Applying for online master's in child and adolescent psychology programs suits human services workers seeking the intervention skills to make big impacts on small people. This flexible graduate major focuses on the developmental needs and issues afflicting the 22.8 percent of America's 325 million population under age 18 according to the Census Bureau. Knowledge of the maturing brain is needed because the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in five, or 20 percent, of teens have or will develop a disorder. Anxiety, ADHD, depression, autism, dyslexia, bipolar, and anorexia are among the most common diagnoses. In fact, Psychology Today discovered that high schoolers are five to eight times more likely to experience major depression than 50 years ago. Child and adolescent psychology master's online have stimulating virtual discussions connecting the theories of Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Mary Ainsworth, and others to therapeutic practice to cultivate happy upbringings for bright futures.

Methodology

The Grad School Hub staff wanted to get a head start on National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week in May by outlining the most affordable master's in child and adolescent psychology online options. We began by using the NCES College Navigator tool to search advanced degrees in child development and clinical child psychology. Checking the box for "distance education only" brought back just 11 results that weren't all viable, so we utilized Google next. Programs focused on school and educational psychology were removed along with those lacking regional accreditation on the Office of Postsecondary Education database. To beef up our dwindling list, we included a few youth counseling degrees and one post-baccalaureate certificate. We sequenced the 10 schools in descending order based on the 2017-18 graduate in-state tuition data. Below are the best buys for child and adolescent psychology master's online curricula that cost under the graduate school average of $30,000.

Ranking Low-cost Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Master's

10. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online M.A. in Psychology – Child and Adolescent Concentration

Los Angeles, CA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $27,048 per year

Home to the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a nonprofit, single-subject WSCUC-accredited graduate college formed in 1979 where 4,300 students at an average age of 32 analyze human behaviors online or at five locations, including near the Staples Center. The NCSPP 2005 Advocacy Award winner is esteemed for America's seventh best online psychology pick on Super Scholar and 26th best psychology buy on GetEducated with a 65 percent licensing rate. Administered by Dr. Kim DellAngela, the Online Behavioral Sciences Division has an Online M.A. in Psychology – Child and Adolescent Concentration accepting $50 applications until December 8th or April 15th. Short, two-hour virtual residencies occur each term for 24/7 courses like Crisis Intervention, Addictive Disorders, and Family Systems taught by practitioner faculty with an applied research project.

9. Erikson Institute

Master of Science in Child Development Online

Chicago, IL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $20,600 per year

Established in 1966 by four youth advocates, including Barbara Taylor Bowman, the Erikson Institute is an independent, post-grad child development college that's HLC accredited and endowed for $29.6 million to educate 260 master's students while running the Center for Children and Families on LaSalle Street. Erikson is ranked America's 174th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report and 13th best early childhood program on College Choice with the 457th highest R&D expenditures by the NSF. Cohorts enter the Master of Science in Child Development Online each January or August for concentrations in Child Life, Special Needs, Children's Law, Administration, Infancy, or New Language Learners. Led by Dr. Jie-Qi Chen, the 38-49 credit curriculum blends online and Chicago instruction with 15 internship hours weekly for students with minimum 2.75 GPAs.

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Online MS in Psychology – Child & Adolescent Development Psychology

Manchester, NH

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $18,810 per year

Named a 2017 OLC Digital Learning Innovator, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit teaching-oriented institution of the Northeast 10 that's generating $200 million by training 73,177 Penmen from 36 states beyond its brick-and-mortar Merrimack Valley campus on Blackboard. SNHU is lauded America's 109th best big school on Niche, 83rd best value by the U.S. News & World Report, and 22nd top university for adults in Washington Monthly. Submitting a $40 application without GRE/MAT scores to the School of Social Sciences could unlock the Online MS in Psychology – Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology option anytime. Headed by Dr. Peter Frost, the 2008 Outstanding Instructor Award recipient, the 36-credit, capstone-included program involves taking two courses like Cognitive Processes, Personality Theory, and Intervention Strategies each 10-week term.

7. Northcentral University

Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Psychology Online

San Diego, CA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $16,553 per year

Certified to collect Federal Title IV financial aid in 2009, Northcentral University is a for-profit, doctoral-granting virtual school owned by the Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC co-founded by Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert that forgoes physical San Diego residencies to adapt to 10,093 adults' needs. Northcentral was picked America's 31st most focused psychology school on College Factual, 59th top college by OnlineDegreeReviews.org, and 196th best university in Washington Monthly. Directed by Dr. Mark White, the COAMFTE-accredited School of Social & Behavioral Sciences draws on 250+ years of combined experience for a Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Psychology Online. The 30-credit, non-thesis curriculum mandates 100 internship hours of developmental practice between 10 courses like Autism Spectrum Disorders, Applied Statistics, and Early Childhood Intervention.

