Top 2019 Online Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs and Schools

What is Behavioral Psychology Degree?

A behavioral psychology degree studies the reasons we act, think and feel the ways we do. This means looking at how our environment impacts our relationships and responses.

At the bachelor's level, one might focus on how we gain, learn and hone specific behaviors. Many programs also dive deeper into autism, trauma and family dynamics. You might also learn ways to guide and counsel others into healthier behavior patterns.

Some behavioral psychology degree programs may also ready you to pursue a specific license. The board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA®) is one example. To work as a licensed behavioral psychologist, you generally need a master's or PhD.

Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

This program studies human behavior and interaction within a Christian-values oriented environment. It does not lead to licensure, but students might build a solid foundation in behavioral health practices.

This program studies the major concepts, values, theories, research methods, and historical trends in psychology as they apply to human behavior, learning, and growth. The coursework meets eligibility to take the Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) examination.

This program studies the ways we build a community and maintain relationships. Students work to understand why people behave the way they do and use science to address problems that relate to the behavior of individuals in social contexts.

  • • Intro to Counseling Theories
  • • Abnormal Psychology
  • • Human Development
  • • Personality Development
  • • Autism Spectrum Disorders in Young Children
  • • Clinical Psychology 
  • • Intro to Applied Behavioral Science
  • • Psychological Assessment
  • • Lifespan Development

No specific accreditations other than regional through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

No specific accreditations other than regional through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

No specific accreditations other than regional through WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs

Most behavioral psychology degree programs study people and their motives. They look at theories of human growth, including 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 our thinking and interactions with others.

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

In learning about these things, some programs also cover ways to help people and society. These classes may touch on a specific theory or approach.

One such method is ABA. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a method of treating those who have a behavior disorder. The disorder might be due to trauma, mental health issues or autism. In classes of this nature, one might learn how to assess, diagnose and come up with a treatment plan. To work with these groups, one usually needs a separate 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, history, research and popular practices.

Below are some examples of behavioral psychology topics. The classes you take will reflect your major and how the school puts its syllabus together for it.

  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Human Behavior and the Environment
  • Foundations of Addictions and Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Intro to Counseling Theories
  • Human Development
  • Ethics of Behavioral Science

Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

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

Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis

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

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

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

Bachelor of Science 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.

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics

A BS in Behavioral Health Science with a focus on family dynamics studies family systems. It may help you understand counseling theories, human growth and group dynamics. Also, marriage therapy and behavior issues that originate within a family context.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology – Consumer Behavior

A BS in Psychology with a focus in consumer behavior studies buyers and their habits. Why and how people buy, their motives and decision processes. While studying these concepts, you may look at the impacts on marketing and sales

Master of Science in Forensic Psychology - Sex Offenders Behavior

A MS in Forensic Psychology studies 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.

Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology

A MS in Behavioral Psychology may deepen your grasp of applied behavior analysis (ABA). in some programs, the courses follow guidelines to ready you to pursue certification. The Board-Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. You may need to put some time aside for supervised fieldwork to reach this goal.

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

A PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis covers analytics, theory, research, and practice. It also goes into depth about radical behaviors and ABA methods. While working on your own research, you may also be eligible to pursue BCBA certification.

Graduate Certificate - Behavioral Intervention in Autism

A Behavioral Intervention in Autism Certificate studies autism and other disorders. It also introduces students to behavioral methods and how and where to use and test them.

How Long Does It Take to earn Behavioral Psychology Degree?

A full-time student might complete a 120-credit behavioral psychology degree in 4 years. Those bringing in transfer credits from an associate degree may need two years.

If you decide to go for your master’s in behavioral psychology, expect another two to three years. A PhD or PsyD in psychology may take anywhere from three to seven years. If you have study part-time, it may take longer, but transfer credits might speed up time to completion.

Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs That Could be Completed in 208 weeks

School

Degree Level

# of Credits Required

Start Dates

Minimum Months to Complete

Grand Canyon University

Bachelors

120

Multiple

48

Purdue University Global

Bachelors

180

4

24

Ashford University

Bachelors

120

Multiple

48

The Cost of a Behavioral Psychology Degree

The cost of a behavioral psychology degree varies from school to school.  Also, where you live in relation to your college might affect the price of tuition. The median in-state tuition is $6,904. The median out-of-state tuition is $30,132.

School

Degree Level

# of Credits Required

Cost Per Credit

Total Tuition Cost

Grand Canyon University

Bachelors

120

$470

$56,400

Purdue University Global

Bachelors

180

$371

$66,780

Ashford University

Bachelors

120

$485

$58,200

Top Schools that offer Behavioral Psychology Degrees

According to the NCES, there were over 150  schools that offer psychology degrees or programs.  From those schools there were 172,996 psychology degrees or programs awarded to students. The majority (73.3 %) of these degrees were bachelors.

School

2017 Grads total/degrees awarded

Tuition (Out of State)

Liberty University

2,518

$22,584

Capella University  

1,509

$14,579

Walden University

1,002

$12,120

Florida International University

1,255

$18,954

University of Phoenix - AZ

849

$9,552

Southern New Hampshire University

749

$31,136

Ashford University

727

$12,160

Argosy University - Phoenix Online Division

695

$13,704

Nova Southeastern University

657

$30,900

Choosing an Accredited Behavioral Psychology Degree Program

Many schools with regional accreditation award behavioral psychology degrees. Choosing one of them may be important both in the short and long runs.

For one, regional accreditation may enable you to receive federal aid. Schools without accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education cannot receive federal financial aid.

Then, thinking forward, accredited schools usually 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 colleges.

There is another level of quality control to think about when it comes to choosing a program. This type is for individual programs. It only applies though to programs in schools with regional accreditation.

School accreditation speaks to the services and support in place for students. But program accreditation is different. It is about whether the curriculum follows standards set by a professional agency.

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

Are you studying applied behavior analysis (ABA) and want to pursue credentials? If so, you might look for a program with a set of approved courses by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.®

What can you do with a Behavioral Psychology Degree?

There are 2.54 million people working in the field of psychology. This number is growing by 4.56 %. On average, the age of a person in the workforce with a degree in psychology is 41.1 years. Of the genders, female employees are more likely to hold psychology degrees.

Top Salaries by State for Behavioral Psychologists

State

Employment

Annual Mean Wage

California

2,080

$114,860

Maryland

630

$112,330

Kansas

120

$102,910

Washington

370

$102,760

New York

480

$99,640

Find the Perfect Online Degree For You

Behavioral Psychologist

Behavioral psychologists study the links between thoughts, perceptions, feelings and actions. Then help clients change unhealthy or negative patterns into positive ones. Many shape their career to work with specific behaviors. Substance abuse, autism, mental health and marriage therapy are common paths.

  • Median Salary: $76,990
  • Job growth through 2026: 14% (faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: PhD or PsyD

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists work within the legal system. They apply their skills to identify and profile criminals. As such, they often testify in court as expert witnesses. Many will focus on either family, civil, or criminal casework.

  • Median Salary: $100,770
  • Job growth through 2026: 11% (faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: PhD or PsyD

Psychologist

Psychologists study behavior and brain function through the lens of science. Their goal is to understand and explain thoughts, emotions and behaviors. They do this by observing these things with their clients. Then interpreting and using their findings to help others improve their processes.

  • Median Salary: $100,770
  • Job growth through 2026: 11% (faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: PhD or PsyD