20 Online Doctorate in Psychology Programs

Written by Janice Monti | Edited by Victoria Hudgeons | Last Updated May 2024

A doctorate is the highest-ranking degree in psychology. An online doctorate offers a flexible pathway to high-paying and advanced careers in clinical, teaching, and research settings. Explore our rankings to learn about accredited online psychology doctorate programs and the advantages of pursuing this degree.

Popular Online Psychology Doctoral Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Best Online Ph.D. in Psychology 2020

Liberty University’s Ph.D. in Psychology – Industrial/Organization Psychology is a 60-credit-hour degree program that is delivered entirely online. Through this program, students acquire training in the study of human behavior in organizations and for the workplace, preparing them to make a difference in their professional careers. Program graduates can hold several different positions, including independent consultant, researcher and writer, and organization mentor or consultant positions. During this program, students will take courses such as Psychological Research and Biblical Worldview, Teaching of Psychology, and Theories and Research in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, VA, but the university educates students all over the world with its online education programs. Liberty first began its online program in 1985, and with the evolution of the internet, the university offered Christian college degree programs online in 1999 and 2000. Today, Liberty offers degree programs entirely online. With its eight-week-long courses, students can quickly progress through their degrees, and students may transfer up to 15 credits toward their programs. Liberty doesn’t just make education accessible; the university also makes education affordable and has frozen tuition rates for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past four years.

Format: Online

Online-Phd-Programs.org ranks doctoral programs with data from authoritative sources like the U.S. Department of Education, while accounting for factors like academic quality, online offerings, and affordability.

This ranking is from 2020. For more about how Online-Phd-Programs.org evaluates and ranks education programs, read more about our ranking methodology.

Why Get an Online Psychology Doctorate?

Earning an online doctorate in psychology can be challenging, requiring a significant investment of time and money. However, it can be worth the effort. Key benefits of this degree may include:

  • Licensure: While each state determines its own regulations, you need a doctorate from an accredited psychology program to become a licensed psychologist, no matter where you plan to practice.
  • Earning Potential: A doctorate degree can boost your overall earnings. The median weekly salary for a doctoral degree-holder is $1,909 compared to $1,574 for a master’s and $1,334 for a bachelor’s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Specialized Expertise for Career Advancement: A doctorate in psychology provides advanced training and research skills in highly specialized areas, preparing graduates to make significant contributions to the field and enhancing their career prospects.
  • Recognition of Online Degrees: An accredited online psychology doctorate program offers the same academic quality as a campus-based degree. Many of the nation’s top-ranked schools offer online doctorates in psychology.
  • Savings and Flexibility of Online Programs: Some schools offer online learners reduced rates. Distance learning makes it easier to manage coursework around work and family obligations and helps reduce housing and commuting expenses.

Accreditation for Online Psychology Doctorate Programs

Institutional and programmatic accreditation in higher education ensures an ongoing commitment to academic quality. Regional agencies that administer institutional accreditation evaluate the academic and organizational structure of an entire college or university. Programmatic accreditors conduct an in-depth assessment of a specialized program within a college or university.

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the primary programmatic accreditor of Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) and Psy.D. (doctor of psychology) programs. APA accreditation verifies a program’s ability to deliver consistent academic quality and best practices in evidence-based training.

Attending an accredited psychology doctorate program does not guarantee licensure, but it increases your chances of securing a required postgraduate internship and qualifies you to take the licensure exams required by most states. The APA accredits doctoral programs with some online coursework but not fully online degrees.

How Much Do Online Psychology Doctorate Graduates Make?

According to BLS data, psychologists in May 2023 earned a median annual income of $92,740, but salary ranges vary considerably by specialty, employer, and location. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists rank among the highest-paid psychologists, earning a median salary of $147,420 annually, while the median earnings for school psychologists run much lower at $84,940.

The BLS projects the employment of clinical and counseling psychologists to increase by 11% between 2022 and 2032, one of the highest rates of job growth among all psychology specialties. Currently, clinical and counseling psychologists earn a median income of $96,100 per year. Professionals in these two specialties earn the highest salaries working in research settings and hospitals.

New Jersey, the top-paying state for clinical and counseling psychologists, offers an annual average salary of $148,370, followed by $132,410 for California.

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology Ph.D. Programs

Although the APA does not accredit fully online Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs, attending an APA-accredited program that includes some online course components will help you qualify for postgraduate internships and licensure.