25 Best Online PhD in Psychology Programs

By Joy Cromwelle
Edited by Briana Sukert
Updated on April 27, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
Ready to start your journey?
Explore online PhD Psychology programs. Compare schools and see your job prospects after graduation.

Explore online PhD in Psychology programs. Compare schools and see your job prospects after graduation.

Online PhD Psychology

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for psychologists has an estimated growth of 3%.

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When you join the field as an expert in your discipline, you may be able to make between $76,000 and $116,000 per year.

List of Schools Offering Online PhD in Psychology Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

1. Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University is a liberal arts and sciences university in Anchorage, Alaska. It was established in 1957.

Alaska Pacific University’s Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology is designed to meet the needs of working professionals seeking the academic requirements to work as a licensed psychologist Classes are delivered through synchronous online evening classes and intensive on-campus classes.

  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology

APU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

2. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is one of the largest universities in the United States in terms of enrollment. It has 5 campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, with 4 learning centers in Arizona.

ASU offers a Doctorate in Behavioral Health program, which features specialized coursework focusing on teaching evidence-based behavioral interventions. It comes with a 400-hour internship for students who are licensed as behavioral, medical, or professionals.

  • Online PhD in Behavioral Health

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Committee (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

3. California Institute of Integral Studies

California Institute of Integral Studies is based in San Francisco, California. It consists of four schools: the School of Professional Psychology & Health, the School of Undergraduate Studies, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the School of Consciousness and Transformation.

The school offers an online PhD program in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. It aims to deepen learner’s skills and make relevant contributions to shaping their areas of specialization. Students need to complete 36 units for a period of 3 years.

  • online PhD in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology

CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

4. California Southern University

California Southern University was founded in 1978 and is located in Costa Mesa, California. It offers programs at the associate, bachelor, masters, and doctoral levels.

California Southern’s Doctor of Psychology degree program is applied, clinically focused, and meets the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist in California.

The program can be completed in 4 years with all the coursework taken online. Students will also be required to do a practicum at approved local sites.

  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

CalSouthern is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

5. Capella University

Capella University delivers most of its courses online. It is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was established in 1993. Presently, it offers 52 degree programs wig more than 1,900 degree courses.

The university’s PhD in Psychology online program is designed to give professionals the tools to take advanced roles in areas such as psychology, mental health, business, education, or public policy.

Areas of specialization include General Psychology, Behavior Analysis, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

  • Online PhD in Clinical Psychology

Capella U is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

6. Duquesne University

Duquesne University is a Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It takes pride in its commitment to providing high-quality education that emphasizes both intellectual and ethical development.

Duquesne University’s PsyD in School Psychology is a 91-credit program that trains students in evidence-based practices founded in scientific literature and theory.

The curriculum employs aspects of multiculturalism and diversity, conducting consistent outcomes assessments for program improvement and support.

  • Psy.D. School Psychology

Duquesne is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

7. Felician University

Felician University, a Catholic university in New Jersey, has campuses in Lodi and Rutherford. It was founded in 1923 by the Felician sisters.

The university’s Doctorate in Counseling Psychology conducts classes at Lodi campus and online. It prepares graduates to become entry-level health service psychologists and license-eligible psychologists in New Jersey.

The training focuses on developing the necessary skills required to work as a psychologist and an independent practitioner.

  • Doctorate in Counseling Psychology

Felician University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

8. Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California offers postgraduate and doctoral degree programs that are primarily delivered online.

Fielding Graduate University offers a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. The program includes online and in-person seminars, week-long residential sessions, meetings with faculty and other students in your region, research, and clinical training experiences.

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology

Fielding Graduate University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

9. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is a non-denominational Christian university in Phoenix, Arizona. It was founded in 1949.

The university offers a PhD in General Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition and Instruction. It is designed to help those who wish to work with adult education in economically and culturally diverse communities. The coursework includes studying social cognition and assessments.

