Psychology is the study of individual thought and behavior. Students in this field investigate unconscious and conscious experiences, reactions, and beliefs. Psychologists explore the social, behavioral, and cognitive functioning of individuals, including their mental processes, attention span, emotions, and personality. Students should study psychology if they have an interest in the inner workings of the mind and want to understand how cognitive processes impact behavior.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Salary survey, graduates with an online associate degree in psychology are earning higher starting salaries each year. The average starting salary for graduates earning psychology degrees in 2015 was $35,108, an increase from the previous year's average starting salary of $33,210.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Associate in Psychology Program?
Most online psychology associate degrees will require students to earn 60-65 credits, which takes about two years. Learners can expect to take courses in cognitive psychology, cognitive development, self and identity, and child psychology. Common concentrations include developmental psychology and social psychology. Students should also expect to take a range of general education courses.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS?
|1||Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
Foothill College offers 74 associate degrees, including an associate in arts in psychology, which is available online through the Canvas platform. The 90-credit degree includes 15 credits of core courses and 20 credits of support courses. Most support courses are four or five credits each, with options such as psychology of sports, psychological aspects of disability, and sociology of gender. Students can meet with academic, career, or personal counselors through live video chat. Foothill also offers reading and writing support to online students at a weekly scheduled time and through individual online appointments.
Located in Los Altos Hills, California, the online associate degree in psychology offers open enrollment. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 in each core and support course. If necessary, students must complete elective courses to reach the 90-credit requirement.
|2||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
Liberty's associate of arts in psychology is offered through the School of Behavioral Sciences. The program is completely online and teaches skills in developmental psychology, psychology of personality, and counseling through a Biblical perspective. Students can specialize in Christian counseling, which prepares graduates to work in lay ministry Christian counseling. Learners can transfer up to 45 credits towards the 60-credit degree requirement. At least 24 credits must be completed in major psychology courses. The Christian counseling specialization requires three courses, which can be taken as major elective courses.
In addition to completing the online application, prospective online associate degree in psychology students must confirm that they have earned a high school diploma and submit all college transcripts. For those who wish to continue their studies, Liberty also offers a bachelor’s in psychology. Graduates are prepared for careers in case management, counseling, and mental health services.
|3||Odessa College Odessa, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Odessa College, located in Odessa, Texas, offers more than 45 associate degrees through on-campus, satellite, and online offerings. The associate of arts in psychology is a 60-credit program that can be completed with two years of full-time study. The curriculum includes a 42-credit core requirement, and students can start taking psychology courses during their first term.
Applicants to the psychology associate degree should submit high school and college transcripts. There is no application deadline. Students should be aware that there are different tuition rates depending on how many semester hours they take and their district and state of residency. Financial aid and scholarships are available, including Odessa’s first course is free discount, which waives the standard tuition and fees of the first three credit hours taken at the college. Online programs are taught through the Blackboard platform.
|4||Holmes Community College Goodman, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
The associate of arts in psychology is a 62-credit degree that is part of the Social and Behavioral Science Department. Students choose from a number of departmental electives, including child psychology, social problems, and marriage and family. The associate degree in psychology can be completed in two years.
HCC, part of the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), offers online courses through the Canvas platform. By being a part of MSVCC, Holmes' students are able to take courses through other participating colleges. Online students have access to the same student and academic support services provided to students at the campus in Goodman, Mississippi. Students can live chat with the helpdesk and have continuous access to Canvas support. HCC has an open admissions policy. Students must submit a high school diploma, GED, or college transcripts. Residents of Maryland are not currently eligible for the college’s online programs.
|5||Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
The associate in psychology can be earned entirely online. Coastline programs allow students to choose their courses within specific curriculum groups, such as basic subjects, arts and humanities, and self-development. Courses include psychology of aging, principles of human sexuality, life span developmental psychology, and social psychology.
Coastline, located in Fountain Valley, California, offers more than 15 associate of art degrees online, as well as a number of certificates. Online tuition is the same as on-campus tuition. Public speaking, which is required by many colleges, is not offered online. Students must complete 60 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA, and at least 12 units must be earned through Coastline. The psychology associate degree is open to anyone over the age of 18. Learners under the age of 18 must meet certain requirements.
|6||South Texas College McAllen, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 24%||
STC's online associate of arts in psychology aligns with the first two years of many four-year psychology degrees, and the college has a number of articulation agreements for students interested in pursuing their bachelor’s degree. The 60-credit degree includes courses such as psychology of adjustment, statistical methods in psychology, and many psychology electives. The program can be completed entirely online.
