Best Online Associate in Psychology Degrees for 2023

Associate Degree in Psychology Career Options & Salary

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Overview of an Associates in Psychology


Before you request admission to your local vocational or community college so that you can apply for an in-person or online associate degree in psychology, you should see what associate-level psychology programs are all about. Once you have completed your general education courses, which are required, you’ll take your core courses, or the psychology course offerings that make up your major. While a bachelor's degree might include all of these core psychology courses, an associate degree in psychology might only include some psychology courses that cover some of these subjects.

  • Introduction to General Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Personality Psychology
  • Child Psychology - Developmental Psychology - Educational Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Experimental Research Methods in Psychology
  • And More
Any good, accredited associate degree in psychology should teach you about the broad, foundational basics of psychology. And online psychology associate programs should have the same psychology course offerings for online learners as it does for those psychology students who attend in person. You should be able to transfer credits to accredited four-year college or university online associate programs, where you can complete your bachelor’s in psychology or a similar type of degree. Look for a program that also requires you to take courses that provide general critical thinking skills (liberal arts).

If you look at a list of the required courses for prospective students looking for a psychology education at this level, you won’t see many psychology classes listed. Because graduates of an Associate of Arts (AA) program won’t be ready to work with clients, you’ll take the majority of these classes in a bachelor’s psychology program.

PROS

Earning an associate degree in psychology gives you the ability to enter a strong psychology program at a four-year college or university, which itself could lead to graduate study in the field. However, you must ensure that your community college credits will transfer to that four-year program so that you don’t have to retake any classes.

If you are drawn to a helping field such as psychology, human services, or social work, then an associate degree in psychology or human services will be an excellent start.

If you decide to take a year or two away from school before transferring into a four-year degree in psychology program, you’ll be able to fill some jobs easily with your two-year online associate degree in psychology. These include entry-level positions such as case management aide, client advocate, youth worker, psychiatric aides, psychiatric technicians, human services assistants, community action worker, social work assistant, group activities aide, mental health aide, and intake interviewer. After earning your bachelor’s degree in psychology, your career opportunities will expand greatly.

CONS

Even with an associate degree in psychology, you’ll find it necessary to go back to school for your bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in psychology if you plan to work directly with people and help them with their emotional problems.

If you plan on working with people or offering psychoanalysis, you’ll have to have an advanced degree in psychology, not a degree you can earn from in-person or online psychology associate programs. The same is true if you plan on going into clinical social work - here, you'll need to complete advanced social work and social psychology classes and training in treatment practices, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology and human development, behavioral sciences, research methods, and more.

People interested in entering a counseling career may believe that psychology is the same thing, but it isn’t. To become a licensed counselor, you'll need to take master’s-level education courses in mental health counseling and abnormal psychology and earn a license to practice.

The level of study required in a bachelor’s degree is much deeper than in an associate degree in psychology program. Psychology students earning this psychology degree will be able to explore psychology-related electives, such as child psychology or developmental psychology, which may lead into a minor to round out your future career.


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What are the Best Online Associates in Psychology College Programs?


1

Regent University

Located between Norfolk and Virginia Beach in the State of Virginia, Regent University is well positioned to deliver a terrific education and excellent access to internships and job opportunities straight out of college. Their undergraduate departments include a full range of humanities, business, and arts disciplines, as well as options in theology and religious vocations. These degrees are available at the certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Regent is known for their psychology programs, including an online psychology associate's degree.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $18,720
    • Out-of-state: $18,720
  • Net Price: $14,785
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Enrollment: 10483
  • Undergrad Students: 4533
  • Graduate Students: 5950
  • Diplomas Awarded: 5
  • Grads Salary: $41,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • Regent University
2

Foothill College

Foothill College is a large school with a beautiful campus tucked away near several nature preserves on the outskirts of San Jose. However, it's technically located in Los Altos Hills, a suburb of the city. Perhaps because of its location near a major city, the school offers 80+ majors to its students in areas such as computer and information sciences, health professions and related programs, social sciences, visual and performing arts, and more. Foothill College offers primarily online associate degrees and certificates, including an online associate degree in psychology.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $1,563
    • Out-of-state: $10,248
  • Net Price: $8,752
  • Retention Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Total Enrollment: 14605
  • Undergrad Students: 14605
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 136
  • Grads Salary: $46,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 28:1
  • Foothill College
3

