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Students completing an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree will further their understanding of psychology while also preparing themselves for more advanced careers requiring specialized expertise. This degree typically requires between 30 to 48 credit hours, allowing most full-time students to complete their coursework within two years.

Those who graduate may qualify for a job as a school or career counselor, and this occupation has an average salary of about $60,000 per year. On average, the tuition for a graduate degree will cost you $20,513 per year.

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

Choose your area of study

This degree is typically available as a Master of Arts (MA), though some programs offer a Master of Science (MS). Also, master’s in behavioral psychology programs often allow students to select a concentration and focus their studies on a particular specialty area, such as school psychology, counseling psychology, or addiction psychology.

If students are reasonably sure what they want to do after graduation, they should choose an online program with an area of study that aligns with their future career needs. This determination will help students learn the most relevant topics for their goals while signifying to prospective employers that they are now subject matter experts in a highly specialized area.

Research schools and programs

You should only consider institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

It’s also essential for budget-conscious students to determine which of these schools is realistically within their price range. And students worried about whether they can succeed in an online program should consider focusing on schools with extensive support resources for remote learners.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Students researching different online master’s in behavioral psychology programs should check each application and verify whether it will require them to submit GRE scores as part of their application. Many schools have waived this requirement entirely, some will waive the requirement if a student’s undergraduate GPA is high enough, and others require GRE scores no matter what. If the student has never taken the GRE before, they should keep application deadlines in mind: it can take up to three months to study for the exam and up to 15 days to receive results.

Students should also check the application for other requirements, such as a cover letter, a personal statement, application essays, undergraduate transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

With the list of online master’s in behavioral psychology programs narrowed down, students must ultimately decide which ones they will apply to.

Cost is a major deciding factor for most students, as they want an affordable school that won’t leave them with excess student debt. Other factors may include the job placement rate of the programs in question and which professors will be teaching the classes (this can be important because the professional connections of influential figures in psychology can help students find jobs after graduation).

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Do you want your program to be as online as possible, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a fair amount of in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

The easiest way for students to get help paying for their online master’s in behavioral psychology program is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. After completing this application, students may be eligible for federal student loans that can mitigate some of their educational costs or possibly take care of them entirely. And while it’s harder for graduate students to find the kinds of grants and scholarships available to undergraduate students, a completed FAFSA may be a requirement for other types of aid the student may receive.

For a complete breakdown of aid opportunities available through the school or the state, students should contact the financial aid office of every university they apply to. Those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Programs

Best Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology Programs Badge

University of South Florida

University of Kansas

Southeast Missouri State University

St. Cloud State University

Simmons University

Bay Path University

Oregon Institute of Technology

Drexel University

Ball State University

Russell Sage College

UW College of Education

Arizona State University

McNeese State University

University of West Florida

University of Houston at Victoria

Northeastern University

National University

Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Elizabeth University

University of Cincinnati

Western Connecticut State University

Florida Institute of Technology

Arcadia University

Texas Tech University

Daemen College

Endicott College

Monmouth University

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Pepperdine University

FSU Panama City

Southern Illinois University

University of Dayton School of Education and Health Sciences

UMass Global

University of Nevada at Reno

UMass Dartmouth

Eastern Kentucky University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features an array of master’s degree programs — including Master of Arts and Master of Science programs. We reviewed both 100% online and hybrid options.

To ensure quality, we only included programs that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization. We assessed each program on a number of different factors, including tuition, faculty, curriculum, student resources, and student outcomes.

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

Students who get accepted into an online master’s in behavioral psychology program should expect classes that take their undergraduate foundation of psychological knowledge and build on it through coursework with a particular focus: learning more about what makes humans behave in specific ways in certain situations.

Most of these online programs are designed to take two years for full-time learners and three years for part-time learners. Those who enroll in an accelerated program can complete the necessary courses in only one year. And unlike some online graduate programs, remote learners should not have to complete any labs or other requirements that necessitate a visit to campus.

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

  • Research Methods in Psychology. This course covers the different methodologies and technologies that help fuel psychological research. Course instruction includes how to find and analyze specific data and contextualize the findings using theories and recent developments from contemporary psychology.
  • Social Psychology. This course helps students learn more about how people interact with society, technology, and the environment and what can be known from these interactions.
  • Cognitive Processes. Compared to social psychology courses, this class focuses more on the processes that go into our everyday cognitive processes. Those processes include learning, language, memory, and decision-making, and students will learn more about how to apply this understanding to a diverse set of real-world problems and social challenges.
  • Theories of Personality. This course uses a theory-based approach to help students learn more about the historical theories of behavioral psychology that Sigmund Freud put forth as well as more contemporary theories that have evolved from his original research.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology?

Career outlook

An online master’s degree in behavioral psychology offers a valuable education in human behavior and the application of psychological principles to address various challenges. Graduates with this degree possess a deep understanding of human cognition, emotion, and behavior, making them well-equipped for diverse career opportunities.

Indeed, the versatility of a master’s in behavioral psychology allows graduates to adapt to a wide range of professions. They can apply their knowledge and skills to areas such as clinical psychology, counseling, education, organizational management, and more. The demand for professionals who can understand, assess, and improve human behavior in these fields continues to increase.

Here are a few career options that may be appealing to those with a master’s degree in behavioral psychology:

  • Psychologist — Research cognitive, emotional, and social processes as well as how people interact with each other and their environments.
    • Median annual salary: $85,330
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 12,800 annually
  • Special education teacher — Educate students with mental, emotional, or physical disabilities.
    • Median annual salary: $62,950
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 0%
    • New job openings projected: 33,500 annually
  • School or career counselor — School counselors help students develop academic and social skills, while career counselors assist students with choosing an occupation and taking the steps needed to reach their career goals.
    • Median annual salary: $60,140
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 26,600 annually

Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

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

To apply to an online master’s in behavioral psychology program, students need only to visit the appropriate school website and access the online application. That application will specify what additional paperwork needs to be included, such as a cover letter, undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

It’s important to remember that different programs may have other guidelines for students to abide by. When in doubt, students should contact the admissions office for schools they are interested in. These counselors can provide important information about the school, the program, and the application.

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

The average tuition for graduate school is $12,596 at public institutions and $28,017 at private institutions. Generally speaking, programs that require more credit hours to complete will be more expensive than those requiring fewer credit hours, and students who complete coursework within two years will pay less than those who take longer.

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

Most schools have designed their online master’s in behavioral psychology programs to be completed within two years by full-time students. Accelerated programs may be available, which students can complete in as little as one year.

Fortunately, most online programs are designed with a certain degree of schedule flexibility in mind, which is excellent for students who might need to take classes at night after they attend their part-time or even full-time job during the day. Students who know in advance that they can only attend part-time or who otherwise have many non-academic responsibilities should focus on applying to online programs that offer schedule flexibility for remote learners.

Is an online master’s degree in behavioral psychology worth it?

Earning an online master’s degree in behavioral psychology can be worthwhile for individuals seeking to work in fields that involve understanding and addressing human behavior. This degree equips graduates with valuable knowledge and skills in psychology, research, and analysis. Indeed, a master’s degree in behavioral psychology is versatile, allowing graduates to work in a broad range of rewarding, lucrative positions in an education or health setting.

Online programs offer flexibility, allowing students to balance their studies with work and personal commitments. For those passionate about helping individuals, organizations, and communities improve behavior and well-being, a master’s in behavioral psychology provides a strong foundation for a rewarding career.

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