Best Online Applied Psychology Programs

In lieu of clinical psychology, many learners choose to focus their studies on applied psychology.

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by Staff Writers

Updated June 15, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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The American Psychological Association reports that about 6.5% of undergraduate students pursue a psychology degree, making it the fourth most popular college major. In lieu of clinical psychology, many learners choose to focus their studies on applied psychology. This interdisciplinary field applies psychological theories and principles to areas like business, engineering, and criminal justice.

We've ranked the best online bachelor's in applied psychology programs to help you pick the right school for your budget and schedule. Read on to learn about applied psychology career paths, education at top online schools and get answers to frequently asked questions about the field.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs

Is a bachelor's in applied psychology worth it?

For many learners, a bachelor's in applied psychology is worth it. Psychology is among the most popular college majors for a good reason, as the degree can lead to graduate programs that ultimately open the doors to lucrative and rewarding careers.

There are many jobs available in various psychological fields, and the BLS projects steady growth for many of these careers between 2020 and 2030. However, the value of any degree depends on the needs of each student.

What can I do with a bachelor's in applied psychology?

Graduates who hold a bachelor's degree in applied psychology can pursue graduate programs in any psychological field. Many degree-holders also pursue graduate degrees in marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and school and career counseling.

While graduate school is a common path for many degree-holders, some graduates also choose to immediately enter the workforce. Bachelor's degree-holders in applied psychology qualify for entry-level positions in careers like forensic psychology, sports psychology, and career counseling.

Are applied psychology majors in high demand?

Yes. According to the BLS, many psychology-related careers are projected to be in high demand in the near future. For example, between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 11% job growth for school and career counselors. This rate eclipses the average projected growth rate for all occupations during that period.

During the same decade, the BLS also projects 8% job growth for general psychologists, roughly comparable to the average projected growth rate for all careers.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in applied psychology?

Salary potential depends heavily on several key factors, including employer, location, and professional certifications. According to PayScale, graduates with a bachelor of arts in applied psychology earn an average annual salary of approximately $56,000. Meanwhile, professionals with a bachelor of science in the field earn an average annual salary of around $64,000.

Notably, both graduates boast a high job satisfaction rate of nearly four out of five stars. This is likely because they benefit from high starting salaries and potential for advancement.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in applied psychology?

The highest salaries available for graduates with a bachelor's in applied psychology are in education administration. According to the BLS, as of May 2021, postsecondary education administrators earned a median annual wage of $96,910. However, some jobs will need additional certifications and educational background.

Keep in mind that many postsecondary administration positions require a master's or even doctoral degree. This is the case for many of the highest-paying positions available in psychology and adjacent fields. If you want to earn a high salary as a psychologist, you will likely need to earn an advanced degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?

To earn any bachelor's degree, students must complete 120 credits of coursework, fieldwork, and capstone requirements. This process traditionally takes four years, but many colleges and universities offer degree completion programs and accelerated tracks that allow learners to graduate within two years.

Students should expect to spend their first 2-3 semesters taking required classes in general education topics like statistics, English composition, and philosophy. Core coursework differs between BA and BS programs.

Although BA students usually need to satisfy a foreign language requirement, their flexible degree plans allow them to pursue a minor or even second major through open electives. BS students typically pursue fewer electives but get to learn about specialized scientific topics like behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology.

The best bachelor's in applied psychology programs prepare students for success in their chosen occupation, whether it be curriculum development, career counseling, forensic research, or another field. Applying psychological concepts and processes also requires learners to gain technical skills in counseling and quantitative analysis.

Depending on their program, students may need to complete an internship, which offers opportunities for professional networking and potential job placement. Most programs culminate in a capstone course or research project.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?

Lifespan Development

Learners examine the cognitive, biological, social, and emotional changes humans experience from birth to death. Students focus on the interplay between nature and nurture at each progessive stage of development. Students also learn how to differentiate between normative developmental transitions and abnormal patterns, contextualizing these deviations within paradigms of family, age, and economic status.

Abnormal Psychology

In this class, students explore the causes and and symptoms of abnormal human behavior through the scientific study of mental illness, otherwise known as psychopathology. Learners delve into how these illnesses are diagnosed, assessed, and treated. The course also covers the official classification and definition of these illnesses as well as related controversies and legal issues.

