Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Program Guide

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August 19, 2021

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As the U.S. economy rebounds from COVID-19, the pandemic's psychological and behavioral impacts linger. Due to lockdowns dramatically altering daily lives and increasing social isolation, studies show that the rates of anxiety and depression skyrocketed among young people. The resulting psychological and behavioral ramifications may remain for years.

Students interested in pursuing an online master's degree in behavioral psychology can enter the field at a time when their work is increasingly essential. In addition to developing critical research and clinical services, learners gain the expertise they need when vying for leadership roles in the field.

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects significant job growth for substance abuse counselors (25%) and family therapists (22%) between 2019 and 2029, students can expect to enter a rapidly growing field. Read on to learn how this specialized degree can expand career options and increase earning potential.

Should I Get a Master's in Behavioral Psychology?

Whether students want to pursue careers in research, academia, or clinical practice, an online master's degree in behavioral psychology provides the theoretical, technical, and research skills needed to pursue their academic and career goals.

Rooted in ethical research and practice, these programs prepare graduates for research-based careers, professional certifications, and Ph.D. programs.

Throughout their master's experience, degree-seekers apply fundamental psychological theories, principles, and research methods to practical scenarios while taking core classes that touch on human development, abnormal, and social psychology. Rooted in ethical research and practice, these programs prepare graduates for research-based careers, professional certifications, and Ph.D. programs.

Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in behavioral psychology while balancing personal and professional obligations may want to consider an online program. Distance learning often allows working professionals to complete asynchronous coursework around their own schedules. While students can take most classes online, practicum experiences and fieldwork still require in-person attendance.

Find the best online master's in behavioral psychology programs.

What Will I Learn in a Behavioral Psychology Master's Program?

Full-time learners spend approximately two years completing the required 30-50 credits in a typical master's degree in behavioral psychology. Core coursework covers topics, such as psychology research methods, ethical practice, and behavioral assessment and evaluation.

Degree-seekers can typically select from concentrations like autism spectrum disorders and social, emotional, and behavioral wellness. Most programs include a significant fieldwork component as well.

Concentrations

Autism Spectrum Disorders
In this concentration, students delve into the study of autism while learning about language skills, communication, and research-based methodologies. Typical coursework includes teaching students with autism spectrum disorder, communication and language interventions, and behavior and sensory support.
Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness
Focusing on the non-academic hurdles to learning, this specialization prepares degree-seekers to develop evidence-based strategies that support K-12 students. Courses often include understanding social emotional disorders, social emotional wellness and evidence-based preventative school practices, and collaborations and community-based practices.
Addiction Psychology
This concentration explores the research methods used to produce effective treatment plans for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. Standard coursework covers topics in psychopharmacology, adolescent addiction, and families and addictive disorders.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

How to Get Into a Behavioral Psychology Master's Program

Admission requirements vary among programs, but prospective learners must usually submit official academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay outlining educational and career objectives. Behavioral psychology master's programs usually require a 3.0 minimum GPA.

Additionally, many programs require GRE scores. Make sure to closely review admission requirements for each prospective program.

Read Our Guide to Graduate Admissions

What Can I Do With a Master's in Behavioral Psychology?

Students pursuing a master's degree in behavioral psychology hone critical thinking and research skills and develop an understanding of essential psychological principles. Learners complete focused training in abnormal psychology and behavior analysis.

Common career paths include psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and substance abuse counselor. Graduates may also tackle careers within the public sector as public health officials and social workers. Check out popular career paths and additional academic options below.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continuing Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Behavioral Psychology?

Earning potential for master's degree in behavioral psychology graduates varies by specific career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists, community health workers, and substance abuse counselors earn around $50,000 annually. Practicing psychologists and researchers make over $80,000 per year, but these professionals sometimes need a doctorate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Behavioral Psychology Programs

What is behavioral psychology? true

Behavior psychology explores the connection between the complex world of the human mind and behavior. Degree-seekers investigate theoretical and practical psychological ideas, hone research skills, and often complete hundreds of hours of clinical experience.

Is a master's in behavioral psychology worth it? true

A master's degree in behavioral psychology provides learners with the skills needed to expand career options and increase pay. While a master's degree requires a significant investment of time and money, graduates often enter the workforce with the qualifications needed for career advancement.

How much does it cost to get a master's in behavioral psychology? true

The cost of a master's degree in behavioral psychology can vary dramatically between programs. As a general rule, public colleges and universities offer lower costs than their private counterparts. Many programs charge $9,000-$20,000 per year, but tuition rates vary.

How long does it take to get a master's in behavioral psychology?

Graduation timelines differ, as each program maintains unique academic requirements. Nevertheless, most students can earn their master's in behavioral psychology in 18-24 months.

Is applied behavior analysis a good career?

Yes. Behavioral psychology master's degree-holders interested in careers as applied behavioral analysts enter a growing, specialized field. Often making a positive impact on the lives of others, these professionals work in a variety of settings, including education and medicine.

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