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    Best Masters in Clinical Psychology in 2020

    March 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

    Masters in Clinical Psychology
    Degree Finder
    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

    Not everyone who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology — or who discovers an interest in psychology after graduating from college with a degree in another field — wants to or needs to pursue a doctorate degree. Although most states require a PhD or PsyD degree to get a license in clinical psychology (Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee do not), there are many career options for graduates of the best schools for getting a master’s in clinical psychology.

    In this article we’ll take a look at the variety of master’s programs in clinical psychology in the United States and how they can help you build your career. But first let’s answer an important question: What is the point of pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology?

    People pursue master’s degrees in psychology to get an in-depth understanding of a specific area of psychology.

    A bachelor’s degree in psychology gives you a broad understanding of the issues facing the professional practice of psychology. A master’s degree in psychology gives you the knowledge you need to pursue a specific type of psychology.

    For instance, it is not unusual for graduate students to pursue a master’s in forensic psychology as a terminal degree, not followed up with a doctorate. Forensic psychologists testify in mens rea sanity hearings. They are expert witnesses in court and they supervise parole plans and research studies.

    A master’s degree may be an appropriate terminal degree for a school psychologist. Holders of a master’s in educational psychology.work as school counselors and advisers to school administrators.

    Some who earn a master’s degree in organizational psychology may work for companies in conflict resolution, or in HR dealing with personnel issues, or advising executives on team dynamics.

    And an increasing number of Master of Arts degree holders work as sport psychologists. These are psychologists who work with coaches and team administrators, not necessarily with athletes. Sport psychologists look for the mental methods to beat a record or to win a game.

    Whether you are looking for a job in social psychology, child psychology, industrial psychology, social psychology, or the psychology of consumer choice, your career opportunities will be more numerous with a master’s degree in psychology than with just a bachelor’s degree in psychology. And almost any master’s-level specialty in psychology can lead to a stable, well-paid career.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives us these statistics about career prospects for people who hold a master’s degree in a psychology specialization

    • Human resources specialists with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $61,920 per year. The BLS predicts 7% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Market research analysts with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $63,790 per year. The BLS predicts 28% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Probation officers with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $54,290 per year. The BLS predicts 7% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Rehabilitation counselors with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $35,950 per year. The BLS predicts 10% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • School and career counselors with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $54,020 per year. The BLS predicts 8% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Social and community services managers with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $67,900 per year. The BLS predicts 17% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Substance abuse counselors with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $46,240 per year. The BLS predicts 25% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
    • Training and development specialists with a master’s degree in psychology in 2020 earn an average of $61,290 per year. The BLS predicts 9% growth in job opportunities over the next 10 years.

    You will probably notice that none of these career titles for people who have a master’s degree in psychology includes the term “psychologist.” Getting a license to practice clinical psychology usually requires you to spend four or five years after you get your bachelor’s degree pursuing a doctor’s degree, plus supervised clinical practice after you pass a state licensing exam. However, there are a few high specialized programs that lead to a master’s degree in clinical psychology that have real prospects for practicing clinical psychology even if you never get a doctor’s degree, with an average salary of $80,370 per year.

    Because these programs are rare, we don’t rank them by best to not-the-greatest. We suggest that you consider all of these programs to choose the best match for the kind of clinical psychology you would like to do. And if you are interested in a chance to become a Licensed Professional Counselor without a PhD or a PsyD, although through a highly competitive Master’s program, check out our entries for Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin, below. If you are looking for an online clinical psychology masters, see the entries for Pepperdine, Vanderbilt. and the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

    Rank School Location
    1Boston UniversityBoston, Massachusetts
    2Columbia UniversityNew York City, New York
    3Northwestern UniversityEvanston, Illinois
    4University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
    5Middle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboro, Tennessee

    Best Masters in Clinical Psychology in 2020

    1

    Boston University

    • Boston, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    Boston University offers a fast-paced, academically rigorous program leading to an M.A. degree that gives students the skills to support (and, if they decide to pursue further study, do) clinical research in psychology or psychiatry. It’s an excellent program for non-clinicians who want to get involved in a supporting role in research.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $55,892
    Time to complete: One year
    Visit School Website
    2

