Online Behavioral Psychology Programs 2021

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Behavioral psychology degree-seekers explore behavioral assessment methods, human development, and treatments for behavioral disorders. The degree also strengthens research, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

Behavioral psychology graduates work as behavior analysts, early childhood intervention specialists, and behavioral disorder counselors. With a graduate degree, they also become behavioral psychologists, earning a median annual salary over $82,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Our list ranks the best online behavioral psychology degrees for 2021. Prospective students can use the ranking to find the right fit for their interests, budget, and career goals.

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Top 5 Online Programs for Behavioral Psychology

Rank School Location
1 Ball State University Muncie, IN
2 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
3 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies Fayette, MO
4 Brandman University Irvine, CA
5 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE

Frequently Asked Questions About Behavioral Psychology


  • Q. What can you do with a behavioral psychology degree?

    Behavioral psychology degree-holders work as behavior analysts, mental health counselors, and behavior disorder therapists. They also pursue graduate degrees to work as psychologists.


  • Q. Are behavioral psychologists in demand?

    Demand for psychologists continues to grow, according to BLS data. In addition to clinical careers, behavioral psychology majors pursue opportunities in social work, counseling, and research.


  • Q. What do you study in behavioral psychology?

    Behavioral psychology degree-seekers study human development, behavioral disorders, and the social and cognitive forces that shape behavior. The degree builds strong analytical and critical thinking skills.


Why Get a Degree in Behavioral Psychology?



A degree in behavioral psychology introduces learners to human development, behavioral disorders, and treatment approaches. The degree also builds strong critical thinking and analytical skills, preparing graduates for various career paths.

Many colleges offer an online behavioral psychology degree. In an online program, distance learners attend lectures and complete assignments using a virtual learning platform. Online psychology majors may pursue experiential learning to supplement coursework through an internship or practicum.

The flexibility of earning a behavioral psychology degree online appeals to working students and busy learners balancing school with other responsibilities. Online programs let degree-seekers choose the most affordable option without sacrificing quality.

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How Much Does a Behavioral Psychology Degree Cost?

College costs have increased over the past several decades. Behavioral psychology degree costs depend on the learning format, the school, and the program requirements. Learners should know approximately how much it could cost, factors that affect prices, and ways to increase affordability.

In general, public colleges charge a lower tuition rate than private schools. In 2018, undergraduates at four-year public schools paid around $9,200 annually in in-state tuition and fees. Out-of-state students paid a higher $26,380 per year. Private school tuition exceeded public tuition, with an average cost of nearly $32,000 per year. Two-year colleges offer a more affordable option, with an average annual in-state rate of $3,310.

Earning a behavioral psychology degree online can save students money. Some colleges offer a tuition discount for fully online learners or charge distance learners in-state rates, regardless of residency. Online students also save on transportation, commuting, and parking costs.

Additional Online Student Fees for Behavioral Psychology



Many students research tuition rates when looking for an affordable behavioral psychology program. However, degree-seekers must also factor in additional expenses, such as technology costs, fees, and textbooks. Many colleges estimate that textbooks add around $1,000 to college costs each year. Distance learners doing an internship or practicum may need to budget for additional expenses.

Earning a behavioral psychology degree online could come with unexpected costs. Distance learners may need to upgrade their computing equipment, pay for visits to campus if the program requires in-person components, and cover any online learner fees. After graduation, professionals may need several hundred dollars to complete professional certifications.

How Much Do Behavioral Psychology Majors Make?

Behavioral psychology degree-holders move into various career paths. With training in behavior disorders and psychology, many pursue careers as behavior analysts. In these roles, they assess clients and develop behavior support plans. PayScale reported an average annual salary of over $62,000 for behavior analysts as of April 2021.

An online behavioral psychology degree also prepares graduates for careers as behavioral disorder counselors. The career garners a median annual salary of $47,660, with faster-than-average projected job growth. Some behavioral disorder counselors may need a master’s degree.

Some career paths require a graduate degree. Licensed clinical psychologists generally need a doctorate and a residency to practice. In these roles, behavioral psychologists earn a median annual salary over $82,120. In addition to pursuing a graduate degree, behavioral psychology professionals increase their earning potential with experience or professional certifications.

Courses in Behavioral Psychology



A behavioral psychology degree strengthens analytical and research skills. Psychology majors explore human development, behavior analysis, and behavioral disorders. Programs may offer specialized courses in autism studies, counseling, or social work. Specializations prepare graduates for focused career paths after earning a behavioral psychology degree online.

Some psychology programs incorporate laboratory or internship courses to gain hands-on experience. Behavioral psychology majors may complete a capstone project as a culminating experience. This section introduces common behavioral psychology courses. While each program sets its own curriculum and course descriptions, many offer the following options.

Classes introduce human development, from neonatal growth through the end of the lifespan. Students examine developmental theories and the impact of biology, social environments, and cognitive processes on human development. Introductory developmental psychology courses prepare students for advanced work in psychology, social work, and education.

Courses cover the theory of behavioral psychology, procedures for analyzing behavior, and treatment methods for people with behavioral disorders. Learners study evidence-based approaches to encouraging positive behavior changes in adults and children. The class trains graduates for careers in behavioral analysis and counseling.

