Online Associate Degree Programs in Psychology

Online Associate Degree Programs in Psychology

Online Associate Degree Programs in Psychology

For individuals who are driven and independent, an online associate degree may be the perfect option. Learn the requirements for an online psychology associate degree.

Did you know that all it takes to enter the field of psychology is a two-year associate degree?

Although psychiatric assistants and technicians, correctional officers, and social workers can begin their careers after receiving an associate’s degree in psychology, the majority of psychology jobs require postgraduate degrees.

Learn how to enter the area of psychology with an associate degree if you want to work in the field but don’t want to wait to acquire your Ph.D.

Should You Think About Earning an Online Associate’s Degree in Psychology?

Students can prepare for a range of occupations with an associate’s degree in psychology. Psychiatric assistants and technicians are expected to see 9% job growth between 2021 and 2031, which is 4% faster than the average for all occupations. This projection comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A psychology associate’s degree can open the door to several rewarding occupations, including those as a psychiatric technician or aide, a correctional officer, or an assistant in social and human services, even though many positions in psychology call for a bachelor’s or doctoral degree.

A psychology associate degree is frequently used as a stepping stone to bachelors and postgraduate studies.

Associate-level programs offer the requisite academic groundwork for pursuing more specialized careers in psychology.

Here are a few things to think about when selecting an associate’s program in psychology. This list is not all-inclusive, so you should compare colleges and programs to discover a psychology associate degree that fits your interests and career objectives.

What Should I Expect From an Online Psychology Associate Degree Program?

How long does it take to earn a psychology associate’s degree?

The majority of psychology associate degree programs offered an online call for 60–65 credits of coursework.

The typical completion time for full-time students is two years. However, the length of a program is influenced by things like its structure, the availability of summer terms, and its course load.

Asynchronous learning is permitted in some programs, which may enable early graduation. In other cases, students move through their coursework at the same rate as their colleague thanks to a cohort learning structure. The rate at which they can accrue credits is thus constrained.

Fewer courses each term or even only one course at a time may be chosen by students with jobs or family commitments.

This can lengthen the time it takes for them to receive their degree. Many students who have no obligations take extra classes each term to graduate sooner.

What Coursework Will I Need to Complete an Online Associate’s Degree Program?

Some classes are offered in the majority of online associate degrees, while course offerings differ by school.

Standard foundational psychology courses that introduce students to the history, vocabulary, ideas, and practices of the subject include general psychology, statistics, and child psychology.

Although electives and topic course choices vary per program, the following classes are typically offered in online associate programs.

Childhood Psychology

This course offers a broad overview of how children, adolescents, and newborns develop their cognition and behavior.

Students study the acquisition of language, the growth of social and motor abilities, and the impact of cultural, socioeconomic, geographic, and environmental factors on early development.

Gained knowledge includes a thorough understanding of child psychology and development as well as how early life experiences might influence adult psychology.

Disordered Psychology

Students investigate a spectrum of psychological and behavioral issues. The course material explores these illnesses’ symptoms, underlying causes, available therapies, and current debates.

Students get insight into persons who experience mental illness by reading case studies and patient interviews.

Gained Abilities

  • Knowledge of many forms of abnormal psychology
  • A deeper comprehension of persons who experience psychiatric disease
  • Case study analysis

Personality Psychology

The complexity of human personality and how people’s personalities vary are topics covered in the coursework.

Students examine typical personality traits and look into the causes and symptoms of personality disorders like narcissism.

Gained Abilities

  • Knowledge of a variety of personality types
  • Understanding of various personality disorders and related traits

What Sets an Online Psychology Degree Program Apart from a Traditional Psychology Degree Program?

The experience of obtaining a psychology associate’s degree online differs from an on-campus program even though the coursework and academic standards are the same.

Prospective students should consider what they hope to get out of a psychology degree before deciding whether online learning fits with their way of life, personality, preferred methods of learning, and professional aspirations.

While flexibility, independence, and freedom are benefits of an online psychology degree, self-discipline and motivation are also needed.

Flexibility Online

Students can continue working and frequently maintain their usual job schedule. Within the constraints of the course, they can decide when to finish their assignments.

Distance learners are not restricted by location when choosing the institution that best suits their interests and professional aspirations.


To attend on-campus classes, learners may need to resign from their employment or change their work schedule.

The only options for students are the neighborhood or local schools in the places they desire to live.

Those who don’t want to move may have to make do with a nearby program that doesn’t suit their needs.

Access (Libraries, On-Campus Activities, Office Hours)


Students who study online have access to many digital tools. The majority of institutions provide video-based office hours, digital libraries, career counseling, and round-the-clock IT support.

Students can connect through video, audio, and interactive discussions on websites that support learning.


Students can use the on-campus libraries, interact in person with their fellow students, and go to their professors’ offices during business hours.

Campus events like athletic competitions, academic lectures, and cultural gatherings can foster a stronger sense of community.


Online learning demands self-control and motivation. To fulfill deadlines and learn content at their own pace, students must remain motivated and organized.

