Online Associate's Degree in Psychology: Program Info

Get info about online associate's degree programs in psychology. Read about program requirements and course topics, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Online associate's degree programs in psychology are common and can be completed entirely online, although some programs may require a few on-campus classes. In order to participate in a distance learning program, students may need access to specific office software. Most programs take about two years of full-time study to finish.

These programs give students basic knowledge in human behavior while laying a foundation for possible transfer into a 4-year degree program. Career opportunities in the field of psychology are limited for graduates holding only an associate's degree.

These associate's degree programs include courses in abnormal psychology, psychological research, biological causes of behavior and human development. The program allows students to get an overview of various areas of psychology. There are also general education courses that are required in any online associate's degree program.

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Associate's Degree in Psychology

While most programs are totally online, some require on-campus physical education classes. Schools affiliated with a particular religious or spiritual tradition may also require one or more courses in theology or spirituality relating to this tradition.

Program Information and Requirements

Students should have reliable access to a computer connected to the Internet, along with a browser program. A high-speed Internet connection is usually recommended. Some programs may require a specific browser; Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari are most likely to be acceptable. Students may need to download an additional special browser to use in taking tests and quizzes. Audio and video plug-ins, along with a sound card and speakers, may be necessary.

Online interactive software, such as Blackboard, may be used; most programs using such tools provide an online tutorial and technical assistance for students who need them. Students may be expected to respond to and discuss material covered in classes through discussion board postings or live chats.

List of Common Psychology Courses

Students complete basic foundational courses in psychology.

Introductory Psychology

An introductory course provides an overview of key topics in psychology, including human behavior, motivation, cognition, memory and mental development. Research methods used in studying the mind may also be introduced.

Abnormal Psychology

Courses in abnormal psychology examine mental health issues and signs and symptoms of common psychological disorders. Students also discuss the range of behaviors and mental conditions considered normal and those considered outside the norm as well as controversies in the field of mental health.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology studies the human mind across the entire lifespan. Topics covered include the mental, emotional and social growth of children through different periods of their lives and the relative influences of biology and environment on this growth.

Career Information

Some graduates may find work in social or human service assistant positions; this category includes positions as social services or mental health aides, community outreach workers and social work assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions require at least a high school diploma and on the rare occasion, a bachelor's degree. Workers in these positions are often under the supervision of a psychologist or social worker. In May 2015, the median annual salary for such workers was $30,830 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Students graduating with an associate's degree in psychology may be able to transfer into a 4-year degree program in psychology or a related social science field. Some of these degree programs may be offered online. Students seeking additional education may pursue a master's or doctoral degree in the field; career opportunities increase for workers with a graduate-level degree.

Fully online and hybrid associate's degree programs in psychology provide a broad overview of the field. Graduates can ready themselves for a bachelor's degree program in a similar field or pursue work in such positions as social service assistant, community outreach worker or mental health aide.

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