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Best Online PsyD Programs in 2019

Best Online PsyD Programs in 2019

Your guide to the Best Online PsyD Programs in 2019. Compare PsyD vs. PhD & get the answers you need: APA accreditation, Scholarships, and no GRE.

Online PsyD Programs students sitting together

Interested in taking your passion for psychology to the next level with an accredited online PsyD program?

If you’re considering a career in clinical psychology – as a counselor, social worker, psychiatrist, or forensic psychologist – a PsyD program may be a great option for you.

  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is a an applied doctorate with a clinical focus
  • PsyD emphasizes therapy and counseling

There are VERY few Online PsyD Programs

Lots of websites say, here’s a list of all the Top Online PsyD programs

But when you take a closer look, most of the schools they’re listing just offer a PhD, not a PsyD. Getting a PhD isn’t a bad thing… but that’s not what you were searching for, right?

So, here’s the REAL list of all the Online PsyD programs

We know – there aren’t very many – but we do keep this list updated!

You can also check out our list of Online PhD in Psychology Programs.

Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University Online PsyD

Alaska Pacific University offers a Doctor of Psychology program, in large part to respond to a need in the state of Alaska for more higher-level training programs. This program developed with Master’s degree-level professionals in mind. This degree culminates in a dissertation in a topic of personal interest and passion.

This program design meets the educational requirements for licensure as a psychologist in Alaska.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? None
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s Degree

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Program designed to help working professionals pursue a degree despite restraints of traditional degree programs.
  • Hands-on experience through required internship lets students apply newly gained knowledge and theory.
  • Deep understanding of evidence-based practices and how to use them in clinical settings.

Alliant International University

PsyD Building

Alliant International University provides a Doctor of Psychology degree program in Educational Psychology. Course design mixes online and in-person components for an interactive, flexible learning environment. This program also ends with a final project in an area of professional and personal passion.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Educational Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? PPS credential in school psychology

Outcomes

  • Advanced professional skills in educational psychology, in areas such as, law, ethics and equity, psychopharmacology, multicultural counseling, and consultation.
  • Ability to conduct research in applied settings.
  • Career paths include: Educational Psychologist, Social Worker, Policy-Maker

Ashford University

University student holding doctorate degree

Ashford University offers a Doctor of Psychology degree meant for customization. Community-focused professionals choose from various specializations and complete their degree with an applied project in an area of interest to you. The final applied project comes together under the guidance of faculty members from the early planning stages to the last write-up.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Choose from specializations in: Criminology and Justice Studies, Educational Leadership, Health and Wellness Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, or Sport and Performance Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s Degree; Cumulative GPA 3.0

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Apply best practices during work – focused on values, ethics, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • Develop cultural competence that benefits those professionals working with diverse individuals, groups, and communities.
  • Career paths include: Psychologist, Human Resources Specialist, Postsecondary Business Teacher

California Southern University

PsyD colleges

California Southern University offers an online applied degree program for the Doctor of Psychology. This degree focuses on clinical knowledge, as opposed to academic research. Rather than a traditional dissertation, California Southern University’s Doctor of Psychology program ends with a doctoral project focused on a topic that you are personally passionate about.

This program also meets the educational requirements for licensure in California. Past students have pursued a degree at California Southern University and then have went on to obtain their license to practice psychology.

Program Specifics

  • Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? None
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s Degree; Master’s Degree (in related field)

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Deeper cultural and social knowledge related to effect of diversity on client’s psychology symptoms.
  • Attention paid to professional and personal development, especially aimed at developing ethical, empathetic practitioners.
  • Earn skills in communication and critical thinking that will aid solution development.

Capella University

Psychology student standing in library

Capella University offers a Doctor of Psychology degree with a Clinical Psychology Specialization. The program centers on creating a combination of online coursework and in-person experiences to optimize the learning environment. Residencies and internships work to enhance the skills you learn in other coursework. A dissertation concludes the degree program, but at Capella University, dissertation mentors offer support and guidance during this process.

