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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology are qualified to pursue careers in such fields as business, education, mental health, research, marketing, law enforcement, public relations, and social services. They can find employment as social workers, research assistants, human resources specialists, child and adolescent psychologists, behavioral therapists, substance abuse counselors, and more. A bachelor’s degree also paves the way for a master’s degree in behavioral psychology or a related discipline.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is $48,520, while school counselors earn $60,510.  The median annual salary for human resources specialists is $62,290.

In 2021-22, tuition for four-year bachelor’s degree programs averaged $7,869 at public universities and $37,095 at private institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. It generally takes four years of full-time study to complete this degree.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology Program

Choose your area of study

Since those holding a bachelor’s in behavioral psychology are qualified to work in many different fields, students planning to earn this degree should think about their desired career path before deciding on a program.

For example, programs may offer concentrations in counseling, childhood development, organizational psychology, developmental psychology, applied behavior analysis, neuroscience and behavior, and more. Knowing what your long-term career goals are will help you focus your search on programs that offer relevant courses and concentrations. Additionally, some programs offer internships, and if you’d like to take advantage of this as an online student, make sure something is available in your area.

Research schools and programs

Once you have an idea of the career you’d like to pursue, take time to thoroughly research various schools and programs. Look for those offering concentrations and internships that coincide with your goals. Many universities have robust websites that provide information about the curriculum, learning format, admissions requirements, credit transfer policy, faculty, and more. If there are questions you can’t find answers to on the website, contact the school’s admissions office.

When gathering information about the academic components of various programs, take note of these factors as well:

  • Is the school accredited? Check to make sure the institution is accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This will directly affect what financial aid you can get, and it will also have a bearing on graduate programs you can apply for in the future. Most graduate degree programs require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Additionally, your job search after graduation will likely be more successful if your degree is from an accredited school. It’s also beneficial if the program itself is accredited by industry-specific organizations such as the Association for Behavior Analysis International or the American Psychological Association.
  • What is the cost of the program? Before you get too far into researching a program, check the cost of tuition. If it’s outside your budget, you needn’t spend time looking up information. While cost is an important factor, remember to weigh it against the academics and other factors on this list. The cheapest option may not be the best program.
  • What is the learning format? Online degree programs are delivered in three different formats — synchronous, asynchronous, and a combination of the two. With synchronous learning, you must adhere to the program’s schedule of class times; most of this is live virtual instruction. Some students prefer this, as it facilitates better communication and camaraderie with other students as well as with instructors. However, if you plan to do most of your studying on evenings and weekends, or if your schedule changes from week to week, then an asynchronous format is probably the best choice. Other programs combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, requiring students to be online for certain live classes or lectures. Determine which format is best for you in terms of learning and your other responsibilities.
  • Where is the school located? Although you’ll be studying online, universities often have on-campus services, events, and activities that are available to online students as well. These include library access, fitness centers, career fairs, in-person orientations, sporting events, student clubs and organizations, and more. You may wish to take advantage of some of them. Additionally, some programs are offered only in a hybrid format, with students required to attend some classes in person. Therefore, a school’s location may be an essential element to consider when choosing a program.

Prepare for tests and applications

Specific application requirements vary from school to school, so it’s always a good idea to confirm what you need to submit with each university you’re applying to.

Generally speaking, students have to submit, in addition to the application itself, official transcripts from their high school or other colleges they attended, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. Check whether there is a deadline for submitting applications and supporting documents or if the school offers rolling admissions. Students whose native language isn’t English must submit test scores demonstrating proficiency in English.

Select your program

To select your program, review the research you’ve done, make a list of your schools in order of preference, and begin applying. You may have a top-choice school, but there is no guarantee you’ll be accepted, so keep your options open. Also, keep in mind that many schools charge an application fee, and the money can add up if you are applying to multiple institutions. When all the schools have responded and you have acceptance letters in hand, choose the program that ranks highest on your list.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

If you can’t pay for your degree upfront, there are plenty of other payment options. First, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for financial aid from the U.S. government in the form of grants, loans, and work-study programs.

Some universities offer scholarships, and many also offer financing. You may be able to pay for one course at a time as you work through the program. If you have previously earned college credits from high school or an associate’s degree, you may be able to transfer them and apply them to the program, reducing the number of courses you need to take. Members of the military often qualify for reduced tuition. Finally, a part-time job can help pay for your degree as well.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology Programs