Florida Institute of Technology

The Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) is a small, private, not-for-profit higher learning institution founded in 1958. It is located in Melbourne, Florida, on the Atlantic coast not far from Orlando. Students can not only bask in the sun but enjoy small class sizes and a favorable student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to one. The overall student body consists of just over 6,200 students, including 3,600+ undergraduate students and over 2,600 graduate students. FIT offers students online programs for an associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels including an online psychology associate degree.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $43,246
    • Out-of-state: $43,246
  • Net Price: $33,313
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 6775
  • Undergrad Students: 3475
  • Graduate Students: 3300
  • Diplomas Awarded: 19
  • Grads Salary: $56,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Florida Institute of Technology
4

Georgia State University

Atlanta's Georgia State University is a large institution in the downtown area that educates around 28,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 graduate degree candidates each year. When the satellite campuses are included, GSU boasts over 54,000 students, 10,000 of which collect degrees each year. Undergraduates can pursue any of the university's 250 major and minor degree programs in over 100 fields that include business, education, arts, law, STEM, psychology and more. GSU offers an extensive online offering including an online associate degree, which also includes psychology online programs.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,286
    • Out-of-state: $24,517
  • Net Price: $17,750
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 36360
  • Undergrad Students: 28787
  • Graduate Students: 7573
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $43,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 27:1
  • Georgia State University
5

Brescia University

Founded in 1925 as a junior college for women, Brescia University is now a coeducational university in Owensboro, Kentucky that enrolls a little over 1,000 students each year. These students enjoy a 13 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, among other things. They also have the option to work toward an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree, depending on their needs. The most popular majors at the school include social work, psychology, accounting, and liberal arts. Brescia University offers an online Associate of Science in Psychology and an online program for an Associate of Arts in Human Services.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $25,100
    • Out-of-state: $25,100
  • Net Price: $14,464
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Total Enrollment: 986
  • Undergrad Students: 893
  • Graduate Students: 93
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $40,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Brescia University
6

Casper College

Casper College has just over 3,500 students attending in order to earn <1-2 year certificates and associate degrees, some of which are available through online learning or weekend/evening courses. The departments with the most major options for students include health professions and related programs, visual and performing arts, and business management and marketing and related services. Casper College offers online students online psychology associate programs among many other online associate degrees.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,882
    • Out-of-state: $9,822
  • Net Price: $6,373
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Total Enrollment: 3551
  • Undergrad Students: 3551
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 21
  • Grads Salary: $35,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Casper College
7

Cowley College

Being a very small institution with just around 2,500 students, Cowley County Community College isn't very well known outside its immediate area. This can make it much easier for you to meet fellow students. Along with the ability to earn <1 year to 2-year certificates and associate degrees, students can earn these degrees through distance education. Cowley College offers many online associate programs including an online associate psychology degree.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,750
    • Out-of-state: $5,190
  • Net Price: $7,168
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Total Enrollment: 2475
  • Undergrad Students: 2475
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $32,400
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Cowley College
8

Drury University

Drury University is a small, private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The school offers bachelor's degrees, baccalaureate certificates, and master's degrees, and some of their graduate programs are available through distance learning. The most popular degree options are biological and biomedical sciences, managing and marketing, architecture and related services, visual and performing arts, and social sciences like an online psychology degree.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $31,215
    • Out-of-state: $31,215
  • Net Price: $19,190
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 1691
  • Undergrad Students: 1409
  • Graduate Students: 282
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $32,200
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Drury University
9

Laramie County Community College

Laramie County Community College (LCCC) is a small to mid-size, public, four-year college in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The students at LCCC are offered majors in Agricultural/Animal/Plant/Veterinary Science; Business, Management, Marketing, and Support Services; Computer Science; Education; Health Professions; and more. In fact, there are around 15 majors that students can choose between whether they choose to earn an online certificate, online associate degree, or bachelors. As part of LCCC, online programs in psychology are available 100% online.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,432
    • Out-of-state: $10,372
  • Net Price: $6,413
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 27%
  • Total Enrollment: 3838
  • Undergrad Students: 3838
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 27
  • Grads Salary: $34,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Laramie County Community College
10

Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College is a mid-size school with over 9,800 students enrolled each year, all of whom are undergraduates. Since it's located on the outskirts of San Diego, students can enjoy the city whenever they aren't attending classes. Students also have the option to attend on campus or online for some programs and they will find a healthy number of degree offerings that span business and management, computer science, education, engineering, health professions, visual and performing arts, and online programs in psychology.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,350
    • Out-of-state: $14,970
  • Net Price: $7,810
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Total Enrollment: 9827
  • Undergrad Students: 9827
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $37,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Montgomery County Community College
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Certificate vs. Associate's


You don’t need to think of this as either-or. If you earn your psychology associate degree and earn a certificate in psychology, you’ll have that much more knowledge to use in your job or for transfer to a four-year program.

