and adolescents, many developmental psychologists focus on school-aged children. Formal training in how students learn in a school setting provides important background information when working as a developmental psychologist.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$46,100

$101,790

$129,530

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

School Social Worker

School social workers are highly trained professionals who work with students, parents, and teachers to help students overcome challenges they face in school. The master’s in school psychology online degree can serve as a perfect academic complement for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in social work who would like to work as school social workers.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$30,870

$47,390

$78,230

Source: PayScale, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in School Psychology

Before applying to various school psychology master’s online programs, you need to figure out how you’re going to pay for your degree. Some forms of financial aid need to be paid back, such as school loans. Others do not need to be paid back, like grants, fellowships, scholarships, and work-study. Then there are some forms that don’t need to be paid back, but have special conditions, such as an employer tuition reimbursement program. Figuring out your financial aid options can be confusing, but we have a financial aid page that explains all the different types of aid.

What Your Online Master’s in School Psychology Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

66

$298.55

$19,704.30

84

$432 (in-state) and $1,186 (out-of-state)

$36,288 (in-state) and $99,624 (out-of-state)

60

$747

$44,820

Frequently Asked Questions About Online School Psychology Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in school psychology?

The best school psychology master’s programs online have a unique set of requirements for incoming students. These often reflect the administration’s philosophies and policies concerning how to educate their student body. However, there are many similarities in admission requirements, with most programs asking applicants to submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree in psychology or education with a minimum GPA and completion of certain prerequisite courses
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent

Some programs also require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores. Others only require these test scores if the applicant doesn’t meet other requirements.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in school psychology?

The time it takes will depend on whether you decide to complete classes on a full-time or part-time basis. Most full-time students can earn their master’s in school psychology online degree in about two years. The biggest variable is which academic track you choose.

To become a licensed school psychologist, simply completing the typical 36 credits of a master’s program will not be enough. That’s because students usually only complete a few hundred hours of field experience under the supervision of a licensed school psychologist. Most states require the completion of 1,500 supervised hours.

Many school psychology programs include a post-master’s academic track, which will usually consist of 30 or so credits. This will culminate in a graduate certificate or an EdS credential, as is the case with Fort Hays State University. Either way, students gain the opportunity to complete the 1,000+ hour supervised experience requirement with an internship while they complete their post-master’s program.

Students who become fully credentialed school psychologists will take three years of full-time study plus field work to complete their respective school psychology online programs.

Can I earn a master’s in school psychology 100% online or do I need to visit campus?

Most master’s in school psychology online programs follow the hybrid model and cannot be completed fully online. Some programs allow students to complete some of the coursework through distance learning. However, due to the real-world experience requirements necessary to become a licensed school psychologist, most programs require students to complete a number of practicums and field work experiences to earn their master’s degree. After the degree program, students enroll in a post-master’s program to complete an internship and obtain the remaining hours necessary to meet their state’s school psychology licensing requirements.