If you enjoy the study of how biological, cognitive, and psychological factors impact behavior, an online behavioral psychology degree could be the right choice for you. Career options range from psychology to substance abuse counseling and even market research analysis, all experiencing tremendous growth within the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for psychologists to grow by 14% through 2026, and the field for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will expand by 20%. With this increasing need for psychologists, now is the perfect time to consider online behavioral psychology degree programs.
Choosing a Program
Behavioral psychology requires rigorous course studies in order to understand the scientific reasons behind human behavior. The best online behavioral psychology degree programs provide students multidisciplinary knowledge through the analysis of cognitive and developmental psychology, biology, and physiology.
Coursework covers personality disorders, substance abuse, and counseling theories with required classes in research, data analysis, and statistics. Students may opt to specialize their degrees in behavior psychology based on their career interests. Some of these available concentrations include addictions, criminal justice, and child development. The skills acquired through specialized degrees can provide graduates with a competitive advantage when seeking employment.
The coursework required for some online behavioral psychology degrees prepares students for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) exam. This certification benefits those seeking to work with children on the autism spectrum, using applied behavior analysis techniques.
Many career options await graduates of this program outside of psychology or counseling. For instance, the analysis and statistics components can spark an interest in a market research career. By being open-minded throughout their coursework, students may identify career opportunities they had not previously considered.
For career information, skip down:
Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs
1 Bellevue University
Nebraska's Bellevue University is an open-access institution with online students residing in all 50 states. Its behavioral science program can be completed both entirely online or on campus. The comprehensive 127-credit bachelor's of science degree covers the major concepts and theories of psychology, sociology, the fundamentals of counseling, ethics, treatment strategies, and cultural diversity.
Participants complete 60-credit hours of general education, either through study at the university or as an incoming student with an associate degree. They then embark on an accelerated 72-week cohort program for their major study. This cohort begins with a six-week foundation course in communication, collaboration, and other skills that prepare students to maximize the cohort experience. Core classes follow, covering topics in research and data analysis, social deviance and psychopathological perspectives, and counseling theories.
Students register for classes once at the beginning of the cohort program and pair with a student advisor who checks in with them regularly to ensure they stay on track to graduate. The program culminates with a capstone project where students present an e-portfolio to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychology and sociology concepts and skills.
Students who complete the behavioral psychology degree online and wish to obtain licensure in mental health qualify to enroll in the Master of Science in Clinical Counseling program.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2 Mercy College
Dobbs Ferry, New York
Almost half of the 13 online degrees offered by the sociology department at Mercy College are behavioral science degrees, making it an excellent place to earn an online bachelor's in behavioral psychology. The school offers a bachelor of arts in behavioral science for students who wish to work with the public in the human services and a bachelor's of science degree in behavioral science. Both degrees can be paired with concentrations in community health, health services management, or gerontology.
The curriculums for the BA and BS degrees are essentially identical, requiring 120 units that take approximately four years of full-time study to complete. Half of the required units consist of general education courses, including English and math. There are 36 credits needed for major-specific classes, such as social psychology and methodology for social and behavioral science, while 24 units remain for elective courses.
Incoming students can transfer up to 75 credits from a two-year institution and up to 90 credits from another four-year college or university. At least two major courses in psychology and two in sociology must be completed in-residence at the school, located in the New York City.
Mercy College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
3 Wilmington University
New Castle, Delaware
Like most online behavioral psychology degree programs, Wilmington University's bachelor of science in behavioral science includes fundamental courses in psychology and sociology. Unlike many programs, it includes courses in cultural anthropology, economics, and public speaking for a well-rounded education that stresses interpersonal relations and practical applications of specialized knowledge. The school also offers additional certification classes in child advocacy, conflict resolution, criminal justice, and non-profit management that can enhance and help tailor an online behavioral psychology degree for a specific career.
For most incoming freshman, the 127-unit BS in behavioral science program will take four years to complete, with many general education and elective courses wrapping up in the first two years of study. Upper division major classes take place the following two years, with students encouraged to complete an internship during senior year. Internships happen through the school's Community and Academic Partnerships (CAP)/Co-op Program, which pairs undergraduates with participating community partners, giving students an opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study in exchange for college credit. A total of six units (or two classes) can be satisfied through the CAP program.
Students who do well in their bachelor's in behavioral psychology online classes (earning a 3.5 GPA or higher), with interest in earning a graduate degree, are eligible for the university's Applied Family Science accelerated program. This service students to gain a head start on earning a master's degree by taking graduate-level courses before the completion of their bachelor's degree.
Wilmington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Careers
Some graduates of an online behavioral psychology degree go on to pursue advanced degrees, but many opt to become counselors or social workers without additional schooling. Other graduates may use their knowledge of human behavior to launch successful careers in market research or business. These careers all require excellent communication, analytical skills, and empathy toward clients.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: These counselors assist patients struggling with addiction or emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues. Counselors assess clients and work with them to develop and execute treatment plans. These methods typically include coping strategies and skills. The families of clients often collaborate with counselors to ensure success for each patient. Counselors may work in healthcare settings, private practices, or social service agencies. Employment generally requires licensure and advanced degrees. Licensing standards vary by state.
- Median Annual Salary: $42,150
- Projected Growth Rate: 20%
Market Research Analysts: Market research is critical for companies selling products or services. It helps forecast customer volume and appropriate price points. Market research analysts collect surveys and data combined with market trends to make their recommendations. This position is ideal for those who enjoy analyzing human behavior, statistics, and reports.
- Median Annual Salary: $62,560
- Projected Growth Rate: 23%
Social Workers: Social workers with bachelor's degrees often help advance policies and programs that assist certain populations or communities. They may also work in schools, hospitals, and organizations to help adults and children facing emotional or mental distress and life changes. Private practices typically require licensure.
- Median Annual Salary: $46,890
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics