Learners with a bachelor's degree in behavioral psychology often seek out careers as school and career counselors, probation officers, market researchers, and childcare workers. Many jobs in these areas show promising futures with lucrative salaries and significant job growth. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for school and career counselors will increase by 16% between 2016 and 2026.

Professionals typically need graduate degrees to pursue work as behavioral psychologists. Even so, earning a bachelor's degree in behavioral psychology online provides an excellent foundation for further education in the field. Behavioral psychologists work directly with patients to treat disorders, including substance abuse, mental illness, depression, and anxiety. These professionals may hold full-time positions in private practice settings, hospitals, in-patient mental health facilities, schools, or other healthcare facilities.

What to Expect in an Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Program

Requirements for an online bachelor's degree in behavioral psychology vary between schools. In addition to required coursework, bachelor's degree seekers usually participate in internships or clinical residencies for hands-on learning experience. The section below offers some samples of the courses and requirements you may encounter in an online behavioral psychology program.

Sample Courses for an Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology

Each program's course offerings, available concentrations, and internship or clinical options depend on its resources, faculty strengths, history, and location. As such, the curriculum required for a bachelor's degree varies between schools. When researching online schools, take a close look at the course offerings and potential specialization areas to gain some understanding of what the department can offer you. Expect to complete an extensive curriculum of foundational courses designed to prepare you for virtually any career path in the field.

Bachelor's degree curricula cover a significant amount of material and expose new learners to as many areas of the psychology field as possible.

Data Analysis and Research

These courses help students develop the necessary skills to collect and synthesize large amounts of data. These data analysis and research classes involve basic statistics, quantitative research methods, and data collection.

Theory and Practice for Counseling

Bachelor's students prepare for counseling professions by studying foundational theories and methods for assessment and treatment in the field. Distance learners investigate psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic theories to develop appropriate treatments for patients with social problems, substance abuse issues, and identity issues.

Introduction to Psychology

A required course in most bachelor's in psychology programs, this class provides an exhaustive overview of the principles of human behavior. Topics include relevant theories, patient treatment methods, the history of the field, and basic research techniques. Students also learn about various subfields in psychology, including abnormal psychology and clinical psychology.

Sociological Research and Methods

Sociology courses typically explore human behavior from a socio-cultural perspective. Distance students investigate the dynamics of expressive cultural practices, systems of social relations, stability and change in human environments, and basic cultural theories. Depending on the instructor, sociology classes may focus more on sociological and qualitative research methods than the cultural implications of human behavior and psychology.

Statistics for Psychologists

This course covers the ways in which psychologists organize and present statistical data. Based on the basic philosophies of statistical reasoning, this class helps students design experiments, test hypotheses, and interpret data for research projects. Upon completion of the course, bachelor's students possess foundational knowledge of statistics terminology, classification tools, and quantitative research methods.

Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Completion Time

In most cases, an online bachelor's degree in behavioral psychology takes full-time students four years to complete. Most schools require at least 120 credits for graduation and offer all required classes in an entirely online format. Programs requiring internships or clinical experiences usually allow distance students to complete those requirements at locations in their local community. In lieu of internship or clinical requirements, some programs include a capstone project. This can affect the duration of the degree, depending on how much outside research students must conduct to complete the project.

Individually paced programs allow distance students to complete coursework at their own rate. Degree seekers in cohort learning-style programs, however, take courses simultaneously with other students and progress together on a predetermined schedule. Individually paced students, depending on their availability and workload, may finish their degree requirements more quickly than students in cohort programs.

Skills Gained in an Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Program

Distance learners pursuing accredited online behavioral psychology degrees develop a host of important, transferable skills while enrolled in their programs. Whether these students wish to prepare for careers in psychology and counseling or jobs in a related field, they develop important qualities, including interpersonal, research, and communication skills.

  • Interpersonal Skills

    Behavioral psychology graduates who work in offices or directly with patients must maintain positive working relationships with the people around them. Professionals in psychology and related fields benefit from exhibiting compassion and an openness to working with clients and colleagues from all backgrounds and ways of life. Learners studying human behavior typically develop strong interpersonal skills through their coursework, internships, and clinical experiences.