Courses that don’t have defined class times, such as asynchronous ones, could be particularly difficult.

Students must take responsibility for their actions.

Structure and external motivation are offered in traditional classroom environments. There are instances when deadlines are stricter for students.

Regular in-class tests, exams, and discussions may motivate students to complete their assignments on time.

Are Associate’s Degrees in Psychology Online More Affordable Than Regular Programs?

Distance learners do not have to pay for transportation, childcare during class hours, or meal plans, even if tuition expenses for online programs are still comparable to those for traditional programs.

Additionally, they are not charged for college resources like recreation centers. Only tuition, fees for distance learning, and textbooks are charged to online students.

Perhaps most importantly, the adaptability of online learning enables students to continue working while receiving a degree.

Online students typically pay in-state tuition for courses offered in states other than their own. When compared to out-of-state tuition rates for conventional, on-campus programs, this element alone can lower tuition prices.

Sometimes, to establish residency and be eligible for in-state tuition discounts, students must dwell in the state for at least a year. Regardless of where they live, distance learners can often benefit from in-state tuition rates right away.

How Differ Online Psychology Programs From Campus-Based Courses?

The course material for online psychology courses is the same as that for on-campus courses, but they are delivered differently.

To access course materials, take quizzes and exams, and participate in class discussions, online students rely largely on technology.

Through video conferencing, email, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, and threaded discussion boards, distance learners can communicate with their teachers and other students.

Most programs combine online coursework and increase accessibility by using a digital learning platform like Blackboard or Canvas.

Due to the technological requirements of online learning, distance learners must have access to a computer and dependable, quick internet.

To take part in video or audio talks, they might additionally require a microphone and video chat capabilities.

Some institutions provide special discounts on software and other technologies to their online students.

The way a course is structured usually relies on the instructor and whether it is an asynchronous or synchronous program. Some teachers videotape their lectures and make them available online for distance learners to watch whenever they want.

Others might call for students to view lectures, take part in discussions, or complete tests during live sessions.

Do Online Psychology Associate Programs Require Clinical s or On-Campus Work?

School-specific on-campus requirements exist. Visits to the campus are not necessary for completely online associate programs.

In hybrid programs, students may be required to visit the campus to finish any required classes or labs that cannot be completed online. Some colleges could demand that new students come on campus for orientation.

Clinical hours are not necessary for those earning an associate’s in psychology. Before beginning a master’s program, most students do not participate in clinical psychology curricula or fieldwork.

Many educational institutions offer distance learning, enabling them to do clinical work and internships at local facilities while being supervised by a licensed psychologist. Students can typically meet any internship or fieldwork requirements for their program locally.

Does Financial Aid Still Apply to Online Students?

The same financial assistance options are available to online students as they are to on-campus students.

To determine their eligibility for federal financial aid, such as federal loans, grants, and scholarships, degree candidates should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If a learner is enrolled at least part-time and maintains a decent GPA, they may also look into work-study options.

While scholarships are merit-based, federal grants are based on need. You can apply for both online.

Veterans and active duty service personnel may be qualified for additional financial aid options, such as scholarships and programs for paying for college.

Learn more about scholarships in psychology.

What kind of license is required for psychology practice?

To independently practice psychology, one must be licensed. State-specific licensing laws and requirements exist.

A doctoral degree is typically required for licensure as a psychologist, as usually a year or more of supervised clinical experience.

These hours are frequently accumulated by students through their practicum or doctorate internship.

Psychologists must pass the eight-part Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which includes a variety of ideas and abilities, in order to become licensed.

Additional examinations, background checks, and professional references can be necessary for some areas.

States also differ in how much it costs to obtain a license. The total price of the required reading, preparatory classes, application costs, and licensing fee might be $1,000 or more.

Graduates with master’s degrees may qualify for a mental health counseling license in several states, which entitles them to employment as counselors.

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not required to be eligible for a counseling license. They are, nevertheless, prepared to enroll in advanced courses that might result in licensure.

What Can I Do With an Associate’s in Psychology?

A psychology associate degree earned online equips students with a wide range of transferable abilities and gets them ready to continue to a bachelor’s degree program in the subject.

An associate degree offers students a flexible, accessible method to start their education and career, even if clinical careers and the majority of entry-level positions in psychology call for additional study.

Associate degree holders in psychology who complete online programs can work as:

  • The median annual salary for corrections officers is $47,920, per the BLS for 2021.
  • The median annual salary for home health aides is $29,430, according to the BLS in 2021.
  • Human services assistants’ Median Annual Salary, according to the BLS for 2021, is $37,610.
  • Median Annual Salary of Psychiatric Nurse Aides: $36,230, BLS 2021

Although associate degrees can be earned quickly, the majority of the coursework is in general education.

Students who pursue more education, such as a bachelor’s in psychology, get greater knowledge and expertise in the discipline and are better equipped for more specialized professions.

A four-year degree is advantageous for students who want to work in social work, counseling, or other similar fields.

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