Online Associate Degree in Psychology

An online associate degree in psychology is an option if you want to transfer to a four-year degree program or you have limited time and money to invest in a degree. Associate degree programs usually take two years to complete if you enroll full-time, compared to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. As a result, they usually cost less than bachelor’s degree programs. Also, many associate degree programs are available through community colleges with lower tuition rates. If you have a budget for your education, you may be able to conserve costs by completing some courses through an associate degree program and transferring your credits to a four-year university. At the associate degree level, you can expect to take some general education courses in composition, history, and mathematics alongside introductory to intermediate courses in psychology.

Common Courses in Associate Programs

  • General Psychology
    General psychology covers the field of psychology as a whole. This is course is very broad and offers an introduction to the study of human behavior. You can expect this class to be reading- and lecture-based with exams or short writing assignments.
  • Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
    Abnormal psychology courses at the associate degree level focus on the characteristics of abnormal behavior, substance abuse, and personality and mood disorders. You will also learn about the procedures commonly used to diagnose and treat these conditions. This course is particularly useful to psychiatric technicians, who often work with patients suffering from abnormal behaviors.
  • The History of Psychology
    The History of Psychology is an introductory course that discusses the development and evolution of the field of psychology. You will study the ideologies and contributions of major psychologists, such as Freud, Jung, Reich, and more, and how their studies are relevant to mental health practice today.

Career Options for Associate Degree Holders

An associate degree in psychology comes with limited career options, as most psychology careers require at least a bachelor’s degree and many require a master’s or even a doctoral degree. For example, a master’s degree is required to work as a counselor and a doctoral degree is required to work as a psychologist. Associate degree programs in psychology are designed to help you spring board to a bachelor’s degree program in psychology. However, a terminal associate degree is sufficient education to work as a psychiatric technician. Psychiatric technicians are mental health professionals that work under psychiatrists and nurses and provide hands-on care to patients.

An associate degree is required to become a psychiatric technician. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed a psychiatric tech training program, while an online associate degree in psychology may be sufficient education in other cases. Also, you may need to be licensed by the state, depending on where you live. Despite being on the frontlines of the mental health professions, psychiatric techs often earn less than other high-level mental health professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average psychiatric technician salary is approximately $33,440.