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- 2022’s Best Online PsyD Programs
- Learning Objectives and Format for Online PsyD Programs
- How to Find APA Accredited Programs Online
- Can You Get Into Online PsyD Programs Without a Master’s Degree?
- Choosing Between a PsyD and PhD
- Career Paths After Earning Your PsyD Online
- Common Specializations in Online PsyD Programs
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Guide to Earning Your Online Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD)
To be considered a psychologist, you must earn a doctoral degree in psychology. Accredited online PsyD programs afford students a high standard of education and clinical training, along with more convenience and lower potential costs compared to on-campus programs. Find the best schools and learn more about the online doctorate in psychology below.
Last Updated: 05/11/2022
2022’s Best Online PsyD Program
As you begin searching for online PsyD programs, it’s crucial to find one that you feel confident will help you achieve your education and professional goals. To help, we’ve evaluated online PsyD programs based on affordability, student services and availability of online classes from across the nation. See which school earned top honors for the 2022 school year.
Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022
Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs
To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
- Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.
Assign Impact of Data Points
After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.
Online Program Availability
- Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.
Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
- Students w/ Institutional Aid:
Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.
- Academic Counseling:
Existence of this service on campus or online.
- Career Placement:
Existence of this service on campus or online.
About Our Data
All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021
Nashua, New Hampshire
Total online programs: 6
Programs that might interest you:
Explore Top-Rated Traditional & Online PsyD Programs in Popular States
Learning Objectives and Format for Online PsyD Programs
Online PsyD programs offer students a variety of ways to earn their degree. Students can choose from full-time or part-time options. While full-time options can mean a faster path to the degree, part-time options can also be quite beneficial, as they allow more time to handle work and family obligations while pursuing higher education.
Some programs offer all coursework online, never requiring an online student to set foot on campus. There are also those where most coursework can be completed online with some courses required to be taken in person. Others require several in-person campus visits over the course of the program. These “intensives” or “residencies” have online PsyD students attend a weekend or weeklong event on campus, where they work closely with professors and peers. Programs may also require students to travel to campus for their dissertation defense or the final capstone presentation.
Given the variety of options available, it’s important to look closely at each potential school to determine if their way of doing things fits your learning style. Depending upon the path you choose, expect completion of your Doctor of Psychology online degree to take around five years.
How to Find APA Accredited PsyD Programs Online
Students should seek out programs with accreditation to not only ensure the program meets quality standards but also to confirm it will be accepted for the purpose of licensure. PsyD programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). However, the APA does not currently accredit fully-online programs, only those that are offered on campus or have some online elements. In lieu of APA accreditation, students should check to make sure potential schools is initially accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Not sure how to figure out if an online PsyD program is accredited? Here are a few tips:
- Start with this list from the APA.
- Use the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
- Contact the school’s psychology department for specific details accreditation.
Can You Enroll in Online PsyD Programs Without a Master’s Degree or Taking the GRE?
Other Common Admissions Criteria for Online PsyD Programs
- Submitted Application and Application Fee. This will be a typical application that requests pertinent information the school needs about you. Some schools also charge application fees.
- Resume. Many programs require a certain amount of work experience for an aspiring student to be considered for the program.
- Letters of Recommendation. These vitally important documents help prove that you can provide a positive contribution to the field. Most schools require at least two letters.
- Personal Statement. This is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee why you are a great candidate for the program, as well as what you will do with your PsyD when you graduate.
Online Doctorate in Psychology Comparison: PhD vs. PsyD
Though there are many areas where the PsyD and the PhD in psychology overlap, a few key points make one stand out from the other. The PhD is best for those who want to pursue research or academia after graduation, and thus need to take more research-oriented and statistics courses. Those in the PsyD program will focus more on the clinical setting, where they will work closely with clients and not necessarily go into research, academia, or a specialized clinical area.
Choose the PsyD if …
You plan to work closely with clients in a variety of clinical settings.
Your goal is to work with individuals, families, or groups, and you feel your best work will be done one-on-one with those individuals.
You want a faster route to becoming a psychologist, so you can begin working with clients as soon as possible.
Choose the PhD if …
You plan to go into a research-oriented field.
You might have aspirations for other aspects of the psychology field beyond clinical work, such as research or teaching.
You don’t mind taking a bit more time in school for those statistics and research-oriented courses.
Does the PhD sound like the better choice for you? Learn more about earning your online PhD in psychology.
Career Paths After Earning Your PsyD Online
In most cases, those who pursue the PsyD intend to enter a career that allows them to work in clinical practice, working one-on-one with individuals or with groups. Some of those careers include school psychologist, clinical psychologist, and counseling psychologist.
The job outlook for psychologists is quite good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is projected to be 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average. Those who have even more specialized education under their belt, such as those in rehabilitation psychology, might see even greater gains in job growth in the coming years.
Learn more about career paths for PsyD grads on our What Can You Do with a Psychology Degree? page.
Common Specializations in Online PsyD Programs
Those who have a very clear career path in mind might want to look into specializations, which can allow them to zero in on a particular discipline within the umbrella of psychology. Take care when making the choice, as being fully versed in something like health and wellness might not translate well if you choose to move into criminal justice. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular options.