Online Behavioral Psychology Degrees

By Nikita Nath

Updated January 15, 2024
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Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

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The interactions between thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors are at the core of behavioral psychology. It looks into how to change problematic behavior and discover more constructive and healthy ways to behave as a subfield of psychology with both research and clinical applications. An online behavioral psychology degree builds a strong foundation to pursue advanced studies in behavioral psychology and helps students explore many professions as counselors, therapists, or psychologists. The behavioral psychology degree online is a starting point for those interested in bettering others’ mental health. It equips prospective undergraduates to start their careers in areas of behavioral psychology at entry-level positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the annual median pay for individuals working in psychology as $81,04[1].

Behavioral Psychology

Best Online Behavioral Psychology
Degree Programs

To select the best behavioral psychology program, students must consider factors such as the program’s length and cost, curriculum options, less demanding admission requirements, the school’s accreditation status, etc. Based on these and other critical components, FBD teams have evaluated some top colleges offering behavioral psychology degrees; the best online colleges for behavioral science are: *

The University of Florida (UF) is a public land-grant research university located in Gainesville, Florida. It was founded in 1853 and is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. UF has 16 academic colleges and over 150 research centers and institutes, providing a wide range of graduate professional programs, including business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
University of Florida-Online 341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611 $3,876 72%

rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an Online Behavioral
Psychology Degree Programs

A behavioral psychology degree provides a comprehensive understanding of behavioral psychology. The program’s curriculum is based on the theory of maladaptive and adaptive behaviors, which individuals acquire through different interactions with the environment. It includes many subjects in psychology, including behavioral techniques, behavioral interventions, and applied behavioral analysis in non-clinical and clinical settings.

The coursework in behavioral psychology degrees primarily adheres to the recommendations made by the American Psychological Association (APA). The association recommends that coursework emphasize building a solid foundation, including courses in critical thinking, human development, biological science, and more. The degree could range from 120 to 145 credits, of which 50 are assigned to general elective courses. Many colleges require internship completion before graduation. It is also common for a bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology to be offered online, offline, or in a hybrid learning mode that combines online and offline classes. Undergraduates can take courses in asynchronous or synchronous learning modes as well.

All behavioral psychology degree programs will likely cover social science research, general education, and core psychology-related subjects. Although the coursework differs by program and institution, some of the standard courses students can expect are:

General Psychology

In this course, broad problems, methods, and principles that explain causation in psychology are studied. Students learn topics like behavior, human growth, emotions, motivation, learning, development, perception, intelligence, personality theory, psychological testing, and behavior.

Critical Thinking in Social Science

In this course, critical thinking skills and raising questions about psychological phenomena are encouraged. Students learn to explore questions about beliefs, evidence, conclusions, and actions. The course evaluates primary proponents through which critical judgments are made.

Human Development Through the Lifespan

This course looks at how we grow and change from conception to death. Development is evaluated as a lifelong process that scientifically studies different cognitive, psychosocial, and physical domains.

Abnormal Psychology

This branch of psychology studies clinical frameworks to deal with human behaviors. It looks at varying patterns of emotion, behavior, and thoughts recognized as mental disorders. The course focuses on recognizing different mental disorders like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and more.

Social Psychology

This course focuses on how feelings, behaviors, and thoughts influence the real or imagined presence of others concerning social norms. The course evaluates concepts like social perception, social interaction, group behavior, social influence, etc.

Some of the other courses students can often find in a behavioral psychology degree are

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Critical Thinking and Writing
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Behavior Theory and Practice
  • Experimental Design in Behavior Analysis
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Behavior Assessment
  • Interventions
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Other Developmental Disabilities
  • Ethics in Behavioral Intervention
  • Forensic Behavior Science
  • Behavioral Psychology in Context
  • Introduction to Community Mental Health
  • Theories of Counseling
  • Adulthood and Aging
  • Behavioral Approaches to Counseling
  • Behavioral Approaches to Education

The guide to bachelor’s degrees provides complete information on 4-year undergraduate programs.

Degree Types for Behavioral Psychology Online
Degree Programs

The bachelor’s behavioral psychology degree online is available in three ways – the Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Psychology, the Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Psychology, and the Bachelor of General Studies in Behavioral Psychology.

Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Psychology

The Bachelor of Arts or BA in Behavioral Psychology focuses on forming a solid foundation in courses of critical thinking, human development, and biological, social, and clinical aspects of behavior. It features general education, psychology, social science research, and elective courses. Students typically complete internships as part of the program and work in settings that show them the clinical aspects of human behavior.

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Psychology

The Bachelor of Science or BS in Behavioral Psychology focuses on the intricacies of behavior in humans. The degree’s curriculum covers the genetic, biological, and neural bases of human behaviors and their impact on emotional and cognitive processes. It develops students’ critical thinking and research skills.

