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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Frequently Asked Questions About Behavioral Psychology
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.
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.
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.
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.
Developmental PsychologyClasses 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.
Applied Behavioral AnalysisCourses 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 AssessmentBehavior 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.
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.
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.
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.
Online Behavioral Psychology Programs
#1 Online BA In Counseling Psychology
Ball State University
- Muncie, IN
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Distance degree-seekers pursuing Ball State University's affordable undergraduate programs can complete requirements in a convenient online format. The public institution also delivers academic programs from its campus in Muncie, Indiana. The online bachelor's in applied behavior analysis program is ideal for individuals who need flexible scheduling options.
The institution delivers coursework in a virtual classroom environment. Online students can participate in online class discussions and attend virtual office hours. Degree-seekers develop transferable skills through core coursework and specialize during upper-level classes. Bachelor's graduates can work in entry-level positions, which can help them gain the experience necessary for career advancement.
Prospective students can contact the school for specific application details.
Ball State University at a Glance:
Total Bachelor's Programs: 131
Online Bachelor's Programs: 29
Tuition Per Credit: N/A
Learners Awarded Financial Aid: 91%
Students Receiving Loans: 56%
Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission