Online Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology

A clinical psychology master’s online is a flexible and affordable way for aspiring psychologists to move their careers forward. Review top schools and look inside some of today’s best programs.

2020’s Best Clinical Psychology Master’s Programs Online

With a variety of online clinical psychology master’s degrees available, finding the right program may seem difficult. Many schools have affordable tuition, top-notch professors, or flexible course delivery. Some have all three. The following schools have online clinical psychology master’s programs offer students a combination of quality, affordability, and flexibility worth exploring when considering a degree in the field.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology supports distance learners via an online master’s in clinical psychology. Completed in as few as 24 months, this interactive degree comprises between 62-68 credits and takes place over 8-12 sessions. In addition to coursework, plan to participate in four field placement sessions while enrolled.

Upon graduating, alumni can pursue licensure as either a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). If studying outside California, be sure to check if both of these license types are available in your state. The path you chose will in part dictate the type and number of classes you complete. Courses taught in Pepperdine’s program include diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, theories of counseling and psychotherapy, and trauma in diverse populations.

The school is currently waiving GRE requirements and allowing those who submit their paperwork early to avoid application fees.

Capella University

Palo Alto University

FAQs About Online Clinical Psychology Master’s Degrees

Pursuing a master’s in clinical psychology online takes discipline and determination. Before making the commitment, it’s important to learn both the basics and the details of a school and a program. The following section takes a look at some of the most common questions asked by prospective students in the field.

What do you learn in online clinical psychology master’s?

Every master’s in clinical psychology is structured differently and appeals to different student needs, but many include similar courses, topics, and learning outcomes. Core topics generally focus on building research skills, understanding the role of the clinical psychologist, and instilling competencies related to counseling and psychology techniques. Want to know more about some of the key skills and knowledge you may gain? Check below.

  • A comprehensive knowledge of the ethics of psychology and an understanding of how those ethics must guide their practice in order to receive and maintain licensure.
  • The ability to bring together research, practical experience, and theory when assessing patients and creating effective treatment plans.
  • An understanding of how to support and work effectively in multicultural settings, with specific emphasis on using sensitivity and awareness in supporting those with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • A thorough knowledge of how the field of clinical psychology began, why that history is still important, and how the discipline continues to evolve in the 21st century.
  • The ability to use both quantitative and qualitative research to further the field, including a thorough understanding of accepted statistical procedures for collecting and analyzing data.

Common Courses in a Master’s in Clinical Psychology Program


Lifespan and Developmental Psychology

Group Counseling Techniques

History of Psychology

Clinical Psychology Practicum

What concentrations are available in clinical psychology master’s programs?

For students who wish to specialize, clinical psychology offers a wide range of sub-specialties from which to choose. These may be related to certain skills or to the application of a clinical psychology skill set within a particular career or academic area. If you’re considering a master’s in clinical psychology, these concentrations may be worth looking into.

Applied Research

Clinical Counseling

Forensic Psychology

Clinical Neuropsychology

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in clinical psychology?

Online master’s in clinical psychology typically require between 45-60 credits depending on the specialization or track you choose and the graduation requirements. Clinical psychology master’s designed for working directly with clients often require extended practica/internship requirements while those that lead to a Ph.D. or Psy.D. mandate a thesis. Most students graduate in two to three years of full-time study, though alternate options exist. Part-time students may need three to five years to finish while those who select an accelerated pathway may graduate in as few as 18 months.

How do I get into an online clinical psychology master’s program?

Admission requirements vary by school, with top programs often setting more stringent demands on students’ academic and professional records. While you should always check the admission mandates of every school, you will likely find these frequently look similar across departments. While master’s in clinical psychology programs are competitive, the admission process is far less demanding than a doctorate. Common components include:

  • Official transcripts showing completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum GPA
  • Curriculum Vitae including professional and academic accomplishments
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • GRE/GMAT scores
  • Interview with faculty member

How much does it cost to earn an online clinical psychology master’s degree online?

The amount of money you spend on an online master’s in clinical psychology can vary substantially based on several key factors. Location, even when studying online, often plays a role given that states schools offer both resident and non-resident tuition rates. The amount of time you spent enrolled can also impact cost, as schools typically charge semester-based fees. Lastly, funding plays a big role. The more scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages you can secure, the less you’ll pay.