Behavior assessment courses examine the approaches to assessing children and adults. The class trains behavior analysts to identify behaviors for change. Students conduct functional analyses and make indirect assessments. Participants study intervention methods and the ethics of behavior assessment, preparing for careers as behavior analysts.

Certifications and Licensure for Behavioral Psychology



Professional certifications and licenses help behavioral psychology graduates advance their careers. Clinical behavioral psychologists must hold a state-issued license to practice. Many therapists and behavior analysts also pursue certification voluntarily to demonstrate their skills. Licenses and certifications typically set education and professional experience requirements. Candidates often must pass an examination.

Psychologist License


Psychologists working with patients must apply for a psychologist license from their state licensing board. Typically, the license requires a doctorate and supervised clinical experience. After meeting educational and professional requirements, candidates pass an exam to become a licensed psychologist.

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Certified Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist


The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists grants the CCBT credential. Candidates must hold a master’s degree or higher in psychology, counseling, social work, or a closely related field. The credential requires six years of professional experience in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Candidates then submit three recommendation letters and complete a certification program. The credential remains valid for five years.

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Board Certified Behavior Analyst


The Behavior Analyst Certification Board offers the BCBA credential for professionals with a graduate degree in behavior analysis. Candidates must meet behavior analytic coursework requirements and pass the BCBA exam to earn the credential. Certified behavior analysts recertify every two years with continuing education coursework. At the undergraduate level, professionals can become board certified assistant behavior analysts and registered behavior technicians.

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Online Behavioral Psychology Programs 2021



See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A public university in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State offers a bachelor's degree in applied behavior analysis through its online college. The program emphasizes behavior analysis approaches to autism spectrum disorder. Learners examine the methods and techniques to modify behavior in adults and children. Graduates work as behavioral consultants in educational and healthcare settings and as behavior therapists in autism centers.

    The applied behavior analysis curriculum includes coursework in lifespan development and interventions with autism spectrum disorder. Other topics include consultation in applied behavior analysis and research design.

    Ball State applied behavior analysis majors enroll in the fully online program either part or full time. The coursework operates asynchronously, providing flexibility for working professionals and busy students. The 120-credit bachelor's in behavioral psychology degree comprises general electives, core behavioral analysis courses, and electives. Ball State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private women's college in Massachusetts, Bay Path offers several online health and human services degrees. The major provides foundational training in mental health, social policy, and physical health. Within the interdisciplinary health and human services program, undergraduates choose a concentration to focus their studies. With counseling studies, autism spectrum studies, and early intervention concentrations, Bay Path trains graduates for applied behavioral psychology careers.

    The autism spectrum disorders option grants a certificate to majors who study autism interventions and skill development for children diagnosed with autism. The early intervention concentration provides an interdisciplinary curriculum that meets certification requirements for early intervention specialists in Massachusetts.

    Bay Path's program prepares graduates for the workforce by incorporating internships, service learning projects, site visits, and job-shadowing. Bay Path is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  3. Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies
    Location

    Fayette, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1854 as a private Methodist institution, CMU offers a bachelor's in applied behavior analysis fully online. The major teaches undergraduates to work with children experiencing developmental delays, behavioral disorders, or autism. Through the CMU curriculum, students strengthen their diagnostic and treatment skills.

    CMU's bachelor's in behavioral psychology and applied behavior analysis includes coursework in autism spectrum disorders and applied behavior analysis for educators. Other topics include verbal behavioral analysis and behavior assessment. Students complete an optional intensive practicum to gain hands-on experience.

    Designed for students seeking board certification as a behavior analyst, the CMU major plus supervision hours prepares learners for the BCaBA exam. Prospective applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA or meet minimum GED, ACT, or SAT scores. CMU admits transfer applicants with a minimum 2.0 GPA. CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Brandman University
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private university in Irvine, California, Brandman offers over 50 degrees designed for working professionals. Brandman's online behavioral psychology degree includes a child psychology concentration emphasizing child development, autism treatment options, and psychological theory. Undergraduates approach development using behavioral, psychoanalytic, and biological perspectives to provide a well-rounded education. The degree also strengthens research and analytical skills.

    At Brandman, child psychology majors study the psychology of learning, pediatric neuropsychology, and applied behavioral analysis. Enrollees take general psychology courses to provide a foundation in psychological theory and practice. These courses prepare graduates for careers in child development, behavioral analysis, and behavior enhancement.

    Prospective applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and provide official transcripts from all colleges attended. Brandman requires at least 12 college-level credits to join the bachelor's in behavioral psychology program. Brandman is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  5. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    BU offers a bachelor's in behavioral psychology with a flexible online enrollment option. The program emphasizes analytical and critical thinking skills through training in counseling theories, treatment methods, and behavioral science leadership. Majors learn how to communicate evidence-based concepts and implement behavioral science services. Graduates gain skills in strengthening collaboration and decision-making in behavioral health settings.

    With coursework in human services, data analysis, and social deviance, the curriculum blends theoretical and practical knowledge. Enrollees study counseling microskills, human development, and behavioral science ethics. The program focuses on individual, family, and community behavioral health issues to prepare graduates for various career paths.

    BU behavioral psychology bachelor's degree-seekers can choose an accelerated format if transferring in with 60 credits minimally. The accelerated cohort offers one course at a time with the same group of students. BU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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