  • PhD in Psychology: Cognition & Instruction

GCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Keiser University

Keiser University is based in Florida, and it offers educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. These programs can be completed in both traditional and online formats.

The Doctoral Program in Psychology follows a scholar-practitioner model that allows students to integrate scholarly research with classroom expertise. It aims to challenge and develop students with rigorous coursework and relevant teaching and research activities.

  • Psychology, PhD

Keiser U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

11. Liberty University

Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, is one of the world’s largest Christian universities in the world. It offers more than 600 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

Liberty University offers the PhD in Psychology degree program with an emphasis on Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which provides training in the study of human behavior in the workplace. It has 60 credit hours and can be completed within an average of 3 years.

Classes are done 100% online in 8-week courses.

  • Online Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Liberty U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

12. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago is a Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1870.

The university offers a PhD in Counseling Psychology, which allows graduates to be eligible for the Clinical Psychologist Licensure Examination. It trains students to develop an in-depth understanding of various issues related to cultural diversity and social justice.

Typically, the program takes four to five years of study.

  • PhD in Counseling Psychology

Loyola is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

13. Michigan State University

Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and was first named the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Presently, MSU is one of the largest universities in the country in terms of the student population.

MSU offers a hybrid format of the PhD in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. It is a rigorous, five-year program of study completed primarily online.

The program aims to develop educational leaders who comprehend the need to create technologically sound pedagogies based on innovative research and practice.

  • Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology

MSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

14. National University

Founded in 1971, National University is a network of nonprofit educational institutions headquartered in San Diego, California.

NU offers a 100% online program for a PhD in Psychology that is designed to answer the growing interest in the field of psychology. It seeks to prepare graduates to stand out and excel in the profession. Training includes applied experiential learning with case studies, scenarios, and real-life situations.

It requires the completion of 60 credit hours and can potentially be completed in 46 months.

  • PhD in Psychology Online

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

15. Oregon State University

Oregon State University is Oregon’s largest university with over 32,000 students from all over the country and across the globe l.

The university’s PhD in Counseling program is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to work as clinical supervisors, advanced practitioners, and counselors in clinical and academic settings. The program is offered in a “hybrid” format, which involves both face-to-face and online instruction.

  • Ph.D. in Counseling

Oregon State is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

16. Pacifica Graduate Institute

Pacifica Graduate Institute was founded in 1976 and has two campuses in Santa Barbara, California.

The school offers the PhD Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies degree program, which is anchored on the works of C.G. Jung and James Hillman.

In this degree program, students can study different approaches to the psyche that foster healing, creativity, self-expression, transformation, and the development of consciousness.

  • Online Ph.D. Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies

Pacifica Graduate Institute is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

17. Regent University

Regent University was founded in 1978 and is located in Virginia Beach, VA. It has 135 programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels – all taught from a Christian perspective.

The university’s Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology degree program allows for a broad area of academic inquiry.

Students can explore and study topics like the psychological foundation of learning, creating environments conducive to learning, cognitive strategies for learning in children and adults, brain research, teacher education, faculty roles, and professional development in different settings.

  • Doctor of Education – Educational Psychology

Regent is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

18. Saybrook University

Saybrook University, established in 1971, is located in Pasadena, California.

The Online PhD in Psychology degree program at Saybrook University is designed to help individuals succeed professionally in a variety of areas, including education, the juvenile justice system, community health centers, corporate offices, and non-profit organizations.

Specializations include Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health; Creativity Studies; Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology; and Psychophysiology.

  • Online Ph.D. in Psychology

Saybrook University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

19. Sofia University

Sofia University is located in Palo Alto, California, and was established in 1975 by James Fadiman and Robert Frager.

The university’s Doctor of Philosophy in Transpersonal Psychology is a 75-unit degree program that is delivered fully online. The average completion length is 3 years. It provides a unique and extraordinary opportunity to study the theories and practices of transpersonal psychology.