Behavioral Psychology Programs Badge
01

University of Florida
01

University of Central Florida
01

Florida International University
01

Trine University
01

Southeastern University
01

Ottawa University
01

Franciscan University of Steubenville
01

University of Mary
01

Oregon State University
01

Fort Hays State University
01

University of Utah
01

University of Alaska Fairbanks
01

UMass Global
01

Liberty University
01

Biola University
01

Regent University
01

Indiana University
01

Regis University
01

University of Maine at Presque Isle
01

Central Methodist University
01

Northeastern University
01

University of Idaho
01

Louisiana State University
01

UMass Amherst
01

University of Maryland Global Campus
01

Ball State University
01

Saint Leo University
01

The University of Texas Permian Basin
01

University of Arizona
01

ODU Global
01

University of North Dakota
01

Southern New Hampshire University
01

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
01

Concordia University at St. Paul
01

LeTourneau University
01

UW College of Education
01

South Dakota State University
01

The University of New Mexico
01

University of Houston
01

Northwestern State University
01

Florida Institute of Technology
01

University of Massachusetts
01

Bellevue University
01

Northern Arizona University
01

Mercy College
01

Dallas Baptist University
01

Saint Francis University
01

Northwest University
01

Wilmington University

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list have been accredited by reputable organizations, such as the Higher Learning Commission and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, that assess the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of colleges and universities.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, including U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology Program?

While a psychology degree focuses on the human brain, a behavioral psychology program is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behavior. It explores and analyzes human actions and habits using psychology, sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, and other disciplines. It also examines how language and culture influence human behavior.

The skills learned in this degree program can be applied to any number of fields, including education, marketing, business, law enforcement, child development, drug counseling, and many more. The core curriculum includes liberal arts, writing, and science classes, with upper-level courses focusing on psychology-specific subjects.

An online learning management system (LMS) is used to deliver coursework. Many universities use Blackboard, Canvas, D2L Brightspace, or Moodle, but some have their own proprietary LMS. Students log on to access the course syllabus, schedules, reading and audio-video material, class assignments, announcements, grades, and more. There is also a chat function available along with message boards so students can communicate with instructors and one another.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology degree program

  • Cultural anthropology. This course examines the cultural origins, development, and diversity of humans. It delves into the similarities and differences between countries and cultures as well as how these factors shape societies and how people behave within them.
  • Marriage and the family. Students in this course study marriage and family from a societal perspective, including different patterns of behavior across time and cultures. They examine current trends as well as their causes and consequences, and the course also covers such issues as domestic violence, divorce, gender roles, sex, and how the idea of traditional family life is changing in the 21st century.
  • Social change. In this course, students study how and why social change occurs and how people adapt to these changes. They examine various factors that drive these changes, such as politics, technology, acculturation, globalization, immigration, conflict, economic changes, and changes in laws.
  • Abnormal psychology. This course focuses on the causes and characteristics of abnormal human behavior and how it can be managed. It covers theoretical perspectives, major disorders, and treatments of these disorders as well as their impact, both socially and individually.

What Can I Do With an Online Behavioral Psychology Degree?

An online bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology helps students develop skills they can apply to careers in a variety of fields, including counseling, social services, education, healthcare, business, and more. It also lays the groundwork for further study, such as a master’s in psychology, which will qualify students for clinical and research roles.

Many behavioral psychology graduates go on to work directly with people to help them address behavioral and mental health issues, including substance misuse and other addictions. However, the principles individuals learn in behavioral psychology programs can also be applied to fields such as marketing, where professionals use their understanding of human psychology and behavior to develop advertising and promotional campaigns to sell products and services.

Career outlook

  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor — Advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions, or depression, and provide support to help clients recover from addiction, modify problem behaviors, or improve mental health.
    • Median annual salary: $53,710
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 18%
    • New jobs projected: 42,000 per year
  • Social and community service manager — Coordinate and supervise programs and organizations that support public well-being and direct workers who provide these services to the public.
    • Median annual salary: $77,030
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 9%
    • New jobs projected: 16,000 per year
  • Psychologist — Study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments, and use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors.
    • Median annual salary: $92,740
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New jobs projected: 12,800 per year

Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology degree program?

Applications can be submitted online through the school’s website or through the mail. All supporting documentation should be submitted along with the application fee. Instead of filling out a different application for each school, some universities — nearly 1,000 around the country — accept what is known as the Common Application, which allows you to apply to multiple schools at once. It’s always best to speak with an admissions counselor before applying.

How much does an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology degree cost?

An online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology can cost anywhere from $9,000 to $30,000. Additional expenses include technology and software needed for online study, supplies, and books. A school’s status as a public or private institution will also affect the base tuition rate. Public universities often charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, although schools are increasingly offering flat-rate tuition to all online students.

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology degree?

Most bachelor’s degree programs require about 120 credits, which full-time students usually complete in four years. If you already have an associate’s degree, you may be able to complete the degree in two years. Some universities offer accelerated programs, enabling students to finish in less time.

Is an online behavioral psychology degree worth it?

A bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology offers excellent preparation for students seeking a career in which they can help vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, or those dealing with mental and behavioral health challenges. Many entry-level positions in this field require a bachelor’s degree, so graduates are qualified for more positions than they would be otherwise. This degree also provides a strong foundation for further study at the graduate level if students want to seek clinical psychologist positions.

From a financial perspective, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median weekly salary of $1,432, compared to $935 for students without a college degree. Mental health counselors earn a median annual salary of $49,210, although the top 10 percent of earners in the field make more than $82,000 annually.


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