For instance, if you opt for a Mental Health Advocate/Aide Certificate, you’ll know about basic theories of psychology and counseling. You’ll also learn about self-care skills, cultural competencies, and healthy coping methods. At the least, earning such a certificate means you’ll become familiar with social services and human care services.

What Psychology Associate Degrees are Available Online?


  • Associate of Science in Psychology (AS Psychology):
    In this psychology associate degree, you’ll get a good introduction to what psychology is. You’ll be expected to study human behavior in scholarly surroundings, which helps you to develop critical and creative thinking. In addition, you’ll learn about how needs, beliefs and values influence human behavior. You’ll also learn human development from prenatal through late adulthood.
  • Associate of Arts in Psychology (AA Psychology):
    This psychology associate degree allows you to expand your understanding of the human mind. These psychology degree programs also help you lay the groundwork for a future career in psychology. The AA in Psychology degree prepares you to enter the workforce in a helping field, which allows you to work with people in need of support and assistance. Even though it is not designated as a transfer psychology degree program, it can help to prepare you to begin taking classes at a four-year university.

What are the Admission Requirements for an Associate's Degree in Psychology


A psychology associate degree can lead to a career in many different fields, such as mental health counseling, social work, or human resources. Most colleges and universities require students to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some will consider students with a GED. In addition to general education requirements, students must complete coursework in psychology and related subjects. Some programs also require field experience or an internship. Most students majoring in psychology will find it helpful to participate in research projects and other hands-on learning opportunities.

You’ll need to submit your high school transcripts (or GED), as well as your ACT or SAT test scores when you apply to any of these psychology degree programs. If you have any previous community college credits, you’ll submit your official transcripts from each institution in which you earned your credits. Some schools may also require letters of recommendation from those who know you academically, like teachers.

Why Attending an Accredited Psychology School Matters


There are many reasons why students should consider attending an accredited online associate degree college or university for their psychology degree. For one, it is important to make sure that the school you choose is properly accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the colleges and schools commission. This accreditation process ensures that the school meets certain standards and provides a quality education in psychology. Additionally, attending an accredited school can provide students with access to better job opportunities after graduation. Finally, students who attend an accredited institution may be eligible for financial aid and scholarships that are not available to those who attend non-accredited schools. All of these factors make attending an accredited college or university a wise choice for psychology majors.

Accreditation Recognizes Quality Schools

The APA accredits institutions of higher learning that have been determined to offer quality education in psychology. The APA is a recognized authority on the quality of psychology programs and has developed a set of standards to measure the quality of their member schools.

When choosing a college, online students must decide whether to attend a school with national or regional accreditation. National accreditation is granted by agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation is granted by six agencies that are each responsible for accrediting schools in a specific geographic region of the country.

While both types of accreditation are important, regional accreditation is generally considered to be more prestigious. This is because regional accreditors have stricter standards and conduct more thorough evaluations than national accreditors. Additionally, most regionally accredited schools will only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited schools. So, if you're looking to transfer credits or pursue a graduate psychology programs degree, you'll want to make sure that your school has regional accreditation.

