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Psychology: Online Bachelor's Degree

An online bachelor's degree program in psychology can help you understand human behavior and the brain. Find out what you can do with your degree, what to expect from a degree program and what the job outlook is for graduates.

What Are Some Program Details?

Depending on whether you attend classes part- or full-time, it can take you as little as four years to complete a psychology program leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.). Typical courses you might encounter in an online bachelor's degree program in psychology include general, developmental, social, cognitive, abnormal and experimental psychology. You also may be required to complete an internship at a school-approved facility. Through your elective courses, you may be able to specialize in an area of psychology, such as school, clinical, counseling or industrial-organizational psychology. These are the four specialties recognized by the APA.

Degrees Available Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree
Possible Careers Social work, public relations, psychologist, personnel administration, counseling
Median Salary (2020)* $82,180 (for psychologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?

To become a clinical or counseling psychologist, you'll likely need a doctorate in psychology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the BLS also notes that you might qualify for an entry-level position as a psychologist with the federal government with a bachelor's degree that includes at least 24 credits of psychology or a combination of education and experience (www.bls.gov). Additionally, an online bachelor's degree program in psychology can prepare you to work as a clinical or administrative assistant to a psychologist.

An undergraduate program in psychology also can serve as a stepping stone to graduate work in the field. Though not required for admission to most master's or doctoral programs in psychology, a bachelor's degree could help you in the admissions process, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA also notes that many psychology majors don't go on to pursue careers specifically in psychology; however, these graduates tend to report that their psychology training proved useful in their chosen livelihoods (www.apa.org). Some occupational areas where you might apply psychology include probation and parole, public relations, personnel administration, social work and counseling, although these jobs generally will require additional education or training beyond a psychology degree.

What Is the Occupational Outlook?

In the decade spanning 2019-2029, employment opportunities for psychologists are expected to increase 3%, according to the BLS. In the same time span, positions for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, parole and probation officers and public relations specialists are expected to increase 25%, 4% and 7%, respectively.

As of May 2020, the median annual wage for psychologists, in general, was $82,180, while clinical and school psychologists earned a median annual wage of $79,820, and industrial-organizational psychologists made $96,270. The BLS also reported median annual wages for probation and parole officers, and public relations specialists at $55,690 and $62,810.