Online Master’s In Counseling Psychology 2022

A master's in behavioral psychology can lead to new opportunities. Here, we outline the best programs available.

Updated September 12, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Counseling Psychology 2022

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Behavioral psychology professionals research, identify, and apply behavior-modification best practices that can help individuals with various behavioral issues. Master's in behavioral psychology programs often include courses on behavioral theory, analysis, assessment, and treatment.

Licensed psychologists need doctoral degrees, but master's in behavioral psychology graduates may find work as counselors, social workers, or researchers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists earn a median annual salary of $82,180. The BLS projects jobs for psychologists to grow 3% between 2019 and 2029. The BLS projects jobs for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors to grow 25% during this same time period, much faster than the average for all occupations.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Behavioral Psychology


What can I do with a master's degree in behavioral psychology?

Behavioral psychology master's degree graduates often pursue doctoral degrees to qualify for careers as licensed behavioral psychologists. Other possible careers include mental health counselor, substance abuse counselor, marriage and family therapist, and social worker.

How many years does it take to earn a master's in behavioral psychology?

Behavioral psychology master's programs typically take full-time enrollees two years to complete. Accelerated programs often feature faster pacing, while some part-time programs allow more time.

What certification do I need to be a behavioral counselor?

Behavioral counselors usually need licensure from a state board. Requirements include a behavioral psychology degree, supervised practicum, and licensure examination. Some behavioral counseling jobs require the board certified behavior analyst credential.

Why Get a Degree in Behavioral Psychology?

Graduate-level study of behavioral psychology provides widely applicable insights into human behavior. These insights support self-improvement, better relationships, and enhanced workplace performance. Behavioral psychology master's programs also facilitate networking opportunities with professors and staff at internship sites. Many affordable online master's programs offer flexible attendance options that allow enrollees to continue working while pursuing their degrees.

Earning a master's in behavioral psychology prepares graduates for rewarding careers researching and treating behavioral health issues. Playing an instrumental role in behavioral improvement can offer a deep sense of purpose. Master's in behavioral health programs usually include practicum and internship experiences that build clinical skills for serving clients directly.

How Much Does a Behavioral Psychology Degree Cost?

The cost of a behavioral psychology degree depends heavily on institution type and location. Recent trends in college pricing indicate that learners at public, four-year, in-state schools pay an average of $10,560 annually. Out-of-state tuition averages $27,020. Students enrolled at private, nonprofit, four-year colleges pay an annual average tuition of $37,650. The average total tuition for a two-year master's degree ranges from $21,120 to $75,300, depending on institution type and learners' residency.

Prospective students can substantially reduce education costs by attending an in-state, public institution. According to College Board findings, four-year public schools in Wyoming and Florida offer particularly low rates. Some schools maintain regional agreements that allow students from neighboring states to pay in-state tuition. Some institutions offer in-state tuition rates to all distance learners.

Online programs often cost less per credit than on-campus programs, and online students do not usually pay on-campus fees. Distance learners also do not incur the residency, relocation, and commuting costs usually associated with on-campus study.

Additional Online Student Fees for Behavioral Psychology

Online learners need adequate internet access and computers to access learning platforms, watch lectures, participate in discussions, and submit assignments. Learners should budget for costs to maintain or update devices and software.

Some online master's programs require short residencies. Learners usually pay for travel and housing costs for these residencies. Other common expenses include books and supplies, graduation fees, and professional certification exam and application fees.

How Much Do Behavioral Psychology Majors Make?

According to PayScale salary data from March 2021, master's in psychology graduates average $46,650 annually. Entry-level jobs for this degree often include case manager and clinical coordinator. May 2021 PayScale salary research indicates that these careers average around $41,700 and $59,700 annually, respectively.

Many behavioral psychology master's degree graduates pursue licensure to qualify for counseling or social work positions. According to the BLS, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earn a median annual salary of $47,660 and social workers earn $51,760. Earning professional certification can boost salary potential. Board-certified behavior analysts average $63,610 annually, according to May 2021 PayScale data.

Talented and experienced professionals with graduate degrees eventually may qualify for promotion to management positions. Some possible managerial jobs include social and community services manager, health services manager, or behavioral health director. These upper-level positions often pay above-average salaries.

Many psychology master's graduates pursue doctoral degrees and become licensed psychologists, social science researchers, or postsecondary teachers. These professionals earn median annual salaries in the $80,000-$90,000 range, according to the BLS.

Courses in Behavioral Psychology

Behavioral psychology programs often feature interdisciplinary core courses in psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Behavioral psychology master's programs cultivate advanced data gathering, analysis, and communication skills. Most enrollees must complete a thesis that demonstrates mastery of psychology research and writing.

Most master's in behavioral psychology students also develop clinical assessment and treatment skills through practicums and internships. These experiences prepare graduates to serve behavioral health clients in various settings. Some programs feature curriculum concentrations and electives in counseling psychology, social psychology, or school psychology. Some programs offer specializations in neuroscience or addictions.

See below for some common courses in master's in behavioral psychology curricula.

How to Become a Behavioral Psychologist

Aspiring behavioral psychologists usually start by earning a psychology-related bachelor's degree. Licensed behavioral psychologists need graduate degrees in behavioral psychology, so many bachelor's graduates pursue master's degrees.

According to the BLS, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors usually need 2,000-4,000 supervised experience hours to obtain state licensure. Both bachelor's and master's programs usually require practicum and internship experiences that help students accumulate these hours. Master's graduates usually complete supervised clinical internships before applying for licensure. Counseling licensure candidates must pass a state exam from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Many behavioral psychologists earn doctoral degrees, and some graduates pursue American Psychological Association speciality certification.