Students can work closely with faculty members who provide exceptional support and facilitate social and emotional development.

  • Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology

Sofia University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

20. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University, established in 1923, offers over 150 courses through 13 colleges.

The university’s PhD in Educational Psychology is designed to provide learners with a comprehensive knowledge of educational foundations, learning, motivation, and development. It aims to prepare individuals for careers in educational research and various academic career positions. The program has 91 credit hours.

  • Educational Psychology – PhD

Texas Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

21. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a global innovator in the field of Psychology for over 40 years.

The school offers a PhD in International Psychology with Trauma Services Concentration. It is a full-time, online degree program with 3-4 years length of completion.

It is designed to help students acquire the skills necessary to lead organizations in developing prevention training and establishing programs to address different issues in mental health caused by traumatic experiences.

  • Ph.D. in International Psychology Trauma Services Concentration

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

22. Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide offers flexible online programs and courses at an attainable rate.

The university’s Online Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology aims to help students to gain a better understanding of what motivates their workforce.

It is designed to give professionals the skills and tools required to design evidence-based solutions in their organizations. It can be completed 100% online with affordable tuition rates.

  • Online Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology

Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

23. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 1883, is the flagship university of the University of Texas System.

The university’s Department of Psychology PhD program brings together the best faculty and staff to provide graduate and undergraduate students the support needed to fulfill the school’s scientific and educational missions.

The school’s graduate program and Clinical program both ranked #8 in US News & World Report’s list.

  • Ph.D. Program in Psychology

The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

24. University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands is a Christian university in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It was founded by Baptist ministers in 1888.

The university offers the PhD in Clinical Psychology program, which is designed to help students develop the skills required to obtain licensure as a psychologist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well as in other states.

It is a four-year program that lets students actively participate in clinical instruction, clinical practicum, and doctoral dissertations.

  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

25. Walden University

Walden University has been offering degrees and certificates in various undergraduate and graduate programs for over 50 years. Programs offered reflect market trends and enable adult learners to achieve their educational goals.

Walden University offers a PhD in Psychology program. It gives opportunities for students to achieve post-graduation success and empower them to excel as researchers, educators, or consultants. It is offered completely online and has 55 credit hours.

  • Ph.D. in Psychology

Walden U is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Types of Online PhD in Psychology Degrees

Psychology is a vast field, and psychology doctorates come in many forms. You can choose an online psychology degree path that’s specific to your research and career goals.

Choose the area that stands out to you to jump to that section.

Each of these related subject areas can help prepare you for a different career path.

Online PhD in Psychology

psychologist in a group therapy session

A generalist degree in psychology can be applied in many domains. You may choose this path if you want a degree that can serve you well in varied positions or fields.

This may also be a good option if you don’t feel like any specialty doctoral programs are particularly suitable for your career goals and would prefer to customize your own course of study.

During your studies, you will likely take classes in statistics; the mathematics and analysis skills that you learn there can help prepare you to conduct reliable research.

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The courses in generalist psychology degrees cover a variety of psychology disciplines. Topics may include epigenetics, neuroscience, memory, cognition, and developmental psychology.

A psychology PhD can help equip you with leadership and research skills that are useful in a variety of career settings. For example, you might work as a school administrator, a behavior analyst, or a marketing manager.

Online PhD in Behavioral Psychology

behavioral psychologist talking to an autistic child

If you’re interested in why people make the choices they do and how thoughts and behavior influence one another, then consider making behavioral psychology your field of study.

This degree gives students opportunities to research behavior analysis and learn about motivating others to change their patterns of action.

You will likely take classes that specifically focus on the field of applied behavior analysis. Other courses may cover related topics like addiction, language development, education, child development, or self-control. You may also learn about the history of psychology and behavior analysis.

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This program may be offered as a licensure track to help prepare to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

After earning your online PhD in Behavioral Psychology, you may be able to conduct research in behavior analysis, supervise a team of behavior analysts or work directly with clients who have autism or developmental delays.