    Columbia University

    • New York City, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 95%

    Columbia calls its master’s degree in clinical psychology a “master of arts in psychology of education” because the program originated in its renowned education department. This degree program is designed to give students the knowledge they need to pursue any of the many options we listed above for people who have earned master’s degrees in psychology, plus an internationally-recognized credential for applying to a doctoral program should they decide that’s what they want to do later. Students at Columbia can concentrate their MA studies in any of eleven areas:

    • Child & Family
    • Clinical Psychology & Technology
    • Community Psychology & Integrated Health Services
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Global Mental Health & Trauma
    • Health Psychology
    • Neuropsychology
    • Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis
    • Research Methods
    • Sexuality, Women & Gender
    • Spirituality & Mind/Body Practices

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for the entire program: $154,470.
    Time to complete: Two years, plus time for capstone project.
    Visit School Website
    3

    Northwestern University

    • Evanston, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Northwestern University offers a MA in clinical psychology that won’t prepare you to get a license to practice clinical psychology, but that will give you an in-depth understanding of what research psychologists do. You will learn how to design clinical studies. You will get considerable practice in technical writing for research grant proposals and academic publications. And if you decide you want to get a PhD or PsyD later, you will have a strong academic credential that makes getting into a doctor program easier.

    The kinds of skills that the Northwestern University MA program gives you are in demand. They are just at a distance from patients. If you are fascinated by clinical psychology but want to approach it as an academic discipline, and you are happy supporting clinical psychology researchers in the work they do, this is a good option.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $113,382
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    4

    University of Maryland

    • College Park, Maryland
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    The University of Maryland gives students who are already working in psychology with a bachelor’s degree a chance to add to their credentials with evening classes. If you are not sure that you are ready for graduate study, this program can help you fill in any gaps in your preparation while you earn your graduate degree. Specializations are available in Basic Foundations of Clinical Interventions, Child Psychopathology, and Research Methods in Clinical Psychology..

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for the entire program: $16,123 for Maryland residents, $55,230 for out-of-state students.
    Time to complete: One year plus one semester.
    Visit School Website
    5

    Middle Tennessee State University

    • Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 42%

    If you are looking for an internationally accepted credential in psychology that opens doors for jobs, consider earning an MA in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Middle Tennessee University. The undergraduate programs at Middle Tennessee State University are practically open-admission, so the university as a whole is not on everyone’s radar screen. But the graduate program in Industrial and Organizational Psychology uses seven faculty members to train 12 students a year in cutting-edge developments in the field that get them placements with leading industrial organizations all over the United States.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition: $6,804 per year for Tennessee residents (many out-of-state students can get out-of-state tuition waivers), $18,846 for residents of other states
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Michigan State University

    • East Lansing, Michigan
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

    MIchigan State’s highly regarded MA program in rehabilitation counseling trains students in the administration of rehab programs as well as making sure they are well grounded in understanding the social and cultural context of rehabilitation. Working students can pursue this program by taking evening classes, but all students must complete a practicum and internship. One of the perks of the program is access to a tremendous variety of assessment tools to improve delivery of rehabilitation programs to clients. The programs that 100% passed the national Rehabilitation Counselor Certification examination and 100% were employed after graduation.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for the entire program: $14,460 for Michigan residents, $39,766 for out-of-state residents. About half of students are on full-tuition fellowships in the most recent reporting year.
    Time to complete: One to two years.
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    7

    Ohio State University

    • Columbus, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 83%

    Ohio State offers two different master’s degrees that lead to professional certifications in psychology. Their counselor education program offers a First Education Experience Program that matches students to community service positions. Their educational psychology program offers  computers and technology, pre-K special needs, and teacher-leader endorsements for students who already have Ohio teacher certification. Both programs are well-known for their expertise in the intersection of technology and counseling.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $22,168 for Ohio residents, $64,122 for out-of-state residents
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    8