Potential Careers in Psychology with an Associate's


  • Residential Support Worker
    You’ll care directly for residents who are admitted to a residential treatment program for their mental health issues. Possible client populations include mentally disabled individuals who live independently but need supervision, senior citizens, and at-risk youth.
    Average annual salary: $31,523
  • Orderly
    You’ll be likely to work under the direction of a nurse. You may help residents with basic living activities, also known as activities of daily living. These include bathing, feeding, moving from area to area, and dressing. You may also give medication to a patient as directed by the supervising nurse.
    Average annual salary: $29,500
  • Patient Care Technician
    You assist nurses, medical staff and doctors in giving care to residents. Your job setting may be in a hospital or a more-restrictive residential setting, where you are under the supervision of medical staff. If you notice that a resident’s mental health status seems to be changing, you’ll report this to a nurse or doctor.
    Average annual salary: $31,300.
  • Psychiatric Technician
    You’ll work in a hospital or nursing home setting. You’ll be a psychiatrist’s assistant, helping to care for patients who have mental illnesses or emotional problems. Your typical tasks include administering treatments in group and individual activities. Your role is to encourage patients to participate, helping them to increase their self-confidence. You’ll also monitor your patients via CCTV or in-person.
    Average annual salary: $34,500
  • Personal Support Worker
    You’ll give long-term or short-term care to your clients and act as their companion. You are an unregulated health professional, with no set guidelines to follow. Your job duties include providing physical care, recreational activities, laundry, and cleaning. Your employer may prefer that you hold a associate psychology degree online or a certification. You may work different shifts, including weekends.
    Average annual salary: $32,700

Salary by Occupation


Occupation Entry-Level Mid-Career Late Career
Psychiatric Technician $30,400 $42,000 $48,300
Case Manager $36,200 $44,200 $65,700
Health Educator $38,400 $50,400 $56,800
Career Counselor $40,500 $47,500 $53,100
Psychologist $77,800 $81,500 $91,100
Psychology Program Manager $67,600 $78,000 $100,000

Further Education to Advance


You should seriously consider going on to earn an online bachelor’s degree or higher after earning your online associate degree in psychology. At your current level, you’ll only be equipped to fill support roles, such as a residential treatment aide or patient care technician. If you want to do more with your knowledge, then you need to earn an online bachelor’s degree, at the least. Then, you can become a family counselor, social worker, employment counselor for a large employer, mental health associate, crisis line therapist, chemical abuse counselor, or even a registered nurse.

With an online bachelor’s degree, you will have the skills to work in a halfway house, crisis intervention center, social service agency, or as a psychologist in a vocational rehab center, or in a community mental health center. If you want to work in counseling (school or clinical), this isn’t possible with an online associate or bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is necessary, along with mandatory licensing.

Frequently Asked Questions


Should you consider earning an associate degree in psychology online?

Online learning is a great option these days. It’s especially good for any degree that doesn’t require hands-on experience or learning. This puts psychology at the top of the list, especially an online associate degree in psychology in the field, as all of your learning at this level will be from texts and through discussion and paper writing. And if you are uncertain about earning a full bachelor’s degree in psychology, this will give you a look into the field and let you finish your general education without paying the higher prices you can expect from a four-year college or university.

What classes will I take in an online associate psychology degree program?

As mentioned, you will be able to complete your general education introductory courses in an associate psychology degree online (such as English composition, Intro to computers, humanities, arts, etc.), which will help you complete a bachelor’s more quickly if you decide to gain further education. Other than that, you can expect some introductory online psychology courses that might cover subjects such as the following.

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Human Relations
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Psychology of Personality
  • Critical Thinking in Psychology
  • Self Motivation Standards
  • Christian Counseling
  • Problem Solving Techniques
  • Social Work
  • Science in Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • And More

Are online programs cheaper than traditional programs?

In many cases, online associate's degree in psychology are around the same cost as traditional programs when you consider tuition only. Even if that is true for the program you are considering, savings can come from other sources. For example, you won’t be paying to stay on campus or for a rental, for a meal plan, for gas to drive to and from campus or around a new town, more for laundry services, etc. Of course, you will still have living expenses, but if you are also able to work or if you are staying with your family and having those expenses covered as they were during high school, you’ll still save a bundle.

What can you do with an associate degree in psychology?

Unfortunately, an associate degree in psychology doesn’t give you many options in the field of psychology. It can help you to gain a job purely for the fact that you will have finished some kind of psychology degree, but you will not be ready or licensed to help clients in most cases. Depending on the state, you may be able to get some sort of initial licensure for working with patients trying to get out of addiction, but this is very state specific and you should check with your local licensure board before you assume this is an option.

How long does it take to earn a psychology associate degree online?

At most community colleges, online associate degrees in psychology require that you earn 60 credits. These include your general education classes, core classes in your psychology major, and electives. If you take 12 credits per semester, you’ll graduate in five semesters or 30 months. If you increase your credit hours each semester to 15, you’ll graduate in about two years, or four semesters.

Your general education classes are your math, English, social sciences, liberal arts, sciences, and humanities classes. They are required for graduation. You’ll also be required to select several units from a list of classes related to your psychology degree.

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