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Understanding human behavior is essential to a wide variety of careers, including social services, education, healthcare, and business. An associate degree in psychology equips students with a foundational knowledge of psychological principles and methods, which can be used for entry-level positions and as a stepping stone to further education.

Although individuals must have an advanced degree to become a licensed psychologist, an associate degree can lead to several other roles. This includes social and human service assistants, who earn a median salary of $38,520 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment in this field will increase by 9% by 2032. Other employment opportunities include teaching assistants and correctional treatment specialists.

Associate degrees in psychology typically require a minimum of 60 credits and can be completed in two years of full-time study. The average tuition and fees at two-year institutions was $3,598 at public two-year institutions and $17,408 at private colleges in the 2022-23 academic year.

How to Choose an Associate in Psychology Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Finding the associate in psychology degree program that’s right for you first means determining what your specific educational and career goals are.

Associate degrees in psychology provide students with an introduction to general psychology concepts and practices, as well as different specialties such as social psychology, clinical psychology, organizational psychology, and more. This type of degree can be an excellent way for students to explore the field and take foundational coursework before pursuing a bachelor’s degree or employment. Students who have an area of specialization in mind should seek out associate degree programs that include coursework in that area.

It’s also helpful to reflect on logistical needs so you can find a program that aligns with your schedule. Some in-person psychology degree programs offer courses in the evenings or on weekends, which may be easier for working adults to accommodate. Others may offer courses in a hybrid format, with a mix of in-person and online classes.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve established what you’re looking for in an associate degree in psychology, you can begin researching available programs.

You can start your research on a school’s website, which should include information about the curriculum, faculty, completion time, tuition and fees, and available financial aid resources. You can also speak to an admissions counselor or visit the school for an open house or information session to get more specific information. Professional organizations like the American Psychological Association also have resources that can help students explore programs.

It’s crucial for students, especially those who plan to pursue further post-secondary education in psychology, to confirm that the program they’re attending is offered by a regionally accredited institution. Not only does this ensure that students receive an education that meets high standards of quality, but it also impacts their eligibility for financial aid and their ability to transfer their associate degree credits to accredited bachelor’s and master’s programs. Most schools publish accreditation information on their websites, but you can also search for accredited institutions in the Department of Education’s database.

Other information that you should gather when researching schools includes:

  • What is the curriculum, and does it align with my interests and goals?
  • Are there any experiential learning components, like an internship?
  • Does the program offer full-time and part-time enrollment?
  • What support services are available?
  • Who are the faculty members, and what are their qualifications?
  • What is the program cost, and what financial aid resources are available?

Prepare for tests and applications

Students should also gather information about admissions requirements and procedures when researching programs. Each school sets its own application processes, so it’s helpful to consult with admissions counselors for the most accurate information.

A standard application to an associate in psychology degree program typically consists of:

  • Completed application and application fees
  • Official high school transcripts or GED
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or CV
  • SAT or ACT scores

Verify application deadlines and start dates as well. Some schools have multiple start terms throughout the year, while others only enroll new students once or twice per academic year. Missing deadlines can impact your ability to start your program when you want.

Select your program

If you apply to and are accepted by multiple programs, you can use your initial criteria to select the program that best aligns with your needs and interests. This can include evaluating programs based on schedule and completion time, curriculum, specialization options, cost, and faculty. If you haven’t already visited the schools you’re considering, now is a good time to get a closer look.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

During the research phase, you should also collect information about the program’s tuition and fees, as well as financial aid resources available from the school. You can find this information on the school’s website or by contacting the financial aid office.

In order to obtain need-based aid, including federal student loans, grants, and scholarships, you

must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use the information from this application to determine students’ eligibility for these forms of need-based financial aid. You can also find out if the school offers merit-based scholarships that aren’t dependent on financial need. Many external organizations, including nonprofits, professional associations, and religious and community groups, also offer scholarships and grants based on merit or financial need.

Students who are planning on working while earning their associate degree should inquire with their employer to see if they’re eligible for tuition assistance benefits. Active duty service members and veterans can ask about GI Bill benefits and military discounts.

