Online Associate Degree in Psychology

An online associate degree in psychology is an academic program offered in the eLearning format. The virtual format of the program and the structure of the degree program is calculated to make it possible for students to learn remotely and acquire foundational knowledge in psychology.

An online associate degree in psychology is an important stepping stone for individuals who want to build a career in psychology or related fields.

Degree Program Overview

The degree program requires a high School Diploma, high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) or Equivalent Qualification as an admission requirement.

This program can be pursued with various reputable and accredited institutions that offer an online format of the degree program.

Study duration varies but full-time students can complete the program in two (2) years. The curriculum of this program includes core courses/subjects as well as elective courses.

Career prospects of this program include a number of entry positions covered in detail in the article.

Also, the online associate degree in Psychology will cost less than a complete bachelor’s degree in the same domain of study.

​​Who is the Online Associate Degree Best For?

The associate degree is best suited for individuals who are constrained by factors such as time and cost. The program is also a great fit for people who are still in an exploratory phase, trying to figure out their long-term career goals before committing to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

The program is also suited for individuals seeking a quick transition to the job market and are only interested in entry positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

The degree can also be relevant in cases where one needs a specific set of academic credentials for a career change or advancement, or specialization. If these can be fulfilled by the associate degree, it will be expedient to take this short two-year program instead of the four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Courses Covered in an Online Associate Degree in Psychology Program

If you are taking up an online associate degree in psychology you should expect to cover courses that span introductory psychology, history, introductory and various theories and concepts in psychology.

Depending on how the program is packaged, the learning program may also include research methods and modules on statistics.

Core Courses/Subjects of an Online Associate Degree in Psychology

The online associate degree in psychology constitutes a well-rounded curriculum designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of psychological principles and theories.

Below are the core courses that lay the groundwork for further studies or entry-level positions in psychology-related fields.

Introductory Psychology

As the main core of any psychology program, this course covers a broad overview of the discipline.

The course takes students into the history of psychology, the major frames of thought and theories as well as fundamental concepts.

Key topics covered typically include human behavior, cognition, and the various schools of psychological thought.

Research Methods in Psychology

A good grasp of research principles and methodologies is critical in psychology. This course is designed as an introductory subject to the scientific process, research design, data collection, and statistical analysis. It teaches skills for critical evaluation in psychological studies. The course prepares students for more advanced research work in more advanced courses.

Behavioral Sciences

This course explores human behavior and the underlying factors that influence it. Key topics covered here include motivation, learning, memory, and perception.

Understanding these core aspects of behavior is an important foundation for any aspiring psychologist.

General Psychology

The course spans the field of psychology as a whole. The course is deep and broad as it is packaged to be the core thrust of the degree program.

The module will take you through the introduction to the study of human behavior. What you should typically expect in this course are lectures and readings based tests and exams.

Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

This course covers the characteristics of abnormal behavior. What you will also go through in this course are aspects and subjects such as substance abuse, mood disorders as well as personality disorders.

The course will take you through procedures that are commonly used to diagnose and treat these conditions.

This course is part of the critical training thrust for psychiatric technicians who have to be equipped for working with patients who suffer from abnormal behaviors.

The History of Psychology

In this degree program you will cover the history of psychology as an introductory course which explores the development and evolution of this discipline through the years.

What you will cover in this course includes ideologies and contributions of major psychologists in the field. You will explore scholars such as Freud, Reich, Jung and many more.

What you will also learn is how the studies of these thought leaders have impacted on the mental health field today.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology examines psychological development across the lifespan. The subject analyzes how individuals evolve emotionally, socially, and cognitively from infancy to old age.

Key topics covered included theories of development, milestones, and the impact of various factors on growth.

Social Psychology

Understanding how individuals interact within social contexts is a critical and foundational aspect of psychology.

This course spans topics on social influence, group dynamics, prejudice, and interpersonal relationships.

This course is a critical component particularly for students interested in fields such as counseling or community services.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology delves into mental processes such as thinking, memory, perception, and problem-solving. This course is largely focused on intricacies of cognitive functions, offering insights into how individuals process information and make decisions.

Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are a critical aspect of psychology as an academic discipline as well as a practice.

Key courses in communication focus on verbal and written expression, active listening, and effective interpersonal communication.

All these equip students with essential competencies particularly for counseling or human services.

Ethics in Psychology

This subject spotlights ethical considerations and responsibilities of professionals in the practice of psychology.

The course explores ethical guidelines, confidentiality, and the importance of conducting research and practice within the confines of ethics and integrity.

Admission Requirements for Online Associate Degree Programs in Psychology

Online associate degree programs in psychology are designed to make education accessible and inclusive.

While specific admission requirements vary from one institution to the next, the following aspects define the common admission criteria for this degree program.

Educational Background

High School Diploma or Equivalent Qualification: Most institutions that offer online associate degree programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Note that some programs may accept students who are still in the process of completing their high school education.

Application Process: Most institutions have an online application process that requires prospective students to complete an online application form (usually available on the institution’s website).

The application process also involves the payment of the application fee, which is non-refundable in most cases. You will then be required to upload or email your academic records (certificates and transcripts).

Additional documentation may be required depending on your circumstances and the institution.

These often include letters of recommendation, a personal statement or essay and English proficiency certificates if applicable.

Where to Do your Online Associate Degree in Psychology

If you are interested in this degree program take note that there are quite numerous associate degree programs offered by some conventional universities and community colleges.

The degree packages offered by these entities attract comparatively lower tuition fees.

If you are cost sensitive you can consider the option of completing some courses through an associate degree program and then transferring your credits into a complete four-year degree program.

This is one of the reasons why you should consider studying with accredited institutions. Transferring credits across accredited institutions can be quite seamless.

Benefits of Pursuing an Online Associate Degree in Psychology

Flexibility for Non-Traditional Students: Online associate degrees in psychology are designed to be inclusive and accessible and therefore cater to a diverse range of students.

The program is designed such that working professionals and non-traditional learners can enroll for the program.

Cost-Effectiveness and Accessibility: Finances are the biggest hindrance to higher education in most cases.

Online Associate Degrees in Psychology are comparatively and relatively more cost effective than typical brick and mortar degree programs which involve higher tuition fees, accommodation costs, on campus extracurricular activities, etc.

Geographic Independence: One notable advantage of online programs is the ability to enroll and learn from anywhere anytime – as long as there is an internet connection.

This makes degree programs accessible without any geographic limitations.

How long does it take to Complete an Online Associate Degree in Psychology?

The duration of any degree program depends on a number of factors, including the study pace (full time or part time), educational background- do you have any transferable credits that can shorten your learning curve through exemption from certain courses/subjects?, is the program accelerated or the standard one? Etc.

That said, a typical online associate degree in psychology requires about 60-65 coursework credits and full-time students can complete this in two (2) years.

Career Opportunities for Associate Degree in Psychology Degree Holders

The bottom line with every tertiary learning thrust is to meet a specific goal. The goal is almost always a career goal.

Some do study just to advance themselves in certain knowledge domains but most individuals enroll for online degrees to land lucrative opportunities in the job industry.

Earning an online associate degree in psychology will position you for various entry-level positions such as the ones outlined below.

Social and Human Services Assistant

The roles and responsibilities of a social and human services assistant involve assisting social workers, psychologists, or other professionals in providing support services to clients.

It also spans helping individuals and families access resources, such as counseling, healthcare and housing.

In this career, your potential workplaces are social service agencies, nonprofit organizations as well as government agencies.

Mental Health Technician

If you land a Mental Health Technician job your roles and responsibilities will mainly be working alongside mental health professionals to provide care and support to individuals with mental health disorders.

The job also involves assisting in implementing treatment plans and therapeutic interventions.

For this job your potential workplaces are psychiatric hospitals, residential mental health facilities as well as outpatient mental health clinics.

Case Management Aide

Holders of the associate degree in psychology can also work as a case management aide.

In this context your roles and functions will mainly be assisting case managers in coordinating services for clients.

The work also involves monitoring and documenting client progress and ensuring adherence to treatment plans.

Potential Workplaces for this job are healthcare organizations, social service agencies as well as rehabilitation centers.

Other entry level jobs for holders of this degree program include, Human Resources Assistant, Community Outreach Coordinator, Substance Abuse Counselor Assistant, Research Assistant, Sales and Customer Service Representative, Administrative Assistant, etc.

What you need to bear in mind is that the associate psychology degree does not present as many opportunities as the bachelor degree in this field.

The reasons for this are that many work settings require prospective employees to be holders of a bachelor’s degree program in psychology.

If you want to achieve your full potential in the field of psychology you need to look at the associate degree as your springboard into the bachelor’s degree in psychology. The bachelor’s degree will usher you into a world of unlimited career opportunities.

Final Thoughts

An online associate degree in psychology is designed to equip you with a balanced mix of competencies and skills that are applicable across diverse industries and work domains.

The degree program also serves as an entry point for various careers in psychology while laying down an important foundation for further education in the discipline.

The associate degree will also equip you to pursue advanced degrees and specializations in psychology or related fields.

eFundi presents comprehensive insights on online education opportunities and much need career guidance.

May 2024


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