Psychology associate degree online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform. Students have access to student services, including online self-advising, one-on-one advising, career counseling, and online tutoring through the centers for learning excellence. The college offers financial aid, a variety of scholarships, and payment plans. Graduates are prepared for careers as employment counselors, psychology instructors, business manager, and counselor.
|7||Allen County Community College Iola, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Students interested in working in counseling, human services, or social services may be interested in Allen’s online associate of arts with an emphasis in psychology. The 64-credit program can be completed with two years of full-time study. A number of courses in the online associate degree in psychology are approved for guaranteed transfer to a four-year Kansas college, such as the University of Kansas, Kansas State, and Wichita State.
Allen Community College is located in Iola, Kansas, and was established in 1923. The school serves approximately 2,500 students through multiple satellite locations and online. Students take courses through the Blackboard platform and have access to continuous Blackboard assistance, the library, and the writing lab. Most textbooks for online courses are rented, and the rental fee is included in the tuition costs. Residents of states that are not members of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which include California, Florida, and Massachusetts, may not enroll in online programs at Allen.
|8||Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
SAGU's associate of science in psychology requires students to earn 64 credits and includes 46 hours of general education studies, 12 hours of major studies, and six hours of general electives. General education studies at SAGU involve science, math, English, and Biblical studies. The major studies courses consist of topics in counseling, developmental psychology, theories of personality, and selfhood and the Christian faith. The degree is offered completely online with continuous access to classes.
Online students have access to all on-campus resources. Students who begin their associate degree online are eligible for a 15% tuition grant. Tuition is charged at a flat rate, and financial assistance is available in the form of financial aid, scholarships, and grants. For online associate degree in psychology students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, SAGU also offers an online bachelor of science in psychology.
|9||San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
San Joaquin Delta College, located in Stockton, California, is a two-year, public college that offers an associate in arts, psychology that educates students on psychology methods, problem solving, and critical and analytical thinking. The degree requires 60 credits, which includes courses in general education, core major requirements, and elective major requirements. Students in the online associate degree in psychology have a choice of different general education curriculum patterns based on their transfer goals. The elective major requirements allow students to choose a minimum of 15 credits from courses such as professional ethics in counseling, introduction to substance abuse counseling, and field practicums.
San Joaquin admissions requirements to online programs include the online application, submitting any college or university transcripts, and completing a skills assessment. Students can also apply for financial aid, which includes loans, scholarships, and state and federal grants. Online classes are offered through the Etudes and Canvas platforms.
|10||Palo Alto College San Antonio, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
The associate of arts in psychology at PAC requires students to earn 60 credits and includes general education and major requirements. General education courses consist of topics in communication, sciences, and history. Most curriculum requirements offer students the opportunity to choose between multiple courses, allowing them some flexibility. Major requirements consist of 18 credits, which includes two required courses, nine hours of psychology electives, and three hours from the social and behavioral sciences.
PAC is part of the Alamo Colleges District and is located in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1985, the college now enrolls close to 9,000 students each semester. The school offers 19 distance learning programs through the Canvas platform. PAC is one of the online colleges for associate degree in psychology that has an open-door admissions policy, with no minimum grade requirements for applicants. The college only requires that students have a high school diploma or GED.
|11||Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
TJC, located in Tyler, Texas, charges lower tuition rates than most public four-year colleges for in and out-of-district students. The college offers an open admissions policy, allowing all students to take advantage of their affordable tuition through campus and online learning. The online AA in psychology prepares students for working in fields such as business, education, medical, and research. The 60-credit degree consists of 16 credits of major courses and 44 credits of TJC core curriculum. Students can also choose sociology courses, such as social problems and minority studies, to complete the psychology associate degree major requirements.
Online degrees can be completed without having to visit campus, and distance learners have access to services such as tutoring, career services, and academic advising. Online courses are delivered through the Canvas platform, and students can access the online student orientation to learn more about Canvas, online course etiquette, and technical support.
|12||Florida Institute of Technology-Online Melbourne, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
The AA in applied psychology at Florida Tech can be completed entirely online. The curriculum consists of 20 required courses that take eight weeks to complete. The degree can be completed in two years. All students are charged the same per-credit tuition, with 61 credits required to earn the degree. Online students are required to complete a one-credit mastering eLearning course, which teaches academic skills, online classroom behavior, and academic honesty.
