Best Online Associate in Psychology Programs 2021

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Psychologists study the relationship between behavior and mental state. Unlike related fields such as sociology and anthropology, psychology focuses on improving mental health. Psychology students typically pursue a specialization, such as abnormal, biological, clinical, or developmental psychology.

Psychology professionals typically need a curious mindset and honed communication and problem-solving skills. Psychologists and other professionals who work with patients must also demonstrate patience and a commitment to practicing with integrity.

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Aspiring psychologists can prepare for their career by earning an online psychology associate or bachelor’s degree. Associate programs typically feature more affordable tuition rates, along with opportunities to explore other majors before committing to a four-year degree.

Top 10 Online Associate in Psychology Programs


  • What can I do with an associate degree in psychology?

    Some graduates of online psychology associate programs secure entry-level positions such as teacher’s aides, home care aides, and youth counselors. Others transfer to bachelor’s degree-completion programs.


  • How long does it take to earn an associate degree in psychology?

    Most associate-level online psychology programs take two years to complete. Students who take courses in an accelerated format may graduate faster, while part-time learners may need longer.


  • Can I earn an associate degree in psychology online?

    Many of the top colleges and universities offer online psychology associate programs. Online programs feature the same curricula and learning outcomes as their on-campus counterparts.


  • What is the difference between psychology and counseling?

    Although psychologists and counselors perform similar job duties, psychologists work with clients who have more severe psychological disorders. Psychologists may also conduct research and testing.


Best Online Associate in Psychology Programs 2021



How Much Does an Associate Degree in Psychology Cost?

Tuition rates vary based on factors including the type of institution. Public schools typically offer the most affordable psychology associate online programs. State universities and community colleges usually charge state residents reduced tuition rates. However, many public institutions also offer in-state tuition rates to active-duty service members and other select groups.

Additionally, some schools offer reduced tuition rates for distance learners. Online students may also save on expenses related to transportation, on-campus housing, and meal plans. Some of the best online psychology associate degrees also feature discounted textbook costs.

Prospective students should also budget for expenses such as technology and school fees. Online learners need a laptop or other device, as well as a stable internet connection. Some companies offer discounts on computers and devices to degree-seekers with a valid college email address.

Career and Salary Outlook for an Associate Degree in Psychology



Online psychology programs at the associate level train students for entry-level jobs, such as social services assistant, psychiatric technician, and mental health technician. Professionals in these occupations can earn a bachelor’s degree to increase their salary potential. Associate degree-holders typically earn their bachelor’s in psychology in two additional years of study.

Aspiring psychologists need more than an associate degree to practice. States require psychologists to possess a doctorate and meet other requirements. Doctoral program application requirements may include a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology, recommendation letters, and standardized test scores.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists earn a median annual salary of $80,370. The BLS projects employment for psychologists to increase 3% from 2019-2029.

Licensing in Psychology

Psychologists in all states need a license to practice. Qualifying for a license involves numerous steps and typically requires a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in psychology. Individuals often need up to eight years to earn a Ph.D. Aspiring psychologists who plan to work directly with patients often earn a Psy.D., which usually takes less time to complete.

Licensure requirements vary by state. For example, psychology licensure candidates in California need a doctoral degree and at least 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. Candidates must also pass two examinations, including a professional ethics exam. Psychologists qualify to renew their license every two years by earning at least 36 continuing education credits.

Some states maintain licensure reciprocity agreements, which allow psychologists to transfer their credential to participating states. Candidates for licensure by reciprocity may need to pass an examination and satisfy graduate course prerequisites.

Accreditation for Psychology Degrees



Schools offering the best online psychology associate programs hold regional accreditation from one of six agencies chartered by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutions delivering online programs should also hold national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

No programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate associate-level psychology programs. However, doctoral students should only consider Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs with American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation. APA accredits more than 350 programs in the United States.

Courses in an Online Psychology Program



Most online psychology associate degrees require approximately 60 credits and feature courses on topics such as relational psychology, behavioral psychology, and psychology through the lifespan. Associate degrees also require general education courses in areas such as American history, biology, and algebra.

The following sample curriculum features three psychology courses common to associate-level psychology programs. These classes provide foundational knowledge that learners can apply to bachelor’s studies in the field. Course names and requirements vary by college and program. Prospective students can contact admissions counselors for information regarding the academic experience.

Students in this class consider the interactions between factors such as society, gender, and aggression. Psychologists study these interactions to generate hypotheses regarding how and why people make certain decisions. Students also examine the relationship between psychology and culture, along with the role prejudice plays in influencing minority members.

Behavioral psychology hypothesizes that people make decisions based on their interactions with the environment. Students in this course examine the history of behavioral psychology, which spans more than 100 years. Degree-seekers learn about key figures including John Watson and B.F. Skinner. Learners also analyze famous behavioral psychology studies, and they explore how these studies continue to affect psychological research and psychologists’ relationships with patients.

This class explores how biological and cultural forces influence and drive individuals’ psychological development. Students examine various life stages, including embryonic development, infancy, childhood, and adulthood. Degree-seekers also examine the leading theories and best practices that psychologists apply to assist patients in various age groups.

Scholarships for Psychology



Even students in the most affordable psychology associate online programs can benefit from earning scholarships. The following list features scholarship opportunities for psychology degree-seekers. Typical scholarship application requirements include undergraduate transcripts, an essay, and recommendation letters.

  • AAWCC Annual Scholarship Opportunities

    Who Can Apply: The American Association for Women in Community Colleges awards three scholarships to support academically gifted women. Each scholarship requires a different application and features unique eligibility requirements. However, all applicants include a brief statement describing their financial need.

    Amount: $500-$1,500

    Explore Here

  • Catching the Dream Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Native American degree-seekers who demonstrate financial need. Applicants submit an essay, recommendation letters, and proof of membership in a federally recognized tribe.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

  • Guistwhite Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Phi Theta Kappa awards this competitive scholarship to members who plan to transfer to a bachelor’s degree-completion program. Candidates need a minimum 3.5 GPA and at least 45 college credits.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

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