Bachelor of General Studies in Behavioral Psychology

The Bachelor of General Studies is a rare degree in behavioral psychology. In this degree, students focus on an in-depth study of the field outside their typical major. They are also required to select a minor or co-major. This degree type is not as popular as the BA or BS in behavioral psychology.

Areas of Specialization for Online Behavioral
Psychology Programs

Choosing a concentration can help students gain expertise in a specific area within an online behavioral psychology degree. They will be able to gain in-depth knowledge in the behavioral psychology sub-area they specialize in, and it will help them transfer that knowledge to their field of work. Since behavioral psychology is a psychology specialization, it will be difficult for students to find concentrations within behavioral psychology. Sometimes two disciplines are integrated into one bachelor’s, like a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral health with a concentration in counseling. Some of the related concentrations commonly found are:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
Abnormal PsychologyThis specialization of abnormal psychology focuses on the psychological abnormalities of human behaviors. Topics under the course focus on different aspects of mental illness. Learning is focused on treatment plans and abnormality causation factors.Work in clinical spaces like hospitals, private clinics, etc.
Childhood DevelopmentChildhood development is a unique aspect of behavioral psychology that emphasizes the different human developmental processes. It focuses on how children develop coping mechanisms to deal with changes.Careers as early education teachers, child psychologists, etc.
Organizational PsychologyThis specialization focuses on the different processes of how organizations analyze employees’ functioning in a group setting. They learn about concepts like mediation and disputes, among others.Careers working as organizational or industrial psychologists
Clinical PsychologyThis specialization prepares undergraduates for further graduate-level study with a clinical orientation. It suits those who want to work in clinical settings or different aspects of psychopathology.Work in hospitals, NGOs, private clinics, and as individual practitioners
CounselingThe counseling concentration focuses on developing the necessary skills to enter graduation or work with clients who need counseling. This specialization gives only a basic foundation of the subject; further study and licensure are required to work in counseling settings.Work as counseling psychologist assistants in various settings.
Early Childhood EducationIn this specialization, the skills to work with young children are developed. The concentration focuses on the different conditions that usually promote young children’s healthy development.Various roles in early childhood care and similar areas.
Community Health and DevelopmentThis specialization focuses on building community health and well-being. They use the frameworks of social problem-solving for issues that occur in the community, like independent living of people with disability, violence, substance abuse, youth development, and more.Work in community spaces, NGOs, etc.
Basic Research and Conceptual FoundationThis specialization focuses on forming fundamental aspects of basics and applied research. It also elaborates on the theory and history of applied behavioral analysis. It is suitable for those who want to research topics in the behavioral psychology field.Work as researchers in various capacities.

Why should I do a Behavioral Psychology
Degree Online?

Behavioral psychology impacts clinical application and designing interventions. Individuals interested in reviewing the environments which shape human behaviors will find the behavioral psychology degree interesting. The degree also gives students the exposure to develop strategies and treatment plans to help others.

Students pursuing an online degree in behavioral psychology learn the subject comprehensively. They are exposed to adaptive and maladaptive behaviors that help them examine different subjects in psychology, like behavioral techniques, applications of applied behavioral analysis, etc. An in-depth understanding of theory and practical knowledge in behavioral psychology is also formed. After completing their programs, some roles students take are psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.

The online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology is preferred by working professionals who need more flexibility with time and pace. The online curriculum is usually as effective and resourceful as its offline counterpart.

Pursuing a behavioral psychology online degree provides good networking opportunities for prospective undergraduates. It equips them to take up various employment routes and further study options. After completing an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology individual will have the ability to:

  • think critically from a scientific perspective and apply those logical principles through rigorous standards of evidence;
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the biological stressors in human behaviors and understanding which physiological or biological stress is affecting the person;
  • use descriptive and inferential statistics for drawing inferences from the human population;
  • apply in-depth knowledge in evaluating cognitive abilities of clients like reason, understanding, perception, and more;
  • show a multicultural understanding of how humans behave individually and in a group;
  • demonstrate practical experience in gathering data or information concerning different designs of treatment and intervention in clinical settings;
  • show an understanding of developmental and intellectual disabilities and creative interventions to help those clients;
  • demonstrate high ethical principles in work settings.

Free Courses for Behavioral Psychology Degree
Online Students

Many free courses are available online that would facilitate an undergraduate’s behavioral psychology learning. Students could take such free behavioral psychology courses to gain an in-depth understanding of the subject beyond the textbook. However, they should not consider these free courses equivalent to an accredited bachelor’s, as national or state agencies do not regulate them as they do with regular degrees. Here are a few free behavioral psychology online courses:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Fundamentals of PsychologyIn this course, a systematic understanding of human cognition, behavior, and emotions is highlighted. It focuses on understanding different scientific methods that help study human behavior.edX [2]
Abnormal Psychology SpecializationIn this course, the focus is on fundamental aspects of psychopathology, which include identifying a person in distress. It takes an empathetic approach to engage with individuals and use evidence-based strategies.Coursera [3]
The Psychology of Influence and Human BehaviorThis course motivates others to understand their basic human needs. It focuses on the strategies to change others’ decisions and actions.Udemy [4]

How to get into Online Behavioral
Psychology Programs?

