Top 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Degrees in 2021

Top 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Degrees in 2021

A master’s in educational psychology degree will allow you to enter a highly demanding field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 3% growth for psychologists, including educationals, as well as an accelerated growth for school counselors. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for school counselors. One study found that school counselors’ mental health training will be essential in helping to transition students back to in-person learning, and helping them manage the trauma of the last year and a half. 

State counseling licensure and counseling jobs typically require at least a master’s degree in counseling. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2017, the average cost for a year of study was $18,416. But not every option will break the bank.

If you’re considering obtaining a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, now is the time to compare program costs. This guide explores online masters in educational psychology degrees. We’ll identify some of the most affordable options, as well as looking at common courses, program rankings, licensure requirements, and areas of concentration for counseling students.

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

Most Affordable Online Master’s in School Counseling Degrees in 2021

  1. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS



    Fort Hays State University is our top pick for the most affordable online educational psychology degree. The school offers an online master's in school psychology through its virtual college. All courses are delivered online with the exception of five-day advanced workshops that must be completed on campus. The program is designed to equip students with the skills needed to pursue careers as school psychologists or entry into a doctoral program. Online courses include advanced learning and motivation, behavior therapy, development psychology, methods in school psychology, and observation in school psychology. Fort Hays State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best regional university in the Midwest. Also, the online graduate education programs are ranked #77 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  2. Chadron State College

    Chadron, NE



    Chadron State College offers one of the most affordable kinds of online educational psychology degree programs on our list – the online master's in school counseling. The degree is designed for students who desire careers as school counselors in public and private educational settings. Most of the courses are delivered online, including advanced human development, career and lifestyle development, counseling ethics and professional identity, fundamentals of assessment, group counseling, and school counseling. Admission requires an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, official transcripts, and a completed application. Chadron State College has been recognized in recent years by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the Midwest.

  3. University of Nevada

    Las Vegas, NV



    University of Nevada offers an affordable educational psychology master's online degree program designed for working educators who want to earn advanced skills in educational psychology. The program is available 100% online with courses taught by university professors. For the non-thesis track, required courses include descriptive and inferential statistics, foundations of learning and cognition, human growth and development, research methods, and theory and practice of human measurement. UNLV is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a best national university. The online graduate education programs have also earned top rankings and recognition in previous years.

  4. University of Texas

    Tyler, TX



    One of the best online master's in educational psychology or school counseling degree programs on our list is offered by University of Texas. The degree is designed for educational professionals who want to receive credentials to work as school counselors. Flexible online coursework provides convenient class schedules and the ability to earn a master's in school counseling in just 18 months. Admission is competitive and requires both undergraduate and graduate transcripts, GRE scores, and a completed applications. University of Texas is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 88th best regional university in the West and the 32nd top public school.

  5. University of West Alabama

    Livingston, AL



    University of West Alabama offers one of the most affordable educational psychology master's online degree programs on our list. Students may opt to earn an online master's in education with a certification in school counseling. The program is offered entirely online with courses taught by university professors. Some of the required courses include career development and counseling, counseling children and adolescents, diagnostic techniques for school counselors, introduction to school counseling, and strategies for crisis intervention. Admission requirements include a complete background check and a baccalaureate degree. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the South.

  6. University of North Texas

    Denton, TX



    The online educational psychology degree at University of North Texas is one of the most affordable master's level programs on our list. Students may earn an MS in Educational Psychology with a concentration in research and evaluation entirely online. The program is designed to be completed in just 15 months by taking up to four accelerated courses in the summer months and two courses each fall and spring. Online courses include educational research and evaluation, foundations of program evaluation, introduction to educational psychology, statistics for educational research, and survey research methods in education. University of North Texas is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution. Also, the online graduate education programs are ranked #16 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  7. Oklahoma State University

    Stillwater, OK



    Oklahoma State University offers an accredited educational psychology master's online degree program designed for working students with aspirations of becoming school counselors or pursuing doctoral degrees in educational psychology. Thesis and non-thesis options are available, and the typical graduation time is 18-24 months. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 and competitive GRE or MAT scores from tests taken within the last five years. Courses include creativity for teachers, developmental issues in instruction, issues in adolescent development, psychology of the adult learner, and theories of social psychology. Oklahoma State is a nationally ranked and accredited university, recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