Online PhD in Child & Adolescent Psychology

child psychologist interviewing a child in her home

Working with kids and teens sometimes requires different skills and communication techniques than those needed when working with adults.

To expand your abilities to work with youths or conduct research among this age group, you’ll want to focus your studies on child and adolescent psychology.

Your classes will likely address developmental psychology and psychotherapy techniques to use when working with children and families. You may discuss how childhood crises like abuse and loss can have psychological effects throughout youth and beyond.

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Related classes may cover how psychological principles can be applied in the juvenile correctional system and other difficult situations. You may complete a clinical internship in a child psychology facility.

This degree program may lead to licensure so that you can become a certified child or family psychologist. This career path can help you provide life-changing therapy services for youths in troubled situations.

Online PhD in Clinical Psychology

clinical psychologist listening to a patient in her office

Serious mental illness can make life challenging, but clinical psychologists can provide help and support. Whether you choose to conduct research in this field or work directly with patients, you can help people work through their struggles.

Common studies in this degree include developmental psychology and psychotherapy techniques. The courses are typically designed to address counseling ethics and improve clinical skills, like interviewing patients and conducting assessments.

Most programs require students to complete a year-long clinical internship for this degree; this component can help thoroughly prepare you for licensure.

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Clinical psychologists often work directly with patients, particularly those with serious mental illnesses or behavior disorders. As you provide therapy, you may also conduct research projects and publish your findings.

You may choose to focus your clinical practice on a particular domain, such as health psychology or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Online PhD in Educational Psychology

college administrators in a meeting

If you’re interested in furthering the science of learning, then a PhD in Educational Psychology may provide the foundation that you need. This branch of psychology deals with how people learn and how learning can be measured.

Common coursework in this doctoral program addresses educational theory and instructional methods. You should also study human development during childhood or throughout the lifespan.

To help you succeed in the realm of education, it may be important to cover topics like learning assessment, program analysis, and organizational leadership. You may also learn how to teach psychology to students.

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A degree in educational psychology can help prepare you to lead institutions of learning. Some programs are geared toward working with adult learners, so you might do well as a college administrator.

You may also choose to work as a researcher who contributes toward a better understanding of how people assimilate new information.

Online PhD in Forensic Psychology

police forensic interviewing a witness

Did you ever consider going into law instead of pursuing a psychology career? You can bring those two interests together with a doctoral program in forensic psychology. This discipline addresses psychology topics and issues that relate to law, criminal justice, and corrections.

Experts in forensic psychology need to be well-versed in abnormal development and behavior. Students of forensic psychology study tough topics like violence, terrorism, and arson.

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Your studies may prepare you to deliver expert testimony, counsel offenders, support law enforcement officers, or carry out hostage negotiations. Helping people cope with the effects of criminal or violent acts may be another focus of your doctoral work.

As a leader in forensic psychology, you may be hired by a criminal justice organization or serve as a consultant. For example, you might coach witnesses, teach police officers how to respond in crises or work with criminal offenders.

Online PhD in Organizational Psychology

hr manager checking her colleagues work

Psychological principles can be greatly influential in the business world. Earning a PhD in Organizational Psychology can help you become a leader in the business world. This program can also be known as a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

The curriculum for this doctorate may include both business and psychology classes. This doctorate focuses on organizational behavior and is designed to help students learn how to lead teams through change and navigate group behavior.

Other courses may address applying management techniques, motivating employees, conducting assessments, and compensating employees. You may be able to select a particular specialty for this doctoral program; options may include human resources or global business.

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I/O professionals often hold leadership positions in businesses and other organizations. You could potentially assume a high level of responsibility in a human resources or project management department.

Alternatively, you might provide consulting services to organizations to help them improve morale or productivity.

