As you seek the best APA-accredited PsyD programs, know that there is a wide range of options available. A Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D. or PsyD) graduate program prepares students to enter the field as psychologists. PsyD educational programs teach students to work in clinical careers, whereas those studying to earn their doctorate of philosophy or PhD in psychology are typically going to work in research or academia.
The American Psychological Association (APA) provides accreditation to these programs, meaning that they verify the quality and content of programs to determine if they meet the highest standards. The top APA-accredited PsyD programs below meet those requirements.
PsyD vs. PhD in Psychology
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, many students continue their education to earn a masters or go on to complete their doctoral degree, a terminal degree in the field. There are two main paths to do so. Those who complete the PsyD program typically will work with patients in a hands-on environment, providing for the needs of people in a clinical setting.
Others want to focus their education on education and research. To do that, students typically complete a PhD in Psychology that is focused heavily on the research element of the field. They then may work in research centers or teach at the college level.
Top APA-Accredited PsyD Programs
The following are the best APA-accredited PsyD programs based on curriculum and availability. Consider any of these top APA-accredited PsyD programs with a careful level of attention to how well they fit your specific educational goals.
Tuition: $1,622 per credit hour
Credits required: 3 years full-time, including an 800-hour practicum.
This program offers graduate degrees through several branches throughout the U.S., including in Chicago but also in Dallas and Washington, D.C. The private university’s programs are available online and in-person, and each year, they have about 6,000 students enter their programs with 20 available educational path options to select from, including clinical, forensic, and counseling psychology.
Tuition: $35,022 for the first year
Credits required: This is a 5-year program.
The PsyD and PhD programs at Loma Linda University are within a single department, which allows for comprehensive “sharing” of information and insight. The program is designed to provide full-time students, as well as those studying at their own pace, access to the most modern educational material with the goal of creating professionals at the top of their class.
Tuition:$56,832 per year
Credits required: Full-time for 3 years with a minimum of 27 units per year.
A rigorous, well-respected PsyD program, Palo Alto University is focused on a fast-paced educational path that explores modern research and hands-on training, including in areas of counseling practice and forensic studies. There is a strong practitioner-scholar focus here in creating students who have more than a generalist level of education in the field. It supports a range of scientific theories and methods.
Tuition: $1,298 per credit hour
Credits required: The program takes 4 to 5 years to complete full-time.
The PsyD program at Alliant International University focuses specifically on preparing students to work as health service psychologists with real-world, hands-on training and education. It has a practitioner-scholar education model that focuses on applications that fit the modern world of practicing psychologists in a fast-moving environment. Areas of focus include family and child psychology, integrative psychology, multicultural and international psychology, and behavioral health.
Tuition: $1,050 per credit hour
Credits required: Minimum of 99 credits to complete.
The Psy.D. program at Albizu University aims to encourage diversity in the industry to address multicultural needs in the field. The program has an emphasis on clinical psychology and focuses on both psychotherapeutic and psychodiagnostic service studies, with a strong presence of cultural and societal differences. The program also aims to create scientifically-informed health service psychologists ready to work in diverse fields.
Tuition: $61,344 per year
Credits required: Minimum of 114 credit hours to complete the program.
Adler University’s program trains clinical psychologists to become not just highly skilled but also socially responsible clinicians who have the goal of improving the communities they work in and the global population. The program has a high internship placement program and a 97% match rate, and students who graduate meet all of the national licensure examination requirements to begin working in the field.
Tuition: Starts at $585 per credit hour
Credits required: The program requires 4 years of full-time study followed by a 1-year internship.
Within the College of Arts and Sciences, the Psy.D. program at Indiana State University is based on the practitioner-scientist model, preparing students to become professionals but combining both clinical and research skills. The program, accredited since 1985, has created numerous research opportunities for students while also being known for its rigorous level of education.
Tuition: Starts at $1,138 per credit hour
Credits required: Minimum of 88 credit hours taking 4 to 6 years to complete.
Springfield College offers a PsyD program that follows the practitioner-scholar model with a focus on research and practice. The program also includes a full-time internship and a dissertation research project for students to engage in the industry. It also provides skill training in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for the modern, culturally diverse world. The program aims to provide education on a full range of disorders.
Tuition: Starts at $995 per credit hour
Credits required: A minimum of 87 credits plus a 300-hour practicum are required for this program.
The practitioner-oriented program at Saint Mary’s University provides students to gain key skills to use in a diverse population. The program focuses on professional ethics, multiculturalism, and evidence-based practice skills. It also has a strong focus on diversity for the modern professional. The program allows for the customization of 10 credits in a range of focus areas and incorporates a full-time internship.
Tuition: Starts at $846.04 per credit hour or $10,755.44 for full-time students
Credits required: The program requires the completion of 121 credit hours.
Kean University offers a school and clinical PsyD program that provides students with a focus on creating profoundly supportive, ethical, and compassionate professionals. A significant focus of this program is offering interprofessional relationship skills and helping students to balance work, school, and family needs with flexible course times and customization options. Students can also gain leadership skills.
Tuition: Starts at $1,115 per credit hour
Credits required: A total of 88 credits are required, including masters credits.
Felician University has a diverse program to provide entry-level health service psychologists with the skills and education they need to be license eligible. The program aims to teach core skills for providing services to patients but also in building a strong practice and working to meet the needs of the community. It offers flexible educational paths with night and weekend courses.
Tuition: Starts at $1,213 per credit
Credits required: This is a 5-year program requiring 102 credits.