  • Research Skills

    Behavioral psychology coursework demands that students develop and implement advanced research skills. Regular research assignments and papers help distance learners prepare for virtually any position in psychology. Additionally, many professionals in related fields highly value thorough researchers who can synthesize large amounts of data and distill the key points.

  • Communication Skills

    Psychology students learn to present their research findings to an audience in a written or verbal format. Psychology professionals must possess strong communication skills for success in the field. Whether communicating with colleagues, clients, or patients, graduates find that advanced communication skills save time, energy, and money.

Online vs. On-Campus Programs: What's the Difference?

Distance students generally adhere to the same curriculum and requirements as their on-campus counterparts. Unlike students in most traditional programs, online learners can often take advantage of a flexible schedule and complete coursework on their own time. Distance programs best serve learners with busy schedules, family obligations, or travel restrictions.

Programs requiring an internship or clinical experience typically allow degree seekers to complete that component at an approved location in their local area. Unless a behavioral psychology program follows a hybrid learning format, with face-to-face classes in addition to online courses, distance students usually do not need to visit campus.

Education and Training Beyond a Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology

Individuals who wish to pursue careers as clinical, counseling, or research psychologists must typically earn doctoral degrees in psychology. After completing their bachelor's degrees, distance students may apply for admission into a master's program. Upon completion of their master's, these students may apply for a doctoral program. Make sure you understand the necessary credentials for doctoral program admission before applying, as requirements may vary greatly between schools.

Two common doctoral degrees exist in the psychology field: the doctor of philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.) and the doctor of psychology (Psy.D.). A research-focused degree, the Ph.D best serves students pursuing careers in research facilities and at colleges and universities. The Psy.D., a clinical degree, focuses on the practical applications of knowledge in clinical settings. Most doctoral programs in psychology require students to complete a one-year internship or externship in a clinical or research setting. Students usually complete a research project or dissertation as well.

Professionals with doctoral degrees who wish to work directly with patients or in clinical settings -- as psychologists in private practice, for example -- must obtain state licensure. Most states require one or two years of supervised professional experience in addition to a passing score on the state board exam. The American Board of Professional Psychology awards 15 specialty certifications in psychology, including those in clinical health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and family psychology. These certifications indicate specialized knowledge in a concentration area.

Most psychologists do not need certification unless their employer requires it.

Career and Salary Outlook for Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Graduates

Professionals who have earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, sociology, or behavioral analysis online qualify for a variety of exciting careers. In these bachelor's programs, students acquire the essential communication, interpersonal, observational, and problem-solving skills they need to succeed professionally in psychology and related fields. Most psychology degree holders work in elementary and secondary schools, governmental positions, and ambulatory health services. The chart below lists some additional popular careers and their median salaries for bachelor's degree holders.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Professionals with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field can offer a valuable range of rehabilitation and disability services as rehabilitation counselors. They help people with disabilities understand and cope with the issues they face during the rehabilitation process. Most professionals need a state-issued license to work directly with patients. Rehabilitation counselors who offer only vocational rehabilitation services or assist patients with job placement upon recovery do not need licensure.

Median Annual Salary: $35,630

Social and Community Service Managers

Professionals with online behavioral psychology degrees possess the necessary qualities and training to become social and community service managers. These managers oversee and coordinate social service programs and community organizations. They work directly with members of their communities to ensure local programs meet stakeholder objectives.

Median Annual Salary: $63,120

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Sometimes referred to as community supervision officers, these workers provide social services to criminal offenders. They work directly with probationers and parolees to develop the best course of rehabilitation in accordance with legal rulings. Officers and treatment specialists provide their clients with resources including access to job training and job search assistance. These professionals may also monitor clients' progress through written and psychological evaluations.

Median Annual Salary: $53,020

Advertising Sales Agents

These agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals on local, regional, and national levels. They work in a range of industries, including television, internet publishing, radio, and advertising. A background in psychology helps these agents conduct research and consider consumer behavior when creating promotional plans and media kits. They must also possess strong interpersonal skills to maintain and generate new clients.

Median Annual Salary: $51,740

Sales Managers

Psychology degree holders possess the interpersonal communication skills needed for success in sales and marketing positions. These professionals communicate clearly with customers, handle sales and service complaints, analyze sales statistics, make projections on future sales, and more. Professionals in sales and management positions often benefit from an understanding of human behavior.

Median Annual Salary: $126,250

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