  8. Lamar University

    Beaumont, TX



    One of the top online educational psychology degree programs on our list is the master's in school counseling from Lamar University. This 48-credit hour program is designed to be completed in just 22 months. While courses are delivered entirely online, two face-to-face five-day residency seminars are required. Some of the required online courses include counseling skills, group counseling theories and techniques, introduction to school counseling, measurement and assessment, research and program evaluation, and a school counseling practicum. Lamar is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, in the most recent edition of Best Colleges, the school's online graduate education programs are ranked #77 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  9. Texas A&M University

    College Station, TX



    Texas A&M University offers an alternative to the educational psychology master's online program that does not require a thesis or residency. The online master's in school counseling is a 36-credit hour program that may be completed entirely online through asynchronous and synchronous formats. Admission to the program requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, three letters of recommendation, and one year of classroom teaching experience. Courses are taught by university professors and include career counseling in schools, issues in child and adolescent development, foundations of school counseling, multicultural counseling in schools, school counseling theories and techniques, and techniques in research. The university is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 74th best national institution and 21st best value school. Also, the online graduate education programs are ranked #72 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  10. Ball State University

    Muncie, IN



    One of the most affordable educational psychology master's online degree program on our list is offered by Ball State University. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as school psychologists or entry into the doctoral pool. Courses are taught by nationally recognized faculty who are among the top researchers and respected teachers in the field. Courses include advanced educational psychology, child development, human learning and achievement motivation, psychology of human development, research design, and statistical methods in educational and psychological research. Ball State is nationally recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the online graduate education programs have been ranked #16 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  • Our Methodology, Explained

    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%

    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

Everything You Should Know About Earning an Online Master’s in Educational Psychology

  • What can you do with a master's in educational psychology?

    Obtaining a master’s in educational psychology provides a dozen or more career paths, including an educational psychologist, educational researcher, college professor, school psychologist, and college counselor, among others.

  • Can you be a school psychologist without a master's in educational psychology?

    Potentially. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 90% of educational psychologists hold at least a master’s degree. However, state boards may stipulate specific coursework requirements, allowing for some cases where you may be able to work with a less advanced degree. 

  • How long does it take to earn a master's in educational psychology?

    Two years. Traditional counseling master’s programs take about 21-24 months to finish, but learners who choose accelerated programs may graduate faster.

  • What is the salary for an educational psychologist?

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median annual wage for a school psychologist is $79,820 as of May 2020.

Career and Salary Outlook for Educational Psychology  Graduates 

As student enrollment grows, schools hire more school and career counselors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in school and career counselor positions during the 2019-2029 period, more than double the average for all occupations.

However, a school counselor isn’t the only job available to graduates who hold a master’s degree in educational psychology. There is a variety of forward-facing and research-based career options out there, allowing you to choose a path that best suits your personality and strengths. Some of the most common options include educational psychologist or researcher, college counselor, and college professor. 

Job TitleMedian Pay (annual)Job Outlook, 2018-2029
School Counselor$58,1208% 
Educational Psychologist $79,8208%
Educational Researcher$53,740-4%
College Counselor$58,1208%
College Professor$80,7909%

If you choose to pursue a doctorate in educational psychology, earning potential can increase by several thousand dollars, hovering between $70-120,000. This is particularly true of those who go on to work as curriculum developers or instruction designers in the business and public sectors.

It’s important to note that school counselors must hold licensure from their state’s school counseling board. Most states require candidates for licensure to have a clean record, a counseling-related master’s degree from an accredited school, and at least two years of supervised experience. Candidates may also need to pass a licensure examination or obtain a teaching license. 

State requirements vary, so prospective counselors should understand the licensure requirements for their state. The American School Counselor Association provides a detailed list of licensure requirements by state. Many states maintain reciprocity agreements that allow school counselors to transfer their licenses between states.

