Job opportunities are abundant for those with expertise in the psychology of motivation and learning. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for school counselors will grow by 13% from 2016-2026.

What to Expect in an Online Master's in Educational Psychology Program

The specific courses required to earn a master's in educational psychology online vary by school and program. Look at the curriculum requirements and specializations or tracks available for programs that interest you to ensure they match your career goals.

Sample Courses for an Online Master's in Educational Psychology

Taking educational psychology master's programs online prepares graduates to apply psychological theory and research to educational practice. Graduate courses may cover some of the same topics as undergraduate psychology programs, such as human development or child psychology, but they offer a more advanced examination of these topics and focus on their professional and clinical applications.

Online master's programs in educational psychology typically include in-person field experiences and capstone courses, which require students to apply what they learned in their coursework to professional practice. See below for sample courses.

Learning Theories

This course explores the cognitive, psychological, and social factors impacting learning and motivation, according to psychological research. Students learn to use major learning theories to assess students' needs and develop appropriate educational interventions to improve learning, memory, and motivation.

Child and Adolescent Psychology

This course introduces psychological theory, research, and practice related to the learning, behavior, and mental health of young people. Participants explore ways to use psychological research findings to maximize healthy development, mental health, and social adaptation in children and teens.

Human Growth and Development

This course covers the changes that occur normally over a lifespan, including cognitive and psychological changes. Participants explore how families, societies, and schools influence development, and how development can differ across cultures. Topics include notable developmental milestones in childhood and adolescence, methods of assessing developmental differences, and examples of developmentally appropriate educational interventions.

Social Psychology

This course explores critical findings from social psychology research that explain how groups influence individuals and why people behave as they do in social situations. Topics include conformity, persuasion, and prejudice. Participants learn to analyze social situations and understand the impact of relationships on young people so they may develop appropriate, culturally sensitive educational interventions.

Behavioral Interventions

This course introduces the techniques psychologists use to identify student needs and develop research-based behavioral interventions that maximize social-emotional health and learning. Participants learn to create behavior plans with clear, measurable goals and become familiar with the interventions and accommodations educators use to help students meet their goals.

Online Master's in Educational Psychology Completion Time

Online master's programs in educational psychology typically require 30-36 credits and take two years to complete. The number of credits needed and the number of courses you take each term significantly impact how long it takes to earn your degree.

Some schools offer fully online, asynchronous programs, which enable students to progress through coursework and other requirements at their own pace. In such cases, students may choose an accelerated path and finish in less than two years, or they can take only one course each term and finish in 3-4 years.

Some programs follow a cohort model, in which a group of students moves through courses and internships together. These programs may include on-campus residencies and synchronous or hybrid courses, which build a community among learners.

Skills Gained in an Online Master's in Educational Psychology Program

Earning a master's in educational psychology online trains candidates in the research methods and psychological theories used to assess student needs and recommend appropriate interventions. Through coursework, research projects, and internships, graduate students in educational psychology gain the necessary expertise to work with educators, families, and organizations as they search for ways to improve learning and behavior.

Specializations in this field include neuropsychology, public policy, educational technology, research, and gifted education. See below for some of the skills students gain.

  • Data-driven Decision-making

    Students learn the statistical analysis and measurement techniques used in educational testing and explore how practitioners, policymakers, and educators use data to make decisions.

  • Cognitive Assessment

    Students gain an advanced understanding of human cognitive processes across the lifespan and learn to assess individual cognitive functioning and recommend ways to improve learning.

  • Developmental Assessment

    As experts in human development, educational psychologists learn to assess whether individuals meet developmental milestones or suffer from impairments that may require intervention.

Online vs. On-Campus Programs: What's the Difference?

Online programs typically follow the same coursework and capstone requirements as on-campus programs. Fully online, asynchronous programs allow students to complete all course requirements, exams, and projects at their convenience, provided they meet scheduled deadlines. Online programs with internships usually allow students to fulfill these requirements at a location near them.

Other synchronous or hybrid programs may ask students to log in at specific times or meet on campus periodically, but still enable students to complete most of their coursework remotely.

Career and Salary Outlook for Online Master's in Educational Psychology Graduates

Graduates qualify for a wide variety of careers in psychology. Those with graduate training in educational psychology often work in schools or community organizations, helping design programs or products to meet the educational, behavioral, or social-emotional needs of young people. Some work directly with children and teens as counselors or school psychologists. Others work independently, helping families identify the needs of their children and the resources, strategies, and programs that help them thrive.

See below for some of the rewarding careers degree holders in this field pursue.

School Counselor

These counselors advise students and help them succeed academically and socially. They assist students with course selection, goal setting, and college/job applications. Most states require public school counselors to possess a master's degree and licensure.

Median Annual Salary: $56,310

Educational Diagnostician

As experts in educational testing, diagnosticians assess student needs, school processes, and teacher effectiveness. They often test gifted students or students with disabilities to identify academic needs and recommend appropriate educational interventions. Licensure requirements for this position vary, but many employers seek graduate degree holders.

Median Annual Salary: $59,000

School Psychologist

These psychologists work in schools to promote student social-emotional and mental health. They assess student learning and emotional disorders and help structure educational plans, offering in-school support to students with disabilities or mental illnesses. These professionals also provide direct support to students, families, and school staff. A master's degree is required for this position, and many employers prefer a doctorate. Check with your state for licensure requirements.

Median Annual Salary: $60,000

Educational Consultant

These professionals typically work as private consultants for companies, schools, or families. For example, they might help parents find appropriate educational resources, programs, or schools for their children, or advise companies that produce educational products and services. Others help schools improve their policies, programs, and services. Educational consultants typically need relevant experience and at least a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $61,000

Psychologist

Psychologists with expertise in learning disorders or neuropsychology can work directly with students as clinical practitioners or advise schools and other organizations on how to improve learning or behavioral outcomes. A master's or doctorate in educational psychology provides the specialized training in human development, learning, and motivation needed for this position, though most states require a doctorate and licensure for independent clinical practice as a psychologist.

Median Annual Salary: $79,000

Education and Training Beyond a Master's in Educational Psychology

Most positions in educational psychology require at least a master's degree and some form of certification. For others, employers prefer or require a doctorate in psychology. To become a licensed psychologist, most states call for both a doctorate, 1,000-4,000 supervised post-doctoral clinical hours, and passage of a qualifying exam, such as the examination for professional practice in psychology.

Regardless of your specific career path, any position in educational psychology demands that you stay informed about current research and trends in the field.

Graduates with an online educational psychology master's degree may qualify for the following licensure: licensed professional counselor, guidance counselor, or school psychologist. Licensing requirements for school psychologists vary by state but typically include 60 hours of graduate study, including supervised practicum hours. The National Association of School Psychologists also offers national certification for school psychologists.

Similarly, the National Board for Certified Counselors offers national certification for counselors who complete a master's degree and supervised clinical hours and pass a national exam.

Completion of a doctorate in educational psychology can open the door to school leadership positions directing gifted education or assessment programs. It also qualifies degree holders for careers in educational research or private practices. Regardless of your specific career path, any position in educational psychology demands that you stay informed about current research and trends in the field.