Accredited Child Psychology Graduate Programs and Colleges in Arizona [2024 Updated]

Last Updated: May 28, 2024

Getting trained in child psychology is an excellent choice if you are passionate about helping children overcome mental health or behavioral health issues.

Today’s child psychology programs include options to specialize in child or adolescent mental health, school psychology, or clinical child psychology, to name a few. This enables you to pursue your specific interests while also developing key skills for working with children.

Arizona has many options for getting an advanced degree in child psychology. You can study on campus or online at any number of Arizona schools, and there are also many online programs from out-of-state schools available to you as a resident of Arizona.

This guide gives you insights into some of the popular child psychology graduate program options. It gives you a good place to start exploring the possibilities of studying child psychology at the graduate level.

best child psychology colleges in Arizona

Child Psychology Programs in Arizona

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering child psychology graduate programs in Arizona:

  • Arizona State University
  • Capella University
  • The University of Arizona
  • Northern Arizona University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Walden University
  • Grand Canyon University

Arizona State University

Developmental Psychology Ph.D.

The Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program from Arizona State is a five-year residential program offered at the Tempe campus. You must complete 84 credits to graduate, of which half are traditional coursework, and the other half are research, academic reading, and conferences. Some of the courses you’re required to take include the following:

  • Lifespan Developmental
  • Theoretical Issues in Child Development
  • Research Issues in Child Development
  • Analysis of Multivariate Data
  • Longitudinal Growth Modeling

The 84-credit curriculum includes ample opportunities for research. You will complete a master’s thesis during the program’s first years, followed by a dissertation toward the end of the program. In between, you must pass a comprehensive examination before being granted permission to commence with your doctoral work.

This is not a licensure track program. Instead, you will explore the application of developmental psychology practices and principles in the realms of research, academics, behavioral analysis, and more. In fact, graduates with a degree in developmental psychology often work in research and academic environments, schools, and healthcare facilities. Some developmental psychologists also work for local, state, and federal agencies.

ASU has strict requirements for admission to its Ph.D. programs. You must fill out a graduate application for admission as well as an application to the psychology department. You must submit a statement of purpose and a cover letter with your departmental application. Likewise, you must provide the following:

  • A curriculum vitae or resume
  • Unofficial undergraduate transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency (if English is not your native language)

You may also submit GRE scores, a writing sample, a presentation sample, and a list of honors and awards to support your application to the program.

The University of Arizona

Educational Specialist in School Psychology

The University of Arizona’s Ed.S. in School Psychology prepares you to become a certified school psychologist in Arizona. With this degree and certification, you can work as a school psychologist in Arizona. In fact, you can work as a school psychologist in the vast majority of school districts in the United States with these credentials.

This on-campus program is offered either in Tucson or Chandler. In either case, it’s shorter than a typical Ph.D. program, with just 67 credits required to graduate. Class topics run the gamut from behavior modification to psychotherapeutic techniques to diversity. Other classes include the following:

  • School and Community Violence: Crisis Prevention, Intervention, and Response
  • Early Childhood Assessment and Intervention
  • Contemporary and Emerging Issues in School Psychology
  • Basic Academic Skills for High Incidence Disabilities
  • Cognition and Development

In addition to graduate coursework, the program requires you to complete experiential learning activities. You will complete four semesters of training on campus, followed by a two-semester internship in a school setting. This mixture of classroom learning and hands-on training is part of the University’s commitment to developing scholar-practitioners who have deep content knowledge and applicable work experience before graduation.

The admissions requirements for this advanced program are as follows:

  • Submit a graduate school application.
  • Provide unofficial undergraduate transcripts
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Submit a resume or curriculum vitae
  • Submit a statement of your professional goals
  • Demonstrate English proficiency (if English is not your native language)

Northern Arizona University

Educational Specialist in School Psychology

The Ed.S. in School Psychology from Northern Arizona University is yet another option for getting your child psychology-related degree. This 72-credit program is offered on campus in Flagstaff and at NAU’s campus in the North Valley. Online studies are not available.

During your time in NAU’s program, you will explore many different topics related to child psychology, specifically as it pertains to school-based issues. You’ll take courses like:

  • Educational Psychology Applied to Learning
  • Human Development
  • Biological Bases of Development and Behavior
  • Corrective and Remedial Reading
  • Counseling Processes

In addition to these and other studies, you will also participate in extensive research and participate in an internship. The purpose of these experiences is to help you learn how to apply what you have learned in the program in a real-world school setting. The year-long internship is supervised by an experienced school psychologist.

NAU’s Ed.S. program is nationally recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Graduation from this program leads to licensure as a school psychologist in Arizona.

