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The Best Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Psychology Programs

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Prospective students interested in how biological, cognitive, and psychological factors impact behavior often pursue online bachelor's degrees in behavioral science.

A bachelor's in behavioral psychology explores the science and rationale behind human behavior. Graduates can use this expertise to pursue careers in business — guiding companies on organizational changes — or careers helping patients overcome negative behavioral patterns.

A bachelor's degree is the first step toward licensure, certification, and educational requirements for careers like psychologists, who earn a median annual salary of $80,370. However, many careers in behavioral psychology require a master's or doctoral degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 14% growth in psychologist positions between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also projects the number of behavioral disorder counselor positions to grow by 22% during the same period. These projections may indicate that a behavioral science degree can lead to lucrative, in-demand jobs.

This guide provides information about the nation's best online bachelor's in behavioral psychology programs.

Top 3 Online Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Psychology Programs 2020

#1 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
#2 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
#3 Wilmington University New Castle, DE

Best Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs

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Online Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Psychology Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Degree?

Behavioral science programs help students understand the reasons for group and individual behaviors. These programs may offer concentrations in areas like addiction and recovery, criminal psychology, developmental psychology, and crisis counseling.

Behavioral science degrees prepare graduates for counseling and therapist careers, which require licensure and usually exist within hospitals, private practices, and school systems.

Behavioral science programs hone communication, research, and assessment skills. Students learn to evaluate behavioral patterns and build treatment plans.

Many applicants to bachelor's programs in behavioral psychology intend to eventually pursue graduate degrees, which are required for many related licenses and certifications. However, graduates of behavioral science bachelor's programs may also qualify for certification as assistant behavior analysts.

Choosing an Online Program

Distance learners should consider in-person requirements, concentrations, completion times, and costs when determining which online behavioral science program fits them best.

The following guide provides tips on choosing the best online bachelor's in behavioral psychology.

How To Choose Your Major

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Program?

Online psychology programs explore behavioral patterns and human development to help learners assess and treat social, psychological, and emotional issues. Most programs cover abnormal psychology and general psychology research, and they usually include clinicals that help students pursue licenses and certifications.

Curricula vary by school and concentration. However, common courses address the following topics.

Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Curriculum

Abnormal Psychology

This course covers the many ways in which people experience abnormal development and can display adverse behaviors. Students uncover the physical, emotional, and social causes of psychological disorders and learn about common treatment strategies. This essential information benefits any professional working with patients who experience emotional, psychological, or developmental disorders.

Childhood Development

This course covers human development, beginning with infancy and continuing through young adulthood. Learners learn about factors that help children to meet developmental norms and what might disrupt this growth. Students also learn about common childhood development disorders.

Social Psychology

This course covers the vital ways in which social interactions affect individual people's emotions and behaviors. Students learn about the prevailing theories of social behavior and how to apply these ideas to help patients. Detectives, human resource managers, social workers, and professionals who work with children all rely on this knowledge.

Behavioral Psychology Concentrations

Students can specialize their degrees in behavioral science based on their career interests. Common concentrations include addiction, human resources, criminal justice, and child development.

The skills acquired through specialized degrees can give graduates a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

Applied Behavioral Analysis

Students who choose this concentration learn about the symptoms and causes of common behavioral disorders and explore practical methods to help patients alter destructive behaviors. This concentration also covers autism spectrum disorders and delayed development.

Addiction

Many patients experience addiction to illegal substances, alcohol, cigarettes, and destructive behaviors like gambling. Students who specialize in addiction treatment learn the physical and psychological origins of addiction. Coursework covers diagnostic criteria and treatment options for people with addictions.

Childhood Development

Children can develop rapidly on mental, physical, and emotional levels. Students who pursue this concentration learn about the many stages of childhood, what typical development looks like, and the many disorders that can affect childhood growth.

Criminal Justice

This concentration explores the psychological and social reasons that people commit crimes. Students learn about the criminal justice system, abnormal psychology, and how to help people with convictions reintegrate into society.

Organizational Psychology

This concentration explores why people behave as they do at work and how to best manage employees. Students learn theories about organizational behavior and practical ways to apply those theories in companies. This concentration prepares graduates for careers in human resources.

Behavioral Psychology Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide opportunities for graduates and students to network with professionals, keep up with new developments in the field, and advance their careers. Members usually pay annual fees in exchange for opportunities for certification, access to professional journals, and discounts on yearly conferences. Many associations also offer job boards and continuing education opportunities.

American Psychological Association

APA serves behavioral science professionals and students at all levels. This large association publishes one of the leading psychology magazines and hosts conferences for professionals in different psychology subfields.

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

ABCT advocates for behavioral and cognitive therapies and the professionals who facilitate them. Members receive journal subscriptions and tools that help them in their practices. Members can also join the listserv to connect with fellow professionals and advocates.

Society for Personality and Social Psychology

SPSP offers events like an annual convention and the Summer Psychology Forum. The society also publishes three journals. Members can earn awards for professional achievements, receive grants, and access a job board.

Careers in Behavioral Psychology

Many graduates of online behavioral science bachelor's programs go on to pursue master's and doctoral programs. Others become counselor assistants, substance abuse counselors, or human resource specialists. Some graduates use their knowledge of human behavior to launch successful careers in market research or business.

Below are three possible careers for graduates with degrees in behavioral science.

Psychologists

Psychologists observe and assess patients for problems related to emotional, psychological, and social well-being. This can include interviewing and performing tests on patients to determine issues and choose appropriate treatments.

Professional psychologists can work as clinical, counseling, developmental, school, and forensic psychologists. Requirements are different for each position, but typically include a graduate degree, relevant experience, and a license.

Median Annual Salary

$80,370

Projected Growth Rate

14%

Sociologists

Sociologists research and observe groups of people through interviews, surveys, and experiments to determine how they think and interact. Sociologists may base these studies on factors like cultural, political, institutional, or economic backgrounds. Their insights influence policy-making, administration choices, and lawmaking.

Sociologists may focus on areas like crime rate, education, and health. These professionals typically need a graduate degree and relevant experience.

Median Annual Salary

$83,420

Projected Growth Rate

9%

Human Resource Managers

Human resource managers make hiring and administrative decisions for companies. They help companies respond to workplace issues like sexual harassment and internal conflicts.

These professionals may focus on areas like payroll, labor relations, or recruitment, or they may be generalists. They often act as liaisons between management and the workforce and may also advise companies on methods for improving employee performance.

Human resource managers can work in a variety of industries, including government, manufacturing, and healthcare organizations. Most positions require a bachelor's degree and relevant experience.

Median Annual Salary

$116,720

Projected Growth Rate

7%

Frequently Asked Questions

Students can earn a bachelor's in behavioral psychology in approximately four years.

Students can earn a bachelor's in behavioral psychology in approximately four years.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology?

Graduates with a bachelor's in behavioral psychology can puruse careers as human resource managers, probation officers, and marketing managers. Graduates can also pursue additional certifications and graduate degrees, leading to careers as psychologists, sociologists, marriage and family therapists, and behavioral disorder counselors.

How Much Do You Make as a Behavioral Psychologist?

Behavioral psychologists earn a median annual salary of $75,110. However, actual salaries vary by experience.

What Is a Behavioral Psychologist?

Behavioral psychologists assess human actions and reactions through tests, psychotherapy, and talk therapy. Psychologists may use this information to perform substance abuse, mental health, and trauma counseling.

Is Psychology a Behavioral Science?

Yes. Other behavioral sciences include anthropology, sociology, and criminology.

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