Students can begin the program during any of the six yearly terms, with two each in the fall, spring, and summer. Applications are generally due a few weeks before the start of the term. Admission requirements include the free online application, proof of high school diploma or GED, and any transcripts from colleges and universities. Students who have previously earned credits will have their transcripts evaluated for transfer credit. The graduation ceremony in Melbourne, Florida, is open to all associate degree psychology online students who have completed the degree requirements.
|13||Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
TMCC online offers more than 10 AA degrees, six AS degrees, and more than 15 AAS degrees through the Canvas platform. To graduate with an associate of arts, psychology emphasis, students must complete at least 15 of the 60 required credits through TMCC with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Courses include general psychology, child psychology, and statistical methods. Students can take advantage of TMCC’s partnership with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, which offers graduates the opportunity to earn a BA in psychology.
The Reno, Nevada, college offers a number of online resources, including a Canvas orientation tutorial, basics about logging into the registration system, information about accessing advising reports, and tutorials about paying tuition and setting up payment plans. Student tuition varies based on state of residency and number of units taken per term. Psychology associate degree online students are also eligible for financial aid.
|14||Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Students interested in CCU’s AS in psychology can start the program at almost any time of year. The accelerated program can be completed in less than two years, and students can transfer up to 45 credits; the curriculum requires students to earn 60 credits. The online associate degree in psychology offers small class sizes that provide students with individual attention from faculty who are professionals in the field. Courses are offered in five-week blocks.
Graduates are prepared for careers as mental health case workers, counselor’s aides, and crisis intervention aides. The program teaches psychology courses through a Christian worldview, integrating the study of human behavior with the Christian faith. The curriculum includes 36 credits in general education, 18 in the major, and six in electives. The tuition rate varies between full- and part-time study, with part-time learners paying more.
|15||Fisher College Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
Many of the academic programs at Fisher College are offered at the Boston campus and online, including the associate in arts in psychology. The degree requires students to earn at least 60 credits, including courses that explore topics in abnormal psychology, psychology statistics, and personality. Psychology associate degree online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform in eight-week terms. Courses include psychology and personality, psychology of learning, statistics for psychology, and intermediate writing.
Application requirements include the online application, transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended, and GED scores, if applicable. The application fee is waived for students who apply online, and accepted students are notified on a rolling schedule. Fisher offers grants, scholarships, and financial aid. For students interested in continuing their studies, the school offers an online BA in Psychology. Graduates are also prepared for undergraduate social science programs.
|16||Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Sinclair, located in Dayton, Ohio, is one of the largest online education providers in the state. The college offers more than 200 online courses and nine online associate degrees, including the associate of arts in psychology. Courses are delivered through the eLearn platform and taught by experienced faculty. The program provides a foundation in the field and teaches current psychological theories and practices. The psychology associate degree requires students to earn 60 credits and prepares them for entry-level positions. Graduates are also prepared for undergraduate studies. The curriculum includes courses in the Ohio Transfer Module, which are guaranteed to transfer to any public university in the state.
Online learners also have access to the same student services as on-campus students, including advising, academic support, and counseling and disability services. Tuition varies based on county and state of residency.
|17||Bunker Hill Community College Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
BHCC offers online AA degrees in business, communication, English, liberal arts, and psychology. The AA psychology concentration requires 62-63 credits of general education and concentration courses, which consists of electives and courses on topics such as behavioral research and social psychology. Online courses are delivered through the Moodle platform, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the demo course and attend a virtual orientation to familiarize themselves with Moodle and other BHCConline services. Online student support includes academic advising, online tutoring through Smarthinking, and career services, which has an online career guidance system called Discover.
BHCC, the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolls more than 13,000 students each semester. It is also one of the most affordable community college in the state. Out-of-state students pay more for tuition. BHCC has two articulation agreements in place for the psychology associate degree.
|18||Hobe Sound Bible College Hobe Sound, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
HSBC, located in Hobe Sound, Florida, is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. The school offers a number of online bachelor’s and associate degrees that integrate program curriculums with a Christian worldview. The associate of arts in counseling prepares students to earn the school's psychology bachelor’s degree or to provide Christian-based counseling through positions such as pastoral counselor, youth counselor, and social worker. Courses include introduction to counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling, and general psychology.
The online associate degree in psychology requires 66 credit hours, including 36 hours of general education, 12 hours of Bible and theology, and 18 hours of counseling. The BA in Counseling, also offered online, provides the necessary education to pursue careers as board-certified biblical counselors or board-certified pastoral counselors.
|19||American River College Sacramento, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Students interested in an associate degree in psychology from ARC have two options, the AA - psychology and the AA for transfer - psychology. Both degrees require 60 credits and prepare students for transfer opportunities, but the AA for transfer is specifically designed for students who wish to transfer to a California State University campus. ARC does not offer the entire psychology degree online. Courses include research methods in psychology, human sexuality, abnormal behavior, and child development.