Cultural Psychology

This course covers the major theories on cultural similarities and differences within and across national boundaries. Students learn how cultural influences impact the development of cognition, communication, emotion, and gender identity. Learners also examine multicultural and cross-cultural counseling practices, which highlight ethnic, racial, and economic factors that can influence counselor-patient relationships.

Psychological Research Methods

This class teaches students the fundamental concepts and tools used in social science research, including inferential and descriptive statistical analysis. Learners also develop the ability to design experiments using survey and observational methods. Additional topics include sources of variability, higher order factorial experiments, and writing reports using proper style and format.

Behavior Modification

In this specialized course, learners explore the history, development, and principles of behaviorism. This theory emphasizes the systematic impacts environmental conditioning have on human behavior. Students then learn about the contemporary field of applied behavior analysis, including the implementation and assessment of behavior management techniques in settings like schools, hospitals, and prisons.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?

Admission requirements are often similar for on-campus and online bachelor's in applied psychology programs. Most schools require a combination of the materials listed in the following section. In rare cases, certain programs may also require applicants to complete an interview with a member of the admissions department or a program alum.

Application

All online bachelor's in applied psychology programs require prospective students to complete an application form. These forms capture basic info like name, background, and contact information. Some schools participate in application systems like the Common App or Coalition App, which allow prospective students to easily apply to multiple schools at once.

Test Scores

Many schools have turned to test-optional policies, allowing applicants to submit standardized test scores only if these scores strengthen their candidacies. However, ACT or SAT scores are still required at many prestigious universities. Score minimums vary widely by school and by program.

Letters of Recommendation

Many undergraduate programs, regardless of discipline, require prospective students to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. If you are applying to a bachelor's in applied psychology program, you should ask former high school teachers to write these letters on your behalf. Make sure to ask them several months in advance of the deadline so that they have plenty of time to write.

Essays

Many schools require students to submit responses to 1-3 essay prompts. These responses are generally short, usually approximately 300-700 words, although this requirement can vary. Most prompts are relatively standard, asking students why they want to attend the school or what their career goals are. Some prompts ask students to describe a time they overcame a challenge.

Official Transcripts

Most undergraduate programs require prospective students to submit official transcripts from all prior schools they have attended. If you hold an associate degree from a community college, you should be able to receive approximately 60 credits, or two years, worth of coursework.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Degree?

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social science occupations will grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030, resulting in over 113,800 new jobs. Demand is particularly high for psychologists who can help K-12 students improve academic performance and overcome mental health challenges.

Beyond counseling roles, a bachelor's in applied psychology can prepare students for education careers as program evaluators and curriculum developers. Graduates may also work as corporate trainers, criminal investigators, and engineering psychologists, depending on their degree focus.

See where a bachelor's in applied psychology degree can take you.

Learn more about psychology careers

Career Paths

Career Counseling

Career counselors help people discover and achieve academic, professional, and personal success. These professionals conduct aptitude tests and evaluate background information to help clients identify realistic goals before guiding them to make the right career decisions. Schools, social services organizations, and private companies offer career counseling positions.

Median Annual Salary: $60,510

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge of human development, mental disorders, and behavior modification to the fields of law and criminal justice. They often assist with the trial process, helping select jurors and providing testimonies as expert witnesses. Forensic psychology specialists can also work as social workers. They generally need a doctoral degree and a license to practice.

Average Annual Salary: $73,750

Sport Psychology

This career path involves the use of psychological skills and principles to enhance the performance and general well-being of athletes. Sport psychologists often work for professional teams, teaching players attention control strategies and providing counseling to help them recover from burnout or injury. These professionals can also occupy research positions, studying the developmental aspects of athletic participation and systemic challenges found in sports organizations. Sport psychologists generally need a doctoral degree and a license to practice.

Average Annual Salary: $75,070

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational psychology involves the scientific examination of human behavior in the workplace and other professional settings. Professionals in this field often work in management positions, supervising the recruitment process and designing appropriate incentive programs. They may also work as training and development specialists, identifying employee needs and designing effective training.