Certifications and Licensure for Behavioral Psychology

A master's in behavioral psychology can meet minimum degree requirements for careers such as behavior analyst, social worker, and mental health counselor. Many of these careers require state licensure from a related board. Professional licensure in these fields usually requires a relevant graduate degree, several thousand hours of supervised clinical experience, and passing results on a licensure examination.

See below for three credentials common among behavioral psychology master's graduates.

This graduate-level certification serves aspiring independent behavioral analysis practitioners. Candidates can qualify for the BCBA credential through various combinations of experience and education. All candidates need a graduate degree and relevant coursework, supervised fieldwork, and success on the BCBA examination. This versatile counseling license can support various behavioral health counseling careers. LPCs often provide direct therapeutic services to clients. The American Counseling Association oversees LPC licensure, although requirements vary by state board. Most states require a counseling-related graduate degree, supervised counseling experience, and a passing score on the licensure examination. The title and requirements for this license differ by state. LBHPs complete counseling experience and coursework in behavioral health. These professionals usually need a master's degree from an accredited university.

Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology 2022

#1

Southeast Missouri State University

School Information
Location Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree-seekers can enroll in online and in-person programs from Southeast Missouri State University. Along with in-person programs, the school delivers online graduate programs across numerous fields. The master's in applied behavior analysis is one of the best online behavioral psychology degrees.

The rigorous curriculum, combined with academic and career advising, prepares enrollees for behavioral psychology careers. The online program's flexible scheduling options can make it easier for busy learners to complete degree requirements. Most graduate degree-seekers can finish the master's program in 1-2 years of full-time study.

Students with financial need can submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants, scholarships, and loans. The school reports that 42% of enrollees take out loans. In addition, the institution reports that 96% of its learners obtain financial aid to fund their education.

Southeast Missouri State University Numbers:

Total Programs: 133

Number of Online Programs: 25

Online Master's Programs: 39

Number of Online Students: 5,553

Per-Credit Fee: Unavailable

Religious Affiliation: Non-Affiliated

Permits Transfer Credits: No

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#2

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus educates undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers online and at its Cincinnati, Ohio, campus. Learners can study on campus or in an online format. Online students can enroll in the convenient master of education in foundations in behavior analysis to gain advanced knowledge in behavioral psychology.

The rigorous curriculum, combined with academic and career advising, prepares enrollees for behavioral psychology careers. The online behavioral psychology program's scheduling flexibility is ideal for enrollees balancing academics with personal and professional obligations. Full-time master's students can typically complete their degree in 1-2 years.

The institution holds accreditation, which means students can receive federal grants, scholarships, and loans. Of the student body, 45% take out loans, which require repayment, to fund their degree. In addition, 75% of degree candidates receive some form of financial aid to cover degree costs.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Fast Facts:

Total Programs: 459

Number of Online Programs: 66

Online Master's Programs: 113

Number of Online Students: 19,270

Average Per-Credit Tuition: $732

Religious Affiliation: Non-Affiliated

Offers Transfer Credits: No

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#3

Saint Cloud State University

School Information
Location Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Based in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Saint Cloud State University offers undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to studying in person, learners can pursue the school's graduate degrees online. Online students can enroll in the master's in applied behavior analysis at the institution.

The rigorous curriculum, combined with academic and career advising, prepares enrollees for behavioral psychology careers. Working professionals can complete academic requirements around their schedule. Master's degree-seekers typically graduate in 1-2 years.

Students with financial need can apply for federal aid, including grants and loans. Of the student body, 40% take out loans, which require repayment, to fund their degree. In addition, 94% of the institution's learners qualify for financial aid.

Saint Cloud State University Facts:

Total Programs: 208

Number of Online Programs: 17

Online Master's Programs: 60

Number of Online Students: 4,048

Average Per-Credit Price: N/A

Religious Affiliation: Non-Affiliated

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#4

Western Connecticut State University

School Information
Location Danbury, Connecticut
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Western Connecticut State University offers one online program for distance learners. The university, located in Danbury, enrolls 1,345 students in its online courses. The catalog includes a fully online master’s in applied behavior analysis degree. The accredited curriculum offers a rigorous education valued by employers. The program's advanced training prepares graduates for the workforce. The school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1, which gives learners one-on-one attention from faculty. 

Students can learn more about online support services at the program's website. The institution offers affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities. This makes the master's degree an affordable option for learners on a budget. The college reports a graduation rate of 52% for its programs.

Western Connecticut State University Fast Facts:

Total Online Enrollment: 1,577

Graduate Tuition: $7,378 per year in-state, $19,008 per year out-of-state

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $4,629

Average Net Price: $18,110

The school is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.

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#5

Arcadia University

School Information
Location Glenside, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 66%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Based in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Arcadia University educates graduate degree-seekers through in-person and flexible online programs. The private institution's offerings include an online master's in applied behavior analysis for distance learners throughout the country. Graduates often benefit from increased career opportunities after earning their master's degree.

Enrollees can work with faculty advisors to explore complex issues and prepare to enter the behavioral psychology field. Master's degree-seekers complete core and specialized coursework meeting high academic standards. Along with core behavioral psychology knowledge, coursework emphasizes analytical and leadership skills applicable to roles in the industry.

The school also prioritizes affordability. The institution's dedicated financial aid counselors work with degree-seekers as they locate and apply for educational funding. The school's affordable tuition rates make it easier for learners to pursue graduate degrees.

Arcadia University at a Glance:

Total Online Programs: 2

Number of Online Students: 1,006

Average Per-Credit Price: Unavailable

Graduate Tuition In-State: $28,683

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $28,683

Transfer Credits Permitted: No

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