Due to extensive residency requirements at the graduate degree levels, it is impossible to complete training to become a neuropsychologist entirely online. However, many courses are offered through distance education, and students can earn a bachelor's degree completely through online study.
Students begin the path towards a career as a neuropsychologist by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. They must complete general education requirements, then take general psychology courses covering topics such as cognition and abnormal psychology.
At the master's level, many courses are offered online, and students usually must participate in therapy sessions several times a week. Courses at this level include biopsychology and research methods. At the doctoral level, students prepare to work with clients and complete extensive residency requirements. They study the history of psychology, learn about various conditions and treatments and engage in clinical experiences.
All states require that anyone practicing under the title 'psychologist' hold a license. Requirements vary, but most states call for a doctoral degree in psychology, an internship, experience and passing a competency examination.
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
Undergraduate degree programs in psychology may result in a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.). B.S. programs are designed for students who want to incorporate psychology concepts into a non-related field, such as business. B.A. programs are tailored to students who want to pursue a career in psychology or related fields of social science, including neuropsychology. These programs instill skills in writing, research, critical thinking, problem solving and analysis in the pursuit of understanding behavioral patterns and cognitive functions in people and populations.
Program Information and Requirements
The length of a bachelor's degree program in psychology ranges from 120-125 semester-hours and can be completed in about four years if the student is enrolled full-time. These programs are widely available entirely online, as well as in a hybrid format. Courses are often structured so that students can complete the material at their own pace. Online learning platforms like Blackboard allow students to access lesson plans, assignments, coursework, quizzes, exams and grades.
Students need to have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, an updated operating system and an approved Web-browser. Some courses are delivered via streaming and downloaded multimedia, so the computer needs to have a media player with speakers.
List of Common Bachelor's Degree Programs in Psychology Courses
Most bachelor's-level curricula have general education requirements in subjects that include English, mathematics, natural sciences and the humanities. These are paired with electives to complement the major field of study courses.
Fundamental Concepts in Psychology
Primary areas of focus in this course include the definitions of and influences on cognizance, sensory perception, behavioral patterns, emotion, stress, motives and consciousness. Students then learn to define the disorders associated with each.
This class looks at the causes, symptoms, treatment and maintenance of mental and behavioral disorders. It touches upon such categories as substance abuse, anxiety, and psychophysiological, personality, organic, sexual and psychotic disorders. Legal and ethical issues surrounding these disorders are also emphasized.
This course analyzes behavior, cognition, emotions and brain function as they pertain to brain structure. It also emphasizes REM sleep, memory, electrical brain activity and the neurological aspects of behavior.
Master of Science in Psychology Degree
Those who have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology are eligible to enroll in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology program. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in another field may need to satisfy additional prerequisites to enroll. Through research, analysis and real-world practice, these programs teach students advanced concepts in psychology and therapy.
Program Information and Requirements
M.S. in Psychology programs can range from 53-65 semester-hours and can be completed in 2-4 years. This variance is based on the curriculum path; for example, students may complete a thesis or a cumulative examination at the end of their program. They may also choose between online and blended-hybrid formats.
List of Common Master of Science in Psychology Degree Program Courses
In addition to classes completed online, psychology students at the master's degree level may be required to participate in 1-2 weeklong residency sessions in therapy practices; prospective students may wish to seek out programs that offer or accept experience in neuropsychology environments at this stage.
Current Issues in Psychology
Students examine current topics and contemporary issues in psychological practice. Advanced concepts include learning, memory, cognition, motivation, stress, personality theories, behavioral disorders, social psychology and biological-related issues.
This course focuses on the study of the central and peripheral nervous systems. It focuses on the influence that endocrinology, neurobiology and physiology have on human behavior. Further topics include neurotransmitters, neural conduction, sensory systems, attention, memory and language.
Advanced Research Methods in Psychology
Concepts in this course include the scientific method, internal validity, external validity, ethics, experimental psychology and the evaluation of research findings. Students use these in the study of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the design of hypotheses and the analysis of data.
Career Outlook and Salary Information for Graduates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment rate for all psychologists is expected to rise by 19% between 2014 and 2024. Those with a master's degree may only be able to assist in the field of neuropsychology, as most master's-level psychologists work in the field of industrial-organizational behavior, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). These individuals may wish to pursue a doctorate to become neuropsychologists. Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for this occupation was $90,203 in 2016.
Doctoral Degree Program in Psychology
Doctoral-level programs may result in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). Programs often offer specialized concentrations that allow students to focus their research on a psychology-related field, one of which is neuropsychology. They are typically designed to produce graduates who develop ethical clinical psychological practices that provide treatment and care to a variety of patients. Applicants must have completed a master's degree program in psychology.
Program Information and Requirements
The length of doctoral degree programs in psychology vary considerably, and can range from 3-5 years. While coursework can often be completed entirely online, students generally need to attend weekend residencies at campus locations. This results in a hybrid program format. Online course material is both synchronous and asynchronous, so students sometime have the flexibility of completing material at their own pace. Many programs include a practicum period, through which students gain clinical field experience under the tutelage of professors.
List of Common Doctoral Degree Programs in Psychology Courses
Most programs culminate with the completion of a dissertation paper that the student must defend before a faculty panel. Because these papers may focus on an approved topic of the student's choosing, this is one way for those interested in neuropsychology to begin specializing.
History of Psychology Practice
This course provides a survey of theories, research methods, schools of thought and terminology used throughout the history of psychology. Topics include Gestalt, Structuralism, Functionalism, Associationism, Psychodynamics and Existentialism. Lessons address the evolution of modern psychological theories and practices.
Psychometrics in Psychology
Students learn various practices with instruments used to measure psychological traits. These include intellect, aptitude, personality, interest and social capacity. They also learn to measure results by applying the fundamentals of statistical inference.
Psychopathology and Treatment
This 2-semester course focuses on psychopathological disorders in adults. Students learn to assess, diagnose and develop treatment options for hypothetical patients. They pay particular attention to symptom reduction and management of behavioral disorders.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of a doctoral degree program in psychology are qualified to pursue residencies and, ultimately, work as clinical neuropsychologists. Neuropsychologists must satisfy all certification and licensing requirements for the state in which they wish to practice.
Graduates of a doctoral degree program in psychology engage in intensive research in brain-behavior relationships and professional practices in neuropsychology. These programs are two years in length, and they are offered through accredited institutions that prepare participants to sit for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology exam.
While especially rare, certificate programs in clinical neuropsychology are available online for post-doctoral practicing psychologists. Upon completion of this program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the certification exam administered by the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. Applicants must have completed a master's or a doctoral degree program in psychology or a related field. Programs are about 24 semester-hours in length, and all courses can be completed entirely online in about two years. Six hours of coursework involve students working at area clinical facilities approved by the financial institution.
Students interested in neuropsychology and starting their career may pursue a fully online bachelor's degree that covers the fundamentals of psychology. Yet, in order to earn the Ph.D. needed to become a neuropsychologist, students will have to complete in-person residency requirements and dissertation work, along with additional coursework.