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Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Programs

While every school will have its own specific admission requirements, the most successful candidates often share a handful of common traits:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field. Not every program requires a bachelor’s degree in education or psychology, but if you do have one in either field, you should emphasize it on your application as some admissions departments may give these students a preferential position. 
  • Professional experience. Many programs will require some proof of previous experience in either education or psychology. An active teaching license or a resume denoting counseling experience may be necessary to obtain admission. 
  • GRE/GMAT scores. Online masters in educational psychology programs are moving away from these standardized test scores, but some may still require them for admissions. 
  • Letters of recommendation/professional experience. As application numbers increase, many schools are looking for things, like professional experience or letters of recommendation, that set you apart from the crowd.

What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master’s in Educational Psychology Programs?

    School counseling programs typically include core coursework and classes in specialized counseling theory. Core courses often cover general counseling theory, ethics, and practice. Learners in the field typically study educational assessment, human development, and child and adolescent counseling.

    School counseling is often a concentration within general counseling programs, but some school counseling programs offer specialization options in subfields, such as special education and career counseling. Course requirements vary based on program and specialization. However, the following courses are common to many on-campus and online school counseling programs.

  • Child and Adolescent psychology

    A foundational course, child and adolescent psychology classes study how young people typically grow and develop, examining the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical aspects of this complex time of life. Classwork typically includes examining popular psychological and developmental theories of human growth from conception through adolescence.

  • Behavioral assessment

    These courses look at ways school counselors can identify the variables that lead to behavioral problems and design successful interventions. Assessment techniques taught typically include observation, interviews, and functional analysis. Coursework often includes the opportunity to practice designing, conducting, and interpreting behavioral assessments.

  • Counseling theory and best practices

    These introductory classes provide general overviews of counseling theories and techniques. You’ll learn how to facilitate an effective counseling relationship throughout the various stages of the counseling process. Many schools integrate practice as well as lectures in these courses.

  • Social contexts of learning

    These courses look at the various ways race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and identity affect the ways students are impacted by the education system. These classes are crucial as they urge future professionals to understand the role of social forces in our education system and promote diversity.

  • Research methods

    These classes teach master’s degree students how to conduct and understand academic research. Typically, students will complete some level of research on their own and will also critique existing research.

What Are Some Related Concentrations on Educational Psychology programs?

Gifted and talented: This concentration allows professionals to identify students who qualify for gifted and talented programs. Additionally, the concentration teaches educators and counselors how to build programs that will challenge the students and allow them to reach their full potential without overwhelming them. 

Assessment, Evaluation, and Testing: This concentration allows students to gain an even deeper understanding of the assessment, evaluation, and testing techniques used to meet the needs of students from elementary school through college. The concentration helps students  develop the skills necessary to meet these needs while learning how to design and implement programs that allow students to thrive in all social and cultural contexts.

Accreditation for Master’s Degrees in School Counseling

Accreditation is a voluntary quality-verification process that helps students safeguard their educational investments. Accredited schools meet the standards set by third-party accrediting agencies, which must hold approval from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Only students at accredited institutions can receive federal financial aid.Counseling programs usually hold programmatic accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students comparing counseling programs can use programmatic accreditation status as an indicator of academic quality.

Why Should I Get an Online Masters in Educational Psychology?

A master’s degree in educational psychology has the potential to open many doors and inspire real change.

Various work environments
Those who hold this type of upper-level degree have access to an increased number of jobs, both in traditional K-12 settings, but also in the government, research organizations, curriculum design, youth mental health facilities, large corporations, and colleges.
Career advancement
For those who currently hold a degree in education or general psychology, a master’s in the field can allow for a mid-career pivot, moving from the classroom to an office or vice-versa. Earning potential can also go up significantly for those with a master’s degree.
Personal fulfillment
Earning an online master’s degree in educational psychology will allow you to make a real difference. Our current education system leaves thousands of children behind each year, and pursuing this pathway means you can gain the tools you need to reach these students where they are and to create systems that ensure our children can keep up with their peers. This type of degree is unique because its holders have the potential to change the face of American education in ways that truly matter.

Madison Troyer picture

Madison Troyer


Madison Troyer is a contributing writer who covers higher education, online graduate programs, college planning, and more for Grad School Hub. Her writing has also appeared in Newsweek, The Simple Dollar, and Stacker.

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