Most colleges have a list of admission criteria that prospective undergraduates must meet to pursue an online bachelor’s in behavioral psychology. The admission procedure for behavioral psychology is often competitive as there is a considerable demand for psychology programs. Each institution has its independent enrollment criteria for students to meet. Still, the most common behavioral psychology degree admissions requirements are:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee.
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Previous official transcripts from high school or college-level education
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or more on a 4.0 scale (varies by the institution)
  • ACT or SAT scores
  • Personal statement or statement of purpose
  • Personal essay (differs with institution requirement)
  • Recommendation letter from mentors or former professors

How Long does it take to complete a Behavioral
Psychology Degree Online?

It takes about four years to complete an online behavioral psychology degree if taken up full-time. Part-time programs take about six years to finish. But program durations largely depend on the coursework, specialization, institution, and delivery mode (online, in-person, or hybrid). Here is a quick summary of the online behavioral psychology degree duration:

  • Time to complete a full-time bachelor’s in behavioral psychology: four years
  • Time to complete a part-time bachelor’s in behavioral psychology: four to six years

Accelerated Behavioral Psychology Degree
Online Programs

Although a bachelor’s in behavioral psychology would typically require about four years of study, students opting for an accelerated behavioral psychology degree can often finish their undergraduate and graduate programs in about five years instead of the usual 6. Combining a bachelor’s and master’s improves efficiency and speed in completing the required curriculum and helps students get into different professions quickly. Bellevue University[5], Colorado State University[6], and Brescia University[7] are some universities that offer accelerated behavioral psychology degrees.

Accreditations for Online Behavioral
Psychology Programs

Accreditation is an essential aspect of a student’s education. It is a seal of recognition and a mark of quality awarded by independent accrediting agencies. Employers almost always hire people who have obtained their degrees through accredited colleges or programs. Accredited behavioral psychology degree programs can be accredited by the Association for Behavioral Analysis International [8] or the American Psychological Association [9]. Universities are institutionally accredited by national or regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE)[10] and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) [11]. Of the two, regional accreditation is common and awarded by six accrediting bodies:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

How to Pay for a Behavioral Psychology
Degree Online?

The cost of an undergraduate degree can stop people from continuing their higher education. A bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology in the U.S. could cost an average of $9,375 (an unverified estimate). Although online students may not have to pay for commute, meals, and accommodation, the tuition fees can still be prohibitively expensive. Here are a few funding mechanisms prospective undergrad students can use to offset some of their educational costs:

Scholarships

Scholarships are a form of funding that different organizations and individuals provide without the need for an awardee to pay back the amount. They are usually given out based on merit in academics or skills in different fields like music, sports, art, etc.

Grants

Grants can be given by different bodies like federal and state governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. They are usually provided based on the financial background and needs of the applicant rather than solely on academic merit.

Student Loans

Student loans are not free money and have to be repaid along with interest, which is often very high. But for those who may not qualify for federal financial aid and scholarships, loans may be a viable option to consider.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is not financial aid but an application form that checks if the student applying is eligible for federal funding. Detailed information is available in the FAFSA student aid guide.

Scholarships for Behavioral Psychology
Online Students

Scholarships are a good way to fund a behavioral psychology online degree. Deserving individuals can apply for scholarships to help them considerably reduce their educational expenses. They can reduce their financial burden and can focus on their education and growth. Here are a few to consider:

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardApplication Deadline
Sharon Stephens Brehm Undergraduate Psychology Scholarships [12]The Brehm Undergraduate Scholarship is provided to deserving students majoring in psychology who need financial assistance. Scholarship awardees are recognized for their outstanding contribution to the field of psychology.$5,000Closed for 2023 | TBA for 2024
PSI CHI Undergraduate scholarships [13]The International Honor Society in Psychology annually awards eight scholarships to undergraduate psychology majors who are exceptional in this field. The scholarship pays for direct educational costs like resources, tuition fees, etc.$3,000TBA
James F. Reville Scholarship [14]This scholarship is awarded in dedication to James F. Reveille. It takes forward his vision of improving the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.$3,000January 13, 2024

FAQs Related to Online Behavioral
Psychology Programs

What is behavioral psychology?

The study of altering human behavior through analysis and therapy is known as behavioral psychology, also referred to as behaviorism. According to the theory behind behavioral psychology, when determining or examining a person’s behavior, the environment is considered. According to behavioral psychology therapists, behavior change can be aided by changing how people react to their environment.