Average Annual Salary: $86,100

Applied Psychology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

If you earn a bachelor's in applied psychology and aspire to become a practicing psychologist or researcher, there is plenty of school in your future. Many bachelor's degree holders in applied psychology enroll in graduate programs in various psychological fields, while others pursue graduate degrees in counseling.

While it is common for graduates of these programs to pursue further education, others immediately enter the workforce. These professionals can seek out various certifications to expand their career opportunities instead of advanced degrees.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Program?

Cost

True program costs for a bachelor's in applied psychology programs vary widely by school. To save the most money on tuition, consider enrolling at an in-state public university instead of an out-of-state private school. You can also avoid paying different fees, including transportation and housing, by enrolling online instead of on campus.

Program Format

Online students must consider whether they prefer synchronous learning, which provides structure through live, scheduled online courses, or asynchronous learning, which provides flexibility by eliminating live classes. Distance learners can often choose between part-time, full-time, and accelerated enrollment.

Location

Even if you decide to enroll in an online program, you may want to pick a school with a campus close to you. Some online bachelor's in applied psychology programs include lab courses that students must complete on campus. Furthermore, your program might maintain connections with local companies for internship or job opportunities.

Accreditation

You should only enroll at schools that hold accreditation. Regional accreditation is a process overseen by the U.S. Department of Education that evaluates the quality of a school's programs. If you earn a degree at a non-accredited school, you cannot receive federal financial aid, and employers may not recognize your education.

Student Support

Student support can make the difference between an excellent online learning experience and a bad time in school. Before you enroll, check if your school and program offer services like mentorship opportunities, career services, tutoring, internship placements, and networking events.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's in Applied Psychology Programs

  1. Biola University
    Location

    La Mirada, CA

    Tuition

    $32729

    Based in La Mirada, California, Biola serves more than 6,000 students each year. The university delivers online programs through the Canvas platform, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. After completing this 120-credit program, graduates are prepared for careers as human resource specialists, behavior analysts, and correctional treatment specialists.

    The program offers accelerated, seven-week classes. Core courses include statistics for research, abnormal psychology, and theories of personality. Students also explore advanced topics like psychology of the workplace and psychology of Christian thought.

    Biola offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Prospective students need a minimum 2.5 GPA and adequate ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must also be believers in the Christian faith. The program prefers applicants with three or more years of work experience.

  2. North Greenville University
    Location

    Tigerville, SC

    Tuition

    $20111

    NGU offers over 50 programs, including flexible options for working professionals and other adult learners. One such option is the school's online bachelor's degree in applied psychology. Distance learners can complete all required courses online or take some classes at NGU's campus in Tigerville, South Carolina.

    The curriculum includes required courses like human growth and development, research methods in psychology, and introduction to counseling. Students can use 18 elective credits to pursue advanced topics in the major or complete a complementary minor. Learners can also gain hands-on skills and expand their professional network by completing an optional internship.

    First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants need at least 12 college credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

  3. Judson University
    Location

    Elgin, IL

    Tuition

    $21437

    Judson maintains its flagship campus in Elgin, Illinois, serving about 1,300 students annually. The university also offers eight online programs, including a bachelor of arts in applied psychology. Throughout a comprehensive curriculum, learners gain the research and technical skills needed to pursue entry-level positions at community health centers, government agencies, and private companies.

    Required courses include interpersonal communication/relationships and organizational behavior. Students also delve into topics like brain development, dynamics, and disabilities. They round out the program with a field experience and a capstone research project.

    Judson's online bachelor's in applied psychology program only accepts applicants with at least 40 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students also need two years of full-time work experience.

  4. Roger Williams University
    Location

    Bristol, RI

    Tuition

    $37138

    RWU offers over 45 undergraduate majors and minors. Distance learners can enroll in an online bachelor's in applied psychology program. The university powers distance learning with the Desire2Learn platform.

    The psychology program's 120-credit curriculum includes courses like quantitative analysis in the social sciences, research methods and applications, and experimental psychology. Students personalize their education with 54 elective credits, which they can use to pursue a complementary minor or a second major. The program culminates in a practicum.

    RWU uses a holistic admissions process that does not require a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, or personal essays. Students receive one-on-one support from an enrollment advisor, who helps them sign up for courses and access financial aid.