The Doctor of Psychology program at Capella University offers numerous opportunities to begin preparing students for licensure. Residencies, practicums, and internships all offer places for students to apply their skills in the real world. In addition, Capella University offers a support team to guide current students and alumni through the licensing process.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? Yes
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Ability to provide effective psychological interventions to clients after careful assessment of needs.
  • Select, administer, and interpret proper psychological tests.
  • Career paths include: Clinical Psychology, Clinical Manager, Clinical Therapist

Meridian University

Meridian University PsyD

At Meridian University, the Doctor of Psychology program focuses on Clinical Psychology. At some point during the program, students are required to have experience in personal therapy. Core, clinical, and research-based courses all lead to a solid foundation for professional practice.

This program also meets the educational requirements for licensure in California. It also meets the requirements for the California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), following additional fieldwork.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? Yes
  • Focus or Specialization? Clinical Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Develop professional leadership abilities and engage fully with the profession of psychology.
  • Use appropriate psychological assessments based on knowledge of clients’ personal and cultural differences.

Touro University

Touro University PsyD

Touro University offers a Doctor Psychology degree in Human and Organizational Psychology. This program specifically designed for professionals to learn skills and tools necessary to their individual fields. The programs culminates in a dissertation designed alongside experienced faculty.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Human and Organizational Psychology
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s Degree; Cumulative GPA 3.4

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Implement evidence-based solutions in chosen profession using new skills and tools of psychology.
  • Technology and learning opportunities to further professional skills.

Walden University

Best PsyD Programs

Walden University offers a Doctor of Psychology program in Behavioral Health Leadership. The degree focuses on the skills and tools necessary to improve the quality of behavioral health and mental health services. Courses integrate case studies as interactive learning tools to help students apply the skills they learn to real-world issues. Two separate residencies also shape this program: an in-person consulting skills retreat and a virtual doctoral project residency, which aids the completion of a capstone course.

Program Specifics

  • Path to Licensure? No
  • Focus or Specialization? Choose from specializations in: Teaching, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Health Psychology, Public Health, Healthcare Management, or International Practice
  • Admission Requirements? Master’s Degree; Cumulative GPA 3.0; 3+ years professional and/or academic experience (preferred)

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Gain skills in areas necessary for licensed and practicing behavioral health professionals, including leadership, management, financial management and procurement, instruction and training, and program evaluation.
  • Gain skills necessary to seek leadership or management positions in public or private organizations.
  • Career paths include: Behavioral Health Leader, Administrator, Project Manager

Online PhD in Psychology (No GRE required)

Since there aren’t too many PsyD online programs, we’re also including a few PhD programs below.

No GRE is required for admission:

Choosing between a PsyD and a PhD can be a tough choice. Ultimately, you have to decide which degree offers you the most flexibility.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between the two…

What is the difference between a PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology?

PsyD vs PhD

It’s easy to confuse a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology.

PsyD

The PsyD is practice-oriented.

If your end goal is to be a clinical psychologist working directly with patients, this may be the best path for you. Your coursework will prepare you to apply advanced research in a therapeutic setting.

PhD

The PhD path is research-oriented.

If your plan is to enrich the field of psychology through scholarly research and publication, or by becoming an educator, pursuing a PhD may be the best match for you. That being said, PhD holders can also be clinical psychologists. It’s not either/or… it can be both.

PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology

Let’s compare the two programs head-to-head:

PsyD PhD
Program Focus Practice Research
Acceptance Rate Around 40% Around 12%
Financial Assistance Around 20% receive aid Around 84% receive aid
Potential Jobs Clinical psychologist Teach, research or practice
In Demand Yes Yes

It is important to note, though, that PsyD graduates can cross over and pursue careers in research or teaching.

Online PhD in Psychology Programs:

There is some academic crossover, but career goals tend to differ.

Top Psychology Careers & Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for psychologists was $77,030 last year.

