Online Sports Psychology Degrees and Programs
Sports psychology focuses on the psychological and mental aspects of athletic performance, developing mental skills to enhance said performance. Sports psychologists work with athletes, teams, and coaches to help them understand and improve their mental and emotional well-being, motivation, and consistency.
Obtaining a psychology degree is a requirement if you want to start a career in sports psychology, and a degree in sports psychology will set you up for success when applying for jobs.
Becoming a licensed sports psychologist requires a minimum of a master’s degree, but some may choose to earn a doctorate. Either degree requires a bachelor's first.
It’s crucial to ensure that any online program you enroll in is accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Psychological Association or the National Association of Sport and Physical Education. These organizations set standards for quality education in the field of psychology, ensuring that you receive quality training and preparation for a successful career.
An online bachelor’s degree in sports psychology can prepare you for entry-level positions in the field, but you won't be licensed. Assuming you intend to eventually pursue a master's, a bachelor's in sports psychology or in psychology would be good preparation.
An online bachelor’s degree in sports psychology will cover the basic courses required for a bachelor’s degree, and delve into topics such as exercise psychology, performance enhancement, and mental health in sports. Completing a bachelor’s takes four years.
An online master's degree in sports psychology is necessary to work in this field as a licensed psychologist. Many schools offer accredited sports psychology master's programs.
These programs involve one to two years of study, which includes both classroom work and practical experience in the form of a practicum. The coursework builds on what a bachelor's covers, delving into topics such as exercise and sports psychology, performance enhancement, and mental training.
An online graduate certificate in sports psychology is most useful if your degree is in another field of psychology. The certificate affords an opportunity to specialize in sports psychology, without enrolling in a full degree program again.
Certificate programs are six months to one year long. They include a selection of courses from a master's degree program. A practicum may or may not be included.
An online doctorate degree in sports psychology can qualify you for the most competitive jobs, such as those at division one college sports teams and professional teams.
One doctorate degree option is a Ph.D. This degree could be in sports psychology, or in kinesiology with a sports psychology focus. Either degree would have an intensive research component and require four to six years to complete.
You can alternatively pursue a Psy.D. degree. This is a much more clinically focused degree and involves extensive practicum experience. It would require three years to complete if studying full-time.
|Bachelor’s Degree||Master’s Degree||Graduate Certificate||PhD or PsyD|
|I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in sports psychology||x|
|I want to get started in my sports psychology career before I pursue more education||x|
|I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in sports psychology||x||x|
|I want to pursue or switch to a niche sports psychology specialty||x||x|
|I already have a sports psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledge||x||x|
|I want to conduct research in sports psychology||x||x|
|I want to become a licensed sports psychologist and treat patients||x|
|I want to work in academia||x|
Sports psychology degree programs include a combination of sports topics and psychology topics at every level. The classes will become more narrowly focused as you advance in your degree. For instance, you might take the following classes during your academic career:
- Bachelor’s Degree: ~120 credits; Introduction to Sport and Performance Psychology, Theories of Motivation and Performance, Group Interventions in Sport Psychology
- Master’s Degree: ~30-60 credits; Co-Occurring Issues in Athletics, Diagnostics, Assessment, and Intervention, Counseling in Sport and Performance Psychology
- Graduate Certificate: ~12-20 credits; Co-Occurring Issues in Athletics, Assessment, and Intervention in Sport Psychology, Ethics in Sport Psychology
- Doctorate Degree: ~80-120 credits; Sport and Exercise Psychology, Advanced Techniques in Sport and Performance Enhancement, Theoretical and Philosophical Foundations of Sport Psychology
Master’s and Psy.D. students in sports psychology are required to complete practical placements or internships as part of their degree program. The practical component is referred to as a “practicum.”
Accredited master’s programs typically require at least 600 hours of practical work, while Psy.D. programs typically require 1,500 hours. The bulk of this time should be spent working with teams and athletes.
Because sports psychology positions are somewhat hard to find, students should rely on their faculty for recommendations of practicum opportunities. Faculty will have extensive networks within the field and know how to best position students as strong practicum/internship applicants. Because you’ll be enrolled in an online program, you’ll likely given the opportunity to perform these practicum hours in your own community.
Looking for an online or campus-based sports psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.
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