Online PhD in School Psychology

school psychologist talking to a young student

Classroom teachers aren’t the only educational professionals who can have a significant influence on young learners. School psychologists also play an important role in students’ growth and learning, especially for students who struggle in a traditional classroom environment.

This program typically includes classes in learning and cognition, childhood development, and behavior disorders. Becoming familiar with conducting assessments, identifying delays, and strategizing interventions can help you succeed in a school setting.

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You will probably need to complete an internship, which may last around one year. Individual states set regulations about licensure for school psychologists, so it’s important to select a program that aligns with your state’s requirements.

As a school psychologist, you’ll probably pursue employment in a school system. Your responsibilities may include supporting students in the special education program. Other career options include working as a researcher or an educational consultant.

Courses for an Online PhD in Psychology

psychology students studying on computer

As a doctoral student, your curriculum may be uniquely suited to your specialization and interests. There may be core courses in your degree in psychology online that you are required to take as well as the opportunity to select electives of your choice. Example classes are listed below.

Cognitive Neuroscience – Studies in neuroscience address the relationship between the nervous system and behavior. Topics typically covered include memory, reasoning, and decision-making and how neurons, whether individually or as a group, become encoded.

Developmental Psychology – This course provides an overview of human development and the psychological changes that occur over a lifetime. Areas of study may include language development and social maturation.

Learning Theories – A class on learning can help you understand how people acquire information and retain it in their memories. Your studies may focus on young learners, adult learners, or a combination.

Psychology and Culture – This course explores the field of cultural psychology. The topics may include how humans internalize their culture of origin and how an individual’s culture shapes thoughts and actions.

psychology professor teaching college students

Psychology Instruction – Once you have your PhD, you may want to work as a professor, so this course can help equip you with tools for teaching college students. It can help you learn how to conduct yourself in a classroom setting and how to build meaningful connections that will help students learn. You may complete a teaching practicum.

Psychopathology – This course provides an overview of mental and behavioral disorders. You may learn about identifying these disorders and providing effective therapies.

Research Methods – PhD programs are research-focused, so taking classes on research methods can help you sharpen your skills as a researcher. These classes can help you learn how to design studies, produce reliable results, and analyze the data.

In many programs, especially those of a clinical nature, you can expect to spend a year or more in practicum and internship settings. Your doctoral program is likely to include a research project or a dissertation as well.

What’s the Difference between a PsyD and PhD in Psychology?

psychology student studying online

A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is a professional doctorate for acquiring practical knowledge and skills for providing clinical services. Students in PsyD online programs spend significant time in practicum and internship settings to gain as much hands-on practice as possible.

Choosing this approach for your studies can help prepare you to provide psychological services to patients in individual or group settings.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology is a research-focused program. Although you may still complete internships in the psychology field, they may not be until close to the end of your studies. Instead, you’ll likely spend more time on research skills, statistics, and data analysis.

If you have your sights set on a full-time career in research or academia, this is typically the right educational path to select. Becoming licensed may be a possibility, but only some PhD in Psychology programs are licensure tracks.

Ultimately, the difference between PsyD vs. PhD comes down to the type of career you want to pursue in the psychology sector.

What’s the Difference between a PhD Psychology and a PhD Counseling Psychology Online?

counselor in a group therapy session

A PhD in Psychology is a general program that can give you insight into human thought and behavior. A generalist psychology degree is often a non-licensure track.

It can be useful for those who want to teach psychology at the college level, become researchers, use their psychology knowledge in business or organizational leadership, or serve as consultants.

For those who want to work directly with clients, a PhD in Counseling Psychology may offer a path to licensure. This degree program typically includes classes on counseling practices, group therapy, abnormal development, and psychological assessments.

You will probably have to engage in a lengthy internship experience as well. If you want to see patients in private practice or as a member of a healthcare team, it’s a good idea to choose a PhD in Counseling Psychology, a PhD in Clinical Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology program.

