Online Master’s in School Psychology: Compare Programs

Completing an online master’s in school psychology may open doors to a rewarding career working with secondary students, families and school administrators. This field combines educational theory and mental health services to help schools:

  • Create safe, supportive learning environments for diverse learners
  • Address the mental health needs of students
  • Improve the overall academic performance of the student body
  • Provide counseling, crisis intervention, behavioral support, and much more

School psychologists may have a lasting, positive impact on the well-being of youth and the community by helping children and teenagers succeed academically, socially and emotionally.

Online Master’s and EdS Programs in School Psychology

Graduate level and educational specialist degree (EdS) programs that focus on school psychology are available across the country. Some are offered in-person, online or via hybrid format, which is a combination of in-person and online instruction. Here are institutions that provide 100% online instruction for school psychology graduate students:

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Institution Program Program Length Number of Credits Admissions Requirements
Arkansas State University MS in Psychology, Educational Psychology One or more years (self-guided option available) 50 Application
Transcripts
Minimum 2.3 GPA
Ball State University Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology Three years (including one year internship) 70.5 Bachelor’s Degree
3.5 GPA
GRE score of at least 1,100
Transcripts
Three letters of recommendation
Personal essay
Capella University School Psychology - Educational Specialist (EdS) Two to three years (advanced option available) 107 Application
Transcripts
Interview
Drexel University Online School Psychology Program One to two years (advanced option available) 66 GRE or MAT
Application
Bachelor's degree in psychology or education with some psychology coursework
One undergraduate course in statistics or research methods
3.00 cumulative GPA
Eastern Washington University EdS in Educational Psychology, Gifted & Creative Education One year 31 Master's degree
2.6 GPA
GRE or MAT scores
Three letters of recommendation
Personal essay
Eastern Washington University School Psychology (EdS Online) Two to three Years 107 None specified
Fort Hays State University MA in Educational Psychology – School Psychometry/EdS in Educational Psychology – School Psychology Four years (part time) 69 Professional Educator Certificate (type varies by program)
Two years of professional education work experience in P-12 schools
3.0 undergraduate GPA
Minimum GRE score of 300
Fort Hays State University EdS School Psychology N/A 67 College transcripts
Minimum GRE score of 290
Statement of career and education goals
Four letters of recommendation (two from former professors)
3.0 undergraduate GPA
Interview may be required
University of Alabama Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Educational Psychology 18 months 30 Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
2.75 undergraduate GPA
GRE not required
Two professional references
Personal statement
Resume or CV
Transcripts
University of Georgia Online MS and EdS Programs One to two years 30 for MS, 36 for EdS Bachelor's degree in psychology or education
Completion of one undergraduate course in statistics or research methods
3.0 undergraduate GPA
GRE required (taken within the last five years) if you don't have a master's degree
Two letters of recommendation
Transcripts
MS-specific requirements:
Statement of intent
Interview questionnaire
EdS-specific requirements:
Master's in psychology or related field
3.25 graduate GPA
B or better in graduate coursework
FHSU PSY 840 Appraisal of Children and PSY 880 Methods in School Psychology or similar courses completed within the last three years
Personal statement
University of Tennessee Chattanooga Master of Education in Educational Psychology One to two years 32 (thesis option) or 33 (non-thesis option) GPA
Resume
Three letters of reference
Professional goals statement
Research interest statement
Show academic competence through one of the following:
3.0 GPA or higher
GRE score of 150 in each subsection and a writing assessment score of 4.0 or better
Miller Analogies Test score equivalent to the national mean score at the time
Wayne State University MA in School and Community Psychology Three years 64 At least 15 hours in psychology or educational psychology
3.0 undergraduate GPA
Official transcripts
Three letters of recommendation
Statement of purpose
GRE scores
Wichita State University Educational Specialist (EdS) Two to three years 66 Application
Transcripts
GRE scores OR a graduate degree with minimum 3.0 GPA
Three letters of recommendation
Previous coursework:
Three semester hours in general or educational psychology
Three semester hours in child/adolescent development
Three semester hours of characteristics of exceptional children OR abnormal psychology

What is School Psychology?

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) defines school psychologists as professionals who work in the field as "uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' abilities to learn and teachers' abilities to teach."

The field is made up of professionals who help students learn and thrive in an academic and social setting. School psychology also supports teachers' ability to teach by establishing safe, supportive, healthy and successful learning environments that extend beyond the school building to students' homes and communities.

What does a school psychologist do?

A school psychologist’s primary focus is to improve student academic achievement, support diverse learners, create safe school environments, promote positive behavior and strengthen relationships between families and schools. They often consult with families, teachers, school counselors and social workers to change school policies and practices. 

What’s the difference between school psychology, educational psychology and school counseling?

Although educational psychology, school psychology, and school counseling are similar, they are separate areas of psychology with distinct differences.