Online courses are delivered through the D2L and the Canvas platforms. Students who want to speak with a counselor about previously-earned credits can take advantage of web-based distance counseling appointments. Students who do not live in California cannot take online courses from ARC. The school has two psychology clubs, Psi Beta and Life is Worth the Walk.
|20||Alvin Community College Alvin, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Alvin offers three completely online degrees, including an associate of arts degree in psychology. The program requires students to earn 60-credits and prepares them for transfer to a four-year institution or for careers as personnel administrators, employment counselors, social service aides, and more. Students can choose several psychology electives, which include adolescent psychology and co-op/internship. Required online associate degree in psychology courses cover topics like learning framework, growth and development, and statistical methods in psychology.
The college is based in Alvin, Texas, and offers over 35 different associate degrees on campus. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform. Online students can take advantage of online advising and technical support. Tuition is based on residency status and number of earned credits, and there is also an online course fee. Available financial aid includes grants, loans, and scholarships.
|21||Georgia Military College Milledgeville, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
GMC Online offers 20 fully online degrees, including 18 associate degrees. The college offers an online associate of arts and an online associate of science in psychology. Each degree has slightly different requirements. The AA degree requires a minimum of 95 quarter hours, which includes at least 25 hours in the concentration and 70 hours in the core. The AS degree requires a minimum of 90 quarter hours, with at least 25 hours in the concentration and 65 hours in the core.
GMC serves over 4,000 online students through the Moodle platform. Online learners have dedicated staff in admissions, advising, and financial aid, and students are never required to come to the Milledgeville, Georgia campus. Online students are not charged any out-of-state fees, and more than 80% of GMC students receive financial aid.
|22||Lansing Community College Lansing, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 34%||
LCC's psychology AA degree requires a minimum of 61 credits, which includes general education, core, and elective requirements. Students can choose from electives in brain and behavior, intro to positive psychology, and psyc of death: prep for living. The online associate degree in psychology is one of eight fully online associate degrees offered through the college. Online courses are delivered through the D2L platform, and students receive technology support through live chat, a resource website, and a help desk. Students can also participate in an online training course that familiarizes them with D2L tools and LCC college resources.
Tuition at the Lansing, Michigan, college varies based on district, state, and country of residence, and all online students are charged an online learning course fee. Students must complete a reading, writing, and math skills placement test.
|23||Amarillo College Amarillo, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
AC has six campuses, three outreach centers, and five fully online associate degrees. The associate psychology degree prepares students for transfer into a four-year institution. The psychology associate degree requires 60 credits. This includes 42 credits of general education requirements, 12 credits of major course requirements, and six credits of related and recommended courses. Recommended courses are chosen with the assistance of a major adviser and based on the student’s chosen transfer institution.
Tuition for the associate degree in psychology is based on district and state of residency. AC offers financial aid, such as grants, loans, and scholarships, and students can sign up for a payment plan. Amarillo College serves over 10,000 students in Texas and offers 143 degree and certificate programs. The college is regionally accredited by SACSCOC.
|24||College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
CSN's online psychology degree requires 60 credits, which includes 34 credits in general education requirements and 26 credits in special program requirements. Special program requirements consist of psychology courses and 14 credits of psychology electives, which include topics in business psychology, Latino psychology, and psychology of dreams. Students are required to complete a one-credit capstone course. Full-time psychology associate degree students can complete the program in four semesters.
CSN, the largest and most diverse college in Nevada, offers 25 online degrees and certificates. The college supports online learners through resources such as the online librarian, continuous technical support, and online tutoring through Smarthinking. Out-of-state students enrolled exclusively in online courses can take advantage of a special tuition discount that reduces their cost to that of Western Undergraduate Exchange Program (WUE) students.
|25||Eastern Oklahoma State College Wilburton, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Eastern Oklahoma, located in Wilburton, Oklahoma, offers five fully online degrees, including an AA in psychology-sociology. The focus of the degree is on understanding individual and group behavior. The program prepares students for bachelor's programs in the behavioral sciences. Graduates are also prepared for work within human services agencies, correctional facilities, social welfare agencies, vocational group homes, and rehabilitation services. Associate degree psychology online courses are asynchronous and are delivered through the Blackboard platform. Online students have access to the same services as students on campus, including career counseling, tutoring, and technology support.
