Best Online Behavioral Psychology Programs of 2022

A bachelor's in behavioral psychology can lead to careers in education or social work. Explore our ranking for some of the top online programs.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published on April 15, 2022 · Updated on April 22, 2022

Reviewed by Megan Pietrucha, Psy.D.

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Behavioral health psychology programs teach students how to work with clients or patients managing mental health and behavioral disorders. The degree typically takes students four years to complete. However, an online program may offer accelerated pathways to earning a bachelor's in behavioral health psychology.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one year of a bachelor's degree program at a four-year college cost more than $28,120 in 2018-2019. With this in mind, choosing a promising field like behavioral psychology can lead to better returns in the long run.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong growth for community and social service occupations over the next 10 years. For instance, the BLS projects roles for substance misuse, behavior disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 23% between 2020 and 2030. In addition to a general increase in demand for behavioral psychologists, the significant impact COVID-19 has had on mental health has created greater urgency for services and support.

In this guide, discover what to expect from an online behavioral health psychology program, and learn about the various professional paths graduates can pursue.

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

A bachelor's in behavioral health psychology may appeal to anyone who wants to understand people better. The training typically delves into psychological and behavioral assessment, analysis, and intervention as students adapt their skills for different demographics and professional settings.

Most programs require students to complete 120 credits spread across four years. However, learners may earn a bachelor's degree online more quickly.

Behavioral psychology programs may offer both BA and BS degree types. While these degrees may lead to similar careers, they often focus on different elements of the discipline. BA programs are generally broader in scope and more interdisciplinary, sometimes touching on sociology and business. BS programs usually emphasize science, research, and analytical approaches.

In addition to these two degree options, prospective students may also find various concentrations to choose from. Learners can develop expertise in a specific subfield of behavioral health psychology, such as child development, clinical psychology, or addictions counseling. Concentrations can help graduates enter specific industries and even pursue additional credentials.

Aside from the traditional classwork, behavioral psychology students must complete a significant amount of research and practical experience. Hands-on portions of a program may combine lab work, role playing, simulations, and clinical activities. Most degrees feature a substantial practicum or internship requirement that students complete under supervision.

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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 Behavioral Psychology Program?

Child Psychology

This course covers the main theories in child psychology. Students learn about the influences on child development and assessment strategies used in the field, along with intervention and prevention methods.

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology courses explore the major disorders found in various populations . Students learn to identify and classify these disorders and recognize the suggested assessment and treatment strategies for each one.

Psychological Assessment

In this course, students learn different assessment techniques and how to use the gathered information to plan interventions. Some of the topics may include behavioral interviews and data collection and analysis.

Mental Health Across the Lifespan

This course teaches students to examine mental health disorders and diagnoses and how they relate to different developmental stages. Learners also look at the various treatment and intervention strategies within these periods of life.

Research Methods in Psychology

Coursework explores how learners can use the scientific method to carry out research in psychology. Students may learn how to plan experiments, conduct literature reviews, and critique each other's work. Participants often complete projects as part of this class.

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

The admission requirements for an online bachelor's in behavioral health psychology vary by program and school. In addition to the typical requirements listed below, online programs may feature technology and technical skill requirements. In rare cases, programs may require candidates to interview for admission.

Application

The standard college application includes fields for the applicant's personal information and program of interest. Applicants can apply directly to the school or use the Common App. Most applications require students to pay a fee.

Test Scores

Many schools require students to submit college entrance exam scores. High scores on standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT, help students stand out amongst their peers. Many institutions across the country have provided temporary test waivers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but learners may still be expected to submit test results in some cases.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation allow former teachers and employers to talk about a prospective student's strengths and skills. Schools often ask for three of these letters from relevant sources. Prospective students should ask for recommendations as early as possible to ensure their letter writers have plenty of time.

Essays

College application essays can vary depending on the school and the program. In most cases, undergraduate essay prompts ask for more personal information, allowing prospective students to discuss their interests and educational history. Some essay prompts may ask more specific questions or request information about prospective students' future goals.

Official Transcripts

All college applications require official transcripts, showing a student's credits and grades. Transcripts can help schools identify what prerequisites the applicant has and what transfer credits they may qualify for. This can be especially helpful when transferring from community college to university.

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

Career Outlook

Students earning bachelor's degrees in behavioral health psychology learn widely applicable skills and knowledge that they can apply to many industries and professions. As a result, NCES lists psychology as one of the most popular college majors. Moreover, the BLS projects 12% growth for community and social service occupations between 2020 and 2030, 4% higher than the average rate for all occupations.

Behavioral psychology graduates can pursue work in many industries, including healthcare, business, education, and government. They can also continue their training by entering master's and doctoral programs. The median annual salary for all community and social service professionals was $47,520 in May 2020, more than median wage for all occupations.

Discover where a bachelor's degree in psychology can lead. Learn more about psychology careers.

Career Paths

Substance Misuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

These counselors help people manage mental health and behavioral conditions. They evaluate clients, educate them and their families, and lay out treatment strategies. Behavioral disorder counselors can also connect patients with other treatment specialists and services. Some of these roles may also require a graduate degree.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $47,660

Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist

Probation officers help rehabilitate law offenders and supervise their treatment. They may provide counseling services or connect their clients to other professionals. Treatment specialists may create a rehabilitation plan, work with families, and collaborate with other specialists to best support clients.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $55,690

Market Research Analyst

These professionals evaluate the market to determine the appetite for various products and services. They analyze data from consumer groups, including survey responses, buying behaviors, and other information to find the most accurate answers and projections. They may also research the competition, including their past products and sales numbers.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $65,810

Social and Community Service Manager

These managers oversee community programs and organizations. They develop public outreach campaigns, evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing programs, and seek out support and funding from local organizations and governments. They may specialize in working with a specific demographic or within a certain industry.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $69,600

Training and Development Specialist

These professionals develop and run training programs for organizations, including creating the materials and instructional techniques. They may build and deliver the lessons through online videos or in-person demonstrations. They can specialize in a certain type of training, such as teamwork and culture building.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $62,700

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

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Continuing Education

A bachelor's in behavioral health psychology qualifies graduates for many exciting career opportunities, but continuing education presents another postgraduate path According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 14% of psychology bachelor's degree graduates go on to acquire master's degrees and 4% earn doctorates as of 2017.