School psychologists provide complete, comprehensive psychological services to children and families in schools or other similar settings by assessing and counseling students, consulting with parents and school staff, and conducting behavioral interventions when appropriate.

Educational psychologists apply human development theories to understand how individuals learn and identify strategies to make learning more effective. While they sometimes work in a school environment, educational psychologists examine people who learn elsewhere, such as the workplace.

Interested in educational psychology? Explore online degrees in educational psychology.

School counselors help students and clients cope with everyday problems or adversity by guiding them to recognize their strengths and resources.

Interested in school counseling? Explore online master’s in school counseling programs.

School psychology admission requirements

Although admission requirements vary from program to program, there are several common requirements that school psychologists should expect when applying to higher education. Grade point averages (GPAs) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores often weigh heavily on the admission decision. Many psychology master’s programs may prefer undergraduate coursework in a psychology-related major or minor.

If you're concerned about a low GPA or GRE score, or sufficient psychology pre-coursework, it may be beneficial to highlight other areas that show your commitment to the field, such as work or volunteer experience. You will likely also need to secure several recommendation letters and prepare to do well in a personal interview with the admission board. 

Master’s Degree vs. EdS vs. PhD

There are three degree levels a school psychologist (PDF, 728 KB) may earn. The shortest program of study is a master’s degree. It will typically require two years of full-time, graduate-level study. Although this degree rarely requires an internship, it also offers fewer career options since you may not qualify for national specialty certification.

With just one more year of school (three years total) and 1,200 hours of full-time internships, school psychologists with EdS degrees are qualified to practice in schools or educational settings in every state and territory according to the NASP.

If a school psychologist wants to have a broader range of career options in schools, independent practices, clinics, hospitals or research facilities, they typically spend five to six years of full-time study, including a full-time internship, to obtain a PhD.

How to choose a degree in school psychology

Researching and deciding on a graduate program may be a daunting task. But if you keep your career goals in mind, it may help you narrow your list of possible programs. Here are three questions to consider before deciding on your best path:

  1. How much debt am I comfortable taking on?
    With each higher degree level comes more tuition cost, so it’s useful to consider how much debt you are willing to incur. To help you decide, check how much income you expect to earn once you have your degree.
  2. Do I meet the admission requirements?
    The different degree levels have varying requirements for admission. Research diligently to understand what type of degree you already qualify for. If you lack the minimum admission requirements, can you reasonably complete them before you want to enroll?
  3. Is the program accredited?
    It’s generally recommended that you complete your graduate studies at an institution that has received regional or national accreditation. Program accreditation provides public assurance that the school or program has met minimum standards as required by the accrediting agency.

Why Get an Online Master’s in Psychology?

Students completing an online master’s degree program qualify for the same employment and internship opportunities as students who complete their program in a traditional learning environment. This may include jobs in schools, private practice and general psychology. Online programs typically offer the same caliber and quantity of coursework and curriculum, just with a different teaching delivery.

Getting your master’s degree online may offer more flexibility than traditional, in-person instruction. A master's degree may also be a stepping-stone to a doctoral program. Before deciding whether to obtain your degree online, it is essential to weigh your preferences and priorities.

Some of the benefits of getting an online master’s in psychology may be career opportunities. By obtaining a school psychology degree, you may be qualified to work as a school psychologist in K-12 schools. 

Salary

While industrial organizational psychologists and other general psychologists may expect to make $90,000 to $110,000 annually, the median annual salary for school psychologists is $78,200. School-based practitioners may earn less than those working in hospitals or government facilities.

There are also significant differences in school psychologist salaries depending on the region, with the Northeast and West reporting higher average wages than other U.S. regions. Your pay as a school psychologist will also depend on your experience and highest degree earned. The more extensive your experience and education, the greater opportunity for higher earnings.

FAQs

How long does it take to get a master’s in school psychology?

According to the NASP, it typically takes two years of full-time study at the graduate level to obtain a master’s in school psychology. Generally, such programs do not require an internship.

How long does it take to get an EdS or PhD in school psychology?

According to the NASP, an EdS in school psychology typically takes three years of full-time, graduate study. This includes completing a 1,200-hour internship over one year. A PhD typically takes five to six years of full-time school and 1,200-1,500 full-time internship hours over one year.

How much does a school psychologist earn?

As of May 2019, the median annual salary for school psychologists was $78,200, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Different industries may pay more or less than median salaries. For example, those working in elementary and secondary school settings earned $76,960 on average.

Where do school psychologists work?

Most school psychologists work in K-12 public schools, the NASP reports. They also provide services in other educational institutions, such as private schools, preschools, universities and colleges, independent private practices, and mental health and juvenile justice centers.

What is the role of the school psychologist in schools?

School psychologists help create a supportive learning environment for the student, inside and outside the classroom, the NASP says. This includes partnerships with students and their families, teachers, other educators, and the community-at-large.

Last updated: October 2020