Top 5 Most Affordable Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs of 2021

Top 5 Most Affordable Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs of 2021

Michelle Honeyager picture
Michelle Honeyager Contributing Writer
Updated May 18, 2021

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If you’re considering whether to get an adolescent and child psychology degree, the good news is that there is an ongoing need for psychology professionals in this field. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for mental health counselors may grow by about 25% through 2029, which is a much faster growth rate than the average. 

That said, these jobs often require a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree to obtain. If you’re considering enrolling in this type of program, you can find information on some of the top online programs in this field below.

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What are the 5 Most Affordable Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs of 2021?

#1 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
#2 Grand Canyon University Pheonix, AZ
#3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
#4 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA
#5 Northcentral University San Diego, CA

Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools

At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

Is an online bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology degree worth it?

TYes, it can be. That said, most of the higher-paying jobs in the psychology field require you to get a master’s or doctorate. If that is your eventual goal, a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology can be a good first step. Some programs, like Northcentral University, will even allow you to start in a bachelor’s program and then fast track your studies toward finishing with a master’s degree in the field.

What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology?

A bachelor’s degree typically qualifies you to work in entry-level jobs in human and social services. People with this sort of degree might put their skills to use as a childcare worker before going on to get a teaching certificate. Others may work as a social services assistant or as a social worker in some capacities.

How much money can you make with a bachelor’s in child and adolescent psychology?

The salary you earn depends on a variety of factors, including the job title, where you work, and the type of employer you work for. As some examples, the median salary for social and human service assistants was $35,060 per year in 2019. Childcare workers earned, on average, about $24,230 per year in 2019. Elementary school teachers earned, on average, about $59,420 per year in 2019.

Degree Requirements

In general, the degree requirements you have to complete are different for each adolescent and child psychology degree program. That said, many bachelor’s programs require you to complete 120 credits in total. 

Almost all programs will require you to complete core courses in general education, such as composition or statistics, as part of your degree plan. Many schools require a C grade as a minimum for those courses. 

If you study child and adolescent psychology, you will also have to complete core courses and electives relating to psychology. You may also have to meet GPA requirements to stay in the program, such as getting a major GPA of at least 2.0 in major courses, though it will depend on the program and school you enroll in.

There are often undergraduate research opportunities in this field of study. Other programs may also require a professional capstone to graduate. To meet this requirement, you will often need to complete a real-world project showing everything you learned in the program. 

Courses in Child and Adolescent Psychology

If you are enrolled in an adolescent and child psychology degree program, you will take a wide variety of psychology courses as part of your degree plan. It’s also common to take statistics and research methods courses as they relate to psychology. 

For child and adolescent psychology, the types of courses you take will depend on the program. Child psychology and abnormal child psychology courses online are common requirements. Courses that look at things like family dynamics, life-span developmental psychology, and the psychology of learning, might also be required. 

Want to know more about the classes you might take in this program? Some of the common online child psychology degree courses that relate to child and adolescent psychology include:

Child Psychology

Child psychology courses look at the aspects of childhood that contribute to behavior, like developmental milestones and psychosocial components. These types of courses also delve into the hereditary, maturational, social, and psychological components of childhood.


Adolescence courses look at the way teenagers develop throughout these formative years, including how they interact with peer groups, and family, among other core groups.

Family Psychology

This course typically looks at everything associated with family dynamics, including developmental family behavior, dysfunctions, and different stages, like dating and marriage.

Life-Span Developmental Psychology

A class on life-span developmental psychology looks at the emotional, cognitive, and social development across all stages of life, starting from childhood and continuing into the senior years of life

Career Path

It’s common for an adolescent and child psychology degree to be a precursor for attending graduate school to get a master’s degree or a doctorate in this field. Graduate degrees are required if you want to become a counselor or researcher in the field. However, many students stop their studies once they have attained their bachelor’s degree. 

The good news is that it’s possible to obtain employment with just a bachelor’s degree in this field. An online child psychology degree program typically covers psychology on a broader scale, while child and adolescent psychology are just some of the courses, concentrations, and electives students can take. As such, it may be possible with this degree to find employment in an entry-level position in a field that requires you to know how to work with people, such as human resources. 

Those who obtain a child psychology degree online may also find entry-level jobs in childcare or social services. Some graduates with this degree will also go on to get further teaching certificates so they can teach at the K-12 level.   