Barry University

M.S., Clinical Psychology

Total Credits: 36-60 credits


Ball State

Ball State University

M.A., Clinical Psychology

Total Credits: 44 credits

$424/credit (resident); $636/credit (nonresident online)


Capella College

M.S., Clinical Psychology

Total Credits: 75 quarter credits


Paying for Your Online Clinical Psychology Master’s Degree

As mentioned earlier, finding funding for your online clinical psychology master’s degree can greatly impact your out-of-pocket expenses. Financial aid comes in several forms and it’s important to understand each type so you know where to look.

1 Scholarships & Grants

This type of funding is ideal in that it does not need to be repaid, unlike student loans. Scholarships and grants come from a variety of sources. Both universities and individual departments offer them, as do local, state, and federal governments, professional associations, and foundations.

2 Student Loans

3 Other Options

Read about financial aid opportunities for your clinical psychology master’s.

Accreditation for Online Clinical Psychology Master’s Degrees

Failing to attend a properly accredited college or university for your master’s in clinical psychology can result in substantial issues when it comes to seeking licensure, applying to doctorate programs, and finding work. Two types of accreditation exist: institutional and programmatic.

Institutional accreditation further divides into two types: national and regional, the latter of which is seen as the more rigorous to achieve. Four-year colleges usually seek regional accreditation while trade and vocational schools more commonly apply for national accreditation.

Programmatic accreditation looks at individual degree paths. The American Psychological Association only accredits doctorate programs, but you may find some degrees accredited by The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

What’s After Your Online Clinical Psychology Master’s

Graduates of online master’s in clinical psychology can choose from two different paths: professional or academic. If you want to work as a counselor or other type of clinical therapist, life after your master’s degree will involve completing licensure steps. If you want to work as a clinical psychologist, you’ll need to continue in education and earn a doctorate.

Online Clinical Psychology

Do I need certification or licensure to work in clinical psychology?

Licensure and certification requirements depend on the title you plan to hold, but in general most psychology jobs require one or the other. If you want to call yourself a clinical psychologist, you must hold a doctorate and seek board certification.

That being said, several clinical positions exist that require only a master’s degree but most still mandate licensure in individual states to practice. Industrial-organizational psychologists do not need to be licensed, but they do need at minimum a master’s degree.

Voluntary certifications exist that can help you demonstrate topic mastery, stand out from other job competitors, and earn higher salaries.

What can you do with a clinical psychology master’s degree?

After graduating with a master’s in clinical psychology, you can pursue several different career paths. Common titles of graduates include mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roles for both of these professionals are set to grow by an impressive 22% between 2018-2028. Aside from leading to multiple opportunities for employment, these figures also demonstrate the continued need for these workers over the coming decade. Whether working at a government agency, therapist’s office, or in private practice, these roles offer tangible ways of making a difference. Check out the visual below to see how your degree can translate into meaningful work.

clinical psychology master
clinical psychology master mobile

How much can you earn with a clinical psychology master’s degree?

As the table below demonstrates, earning a master’s in clinical psychology can help you earn a great job that offers a reasonable salary. While positions that mandate a doctorate typically pay more, making your way to the upper echelon of earnings for a marriage and family therapist can still result in a substantial salary.

Career Median National Annual Salary (2019) 10th Percentile 90th Percentile
Marriage and Family Therapist $49,610 $32,070 $87,700
University Professor $79,540 $40,480 $174,960
Clinical Psychologist $78,200 $45,240 $132,670

Continuing Education & Related Degrees

After earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology online, you may decide to pursue a doctorate, or perhaps you’ll want to enroll in a second master’s program. Plenty of opportunities exist to advance your education and open more professional doors. The following section takes a look at the paths you may take after graduating.

Continuing Education Opportunities

PhD in Clinical Psychology

Earning a PhD in clinical psychology gives you the qualifications needed to work in both research-based and academic postings. These programs tend to be highly competitive, with each school admitting only a handful of students each year. They take between 5-7 years to complete.

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

A PsyD in clinical psychology is best suited to students who know they want to work directly with clients on the clinical side of things. These programs are still competitive when it comes to admissions, but are slightly easier to get in. You should plan to spend between 4-6 years meeting all requirements.

Related Degrees to Consider

Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree

These programs, which require two or three years to complete, give graduates the skills needed to fill a variety of general counseling roles. Common job titles include substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor, school counselor, and health educator.

Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Degree

Marriage and family therapy master’s degrees require approximately two years of study and provide learners with an understanding of the theories and practical skills needed to support families, couples, and individuals. They must receive licensure before beginning their practice.

Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)

An MSW serves as a great generalist degree if you want to work in a clinical counseling role. These programs usually take two years to complete and can lead to careers as a substance abuse counselor, mental health counselor, school counselor, and myriad other roles. The vast majority of MSW positions require licensure.