PhD in Psychology Job Outlook and Salary

PhD in Psychology Job Outlook and Salary

Psychology is a growing field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 3% growth rate for psychologist positions for the next ten years. This job category includes clinical, counseling, school, and industrial-organizational psychologists as well as other specialists in this field.

Career Responsibilities Median Annual Salary
Human Resources Manager Direct workplace issues related to personnel, training, compensation, and retention $116,720
Postsecondary Education Administrator Provide leadership for a college or university in a department such as student affairs, academics or admissions $95,410
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Use psychological principles to improve workplace productivity and attitudes $92,880
Forensic Psychologist Provide psychological services, such as giving expert testimony or negotiating hostage situations, in the criminal justice field $80,370
Clinical or Counseling Psychologist Provide individual or group therapy for those with mental illnesses, behavior disorders or general life struggles $78,200
School Psychologist Improve learning outcomes and support students in K-12 educational settings $76,960
Postsecondary Psychology Teacher Work in the psychology department of a college or university as a professor or a researcher $76,620

Earning your doctorate may qualify you to seek licensure, apply for a promotion, or move to a different organization. An increase in pay may accompany those changes.

Professional Organizations for those with a PhD in Psychology

psychologists sharing their experiences during a meeting

Whether they conduct research, lead organizations, or work with clients, psychology professionals can benefit from the support of others in the field. Membership in a professional organization can provide opportunities to learn from others and grow your skills.

  • American Psychological Association – APA is open to all who work in the field of psychology, including those in clinical practice and academia. Membership benefits include access to a psychology news app and an exclusive journal as well as discounts on professional resources.
  • American Psychiatric Association – Also known as APA, this organization is for practicing psychiatrists and those who teach or conduct research in this field. Membership benefits include access to print and online publications, discounts on industry resources, and free continuing education classes.
  • Association for Psychological Science – APS advocates for psychological research and practice to be based on a strong scientific foundation. Researchers, clinicians, teachers, and other psychology professionals are welcome to join. Members are sent digital and print newsletters and journals. Plus, they can access a job board and may want to attend the organization’s conventions.
  • National Association of School Psychologists – NASP advocates for policies and practices that benefit students’ safety, health, and academic success. Members are invited to join some of the organization’s interest-based subgroups and have access to newsletters, journals, and downloadable handouts.
  • Society for Neuroscience – SfN provides professional support and public advocacy for the neuroscience community. If you work in neuroscience, you may want to join the group for career resources, free and discounted publications, and reduced costs for the organization’s annual meeting.

Membership benefits vary from one organization to the next. To try out a group membership without committing to the full registration fee, consider enrolling during your doctoral program. It’s common for professional associations to offer discounted student memberships to people who are in school.

Certification and Licensure Following a Doctoral Psychology Program

psychologist studying online

Not all psychology PhDs pursue licensure, but it’s an important step for those who plan to engage in clinical practice. The following overview can provide a general idea of the steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Enroll in a doctoral degree program. Choose a licensure PhD track — perhaps at a school that is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
  2. Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and any other tests required by your state.
  3. Earn clinical hours. While you may be able to earn some of these during school, many will have to be acquired during your postdoc period.
  4. After finishing your degree, passing required tests and earning professional hours, apply for licensure with your state.

Each state sets its own licensure regulations; consult your state’s board to learn more about the specific steps that you’ll need to take. It’s also important to choose a program that complies with your state’s licensure requirements.

Accreditation for an Online PhD in Psychology

Accreditation for an Online PhD Psychology

You’ll likely put a lot of time and money into earning your PhD in Psychology. It’s important that you receive a reputable degree in exchange for all that work. That’s why you should always make sure that your university holds proper accreditation.

Regional accreditation is one important distinction to consider. Any school focused on delivering quality academics will have applied for regional accreditation. Accrediting bodies grant this recognition to schools that consistently provide good learning experiences and opportunities for their students.