6. Capella University

Online Master of Science in Psychology – Child and Adolescent Development Concentration

Minneapolis, MN

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $14,365 per year

Chosen for the 2010 CHEA Outstanding Institutional Practices Award, Capella University is a respected for-profit, outcomes-based Twin Cities college that's celebrating its 25th year of awarding over 73,600 degrees across 54 majors on Blackboard Collaborate with 69 percent retention. Capella was applauded for America's 87th highest location diversity on College Factual, 26th top online psychology courses by Best Value Schools, and 273rd best master's education in Washington Monthly. Championed by Dr. Kelley Chappell, a Distinguished Faculty Award winner, the Harold Abel School of Counseling & Psychology offers a traditional or self-paced FlexPath toward the Online Master of Science in Psychology – Child and Adolescent Development Concentration. Ten weeks of fieldwork are blended into the 27.5-55 credit curriculum's virtual courses like Prenatal Development, Child Psychology, and Multicultural Issues before the integrative experience.

5. Grand Canyon University

Master of Science in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders

Phoenix, AZ

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,737 per year

Linked to 91,367 LinkedIn alumni, including Horatio Llamas and Tim Salmon, Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit liberal arts school restructured in January 2004 by Significant Education LLC that's upholding Christian values when awarding 200+ degrees in Sperling's 10th most playful city and on Blackboard. GCU was crowned America's 211th hardest college on Niche, 215th top value by WalletHub, and 312nd most service-oriented master's institution in Washington Monthly. The College of Humanities & Social Sciences enrolls graduates with overall GPAs above 2.75 six times annually for the Master of Science in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders. Chaired by Dr. Darryn Beckstrom, the 74-credit, 60-month program teaches DSM-5 criteria for mental illnesses in courses like Psychopathology and Appraisal to Counsel with 600 internship hours.

4. University of South Florida

Online Master of Science in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,350 per year

Scheduling its 31st Annual Child and Adolescent Research & Policy Conference, the University of South Florida is the Sunshine State's fourth-largest public, coeducational RU/VH center that's budgeting $1.6 billion to enroll 10,810 postgraduate Bulls in 130 programs from the "Big Guava" to Canvas online. USF was designated America's 437th best university by Times Higher Education, 177th most impactful college on the CWUR, and 117th most diverse school by Niche. Founded in 2008, the APA-aligned College of Behavioral & Community Sciences admits students with minimum 153 verbal GRE scores into the Online Master of Science in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health. The 39-credit, non-clinical curriculum organized by Dr. Amy Green customizes course specializations for Developmental Disabilities, Research & Evaluation, Youth & Behavioral Health, or Leadership before the written exam.

3. Liberty University

Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Dobson Center Parent & Child/Adolescent Online

Lynchburg, VA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,217 per year

Closely tied to the Dr. James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Liberty University is a private, nonprofit evangelical institution that's collecting $724 million in revenue, graduating 18,000 "Champions," performing 8,000 service hours, and teaching its #2 most popular major psychology each year. Liberty was judged America's 210th best private college on Niche, 10th most conservative school by the Young America Foundation, and 254th top value in Washington Monthly. The CACREP-accredited School of Behavioral Sciences trains ministry-savvy people helpers with the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Dobson Center Parent & Child/Adolescent Online and an AACC Student Chapter. Coordinated by Dr. Steven Warren, the 36-credit, internship-embedded program includes cognate courses in Childhood Trauma, Multigenerational Influence, and Healthy Sexuality.

2. University of Southern Mississippi

Online Child and Family Studies MS

Hattiesburg, MS

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,108 per year

Home to the $1.5 million Gulf Coast Center for Child Development, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public, forward-thinking RU/H institution opened in 1910 that's employing 896 faculty to teach 14,554 Eagles from 74 nations in 180 programs at the 300-acre "Hub City" campus and on Blackboard. USM was proclaimed America's 190th best psychology college by the U.S. News & World Report, 298th best academics on Niche, and 204th top Peace Corps producer in Washington Monthly. The AAFCS-accredited College of Education & Human Development always charges in-state tuition for the Online Child and Family Studies MS without walls. Chaired by Dr. Claire Kimberly, the 37-credit, non-thesis curriculum ends in 24 months with a comprehensive exam after courses like Intimate Relationship Development, Parenting Strategy, and Family Advocacy that currently fulfill CCLS certification.

1. Missouri State University

Forensic Child Psychology Graduate Certificate Online

Springfield, MO

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,824 per year

Partnered with the Springfield Child Advocacy Center, Missouri State University is a public, civic-engaged Great Plains research hub endowed for $138 million that's seen enrollment spike from 543 to 23,537 Bears since 1905 at its 40-building, Neoclassical campus and online. MSU was declared America's 325th best student life college on Niche, 185th top public school by Forbes, 131st best university in the Social Mobility Index, and 112th best value on WalletHub. The College of Health and Human Services led by Dr. Helen Reid logs 22,000 service hours annually in 17 graduate programs, including the Forensic Child Psychology Graduate Certificate Online. Offering funds like the $2,000 Stewart Memorial Scholarship, the 12-credit curriculum strives to protect youth with practitioner-taught courses in Child Exploitation, Child Abuse, and Forensic Psychology Research Methods.

