Are Online PhDs in Psychology Respected?

Are Online PhDs in Psychology Respected?

Key Takeaways

  • An accredited online PhD program in psychology are just as respected as traditional program.
  • Some of the top U.S. schools and colleges offer online PhD programs.
  • The majority of human resources recruiters consider online degrees equivalent to or better than in-person degrees.

Online psychology PhD programs provide one of the most convenient and affordable ways to grow in your career as a psychologist. However, many feel reluctant due to the perceived notion regarding the credibility of online education.

So, are you wondering if online PhDs in psychology are respected? We’ll show why an online PhD in psychology is something you shouldn’t be worried about.  

Are online PhDs in psychology respected?

The short answer is yes. An online PhD in psychology holds the same value as degrees earned on campus. More employers now value online degrees, especially those earned from accredited schools and colleges.

It’s crucial to choose a reputable program with proper accreditation. Doing so can create a myriad of opportunities for you.

Let’s examine what makes an online degree in psychology respected.

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Want to know if an online PhD in psychology is legitimate? The first thing you should do is check for accreditation. Accreditation requires schools to demonstrate that their program meets specific quality standards.

There are numerous accreditation bodies. Your program is respected if it has accreditation from one of these:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation

While the APA accredited doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral residence psychology programs that meet specific standards, the NASP – the world’s largest organization of school psychologists – accredits psychology master’s and doctorate programs.

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What other factors to consider in a respected online PhD?

In addition to accreditation from respected bodies, here are a few other things you should consider when choosing a legitimate PhD in psychology online:

  • Look for faculty who are experts in their fields.
  • Check for an admissions process that aligns with your goals and personal and professional achievements.
  • Ensure the institute is accredited by relevant bodies in your chosen field.
  • Consider programs and schools with good graduation rates and positive reviews from past students.
  • Choose a program with accessible and intuitive PhD materials and enough support for remote learning.

Students should know that PhD programs with selective admissions may be tougher to get into; however, they could be seen as more prestigious – especially in specific sectors or fields of expertise.

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Common Myths About an Online PhD in Psychology

Online programs are often misunderstood. Many students assume online programs are not respected due to false or misleading myths associated with them.

Let’s debunk each myth separately.

Myth #1: Top Schools Don’t Provide Online PhD Programs

You may believe online psychology programs are only offered by for-profit degree mills or unknown colleges. In reality, some of the top U.S. schools and colleges provide these programs.

Here’s a list of top colleges you can consider:

Myth #2: Academic Quality of Online PhD Classes Is Worse Than In-Person Classes

The quality of a college course depends on the instructor. Effective professors – who can explain complex topics and provide extra help – are crucial. Online classes often have the same instructors as in-person classes, ensuring consistent quality.

Online programs are especially respected when you take synchronous courses. This involves attending live lectures through video chat. The format enables you to ask questions, get feedback, and interact with other students in real-time – like on-campus settings.

Myth #3: Online Students Are on Their ‘Own’

Most accredited schools and colleges use video chat technologies to provide online students with tools and resources like academic advising, tutoring, counseling, and tech support. You may also access them through the phone.

In addition to that, many programs provide virtual community spaces for students to connect and find support.

Myth #4: Employer Doesn’t Respect Online Degrees

Many are concerned about companies not taking a PhD degree in psychology online seriously. So, why spend money and years pursuing a degree that is unlikely to propel your career forward?

2018 study by Northeastern University showed that 61% of HR recruiters consider online degrees equivalent to or better than in-person degrees. Moreover, 71% report they recruited people with an online degree. While some skepticism exists about online degrees, most hiring managers don’t consider them dealbreakers.

Make sure to earn your degree from an accredited institution. Don’t forget to verify regional or national accreditation when researching schools.

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Why should you consider an online PhD program?

Now that we have dispelled some common myths students have about online courses, let’s evaluate why you should sign up for an online PhD psychology program.

Help Get Lucrative Career Opportunities

A PhD can open high–paying job opportunities, whether online or on campus. On average, students with a PhD rake in about $1,909 per week, while those with just a master’s make $1,574, and those with a bachelor’s pull in $1,334.

If you have a high school diploma, your weekly earnings are likely around $809 – less than half of what PhD holders bring in.

In addition, the data also shows that finding a job is easier for people with PhD. The unemployment rate for psychology – way lower than those with a master’s (2.6%), bachelor’s (3.5%), or just a high school diploma (6.2%).

Affordable and Flexible

Online PhD offers flexibility and affordability. Some schools charge less than on-campus fairs for online courses, mostly because they require little overhead to function.

Also, you’d have to shell out for housing or commuting for an in-person program unless you live near the campus. With an online degree, you cut out these additional expenses. No commuting also means students juggling family, job, and other responsibilities can find time for coursework.

By earning a PhD online in psychology, you can increase your salary range and reduce unemployment risks – without breaking the bank or disrupting your lifestyle.

Student Submitted Questions About Online PhD’s in Psychology

Are free online psychology degree programs legitimate?

If a school says it offers free psychology programs, whether bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, chances are it’s not legitimate.

Many schools and colleges provide psychology degrees at a reasonable cost, and these expenses can be notably lowered or even made tuition-free with the help of financial aid and tuition assistance programs.

How long does it take to get a PhD degree online?

Online psychology PhD programs – like other doctoral programs – may vary in duration. If you are not taking an accelerated psychology PhD degree, it typically requires 5-7 years for completion. Coursework takes a year or two, and the time to write a dissertation meeting program standards varies from student to student.

What PhD specializations in psychology are available?

A psychology PhD program is a fantastic way to explore specific psychology topics more deeply. Your school or college may present these specialties as complete degree programs or focused tracks within a general psychology PhD program.

Nevertheless, some PhD specializations include counseling psychology, cognitive psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, forensic psychology, or psychology of gender and sexuality.


An online PhD in psychology is perfect if you wish to balance your family, education, and career responsibilities. While some students have preconceived notions that online PhD degrees aren’t respected and legitimate, they offer the same value as in-person degrees, provided you choose an accredited program.

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