Online Psy.D. Programs for 2023

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Updated December 14, 2022

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Looking for an APA accredited online Psy.D. degree? Check out this ranking to learn more about these top-rated online doctoral programs in psychology.

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As online educational programs become more popular, many online doctoral-level programs are emerging, including many online Psy.D. programs. If you plan to pursue a career as a clinical or counseling psychologist, you may have many questions about finding quality or accredited online Psy.D. programs.

Discover what to look for in a Psy.D. program, the types of class structure available (i.e., 100% online vs. hybrid programs), requirements for practical experience, and more.

After finding your answers, review our list of the top Psy.D. online programs.

Featured Online Psychology Programs

What to Look For in an Online Psy.D. Program

The American Psychological Association (APA) currently does not accredit online-only programs. Instead of seeking accredited online Psy.D. programs, ensure you are enrolling in the right speciality concentration: counseling psychology, clinical psychology, school psychology, etc.

Check admission requirements for your online Psy.D. program, too. Research whether your undergraduate degree must be in psychology, the minimum degree level required (e.g., master's degree), and whether any previous work experience is mandatory.

The type of online delivery method (e.g., 100% online vs. hybrid courses) is another crucial factor to consider, particularly for distance learning programs. Other factors include tuition and fees, and researching financial aid programs.

Primary Factors to Consider

1 Accreditation

Accredited universities, colleges, and academic programs meet quality standards. The American Psychological Association's Commission accredits doctorate graduate degree programs, internships, and postdoctoral psychology programs on Accreditation (APA-CoA). You can verify a school's accreditation status on the APA's website.

The APA does not accredit online-only programs. However, you can make sure the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes your chosen online Psy.D. program.

Your state's licensing board determines what requirements you need to meet to become a psychologist. Many state licensing boards for a doctorate in psychology require an APA-accredited program as part of the prerequisites for state licensure.

When researching online Psy.D. programs, look for a reputable program that ensures a quality psychology education. Additionally, accreditation demonstrates to employers, licensing boards, and future clients that you completed a credible program and have a solid understanding of your discipline.

2 Admission Requirements

A significant part of researching online Psy.D. programs includes checking admission requirements. Examples of essential admission requirements to look for include:

3 Cost and Financial Aid

Tuition rates for Psy.D. programs can vary greatly, depending on whether the institution is private or public, where the college or university is located, specialized majors, and more.

According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of a doctorate of psychology degree was $132,200 in 2021. The American Psychological Association's Center for Workforce Studies revealed that psychologists with Psy.D.s often see higher tuition costs and debt than psychologists with Ph.Ds.

In addition to traditional funding sources, such as federal student loans (e,g, FAFSA applications) for Psy.D. programs, there are some commonly overlooked sources of funding for graduate students, such as the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), psychological associations, and the APA.

Additional Factors

1 Teaching Style

Student-teacher interaction is important, particularly for students seeking personalized educational experiences or wanting to specialize in the field. In contrast, students may look to professors to emulate teaching styles in the classroom.

A student's learning and motivation may be influenced by classroom interaction b Therefore, the professors' teaching style in your chosen institution could be a significant factor in your overall success in graduate school.

2 Staff-to-Student Ratio

The student-teacher ratio indicates how many students each professor instructs per classroom. Even though these two statistics are often linked, there is more to this number than the class size.Instead, this ratio is associated with professors' workload and availability to help students individually.

Professors who work with fewer students have a higher likelihood of adapting their teaching methods to their students' learning styles. A lower ratio reduces the professors' workload, increasing their ability to focus on quality over quantity in their teaching abilities.

3 Retention and Job Placement

The percentage of students who complete the Psy.D. program, job placement rates, and program retention numbers are statistics that provide evidence of a successful Psy.D. program.

Most universities and colleges offer statistics on retention rates and a specific list of the jobs in the field a student obtained. This information might be found on the institution's website or from an admissions counselor and should be part of your research when considering Psy.D. programs.

4 Hybrid and Online Options

Most states require applicants of psychology licensure to complete a doctoral degree in psychology from an APA-accredited program. The APA does not accredit any fully online doctoral programs because licensed psychologists must complete a certain amount of practicum hours. But that does not mean programs that incorporate some amount of online learning are not eligible.

The APA accredits hybrid programs, which host some courses online and require some to be attended in person. This gives students the freedom to learn from home much of the time, but also gain hands-on experience necessary to qualify for licensure.

Some hybrid programs require students to live reasonably close to campus so they can occasionally attend classes in person. Others accommodate students that live farther away by having students come to campus for a short period of intensive sessions, often 1-2 weeks over the summer.

5 Practical Experience Requirements

Students in psychology programs are required to complete practicums and internships, preparing them for working with clients in the real world.

State requirements for the number of clinical hours necessary for Psy.D. students vary, but according to the APA, the average number of practicum hours required before starting an internship is 1,094.

As part of their practicum program, students get hands-on experience working with clients and a licensed psychologist/supervisor. An internship involves a certain number of hours in which Psy.D. students work with clients directly, which can include individual, group, or couples counseling.

Internships are also supervised by a licensed psychologist. Some institutions require specific practicums or internships, and others allow students to locate these opportunities outside the program's affiliations. Most Psy.D. programs assist students with seeking internships or practicums.

Best Psy.D. Degree Programs Online

Online Psy.D. Programs for 2023

University of Arizona Global Campus

  • Chandler, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online

Based in Chandler, Arizona, UAGC operates as an accredited, online institution offering courses and academic programs to students across the country. Learners interested in a doctorate in psychology can enroll in the university's online Psy.D. program, which comprises 62 credits and typically takes four years to complete. 

Doctoral candidates can choose from three specializations: criminology and justice studies, health and wellness psychology, and sport and performance psychology. Regardless of concentration, students must maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA and enroll in three non-credit in-residence workshops. Students enroll in courses one at a time, each lasting 6-9 weeks. They must also dedicate their final year to an applied doctoral project.

Applicants should possess a master's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. They can also transfer up to 30 credits toward program completion.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,280
Out-of-state
$13,280
Retention Rate
26%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
31,115
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Questions About Online Psy.D. Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree or master's degree online and still go to an APA-accredited doctoral program?

Master's level programs in psychology do not have program-specific accreditation; the APA-CoA accreditation applies only to doctoral programs.

Can I get a Psy.D. online?

Yes, many accredited Psy.D. programs are available with some online classes, but most distance learning online Psy.D. programs require face-to-face practicum hours in addition to those online classes. Online-only Psy. D. programs are not accredited by the APA.

Are a Ph.D. in psychology and a Psy.D. the same thing?

No, Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs are different. A Psy.D. program focuses on the application of psychological principles and clinical psychology practice, whereas Ph.D. programs focus more on statistics, teaching, and research.

Can you get federal financial aid for online school?

Yes, provided the online program you attend is accredited, and you meet all other federal student loan qualifications, you may be eligible for federal financial aid.


Page Last Reviewed: October 3, 2022

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