Job Outlook & Salary 

Wondering what the job outlook is in this field? Some of the common job titles for people with a degree in this field, along with annual median salaries in 2019 as listed by the BLS, include:

  • Social and human service assistants: This job paid, on average, about $35,060 per year as of 2019.  
  • Childcare workers: Child care workers make about $24,230 per year, according to the BLS. 
  • Elementary school teachers: A job as an elementary school teacher is common for people with this degree. This pays about $59,420 per year on average.
  • High school teachers: If you pursue a job as a high school teacher with this degree, you’ll earn about $61,660 per year on average. 
  • Human resources assistants: Another popular option for employment with this degree is as a human resource assistant. This job pays about $41,620 per year on average.

The University of South Florida also states that many online child psychology degree students go on to become human resources managers, generalists, and directors. The school lists the earning potential around $56,000 to $88,000 per year on average.   

Scholarships & Financial Aid

There are a few different types of scholarships available for this type of program. You should also be sure to check with the school you are looking to attend for any possible scholarships you qualify for. Many universities offer these programs for certain majors depending on need or academic achievement. 

To get you started, these scholarships may help you get a child psychology degree online:  

  • The American Psychology Association: This organization offers a wide variety of scholarships and grants. However, these tend to be for grad students and early professional psychologists.   
  • Future Counselors of America Scholarship: This type of scholarship is available for those majoring in psychology with plans to seek employment as a counselor after graduation. The award is for $1,000 and the deadline to apply is June 30.

Related Degrees

There are a number of related degree paths that can help you learn similar skills and help you start carving out a career. These include:

Social services

A social services degree prepares students for working in the social services field, whether that is in a role working directly with people in need, like helping people qualify for public benefits, or in a lobbying or research role.

Human resources

Many students with a psychology degree go on to work as human resources professionals. Human resources professionals are responsible for helping to hire, retain, and train employees as well as help cultivate company culture and other important aspects of employment within a business.

Behavioral health science

A behavioral health science degree is similar to a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent psychology. The main difference is that this type of degree puts more emphasis on helping certain types of relationships in a community health or private practice setting. Graduates typically work as behavioral health specialists and technicians in areas like family dynamics and substance use disorders.

The 5 Most Affordable Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs of 2021

  1. University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL

    • If you’re looking for a degree that’s focused on child and adolescent behavioral health, the University of South Florida’s CABH degree program is a solid choice. This online program offers an in-depth study of child and adolescent behavioral health conditions and services, cultural competency, research design, and use of research and evaluation related to child and adolescent behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and policy in behavioral health. 
    • Graduation rate: 73%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: Resident rate $21,530; nonresident rate $32,444
    • Estimated years of completion: 4 
    • Program website 
  2. Grand Canyon University

    Pheonix, AZ

    • Grand Canyon University offers a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health that has an emphasis on adolescent disorders, making it a good choice for anyone looking to work as a behavioral health technician or specialist. 
    • Graduation rate: 33%
    • School status: Private 
    • Tuition cost: Online $470 per credit (120 total credits required)
    • Estimated years of completion: 4 years
    • Program website 
  3. University of Illinois at Springfield

    Springfield, IL

    • The University of Illinois at Springfield offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a developmental psychology concentration for those wishing to focus on child and adolescent psychology.  
    • Graduation rate: 56%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $22,951 resident; $32,566 nonresident
    • Estimated years of completion: 4 
    • Program website
  4. Eastern Washington University

    Cheney, WA

    • The applied developmental psychology program at Eastern Washington University looks at how people change throughout their lives. There is an emphasis on child and adolescent development in this program.  
    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: Visit cost calculator
    • Estimated years of completion: 4 
    • Program website 
  5. Northcentral University

    San Diego, CA

    • The psychology program at Northcentral University allows you to fast-track your education so that you earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in one accelerated program. This school also offers a track in child and adolescent development psychology. 
    • Graduation rate: 34% 
    • School status: Private 
    • Tuition cost: $28,420
    • Estimated years of completion: 4 for bachelor’s, additional accelerated track for master’s
    • Program website
Michelle Honeyager picture

Michelle Honeyager


Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeast Wisconsin who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Grad School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others.

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Angelica Leicht


Angelica Leicht is the schools editor at Best Value Schools who oversees our college rankings, school profiles, and other higher education coverage. She previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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