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Educational Psychology PhD Programs

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology program can prepare you for a career in the fields of psychology, research, education or administration. Read on to learn more about available programs and job opportunities.

What Will I Learn in an Educational Psychology Doctoral Program?

Ph.D. degrees are offered specifically in educational psychology, but you can also find psychology doctoral programs that include an educational psychology specialization. Programs focus on using psychological research methods to propose solutions or improvements to the education system. You usually will use advanced psychological and human development principles to improve current teaching methods, increase student learning and rethink common learning models.

Common Courses Educational psychology research, human behavior, motivational learning, child development, classroom management
Program Overview Psychological research methods are studied and applied to improving the education system
Online Availability Some online programs are available, but they typically require on-campus residencies
Career Options School psychologist, education administrator, postsecondary teacher, researcher

What Classes Might I Take?

Classes for the educational psychology Ph.D. program often explore human behavior and the effect of upbringing, ethnicity, age and gender on learning. You sometimes can specialize in a field within educational psychology, such as school psychology, adolescent development or educational policy. Typical educational psychology Ph.D. classes include the following:

  • Child development
  • Research in educational psychology
  • Motivational learning
  • Human behavior
  • Classroom management

Can I Earn This Doctorate Degree Online?

You can earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology online, although most schools do not offer an entirely online program. You usually will turn in all assignments and write-ups through e-mail on a weekly basis. You can participate in discussions and communicate with faculty through e-mail and telephone. To participate in an online program, you often must have a high speed Internet connection and install Flash Player.

Online doctoral degree programs usually require multiple on-campus residency periods that can range from a few days to a week at a time. The residencies will give you the opportunity to attend smaller class sessions with faculty members and participate in group discussions with other Ph.D. students.

What Careers Are Available in Educational Psychology?

With your educational psychology Ph.D., you can become an educational or school psychologist. To receive your licensure as a psychologist, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that you usually must earn your doctorate, pass a statewide examination, participate in an internship and gain professional experience (www.bls.gov).

If you wish to work as a school psychologist, the BLS suggested that you become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, which usually requires you to complete graduate studies in school psychology, attend an internship in an academic setting and pass the National School Psychology Examination. The BLS reported that clinical, counseling and school psychologists working at elementary and secondary schools made an average annual salary of $85,340 in 2018.

You also can enter postsecondary teaching and research. According to the BLS, postsecondary teaching positions in psychology were predicted to increase 15% from 2016-2026, which was higher than the average for other job sectors. However, the BLS reported that full-time, tenured positions in postsecondary education will be more difficult for applicants to earn. The BLS stated that postsecondary school psychology teachers earned an average of $88,490 per year in 2018.

With your doctoral degree, you can also become an education administrator. The BLS reported that elementary and secondary school education administrators made an average of $98,750 per year in 2018, while postsecondary school education administrators earned a mean salary of $111,210.