Online Psychiatric Assistant Programs: Overview by Degree Level

Find out about online psychiatric assistant courses and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Psychiatric assistants work with psychiatrists, nurses and counselors to provide care to psychiatric patients. Students who want to pursue a career as a psychiatric assistant typically receive on-the-job training, so online programs in this field aren't available. However, students may choose to facilitate their career goals by completing a fully online or hybrid bachelor's degree program in psychology.

Entry-level psychiatric aide and assistant positions require a high school diploma and on-the-job training, while psychiatric technician positions may require some postsecondary education, typically in the form of a certificate or associate's degree program. These programs are not available online.

Aspiring psychiatric assistants who want to pursue online education might consider an alternate degree program in psychology, though it's important to note that this degree is not required for the psychiatric assistant job. A webcam or headset may be required to complete this program.

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

Psychology programs are available as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Students utilize research, composition, critical thinking and analysis, to gain an understanding of behavioral, emotional and cognitive functions and responses. Prospective students need to hold a high school diploma with an acceptable grade point average, or have completed a GED to be admitted into most programs.

Information and Requirements

The typical length of a bachelor's degree program in psychology is between 120-125 semester hours, and can be completed in about four years. These programs are typically available in fully online and hybrid formats, which combine on-campus and online learning. Courses are often offered in an asynchronous format where students can access and complete coursework on their own schedule. Students access lessons, coursework, quizzes, exams and grades through online learning platforms, such as Blackboard.

Students need to have a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Courses taught with downloadable videos and streaming lectures may require audio and video equipment. Some courses offer live online discussion forums, and students need to have a headset or webcam.

Common Coursework

The curriculum trains students to understand and assess human emotions and behaviors. They complete coursework in general psychology, psychological methods and research methods. In addition to psychology classes, students also fulfill general education requirements in mathematics, humanities, English, science and social sciences.

Introduction to Psychology

This course focuses on core psychology concepts, which include behavior, sensory perception, cognizance, consciousness, emotion, stress and motives. Students learn to assess these concepts into normal and abnormal behaviors. They also are trained to indentify disorders.

History of Psychology

Students in this course study the development of psychological theories, as well as the historical context that shaped the individual psychologists that created these theories. Emphasis is placed on how various trends in history have shaped the modern theories in psychology.

Psychological Disorders

This course focuses on the primary categories of behavioral disorders, as well as the etiology and treatments associated with each. By investigating, analyzing and evaluating case studies in mental disorders, students develop individualized treatment plans.

Career Information

Students who complete a bachelor's degree in psychology are qualified to work as a psychiatric aide. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a fast as average growth of 5% for psychiatric aides and technicians from 2014-2024 ( The BLS also reported mean annual wages for psychiatric aides of $28,170 as of May 2015. As of that time, the BLS reported a mean annual wage of $36,280 for psychiatric technicians.

Online programs for psychiatric assistants are not available; however, a fully online option for a bachelor's degree in psychology is available. These programs are available as a BA or BS degree, and focus on understanding behavioral, emotional and cognitive function in humans.

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