Online Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs

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An online behavioral psych degree program looks at why we act, think and feel the ways we do. This means they look at how our environment impacts our relationships and responses.

At the bachelor’s level, one might look at the ways in which we gain, learn and hone some of our behaviors. Many programs also dive into autism, trauma and family dynamics. You may also learn ways to guide and counsel others into better behavior patterns.

Some degree programs in this field may also ready you to pursue a license. The board certified behavior analyst (BCBA®) is one such example. To work as a licensed behavioral psychologist, you may need a master’s or PhD.



B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

This program studies the ways we build a community and relationships. You will work to learn why people behave the way they do and use science to address problems that relate to behavior of a person in social contexts.

Course Examples:

  • Intro to Applied Behavioral Science
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Life span Development

M.S. in Behavioral Psychology

This program pairs theory with clinical training to help you grasp the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Course Examples:

  • Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • Data Analysis and Experimental Design
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

You will be provided a knowledge base in experimental analysis of behavior, ABA and radical behaviorism. This program aims to provide you with the skills to design behavioral changes through evidence based program development.

Course Examples:

  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior
  • Supervision and Consulting in ABA


Most of these degree programs study of people and their motives. They look at theories of human growth, like how we develop our personality.

At the same time, other courses touch on how we learn and adopt complex behaviors. As such, they might explore family dynamics and social contexts. These are external to us but affect the ways we think and interact with others.

Some of these classes study these areas to compare them with negative or harmful behaviors. Criminal behavior, addictions, and substance abuse are a few.

When you learn about these things, some programs also cover ways to help people and society. They may touch on theory or approach.

One such method is ABA. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a method to treat those who have a behavior disorder. The disorder might be due to trauma, mental health issues or autism. In these kinds of classes, one might learn how to assess, diagnose and come up with a treatment plan. To work with these groups, one often needs a credential from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

In contrast, if you pursue a behavioral health science degree, you may study a host of methods. Your program might look into current trends, research and practice.

B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science

A BA in Applied Behavioral Science studies behavior problems and solutions. The course work may cover themes from psych, sociology, law, and ethics. In doing so, it may look at how each area affects human behavior.

B.S. in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis

A BS in Psychology with an ABA focus might ready you to take a certification exam. One option is the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®). It is an undergrad level cert in behavior analysis.

B.S. in Behavioral Health Science

A BS in Behavioral Health Science studies human behavior and interaction. It may provide a solid knowledge of abnormal psych, diagnosis and treatments.

B.S. in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Trauma

A BS in Behavioral Health Science with a focus in trauma studies theories and methods. It looks at the physical, psychological and interpersonal effects of traumatic situations. From there, other classes may help you gain skills to work with clients affected by trauma.

M.S. in Forensic Psychology – Sex Offenders Behavior

A MS in Forensic Psych looks at the physical, psychological, and social factors that impact criminal behavior. It may provide the skills to identify offenders and drive change in the legal system.

M.S. in Behavioral Psychology

A MS in Behavioral Psych may deepen your grasp of ABA. In some programs, these courses will follow guide lines to ready you to pursue certification. BCBA® is a grad level cert in behavior analysis. You may need to put some time aside for supervised field work to reach this goal.

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

A PhD in ABA covers theory, research, and practice. It also goes into depth about radical behaviors and ABA methods. While you work on your own research, you may also be able to go for a BCBA cert.

Grad Certificate – Behavioral Intervention in Autism

This type of cert studies autism and other disorders. It also teaches you behavioral methods and how and where to use and test them.


Below are some kinds of behavioral psych topics. The classes you take will reflect your major and how the school puts their program together for it.

Some common courses include:

Communication Skills: In this course, you may learn how to better reach patients. That could mean how to talk during therapy and other settings.

Death, Dying, and Grieving: Explore how people cope with the death of a loved one. In this course, you could study the behavior of grieving and how it impacts our lives.

Psychology of Trauma: Take a look at what happens when stressful events cause pain. You could study the latest research and ideas behind the cause and effect of trauma.

Behavior Modification: Look at what it takes to get rid of behaviors and choose better ones. This course may cover how people learn new behaviors – and how you can help them change.

Human Development: Zero in on theories about how people grow and change. This course may look at child hood, teen, adult hood, and old age.

Ethics of Behavioral Science: This course may cover the ethics of doing research on behavior. That could be things like how to work with human subjects to study how they behave.


A full time student might complete a 120 credit degree in this field in 4 years. Those that bring in transfer credits from an associate degree may need two years.

If you choose to go for your master’s, it may be two to three more years. A PhD or PsyD in psych may take from three to seven years. If you have to study part time, it may take more time, but transfer credits might speed up time to complete.



School# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Grand Canyon U120Multiple48
Purdue U Global180424
Ashford U120Multiple48


The cost of a degree in this field can change from school to school.  And, where you live in relation to your school might affect the cost of tuition. The median in state cost is $9,452. The median out of state cost is $35,764.

School# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Grand Canyon U120$470$56,400
Purdue U Global180$371$66,780
Ashford U120$485$58,200


As per DataUSA, there were over 74 schools that offer degrees or programs in ABA. From those schools there were 5,497ABA degrees or programs awarded to students.

School2021 Degrees awarded2023/24 Tuition (out of state unless *)
Capella University1,001$14,436*
Florida Institute of Technology367$44,360*
Western Michigan U103$19,098
The Chicago School of Professional Psych at Los Angeles169$20,844*
U of North Texas98$21,244
Simmons University201$45,538
The Chicago School of Professional Psych at Chicago45$13,224*
Arizona State U Campus Immersion196$32,193
Arcadia U44$48,290

Estimated for full time, beginning undergrad students


Many schools with regional accreditation award degrees in this field. Choosing one of them may be important both in the short and long run.

For one, this accreditation may allow you to receive federal aid. Schools that do not have accreditation recognized by the U.S. DOE cannot receive federal aid.

Then accredited schools often have transfer agreements. These allow certain amounts of credits to transfer from one school to the next. Most grad schools also only accept degrees and transcripts from accredited schools.

There is also a level of quality control to think about when it comes to the program you choose. This type is for programs. It only applies, though, to programs in schools with regional accreditation.

When a school is accredited, this speaks to the services and support in place for students. But program accreditation is different. It is about whether or not the program follows standards set by an agency.

The main accreditor for psych programs is the APA. Yet the APA Commission on Accreditation only accredits programs at the PhD level. There are no APA accredited bachelor’s or master’s programs.

Do you want to study ABA and pursue credentials? If so, you might look for a program with a set of approved courses by the BACB, Inc.®


There are 2.64 million people that work in the field of psych. This number is growing by 3.83%. On average, the age of a person in the work force with a degree in psych is 41.2 years. Of the genders, females are more likely to hold psych degrees.


The following info is for Behavioral Psychologists. Salary and employment numbers will differ for other career paths.

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage


Behavioral Psychologist

Behavioral psychologists explore the connections between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They assist clients in transforming negative or unhealthy patterns into positive ones. Many specialists in this field choose to focus on specific behaviors, such as substance abuse, autism, mental health, or marriage therapy.

According to 2023 BLS data:

Median Salary: $92,740 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 6% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD or PsyD

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists operate within the legal system, utilizing their expertise to identify and profile criminals. They frequently serve as expert witnesses in court, specializing in family, civil, or criminal cases.

According to 2023 BLS data:

Median Salary: $92,740 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 6% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD or PsyD


Psychologists examine behavior and brain function scientifically, aiming to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They collaborate with clients, using their insights to assist others in enhancing their well-being.

According to 2023 BLS data:

Median Salary: $92,740 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 6% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD or PsyD

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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