Roberts Wesleyan University has a diverse School of Psychology and offers a PsyD program as a component of it. The program offers some of the most modern and innovative courses but also focuses on research. Students will enter a pre-doctoral internship and spend time in a dissertation process as they gain skills to work in this field.
Credits required: The program requires completion of at least 100 credits.
The Hofstra University program is rigorous and often designed to support the needs of students who are working full-time to obtain their degrees. Students can select from six hours of electives, including in areas of Individual Counseling, Psychometric Theory, Measurement of Work Performance, and Theoretical Orientations to Human Development, among others. Students can also engage in a range of research opportunities.
Tuition: $1,589 per credit
Credits required: The program requires the completion of at least 110 credits.
The PsyD program at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology is a school-clinical child psychologist program. During this program, students complete 3,500 hours of both internships and externships, many of which happen in the New York and New Jersey educational systems. Students will engage with students with developmental disabilities, family challenges, and mental health disorders to build on an advanced level of education they can use in the field.
Tuition: Starts at $671 per credit
Credits required: A minimum of 114 credits are required to complete this program.
At West Chester University, the doctoral-level educational program is a five-year program focused on the practitioner-scholar model. Students will explore research and clinical studies, but they will also be focused on developing into leaders. They will gain insight into assessment ad therapeutic interventions using supervised clinical training experiences. Students will select up to 12 elective course credit hours as well.
Tuition: Starts at $1,090 per credit
Credits required: A minimum of 114 credits are required to complete the program.
The Point Park University program is a diverse one, offering a focus on holistic, contextualized, and reflexive education into the experience of being a human. The program will provide a unique perspective for students to embrace, including exposure to psychoanalytic, feminist, community-focused, phenomenological, and hermeneutic concepts. The program also will student the human science approach to understanding families, communities, cultures, and ecosystems.
What to Consider When Evaluating PsyD Programs
Students considering their education in this graduate program should carefully compare several educational paths to determine which offers the best overall fit for their needs. There is no single school that is always better than others. However, some of the key areas to focus on when comparing programs include these.
Some programs are better suited for those already working in the field. They may offer nighttime and weekend hours or offer a fully online PsyD program that allows students to study when it is best suited for their needs. Flexibility to complete the program at their own pace also can play a big role in these programs.
Length of Accreditation
Accreditation is typically updated over time. While the industry changes and educational programs change, the best APA-accredited PsyD programs are going to be able to maintain their accreditation throughout those shifts. Learn how long the program has maintained its accreditation to see how steady that ability to maintain its accreditation.
Who is teaching the courses? Look specifically at the accomplishments of the faculty within the PsyD program. Your goal should often be to consider how diverse they are, how modern or updated their education and experience is, and what makes them unique. Why should you want to learn from this person?
Most of the time, the top APA-accredited PsyD programs will provide insight into what their alumni do after graduation. They may go on to work as leading researchers, contribute to the sciences in other ways, or become well-respected and recognized psychologists. Find out what the typical student does after their education.
Each college or university will set up a curriculum that meets its objectives and goals, and each is a bit different from the others. However, there are some curriculum options you are likely to see available through most programs.
History and Systems of Psychology
This type of educational program teaches the history of psychology. It may put a focus on contemporary thought as well as the philosophy of science behind the programs.
Biological Bases of Behavior
Students may also take a course like this which will explore the biological link between behavior and psychological subjects. Students may learn not just about what is typical but also how to decipher a-typical behavior.
This type of course typically focuses on psychological development over a person’s lifetime, including the various development theories that shape people throughout their lives. It may also explore a-typical risk factors.
PsyD Tuition and Scholarship Information
Earning your degree is a valuable step in working in this field, and several paths exist to help cover the costs of those programs. Start with a conversation with your college financial aid office to learn about available grants and scholarships from the school itself. Then, consider these options for paying for tuition.
- National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (providing a $2,500-per-month stipend for three years of education to qualified students)
- National Institutes of Health Extramural Training Mechanisms, which offers grants and fellowships, along with loan repayment programs for students in the field.
- National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, which offers both tax credits and tax deductions for those who are enrolled in this type of post-secondary education.
- Awards, Honors, and Research Funding from the APA’s Science Directorate sponsorships may help with grants with numerous options for students to pursue.
- American Psychological Association Scholarships and Grants offer numerous awards and prizes to qualified students.
PsyD Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shares that those working as a psychologist will be in demand in the coming years. From 2021 to 2031, there will be a need for an additional 11,300 people, which is about a 6% rate of growth for the field. In 2021, the median pay for a licensed psychologist was $81,040 per year or $38.96 per hour.
PsyD Career Opportunities
Those who earn a PsyD have a wide range of career paths they can pursue, each one offering a different way to meet the needs of patients or contribute to the overall psychological health of people. Some of these include:
Private Practice Psychologist
Work as a private psychologist within your own practice. This path typically takes the longest to achieve and requires building a clientele over time.
Administrative Hospital Psychologist
These professionals work within a hospital setting, providing counseling and psychological analysis to patients within the program. They also often handle some of the administrative tasks related to this field.
Those who enjoy the science behind psychology may wish to pursue this path, which focuses on brain function and how it impacts behavior. It is often a research-based program where they may offer patients mental health treatments based on neuroscience.
Those who work in this field typically focus on the link between how people and machines work together. They may focus their work on improving safety, improving a business’s profitability, and better understanding the function of the environment.