Eastern offers financial aid, including subject-related scholarships for students with high academic achievement and financial need. Students should submit an application in addition to all applicable records, which include high school and college transcripts, GED scores, and placement test scores. Tuition is higher for out-of-state students.
What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Psychology?
The basic skills learned through an online associate degree in psychology, such as critical thinking, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and psychological theory can be applied in a variety of other fields, such as law, business, social work, and politics. An associate in psychology also prepares students for advanced study. Many psychology positions require at least a bachelor's degree, while more specialized clinical researchers and counselors need a doctorate degree and/or private practice licensing. However, there are job opportunities available for those with a psychology associate degree. Below is a list of potential occupations for psychology graduates, including some that require further study.
- Psychiatric Technicians and Aides
Psychiatric technicians and aides work in psychiatric hospitals or clinical facilities and assist patients, who are often individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. They provide care, monitor the safety of patients, and assist on-call psychiatrists. Technicians require postsecondary education, and aides must have at least a high school diploma.
Median Annual Salary: $28,670
Projected Growth Rate: 5%
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
These counselors provide treatment and remediation for individuals who struggle with drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, or other behavioral issues. They work in mental health hospitals, therapy centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practices. Most of these positions require a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Median Annual Salary: $44,160
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
- Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists use their knowledge of cognitive and behavioral processes to help individuals improve their own personal relationships and interactions with their environments. These positions often require a master's or doctorate degree. Therapists or counselors engaging in private practice need an additional state license.
Median Annual Salary: $78,690
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
- Social and Human Service Assistants
Social and human service assistants often work with social workers or community service organizations to help clients identify their needs and help solve individual, community, or family problems. They can be found working for nonprofit organizations, social service agencies, and government agencies. This position requires at least a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. Some organizations require further education.
Median Annual Salary: $31,810
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Psychology Professor/Psychologist
Psychologists and psychology professors are dedicated to researching the cognitive, behavioral, and social processes of individuals. They often conduct research studies, publish academic papers, and give lectures on psychology topics. These positions require a master's or doctorate degree in psychology.
Median Annual Salary: $75,230
Projected Growth Rate: 19%
It's common for associate degree in psychology students to eventually apply their credits toward a bachelor's program. This allows students to transfer their knowledge of cognitive functioning and social behavior towards a more specialized career, like social work. Some professions require a higher degree. Teaching psychology at the college level or conducting clinical psychology research requires at least a master's degree. If these are careers you're interested in, then earning a bachelor's degree in psychology is the next step.
- Psychology: A bachelor's degree in psychology allows students to specialize their education. Many four-year psychology programs offer centrations in child psychology and forensic psychology.
- Sociology: Sociology is the examination of society and social norms. This field encompasses several subfields, including family and kinship relations, sociology of education, political sociology, deviance and crime, sociology of religion, and urban sociology.
- Social Work: Social work programs combine social science research and methodology in order to develop programs that help solve social problems. Many social work programs include coursework in other departments, like sociology, psychology, economics, and law.
Employment Outlook for Associate in Psychology Graduates
ASSOCIATE IN PSYCHOLOGY SALARY
Workplace and industry can impact the annual earnings of psychologists. The following table features data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the median annual wages for psychologists in various industries, including government, hospitals, mental health offices, elementary and secondary schools, and individual and family services.
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||$81,740|
|Offices of mental health practitioners (except physicians)||$75,670|
|Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private||$72,910|
|Individual and family services||$66,220|
Professional psychology organizations are dedicated to promoting engagement in psychology, clinical psychiatry, therapy and counseling, and other related fields. These organizations are a great way to meet other professionals working in the discipline. They offer the opportunity to participate in psychology conferences, receive notifications about psychology-related job openings, and discover publication opportunities in psychology journals. If you are interested in academia, many conferences hosted by professional organizations provide an outlet to present psychological research and learn about pedagogy practices. If you are interested in clinical psychology or counseling, there are organizations that specialize in cultivating resources for those applying psychological knowledge in medical clinics or private practice.
Financing Your Online Associate in Psychology Program
Students in online associate programs are eligible for financial aid opportunities. Check with your school to verify if they offer any financial aid programs or scholarships to students on the associate degree track. Some schools offer psychology-specific, merit-based, or need-based fellowships. Even if the institution you attend provides financial aid, be sure to fill out the FAFSA. This allows you to see how much federal aid you're eligible to receive.
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