  5. Multnomah University
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Tuition

    $25148

    Located in Portland, Oregon, Multnomah offers about a dozen online undergraduate and graduate programs, including a fully online bachelor's in applied psychology that learners with significant transfer credits can earn in two years. While completing this program, students learn practical methods to help individuals, groups, and organizations function more effectively.

    Coursework includes research methods and statistical techniques, psychology of religion and spirituality, and behavioral neuroscience. Learners also examine the foundations of counseling with regards to human development and personality theories.

    Applicants do not need to meet GPA minimums or submit ACT or SAT scores. Admission requirements include an online form and a reference. Distance learners can enroll in the spring, summer, or fall.

  6. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $26273

    Regis offers comprehensive programs across its five colleges, including an online bachelor's degree in applied psychology that teaches students to analyze how individuals and communities develop, cope, and thrive in modern societies. Learners take accelerated courses that last five or eight weeks.

    Students in the program must complete 18 credits of foundational psychology courses, including lifespan development and abnormal psychology. They also take 27 credits of advanced major classes, which cover specialized areas like understanding trauma and PTSD, behavior and stress management, and psychology of intimate relationships.

    Regis evaluates prospective learners holistically and does not maintain strict GPA or standardized test score requirements. The university grants transfer credits for prior college work, career experience, and military training.

  7. Cedar Crest College
    Location

    Allentown, PA

    Tuition

    $22136

    Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest College is a private liberal arts institution that prepares women for leadership roles in the global community. The college offers more than 40 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. Students take seven-week courses, developing critical thinking skills that complement their research training.

    Major courses in the program include statistical methods, lifespan development, and biological psychology. Learners can use 21 elective credits to pursue independent research or gain hands-on experience by completing an internship. The program culminates in an integrative capstone seminar.

    Cedar Crest College accepts applications on a rolling basis. First-year applicants need to submit ACT or SAT scores. The college provides ample financial aid opportunities, and 92% of first-year students receive institutional funding.

  8. Oregon Institute of Technology
    Location

    Klamath Falls, OR

    Tuition

    $16670

    Oregon Tech uses Canvas to deliver more than 20 online degrees and certificates, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology that meets curricular standards established by the American Psychological Association. Graduates are prepared to pursue entry-level jobs as market researchers, employee relations associates, and probation and parole officers.

    The program's curriculum covers core topics like basic counseling techniques, human growth and development, and behavior modification. Students also explore abnormal, social, and cognitive psychology. They round out the program with a practicum experience and an integrative capstone seminar.

    Oregon Tech prefers applicants with a 3.0 minimum GPA. Prospective students who do not meet this threshold can still enroll if they submit adequate ACT or SAT scores.

  9. Belhaven University
    Location

    Jackson, MS

    Tuition

    $18734

    Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Belhaven serves over 4,000 students each year. The university delivers more than 30 online programs, including an online bachelor's in applied psychology. Belhaven's distance learners benefit from competitive tuition prices and accelerated, eight-week courses.

    Required coursework in the program includes theories of personality, introduction to psychological research, and learning and memory. Students also explore international psychology, learning how cultural differences impact the ways people think, feel, and act. The program offers concentrations in human services, criminal justice, and Christian ministries.

    First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores unless they have a 2.75 GPA or higher. Based on a candidate's academic profile, the admissions committee may ask for a personal essay, a recommendation letter, and/or an interview.

  10. Hodges University
    Location

    Naples, FL

    Tuition

    $18686

    Hodges is a leader in distance education. The university offers over 50 programs for distance learners, including an online bachelor's degree in applied psychology. Through a 120-credit curriculum, students examine topics like the human psyche and motivations. Graduates are prepared for careers in social services, business intelligence, and educational research.

    Program courses include cognitive development, social psychology, and basic statistics. Students develop counseling skills centered on patient assessment and case management. Learners can also earn a specialty certification in substance abuse counseling.

    Hodges pairs all applicants with an admissions coordinator, who helps them navigate enrollment and access grants and scholarships. The university does not maintain rigid GPA or standardized testing requirements. Prospective students need to submit transcripts and a personal essay.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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