Best 45 Accredited Associate in Psychology Degree Programs

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#1
San Luis Obispo, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Cuesta College

Intelligent Score: 99.62
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $26,128

Out-of-state: $34,136

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: NA

Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
40%
On-campus students
67%
Graduation Rate
24%
Students enrolled
6,961
Student to faculty ratio
27-to-1
Average Salary
40,800
Average Student Debt
14586

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$391

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 805-546-3140

#2
Springfield, MO | 4 years | Online + Campus | Private

Drury University

Intelligent Score: 99.4
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $29,900

Out-of-state: $29,900

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $8,388

Out-of-state: $8,388

Test scores

SAT: 1030-1250

ACT: 21-29

Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
71%
On-campus students
72%
Graduation Rate
60%
Students enrolled
2,000
Student to faculty ratio
13:01
Average Salary
$30k
Average Student Debt
$21k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$325

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

62

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 417-873-7879

#3
Santa Maria, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Allan Hancock College

Intelligent Score: 97.81
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $30,741

Out-of-state: $40,125

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: NA

Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
30%
Students enrolled
7,389
Student to faculty ratio
22-to-1
Average Salary
30,400
Average Student Debt
9,442

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

Resident: $46

Non-Resident: $391

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60-61

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 805-922-6966 ext. 3248

#4
Austin, TX | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Austin Community College

Intelligent Score: 97.75
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $24,276

Out-of-state: $26,286

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: NA

Retention Rate
N/A
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
50%
Graduation Rate
8%
Students enrolled
26,378
Student to faculty ratio
20-to-1
Average Salary
39,200
Average Student Debt
10,499

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

In-District: $85 Out-of-District: $286

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 512-223-4636

#5
Weed, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

College of the Siskiyous

Intelligent Score: 97.53
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $14,267

Out-of-state: $22,667

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 570

ACT: 25

Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
57%
Graduation Rate
29%
Students enrolled
1,049
Student to faculty ratio
13-to-1
Average Salary
30,900
Average Student Debt
12,280

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$311

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 530-938-5367

#6
Moorpark, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Moorpark College

Intelligent Score: 96.72
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $25,662

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
11,336
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$397

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 805-378-1400

#7
Hayward, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Chabot College

Intelligent Score: 95.45
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $29,610

Out-of-state: $36,618

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: NA

Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
34%
Students enrolled
10,067
Student to faculty ratio
23-to-1
Average Salary
39,600
Average Student Debt
13,500

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$360

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 510-723-6700

#8
Wesson, MS | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Intelligent Score: 95.23
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $12,950

Out-of-state: $14,950

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
75%
Graduation Rate
42%
Students enrolled
2,007
Student to faculty ratio
18:1
Average Salary
21,300
Average Student Debt
7,435

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

County Resident: $60 Out-of-County Resident: $115

Out-of-State: $185

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

63

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 601-643-8490

#9
Scooba, MS | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

East Mississippi Community College

Intelligent Score: 94.76
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $13,745

Out-of-state: $16,745

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: NA

Retention Rate
54%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
64%
Graduation Rate
41%
Students enrolled
2,565
Student to faculty ratio
19-to-1
Average Salary
33,772
Average Student Debt
9,006

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$165

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus, Online

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 662-476-5000

#10
Alpena, MI | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Alpena Community College

Intelligent Score: 94.45
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $17,281

Out-of-state: $20,041

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $22,411

Out-of-state: $22,411

Test scores

SAT: NA

ACT: 18 or higher

Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
42%
Students enrolled
752
Student to faculty ratio
13-to-1
Average Salary
33,300
Average Student Debt
9,024

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

In-State: $150

Out-of-State: $239

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 989-356-9021

#11
Walnut, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Mt San Antonio College

Intelligent Score: 94.37
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $25,148

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
N/A
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
22,907
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$362

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 909-274-4415

#12
Pasadena, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Pasadena City College

Intelligent Score: 94.34
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $24,968

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
N/A
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
19,090
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$332

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 626-585-7123

#13
San Diego, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

San Diego Miramar College

Intelligent Score: 93.25
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $7,440

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 940-1150

ACT: 18-25

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
0
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$331

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 619-388-7800

#14
Mission Viejo, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Saddleback College

Intelligent Score: 93.08
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $27,400

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 940-1150

ACT: 18-25

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
51%
Students enrolled
15,431
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
28,300
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$365

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 949-582-4555

#15
Fulton, MS | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Itawamba Community College

Intelligent Score: 91.97
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
N/A
On-campus students
30%
Graduation Rate
46%
Students enrolled
5,000
Student to faculty ratio
20:01
Average Salary
$26k
Average Student Debt
$8k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