Career Average Salary
Psychiatrist $193,262
Clinical Neuropsychologist $101,245
Behavioral Health Director $93,876
Clinical Director $92,034
Neuropsychologist $89,346
Child Psychologist $88,361
Executive Director (Non-profit) $85,608
Professor, Higher Education $81,686
Clinical Psychology $75,544
Psychologist $75,529
Forensic Psychologist $74,378
School Psychologist $71,230

Source: Payscale

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the psychology field is projected to grow 14% over the next 10 years. That is faster than the average rate of all occupations. The outlook is best for those who have a doctoral degree in an applied specialty or concentration.

Getting a Doctorate in Psychology

As a psychology doctoral student, you will take courses that focus on assessment and intervention, both through theory and practice.

Doctor of Psychology programs are heavily focused on real-world practice. Expect to have a mixture of coursework, clinical practicum, research, and internships.

Some examples of PsyD curriculum you may take include:

  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Adult Psychopathology
  • Professional Ethics
  • History of Psychology
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Systems of Psychology
  • Lifespan Development
  • Advanced Biological Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Multicultural Perspectives in Human Behavior
  • Advanced Research Methods and Statistics for Professional Psychology

If your school allows you to choose an area of concentration, you will also take unique classes relevant to that subject.

Most Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs help prepare you for the licensure process. Licensure requirements vary by state, so be sure to do your homework if clinical practice is your goal.

Currently, there are no PsyD online programs that are APA-accredited. However, reputable universities align their curriculum with APA standards to help prepare you for clinical psychologist licensure in a number of states.

What are the online Psychology doctorate admission requirements?

When applying to an online Doctoral of Psychology program, you will likely need the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Minimum GPA scores (varies by university)
  • GRE scores (not always required)
  • College Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Other assessments as determined by school (interviews, essays, etc.)

The scores and assessments will vary by program, so be sure to check with the school you are interested in to see their specific admission requirements.

How long does it take to finish a PsyD in Psychology?

The length of the program will depend on many factors, including your educational background, the exact program you have chosen, how many courses you are able to take at a time, and your career aspirations.

Generally speaking, though, it takes about 4 to 5 years to complete a PsyD program.

Are online psychology programs accredited?

Yes. Online programs from reputable schools have the same accreditation requirements as their campus-based counterparts.

In the U.S., there are six regional accrediting associations, each named after the region in which it operates.

They are as follows:

It’s very important that you earn your degree from an accredited school, for two reasons. First, earning your doctorate will require a lot of time and money. You want to make sure you are investing in a quality program. Second, in order to become licensed to practice psychology, you will need to have completed an accredited program.

PsyD programs online FAQs

What is a PsyD?

A PsyD is a Doctor of Psychology program, meaning you will earn a doctoral degree in the field of psychology. This professional degree covers both Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology.

While the PsyD program does include a number of research-based courses, the primary focus is on clinical practice and hands-on experience. You will become a consumer of research – applying advanced knowledge to help care for patients – rather than a creator of research.

Are online PsyD programs APA accredited?

Accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) is considered the ultimate “stamp of approval” in the field – the “gold standard.” In fact, in some states, students must have a degree from an APA-accredited program in order to become licensed psychologists.

But the criteria by which the APA evaluates and accredits online (and hybrid) programs is still being fine-tuned. According to the APA website, there are no online-only doctor of psychology programs that are APA-accredited at this time.

Certainly, though, there are APA-accredited programs that include online courses and can work around a busy schedule. Be sure to look for the program that is the best fit for your needs. And of course, if your goal is to become licensed, be sure to check with the licensing body in the state in which you plan to practice to see what the specific requirements are.

What is the tuition cost of an online PsyD program?

Tuition costs may vary by tens of thousands of dollars from one school to the next, so you will need to check with the programs you are most interested in to compare prices.

According to data collected in a recent American Psychological Association (APA) study, the median cost to earn your doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from a public institution was just under $11,000 for in-state residents, and $24,000 for out-of-state residents. At private institutions, tuition was just under $34,000.

Does a PsyD require a dissertation?

Sometimes. While a dissertation is a standard requirement at the end of most doctoral programs, there are some programs that can be completed without dissertations.

Here’s a list of online PsyD programs without a dissertation.