Which Careers Benefit From Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Master's Degrees?

Although the American Psychological Association warns that online master's in child and adolescent psychology jobs will be limited by Ph.D. or PsyD preference, the degree proves useful in many other human services fields. Child mental health expertise could help nurture careers in pediatric nutrition, educational diagnostics, school counseling, art therapy, recreation services, coaching, and other disciplines involved with playful rugrats, especially if industry certified. For example, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association credentials Child and Family Resiliency Practitioners (CFRPs) with master's degrees and 6+ months of relevant experience. The Council for Professional Recognition has also granted 420,000 Child Development Associate (CDA) designations for early intervention work from Birth-Age 5. It's possible to transfer master's credits toward doctoral developmental and clinical psychology admission, but these five sample jobs are available with a cheap child and adolescent psychology masters.

Adolescent Counselor- The Jason Foundation alerts that teen suicide is the second leading cause of death between ages 12-18 with approximately 3,470 attempts daily, so prevention is key with adolescent counselors who help cope with life struggles. Some child and adolescent psychology master's online offerings fulfill LPC qualifications for assessing mental health, conducting crisis intervention, empathize with strife, customize treatment plans, perform personal or group therapy, refer social services, strengthen family relationships, and reinforce positive behaviors.

Child Life Specialist- Getting an online child and adolescent psychology masters may establish eligibility for taking the $300, 150-question Association of Child Life Professionals certification exam to counsel youth diagnosed with acute or chronic illnesses. Child life specialists generally work in pediatric wards to explain tough diagnoses, give pre-admission hospital tours, lend emotional support, teach relaxation techniques, allay fears before surgeries, implement play therapy, encourage self-expression, and provide grief counseling to young siblings.

Child Welfare Social Worker- The United States has around 676,000 annual cases of child abuse and neglect that resulted in 1,750 senseless deaths in 2016 according to the National Children's Alliance, so child welfare is a needed, noble profession. Adding a master's in child and adolescent psychology online to BSW training can aid social workers who investigate maltreatment claims, evaluate living environments, create intervention plans, refer family therapy, help apply for benefits like Medicaid, take protective custody if needed, and arrange safe foster homes.

Equine-Assisted Therapist- Since 1969, PATH International has accredited 881 U.S. centers with over 6,100 horses total that teach youth with behavioral, learning, emotional, and physical disabilities important life lessons while fostering inner peace. Equine-assisted therapists might utilize online masters in child and adolescent psychology to identify clients' needs, set treatment plans, give horse care workshops, schedule counseling sessions, implement riding or ground activities, supervise patient-pony interactions, and document rehab progress.

Juvenile Justice Officer- Arrests of offenders under age 18 reported by the Department of Justice have dropped by 58 percent since 2007 to 856,130 annually, but probation services are still needed to prevent teens from escalating illegal behaviors. Juvenile justice officers might finish child and adolescent psychology online master's degrees to evaluate parolees' psyche, interview families, develop rehabilitation plans, make frequent home visits, improve school attendance, suggest resources like drug therapy, write case reports, and keep youth from trouble.

How Much Can Child and Adolescent Psychology Master's Online Graduates Earn?

Cheap child and adolescent psychology master's online are smart because jobs working with kids are rarely get-rich opportunities with income sometimes below the master's mean of $69,732 on SmartAsset. Average wages range from $22,930 for childcare staff to $184,240 for pediatricians. Psychologists receive a median pay of $75,230 on the Department of Labor website. Youth counselors earn mean profits of $46,050. School counseling teams are compensated $57,620 on average. Juvenile justice officers expect a median annual wage of $50,160. Master's-trained recreational therapists snag mean income of $46,410. Child and family social work provides average payment of $47,510 yearly. On Salary.com, child life specialists pinpoint a median wage of $50,760. Other averages include $76,512 for childcare directors, $49,558 for case managers, and $51,490 for child welfare workers.

What is the Job Outlook With a Master's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Online?

Entering child and adolescent psychology master's online study is wise since The Key Reporter proclaimed that graduate degrees are the new undergrad in job qualifications. That's especially true in the human services where a master's is crucial to rising above entry-level titles like psychiatric aide, social work assistant, and caseworker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a faster-than-average 14 percent jump in psychology jobs by 2026. The hiring of youth counselors will spike by 23 percent for 36,500 positions. Child and family social work is expanding by 14 percent to reach 362,600 total employment this decade. Other sunny 10-year outlooks include 23 percent for family therapists, 13 percent for school counselors, 18 percent for social services managers, 7 percent for recreational therapists, and 7 percent for special needs educators. Pew Research expects young people will outnumber baby boomers in 2019, so demand will remain high for online master's in child and adolescent psychology graduates.

Related ranking: 10 Most Affordable Master's in Child Development Online

Additional Sources: 

College Navigator

Psychology Today

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Census Bureau

Office of Postsecondary Education

GSH Staff

April 2018

This concludes our list of the 10 most affordable online master's in child and adolescent psychology for 2018.