In-State: $145

Out-of-State: $245

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 662-862-8000

#16
University Center, MI | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Delta College

Intelligent Score: 91.59
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $17,048

Out-of-state: $17,318

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 1350

ACT: 31

Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
65%
Graduation Rate
23%
Students enrolled
5,961
Student to faculty ratio
15:1
Average Salary
37,781
Average Student Debt
10,978

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

In-State: $127 Ou-of-State: $224

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

62

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 989-686-9000

#17
San Bruno, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Skyline College

Intelligent Score: 91.09
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $29,465

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 940-1150

ACT: 18-25

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
100%
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
5,664
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$358

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 650-738-4251

#18
Santa Clarita, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

College of the Canyons

Intelligent Score: 90.8
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $24,022

Out-of-state: $32,182

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: 1600

ACT: 19

Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
64%
On-campus students
56%
Graduation Rate
42%
Students enrolled
13,371
Student to faculty ratio
27-to-1
Average Salary
47,000
Average Student Debt
10,376

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$465

DELIVERY FORMAT

On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

60-64

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 661-362-3280

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How we rank schools

This list covers associate programs that prepare students to pursue further education, such as a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Graduates of these programs are also qualified for lower-level jobs in mental health and human services.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From an Associate in Psychology Degree Program?

There are a few different types of associate degrees that students can earn in psychology, with an Associate of Arts (AA) and an Associate of Science (AS) being the most common. While different types of degrees can vary in their pedagogical approach, they all offer students the opportunity to learn the basics of psychology.

Core courses in associate in psychology degree programs cover topics related to understanding human behavior, such as human development, human sexuality, social psychology, and more. Students will also learn about research methods commonly used in the psychology field. There may also be an experiential learning component, such as an internship, allowing students to implement their theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. Students should also expect to take some general education courses in areas like English, mathematics, and physical science.

With in-person programs, courses may be delivered during daytime hours, in the evenings, or on weekends. Before selecting a program, find out when you will be expected to attend classes so you can confirm that you can accommodate attendance in your schedule.

Potential courses you’ll take in an associate in psychology degree program

  • General Psychology: Introduces students to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes with an overview of major psychological concepts and theories in areas such as consciousness, learning, memory, motivation, perception, personality, stress, and social behavior.
  • Social Psychology: Examines the theories and concepts that explain individual behavior in social settings, with topics including research methods, social perception, social cognition, beliefs, prejudice/discrimination, interpersonal relationships, aggression, and group behavior.
  • Methods on Social Science Research: Reviews the language of research, the elements of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and ethical principles and challenges.
  • Applied Human Development: Provides an overview of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional milestones from conception through death, with an emphasis on the ways in which biological, familial, sociocultural, and diversity factors interact to influence developmental trajectories.
  • Introduction to Counseling Theory and Skills: Examines the various counseling styles and techniques, theoretical foundations of counseling, and the basic educational, ethical, and professional responsibilities of mental health counselors.

Associate in Psychology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an associate in psychology degree program?

The first step is reviewing the program’s admissions requirements on the school’s website or speaking to an admissions counselor. Every school establishes its own requirements and procedures, so if you’re applying to multiple programs, it can be helpful to create a checklist or spreadsheet to keep track of different submissions.

Most schools accept applications and supplemental materials online through an admissions portal. In addition to the application itself, students typically must submit high school transcripts or proof of a GED, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and SAT or ACT scores.

Students should also check to see if there are eligibility requirements, such as a minimum GPA.

How much does an associate in psychology degree cost?

The average tuition at public two-year institutions was $3,598 during the 2022-23 academic year, while private two-year colleges charged an average of $17,408.

A number of factors determine what tuition is for an associate in psychology degree program. Public institutions tend to have lower tuition rates than private schools. However, most public institutions also charge different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state residents. All schools also typically charge fees for on-campus activities and resources, which students should factor into their budgets.

Students can lower their out-of-pocket payments by finding resources like scholarships, grants, employer tuition reimbursement, student loans, and work-study funding.

How long does it take to earn an associate in psychology degree?

Most associate in psychology degree programs require 60 credits and are designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. Students who enroll on a part-time basis may take longer to finish their degree, as they are taking fewer classes each term. Conversely, some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to complete their degree in less time by condensing coursework into a shorter time frame.


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