Are there online PsyD programs with no GRE requirement?

Many schools do require PsyD applicants submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, but not all.

PsyD with No GRE 

  • Ashford University
  • California Southern University

Online Psychology PhD with no GRE

You can find this information, along with other admission requirements, on each program’s website.

Are there any fully online Doctor of Psychology programs?

There are only a few fully online Doctor of Psychology programs. Due to the nature of the field, it’s imperative that you also get hands-on, in-person experience.

This experience may be referred to as a residency, practicum or internship, and will take place at a hospital, clinic, school, community agency or organization in your local area.

Are there PsyD degree programs without a master’s degree requirement?

You will need to earn your master’s degree before beginning your PsyD program.

Even if a school were to admit you to the PsyD program without your master’s, it would not save you time. You would still need to earn those master’s-level credits before beginning the PsyD curriculum and you wouldn’t have the benefit of a master’s credential while working on your doctorate.

Can I teach with a PsyD? Or do I need to earn a PhD to work in academia?

Yes, you can teach with a PsyD. The PsyD program is specifically designed for students who plan to go into clinical psychology, working directly with patients, but you will be qualified to pursue other career avenues, including teaching. In fact, the PsyD program at Walden University offers an optional specialization in teaching.

Can I get a Doctor of Psychology in Forensics?

At the moment, no schools offer a PsyD in Forensics. But if you’re interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice or forensics, Walden offers a PhD in Forensic Psychology online.

Studying forensics can help you explore the bridge between the criminal justice system and psychology.

Doctorate in Psychology Program Details

Many PysD programs allow students to choose an area of concentration, which will become their area of expertise and help them transition into their specific career.

Some examples of PsyD concentrations and fields of specialization include:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Behavioral Health Leadership
  • Child Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Couple or Family Therapy
  • Mental Illness
  • School Psychology
  • Social Work

Check with the school you are interested in to see which concentration areas they offer.

What financial aid is available for PsyD students?

There are quite a few resources when it comes to financial aid for your PsyD!

First, most graduate schools, including many PsyD and master’s degree programs, offer scholarships. They are awarded based on financial need, academic merit, community involvement, minority status and other factors. To find out what scholarships are available at the school(s) you are considering, check the website or contact the financial aid office.

Second, look for grants, scholarships and other awards offered by state psychological associations. To find an association in your state, visit this APA directory. You may need to join the association to apply, but the fees are generally minimal (or free!) and the organization may provide other learning or networking opportunities.

Finally, the APA is an excellent resource for financial aid. They provide a searchable directory of scholarships, fellowships and other aid for students of all levels, including PsyD students.

The 37 Best PsyD Programs

APA accredited PsyD programs online

This list includes both campus-based and online doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) programs.

  1. Alaska Pacific University
  2. Alliant International University
  3. Azusa Pacific University
  4. Ashford University
  5. Baylor University
  6. Biola University
  7. California Lutheran University
  8. California Southern University
  9. Capella University
  10. Chestnut Hill College
  11. Florida Institute of Technology
  12. George Fox University
  13. George Washington University
  14. Immaculata University
  15. James Madison University
  16. La Salle University
  17. Loyola University Maryland
  18. Marshall University
  19. Marywood University
  20. Meridian University
  21. Nova Southeastern University
  22. Pacific University
  23. Pepperdine University
  24. Radford University
  25. Roosevelt University
  26. Rutgers (SUNY)
  27. Touro University
  28. University of Denver
  29. University of Hartford
  30. University of Indianapolis
  31. University of La Verne
  32. Walden University
  33. Wheaton College
  34. Widener University
  35. William James College
  36. Xavier University
  37. Yeshiva University

Taking the next step

If you are able to invest the time and money, a PsyD can open a lot of doors for you!

This program is an excellent alternative to earning an online psychology PhD, allowing you to focus on hands-on training and move quickly into a career in clinical psychology.

This article is brought to you by

Lindsay Aldini
Lindsay Aldini
Lifelong Learner
Joy Miller
Joy Miller
Founder
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