Many of the best master's programs in behavioral psychology require applicants to possess a related bachelor's degree for admission. Other graduate degree options may include a master's in counseling or social work. Some students take an interdisciplinary approach to their postgraduate education by pursuing other degrees, such as an MBA.

Students in each of these programs can build off their behavioral psychology training, and some degrees may even provide pathways to behavioral specializations.

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

Cost

Prospective students almost always evaluate the cost of education when considering a new degree. According to NCES, the average annual undergraduate tuition rate at a four-year college was over $28,120 in 2018-19. However, candidates should calculate the true program cost when assessing degree options, including all fees and additional expenses (e.g., books and living expenses) incurred as a result of their schooling. They should also compare online vs. on-campus costs and private vs. public schools, as well as research out-of-state tuition rates.

Program Format

Program format often concerns prospective students as it impacts when, where, and how they study. Candidates may consider programs that offer synchronous or asynchronous learning opportunities. They can also look for schools with accelerated bachelor's degree programs. Learners should also consider whether part-time or full-time study is best for them.

Location

School location is a major factor for on-campus learners, but online students should also consider how far away a school is from their home. When choosing between online and on-campus programs, prospective students need to think about travel expenses, out-of-state tuition rates, and any on-site lab or experience requirements. Some online programs might also require travel to campus at certain points during the program or for specific courses.

Accreditation

Online college accreditation should be one of the first things prospective students look for in a school. Institutions need regional accreditation to offer federal financial aid, transfer credits, and optimal employment opportunities. Programmatic accreditation is not as important for a bachelor's in behavioral psychology, though doctoral programs need accreditation from the American Psychological Association.

Student Support

Behavioral psychology applicants should research schools' student services and see if an institution provides the support they need. Colleges with robust student services may offer academic assistance, college mentor programs, career support, and wellness services. Aspiring learners should also research the internships and practicums schools offer.

2022 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs

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#1 Online College in Indiana

Ball State University

School Information
Location Muncie, Indiana
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $326
Out of State | $544

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
School Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

A major public college based in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State hosts a fully online bachelor's in behavioral psychology. The program emphasizes autism spectrum disorder, giving candidates the skills to help clients address behavioral and developmental issues. All course content occurs asynchronously, which lets students work while they complete their degree.

Ball State undergraduate applicants hold an average 3.5 GPA. The school does not require the SAT or ACT, though students have the option to submit their scores.

#2 Online College in Missouri

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

School Information
Location Fayette, Missouri
Admission Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $260
Out of State | $260

Credits to Graduate
60

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
School Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Based in Fayette, Missouri, CMU offers one of the state's top online bachelor's in behavioral psychology programs. The degree focuses on applied behavior analysis, training students to work with children experiencing autism and other behavioral issues.

Applicants must hold an associate degree or 60 credits of undergraduate coursework in a relevant field. Candidates commonly study psychology, social work, or education. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.75 GPA on undergraduate coursework.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs

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

A bachelor's in behavioral psychology can help students develop many valuable skills. Graduates can access rewarding entry-level careers in the social services or healthcare fields or continue their training by pursuing a graduate degree in psychology or a related discipline.

Prospective students also need to consider the personal value of an online degree. Online learning can provide students with more flexible study and scheduling options than on-campus programs. This may be particularly important for working professionals to consider.

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

With a bachelor's in behavioral psychology, graduates can enter several community, healthcare, and social service occupations. For example, they can work as probation officers or mental health case managers. Some graduates may explore opportunities in other industries, such as business or finance.

Graduates can also further develop their psychology training in a master's or doctoral program. More education can open the door for higher-paying counseling positions and even psychologist positions for those who earn a doctorate. Professionals can leverage behavioral psychology training in positions that involve working with people, including many leadership or administrative roles.

Are behavioral psychology majors in demand? true

Yes. Graduates with a bachelor's in behavioral psychology can pursue in-demand careers and occupations. The BLS projects the addition of nearly 350,000 community and social service occupations between 2020 and 2030, with counselor and social worker occupations accounting for a good portion of that growth.

The BLS projects leadership positions like social and community service managers will grow nearly twice as fast as the average for all occupations during this period. The BLS also projects positions for market research analysts will grow nearly three times the average rate.

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

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for social and community service occupations only exceeds the average for all occupations by a small amount. However, behavioral psychology graduates still enjoy financial rewards.

For example, market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $65,810 in May 2020, nearly $24,000 more than median wage for all occupations. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists made a median annual salary of $55,690 in the same period, nearly $14,000 more than the median wage for all occupations. The top 10% in this field make more than $98,510.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a bachelor's in behavioral psychology?

Wages depend on numerous factors, including a professional's experience, the employer, and the location. The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a bachelor's in behavioral psychology are usually managerial positions in fields like community service management.

According to the BLS, social and community service managers earned a median annual wage of $69,600 in May 2020, nearly $28,000 higher than the median annual wages for all occupations. The top 10% of earners in this profession made more than $115,800. Some employers may require managers to possess experience or further training.

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