The admission requirements for this program include submitting an online application to NAU’s graduate school. You must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally-accredited school and have a 3.0 GPA or higher to be considered. Moreover, you must submit the following when applying:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Essay responses
  • IVP fingerprint clearance card
  • GRE General Test scores (if your overall GPA is below 3.0)

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Master of Arts in Child and Adolescent Psychology

The Master of Arts in Psychology from the Chicago School is a fully online program that takes just one year of full-time studies or two years of part-time studies to complete. During that time, you will take 36 credits of child psychology-related courses, including the following:

  • Evidence-Based Programs for Children and Adolescents
  • Trauma and Crisis Intervention
  • Addictive Disorders
  • Evidence-Based Programs for Youth
  • Family Systems and Family Therapy

This program does not require field experiences or a master’s thesis. Instead, you must complete an Applied Research Project that spans the entirety of the program. This project tests your understanding of essential child and adolescent psychology principles and your ability to apply that knowledge in context.

This is not a licensure track program. Instead, this master’s degree is intended to help you advance your career in education, mental health care, social work, or counseling. You can also use your newfound knowledge and skills of child and adolescent psychology to work in non-profit settings, treatment centers, or for government agencies.

Like other colleges and universities, the Chicago School offers an array of financial aid options to help offset the cost of your studies. This includes scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans, to name a few.

Fill out an online application to apply. You must provide the following with your application:

  • Official transcripts from each college or university you’ve attended
  • A curriculum vitae or resume that highlights at least two years of post-baccalaureate work experience.
  • A 500-750-word essay that highlights why you wish to pursue this degree and why it’s important to study in a culturally aware and diverse environment. You must also speak to your professional career goals and why you think this program, in particular, will help you reach your goals.

Walden University

Master of Science in Developmental Psychology

Walden University’s Master of Science in Developmental Psychology is a 48-credit program that can be completed in as little as 15 months. The curriculum is divided between core and elective coursework, with the former consisting of 33 credits and the latter making up the remaining 15 credits needed to graduate.

Your studies will include a wide range of developmental psychology topics, including the following:

  • Themes and Theories of Developmental Psychology
  • Gender and Human Development
  • Research Theory, Design, and Methods
  • Lifespan Development
  • Development in the Digital Age

Additionally, you have the opportunity to pursue a specialization by completing courses specific to your concentration. These options include:

  • General Developmental Psychology
  • Administration and Leadership
  • Adult Development and Gerontology
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Health and Human Development
  • International Perspectives

You can even design your own specialization. Whatever specialization you choose, you must complete 15 credits of coursework.

This non-licensure program prepares you for continued studies in a Ph.D. program, like the Developmental Psychology Doctorate offered by Walden. Alternatively, you can use this program to expand your existing knowledge and skills and advance your current career in the developmental psychology space.

Admission to this program requires that you have a bachelor’s degree or higher. You must submit an online application and transcripts showing that you have at least a bachelor’s degree.

best child psychology degrees in Arizona

Child Psychology Work Opportunities in Arizona

Arizona is a rapidly growing state with many employment opportunities in the child psychology field. However, the opportunities ahead for you largely depend on your graduate training and relevant work experience.

For example, if you pursue an Educational Specialist degree, the most applicable workplace is in a public or private school system. Ed.S. programs align with national standards and prepare you to become a licensed school psychologist, making the transition from being a graduate student to a professional child psychologist as seamless as possible.

As noted earlier, some Arizona-based Ed.S. programs qualify you for licensure in Arizona and across the nation. This obviously enhances the work opportunities available to you by a great degree. Even if you can’t work as a school psychologist out of state, Ed.S. programs within Arizona prepare you well to be licensed to work in an Arizona school system.

But, if you focus on getting a master of arts or master of science in a child psychology-related field, licensure may not be an option – and that’s okay! Many child psychologists don’t work in clinical or educational situations that require licensure or certification, or they already have existing credentials for another career.

For example, you might get a graduate degree in developmental psychology to supplement your existing career as a classroom teacher. Having a better understanding of how children and adolescents learn, grow, and develop is certainly helpful for creating appropriate lesson plans, classroom management strategies, and working effectively with students of all abilities.

Another career option for you as a graduate of a master’s degree program in child psychology is to work in psychological research. Many graduate degree programs in psychology focus heavily on research – you can use that experience to gain employment in a psychology lab or for a business or organization related to children.

For example, you can use your experience in psychological research to get a job working for a toy company. You might provide insight into the design process, that way, toys are built to be developmentally appropriate. As another example, you might conduct research for a non-profit organization that focuses on issues of childhood, like mental health, bullying, or family dynamics.

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