    Pepperdine University

    • Malibu, California
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    Pepperdine offers a nationally recognized program in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy that can lead to status as a Licensed Professional Counselor and as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. Students do a practicum at one of 130 sites and then can sit for certification exams. The program is offered on-ground in a daytime format for the traditional student looking to be full-time, an evening format for the working professional, a specialization for those looking to serve Latinas/os, and online.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $76K-$98K
    Time to complete: 2-3 years
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    9

    University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa

    • Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    • Graduation Rate: 68%

    The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa offers a highly-ranked MA in rehabilitation with all courses offered online, although students have to do an internship.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition forthe entire program: $20,560 for Alabama residents, $60,500 for out-of-state residents
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    10

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a highly regarded Clinical Rehabilitation program that is administered by its School of Medicine. The program is recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In recent years, the program has had success in preparing students for careers in telehealth, and the program is one of only a few that trains students to help improve quality of life for people whose disability is an eating disorder. It is possible for MA students to pursue coursework that qualifies them for Licensed Professional Counselor status in North Carolina.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for the entire program: $17,960 for North Carolina residents, $72,318 for out-of-state residents. Many out-of-state students can get tuition waivers.
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    11

    University of San Diego

    • San Diego, California
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

    The University of San Diego offers a two-year program leading to certification as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. Students do 500 hours of supervised clinical work over three semesters. Class topics include couples and sex therapy, human diversity, family violence, and ethical and legal issues in family therapy.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $102,272
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    12

    University of Texas at Austin

    • Austin, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    The highly competitive MEd in Counselor Education at the University of Texas at Austin has a Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs track that emphasizes diversity training and that allows students to supplement their coursework so they eventually become a Licensed Professional Counselor. The University of Texas also offers an MA in counseling that allows students to become certified as counselors for public schools.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $22,168 for Ohio residents, $64,122 for out-of-state residents
    Time to complete: Two years.
    Visit School Website
    13

    University of Wisconsin (Madison)

    • Madison, Wisconsin
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    The MS program at the University of Wisconsin is designed to equip counselors to improve quality of life for people with learning disabilities, with alcohol or substance abuse issues, or with physical or psychiatric disabilities. The University of Wisconsin reports that 100% of its students passed their Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Examinations, certifying them as rehabilitation counselors in all 50 states, on their first try.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $21,450 for Wisconsin residents, $75,570 for out-of-state residents
    Time to complete: Two or more years (60 credits).
    Visit School Website
    14

    Vanderbilt University

    • Nashville, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 92%

    Looking for an online psychology masters? Vanderbilt’s MEd school counseling program can be completed entirely online. You will be part of a small cohort of students and get all the attention from professors available in face to face classes.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for entire program: $52,070 to $104,140
    Time to complete: One to two years (48 to 60 hours).
    Visit School Website
    15

    University of Massachusetts at Boston

    • Boston, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 59%

    The University of Massachusetts at Boston offers an entirely on-line master’s program in rehabilitation counseling, except for two weeks in July between the first and second years when all students are required to come to campus for mandatory clinical courses.

    School Overview

    Typical tuition for the entire program $29,226 for Massachusetts residents, $70,150 for out-of-state residents
    Time to complete Two years.
    Visit School Website

    Have you graduated from one of these programs? Is there a great program we need to know more about? We welcome your comments below, and invite any updates on the information we provide for each school.Not everyone who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology — or who discovers an interest in psychology after graduating from college with a degree in another field — wants to or needs to pursue a doctorate. Although most states require a PhD or PsyD degree to get a license in clinical psychology (Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee do not), there are many career options for graduates of the best schools for getting a master’s in clinical psychology.

    In this article we’ll take a look at the variety of master’s programs in clinical psychology in the United States and how they can help you build your career. But first let’s answer an important question: What is the point of pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology?

    Find the program that’s right for you

    Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

    Degree Finder
    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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