Can you get a behavioral psychology degree online?

How long is an online behavioral psychology degree?

What can you do with a behavioral psychology degree?

What do you study in a behavioral psychology degree?

What is the difference between behavioral science and behavioral psychology?

How much does an online behavioral psychology degree costs?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an Online
Behavioral Psychology Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [16] projects a 10% increase in employment in the community and social service occupations from 2021 to 2031. Those who have completed a behavioral psychology degree are employed in different social service and community occupations, some of which include:

OccupationJob DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment SpecialistsProbation officers or correctional treatment specialists assist in rehabilitating offenders of law or individuals who are currently in custody or on parole or probation.Communication skills, decision-making skills, organizational skills, critical-thinking skills, emotional stability$60,2500% (little or no change)
Social and Human Service AssistantsSocial and human service assistants provide client services to individuals in different fields of rehabilitation, social work, and psychology.Interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, time-management skills, organizational skills, compassion$37,61012% (much faster than average)
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health CounselorsSubstance abuse, mental health, and behavioral disorder counselors advise people on different issues, especially those related to addictions, depression, and alcoholism.Interpersonal skills, listening skills, communication skills, compassion, patience$48,52022%
Social and Community Service ManagersSocial and community service managers plan, direct, and oversee initiatives and institutions that promote public wellbeing. They oversee personnel who provide these services to the general public and Identify necessary programs and services by working with community members and other stakeholders.Communication skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, time-management skills, managerial skills$74,00012% (much faster than average)
Medical and Health Service ManagersMedical and health service managers plan, coordinate, and direct several kinds of business activities of healthcare providers.Communication skills, technical skills, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, detail-oriented$101,34028% (much faster than average)
Social WorkersSocial workers help people cope or prevent everyday problems. They serve groups, communities, and individuals by finding the root cause of an issue, providing resources, and promoting community engagement.Interpersonal skills, communication skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills, compassion$50,3909% (faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Behavioral
Psychology Online Students

After completing a degree in behavioral psychology online, students can opt for professional certifications that will help them gain additional expertise in behavioral psychology and improve their credentials. Although undergraduates cannot practice as licensed therapists because a master’s degree is required to obtain licensure, they could pursue many professional certifications to advance their careers, some of which are listed below:

Assistant Behavior Analyst [17]

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) provides undergraduate-level certification in applied behavior analysis. Undergraduate practitioners can obtain certification as Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and work under the supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). BCaBAs usually play a more supportive role – gathering data, keeping records, and so on.

Beck Institute CBT Certified Clinician [18]

This certification is offered by the Beck Institute. It helps in learning how to deal with clients having depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Students must submit work samples, write case studies, and complete a term of supervision with experts in the faculty.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy Training [19]

This certification is about improving people’s moods by understanding the workings of social and biological rhythms in humans. Individuals taking up this certification can specialize in psychotherapy. It has been adapted to cater to different settings, including outpatient and inpatient groups.

Mental Health Facilitator Training [20]

This certification aims to provide increased mental health care around the globe. It benefits professionals who want to provide individual mental health services. This training is not equivalent to licensure; however, it will help those with a strong background in psychology.

Additional Resources for Behavioral Psychology
Online Students

Students pursuing an online degree in behavioral psychology can access different kinds of organizations across the United States and overseas for advancement in the field of behavioral psychology. These organizations provide varied opportunities like resources in behavioral psychology, collaboration with experts working in the area, scholarships or grants, internships, and on-field experience. Through memberships in such organizations, one can understand the inner workings of a particular domain in behavioral psychology and develop many professional skills. Here are a few to explore:

OrganizationDescription
American Psychology Association [21]The American Psychology Association is a leading professional and scientific organization. It represents psychologists in the United States. More than 133,000 researchers, consultants, educators, students, and clinicians are its members.
American Board of Professional Psychology [22]The American Board of Professional Psychology is one of the primary organizations in psychology. It offers specialty board certifications. The board aims to serve the public by promoting quality psychological services through different certifications and examinations.
Association for Behavioral Analysis International [23]The Association for Behavioral Analysis International is a nonprofit organization that promotes behavior analysis. They have more than 9,000 members. The association publishes journals and organizes conferences on different topics of applied behavioral analysis.
Association for Contextual Behavioral Science [24]The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science is dedicated to alleviating human suffering and advancing the well-being of humans through practice and research. Their work is grounded in behavioral science and related fields. The members comprise an international community of researchers, educators, practitioners, etc.
Association for Psychological Science [25]The Association for Psychological Science is focused on promoting inclusion, equity, and diversity. They want to work with underrepresented communities in ways that are meaningful to society and the field of psychology.

Author Bio:

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

Disclaimer:

The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.