Online Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs

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WHAT IS A BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?

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.

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TYPES OF ONLINE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAMS

B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

M.S. in Behavioral Psychology

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

  • Intro to Applied Behavioral Science
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Life span Development
Course Examples:

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

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

BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE ONLINE PROGRAMS

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.

WHAT DO BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE COURSES LOOK LIKE?

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.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE AN ONLINE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM?

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.

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BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM EXAMPLES

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

THE AVERAGE COST OF AN ONLINE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM

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 $8,103. The median out of state cost is $33,557.

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

TOP SCHOOLS FOR ONLINE BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAMS

As per DataUSA, there were over 90 schools that offer degrees or programs in ABA. From those schools there were 1,836 ABA degrees or programs awarded to students.

School2017 Degrees awarded2019/20 Tuition (out of state unless *)
Capella U486$14,540*
Florida Institute of Tech166$42,470*
Western Michigan U135$16,041
The Chicago School of Professional Psych at Los Angeles109$21,934*
U of North Texas80$21,172
Simmons College63$6,390
The Chicago School of Professional Psych at Chicago51$10,992*
Arizona State U Skysong51$19,398
Arcadia U41$44,440

Estimated for full time, beginning undergrad students

CHOOSING A BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE ONLINE ACCREDITED PROGRAM

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.®

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?

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.

TOP SALARIES BY STATE FOR BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE HOLDERS

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

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
California(8)$117,610
Maryland610$112,260
Alaska(8)$112,260
Kansas130$104,980
Washington470$103,440

BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGIST CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

Behavioral Psychologist

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

Median Salary: $79,010 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 14% (Much faster than avg)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD or PsyD

Forensic Psychologist

A forensic psych works 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 case work.

Median Salary: $79,010 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 14% (Much faster than avg)

Typical Entry level Education: PhD or PsyD

Psychologist

A psych looks at behavior and brain function through the lens of science. Their goal is to try to understand and explain thoughts, emotions and behaviors. They do this by looking at these things with their clients. Then they use their findings to help others improve their ways.

Median Salary: $79,010 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 14% (Much faster than avg)

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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This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.