Online Clinical Psychology Degree Programs
Earning a degree in clinical psychology can qualify you to work in hospitals, universities, mental health centers or even your own private practice. It's important to note that no online clinical psychology programs are currently accredited. Although unaccredited online programs are available, earning your degree through an unaccredited program can impair your ability to become licensed. Get more info about on-campus and online clinical psychology programs, and review the licensure requirements.
Can I Earn a Clinical Psychology Degree Online?
As of early 2011, the American Psychological Association (APA) didn't accredit any online programs in clinical psychology, but you do have some options. Programs are typically offered by private for-profit schools, but some non-profit schools also offer online psychology programs. Though rare, these include doctoral and master's degree programs. Some schools say that their online psychology programs adhere to APA standards, though you'll need to check with your state's licensing guidelines to find out if an online program is right for you.
|Online Availability||Online programs are not accredited by the APA, though it may be possible to find a non-accredited program online|
|In-Person Requirements||Online programs have in-person components, such as a year doing in-person study or periodic on-campus sessions|
|Key Program Concepts||Research methods, domains of inquiry, psychopathology, interventions, human development|
|Master's Programs||Online and campus-based master's programs are available to prepare a student to pursue a Ph.D. or licensure in some states|
|Licensure||To obtain licensure, most states require a clinical psychologist to hold a Ph.D., complete an internship, have 1-2 years of professional experience and pass an exam|
|Median Salary (2018)||$76,990 (Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||14% growth (Psychologists)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
What Are the Differences Between Online and On-Campus Programs?
On-campus programs typically involve close research and clinical work supervised and guided by faculty. You may also have the opportunity to work with patients in a clinical setting and with faculty on research projects. Internships, fellowships, seminars and hands-on research are also components of campus-based clinical psychology Ph.D. programs. These programs often aim to train you as both a scientist and a practitioner.
Online doctoral programs usually require you to spend some time on campus; you might be required to spend an entire year doing in-person study or to attend periodic face-to-face sessions and testing. You may also have to travel to attend seminars and conferences.
What Will I Learn?
Most clinical psychology programs are for Ph.D. candidates. If you choose one of these programs, you'll spend the first two years learning about such topics as research methods, domains of inquiry, psychopathology and interventions. Other courses cover the history of psychology, human development and professional practices. You'll usually be required to complete and defend a dissertation, which requires new research that you'll undertake during your time as a Ph.D. candidate.
What About Master's Degree Programs?
Though uncommon, online master's degree programs in psychology are typically designed to prepare students to eventually pursue a Ph.D. or to find jobs in social work or health care. Campus-based master's degree programs in clinical psychology may qualify graduates for licensing in some states. Such programs cover clinical psychology from a broad perspective. You may be able to attend on-campus courses in the evenings if a flexible schedule works for you.
How Do I Get Licensed?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require clinical psychologists to have a Ph.D. in psychology and to have completed an internship plus 1-2 years of professional practice to obtain licensure (www.bls.gov). You'll also have to pass an exam, and some states require you to complete continuing education courses to maintain your licensure. If you have a bachelor's or master's degree, you may be able to find work as an assistant to a Ph.D.-degreed psychologist, though you'll need a Ph.D. to practice independently.