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Students in online psychology associate degree programs follow generalized study paths that introduce core disciplinary topics. This knowledge provides a strong foundation for further study at the bachelor's level. But even without a four-year degree, you can enhance your earning potential: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) , associate degree holders earn an average of 17% more than high school graduates.
Keep reading to learn more about online associate degrees in psychology and identify study opportunities that align best with your goals.
What Will You Learn in an Online Psychology Associate Degree Program?
While exact study topics vary among programs, most online associate psychology degrees maintain a generalist focus that treats subjects with a survey approach rather than delving into niche areas. Many programs also require students to complete electives in related academic disciplines, such as sociology, anthropology, or health sciences.
Exact course titles and content may differ, but a majority of the top online associate psychology degrees will cover some variation of these fundamental subjects:
This course introduces and explores foundational themes in psychology. Typical topics include cognition and intelligence, human psychological development, and applied psychology principles. Students also learn about landmark studies and key figures in the history and development of psychological science.
Students examine the major research frameworks and methods that underlie scientific inquiry into human psychology. Topics include applied models of the scientific method, qualitative and quantitative research techniques, and academic writing and citation practices. The course provides students with a strong foundation for future academics.
Students investigate primary theories governing prevailing perspectives on human psychological development at all stages of life. Specific topics may include cognitive development, language acquisition, emotional development, and social influences. Most courses concentrate on current theories, though some also examine historical concepts.
Online associate degrees in psychology lead to three general learning outcomes. First, students acquire a strong understanding of how human psychology works, while developing the ability to apply theoretical models to practical situations. Second, learners acquaint themselves with the essential design principles of research studies and psychological experiments. Third, students sharpen their academic writing and critical thinking skills.
These three outcomes inform professional diagnostic, assessment, and case management competencies, delivering the tools students will draw on in their day-to-day job duties after they graduate. These skills are especially useful for entry-level positions under the tutelage of licensed professionals.
What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Psychology?
Psychology associate degree holders qualify for entry-level positions in mental health fields. In most cases, these jobs entail assistive, administrative, or case management duties performed under licensed professionals' supervision. Other career paths take a stronger focus on advocacy, as an associate degree in psychology online offers a valuable academic background for social services and community relations work.
Potential Careers and Salaries
Psychiatric technicians work in both clinical and field settings, providing assistance and care to people with developmental disabilities and mental health conditions. They monitor their charges' conditions and report changes to their primary caregivers.
Average Annual Salary : $38,080
Psychiatric orderlies provide patient transportation and keep treatment facilities clean and properly equipped. They also support security by helping maintain safe environments for patients and staff.
Average Annual Salary : $31,780
Personal care aides provide lifestyle assistance to people with cognitive, psychiatric, and developmental conditions. In some cases, they hold authorization to administer medication and perform basic health checks as directed by a supervising doctor or nurse practitioner.
Average Annual Salary : $28,060
Human services assistants interface with clients, directing them to case-specific resources, services, and benefits programs. They typically work for government agencies and nonprofit community groups.
Average Annual Salary : $38,230
Psychiatric aides perform a wide range of assistive duties. Responsibilities typically include guiding patients in daily activities, bringing them to and from treatment sessions, and restraining volatile patients in crisis situations.
Average Annual Salary : $33,300
Getting a Bachelor's After Your Associate Degree in Psychology Online
While the best online colleges for associate degrees in psychology help students build practical job-ready skills, they also prepare graduates for further study in four-year programs. Associate degree holders qualify for advanced standing in the vast majority of cases, allowing them to bypass the first two years of most directly related four-year degrees.
By earning a bachelor's degree, you can boost your salary potential while obtaining knowledge and skills that can lead to more career options. Most graduates interested in continuing their education move into one of these three bachelor's programs after completing an online associate degree in psychology:
Bachelor's in Psychology
This option is a direct continuation of associate psychology studies. A bachelor's in psychology builds on introductory concepts and guides students through more rigorous and detailed explorations of key theories and developmental models.
Bachelor's in Therapy
Similar to bachelor's degrees in counseling, therapy programs prepare learners for licensure as certified therapists. Students can choose from a long list of specializations, including addiction and substance abuse, family therapy, grief counseling, and spiritual guidance.
Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies
Psychology plays a major role in human communication, giving creators the critical insights needed to craft impactful messages. Communications degree holders enjoy employment opportunities in sectors such as news and entertainment media, corporate work, marketing, and advertising.
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