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Psychology Adult Education Programs: An Overview

Whether you are an interested amateur, a possible career changer or a professional currently working in the field, you can find psychology courses and curses that fit your needs. Read about the educational options available, as well as find out which careers are available.

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Adult students interested in psychology can find a wide range of available degree programs and standalone courses. Here we discuss some of the different program options, as well as common course topics and career outcomes.

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Program Information

Psychology is the study of the human mind - and, as such, affects every aspect of our lives at home, at work and at play. If you are just interested in the subject, or if you would like to make (or have already made) a career out of it, there are adult education courses available to give you the psychological knowledge you need. Degree options include associate through doctoral degree programs, as well as courses that professionals in the field need to take to meet continuing education requirements. Many of the available programs are offered on-campus and online for adult learners. The table below contains information about adult education programs.

Programs At a Glance

Associate Degree

  • This 2-year degree program requires a diploma or GED.
  • It is available on-campus and online.

Bachelor Degree

  • This program also requires a high school diploma or GED and is typically 4 years in length.
  • Programs are available on-campus and online.

Certificate

  • This program usually takes 1 year or less to complete and requires a bachelor's degree in any field.
  • Certificate programs can be found on-campus and online.

Introductory Courses for the Amateur or Career-Changer

If you're interested in psychology, then you may want to take a few courses to see what makes you (and others) tick - or perhaps you'd like to see whether your interest or aptitude in the subject might lead to a new career for you. Either way, your best course is to seek out introductory courses in psychology, many of which are offered through night or weekend education programs at colleges (both two-and four-year) and universities. There are even psychology courses you can enroll in online so as not to interrupt your current working schedule. Some courses include Introduction to Psychology, Human Development, Abnormal Psychology and Addiction.

Courses for Those Employed in Other Professions

If, on the other hand, you are happy in your current career, but would like to advance in it, you might be able to find an adult education course in psychology that will help you do just that. Educational psychology courses are often required of those wishing to advance in the teaching profession or to move into school administration. Courses in business psychology are offered for those who wish to gain additional insight into the corporate world - consumer psychology courses are particularly useful to professionals in the sales and advertising fields. Often these courses are available online or in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate full-time workers.

Continuing Education Courses

If you are already employed in the field of psychology (or a related field), as a counselor, school psychologist, teacher of psychology or a similar profession, you will need to take advantage of continuing education courses in order to keep your credentials current. These courses usually adhere to guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA), and some of the coursework can be completed during workshops offered at the APA's annual convention or at APA-sponsored weekend seminars throughout the year. Other courses and examinations are self-paced and are offered entirely online for the convenience of the busy professional. Course topics may include anxiety and depression, families and couples, addiction, clinical psychology and more.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

If you're interested in working in a non-clinical role, then you could pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in psychology. Both programs typically include basic courses in psychology, including those in introductory psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, social psychology, statistics, research and counseling. Bachelor's programs may also include an internship and offer specializations, such as crisis counseling, substance abuse, life coaching or organizational studies. Both programs can be found on-campus or online for students who may need a more flexible schedule.

Some possible career options for associate's program graduates include working as a sales representative, market researcher, or project manager. Bachelor's program graduates may work in the fields of counseling, advocacy, case management and mental health services.

Graduate Degree Programs

Master's programs in psychology can prepare you for a doctoral program or enable you to gain specialized knowledge in a field like industrial/organizational psychology, consumer psychology, biological psychology or clinical psychology. These programs usually include laboratory experience along with classroom study, and there are usually opportunities to do research. Graduates may pursue careers in counseling, teaching and other fields that don't require licensure as a psychologist. Some master's programs are available online, but still include hands-on learning through research methods, capstone projects and more.

A doctoral program in psychology can lead to a career in research, teaching and counseling. Depending on the type of degree pursued, students may have to do an internship, complete a dissertation or take comprehensive exams - or complete a combination of these requirements. Some doctoral programs available include those specializing in clinical psychology, behavior or school psychology. Certification or licensure is required for practicing psychologists in most states, and requirements vary. Some doctorate programs are available online, but still may include dissertation requirements and research seminars.

Psychology degree programs are available on-campus and online at the certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree levels, as well as standalone courses in the subject. Students study topics ranging from clinical psychology to consumer psychology.

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