To ensure that your college meets this standard, look for accreditation from:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

psychologist in a job interview

Without regional accreditation, you have no guarantee of receiving a quality education. Your degree probably won’t mean much to employers or other schools.

For a doctoral program in psychology, it’s sometimes advised to look for schools that are also accredited by the American Psychological Association.

According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education, APA has the authority to determine whether psychology programs meet industry standards and thoroughly prepare students for clinical practice and other psychology careers.

APA accreditation may not be essential if you don’t plan to seek licensure. In some states, though, only students with an APA-approved doctorate are eligible to become licensed psychologists.

Financial Aid for PhD in Psychology Students

Financial Aid for PhD Psychology Students

Doctoral programs are expensive, but financial aid can put a PhD within your grasp.

There are government programs that exist specifically to help students fund their education. These include grants, low-interest loans, and work-study arrangements. You may be able to use both state and federal funding.

To learn about your eligibility for government help, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

As a doctoral student, you may qualify for other types of help as well. Your school may reduce your tuition in exchange for teaching lower-level classes. You may also receive scholarships or fellowships from your college, industry associations, or other community or national organizations.

If you need additional help, look into spreading out your payments. Private loans can make it so you won’t have to pay the full tuition cost right away.

Just keep in mind that private interest rates are usually higher than they are for government loans, so it’s smart to max out other types of financial aid first. You can also ask your school about the possibility of establishing a payment plan.

Questions Related to Earning PhD in Psychology Online

Questions Related to Earning PhD in Psychology Online

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have in pursuing an online doctorate in psychology.

Can You Do a PhD Online?

Yes, you can do a PhD online. Many schools offer online PhD programs that are reputable, regionally accredited, and comparable to their on-campus counterparts.

Online PhDs are available in a vast number of disciplines, including psychology. Although these programs allow you to take classes and submit coursework online, you may need to complete in-person practicums or internships.

Can You Get a PhD Online in Psychology?

Yes, you can get a PhD online in Psychology. There are a number of colleges that offer online programs for studying psychology at the PhD level.

These programs can help equip you with the in-depth knowledge needed to lead organizations, spearhead change, conduct research, develop new theories, or teach students. Some online PhD in Psychology programs may prepare you for licensure.

school psychologist talking to a young student

Is a PsyD or PhD Better?

Both of these options can be valuable degrees. Which one you should get depends on your career goals. Consider choosing a PsyD if you know you want to be a counseling practitioner. Consider getting a PhD if you enjoy statistics, and your goals include becoming a researcher or a college faculty member.

Are Online PhD Programs Accredited?

You should have no trouble finding an online PhD program with regional accreditation. Accrediting bodies confer this status on online schools just like they do for on-campus programs.

Programmatic accreditation for online psychology programs is harder to come by, though — especially when it comes to APA accreditation. Hybrid programs are more likely to hold APA accreditation than fully online ones.

Are There Any APA Accredited Online PsyD Programs?

psychology student studying online at home

Although online PsyD programs are eligible for APA accreditation, just like on-campus programs, the organization has not given lasting accreditation to any fully online programs.

Instead, you may want to look into a hybrid PsyD program so that you can earn some of your credits in a flexible online format.

Is a PhD in Psychology Worth It?

psychologist listening to a client during therapy session

Yes, a PhD in Psychology worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market in life, physical, and social science is projected to grow by 5% for the next decade. Common careers in this field include school psychologist, forensic psychologist, industrial-organizational psychologist, postsecondary education administrator, and human resources manager.

If you have a keen interest in how people think, act, and develop, then consider soaking up as much knowledge on the topic as you can by enrolling in an online PhD in Psychology program.

Earning your doctorate can help elevate you to expert status in this field and prepare you to teach students, perform original research, and make a significant difference for individuals or organizations. Getting your doctorate may also qualify you to pursue licensure in your state.

Now is the time to apply to online psychology schools. A fulfilling career as a professional psychologist may be waiting for you.

Ready to start your journey?