Can You Get An Associates Degree In Psychology

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

Obtaining a license as a psychologist takes far longer than two years. As long as students have realistic expectations about what their two-year associate’s degree in psychology from a community college can accomplish, it can be worthwhile. A psychology associate’s degree is worthwhile if you plan to pursue a career in the field or work as an entry-level aide, assistant, or support employee. It’s unrealistic for students to think they’ll be ready to work as a psychologist after just two years of education.

What Does an Associate’s Degree in Psychology Mean?

Associate’s degrees are undergraduate degrees that typically require 60 college credits, which is about half the number of credits needed to earn a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree in psychology can typically be completed in two years of full-time study for a full-time student.

An associate degree in psychology requires less time and costs less money than a bachelor’s degree in the same field. Coursework for an associate’s degree in psychology is simpler than the more difficult courses in the second half of a bachelor’s degree program in psychology.

In the field of psychology, prospective students will typically come across three different types of associate’s degrees. Associate of Arts (AA) degrees have a liberal arts-focused curriculum. Students who enroll in an associate’s degree program in psychology will typically use it as a springboard to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Community colleges and junior colleges have been incorporated into the program in order to allow students to complete the first two years of an undergraduate program at a lower cost and then transfer their credits to four-year institutions.

An Associate of Science degree (AS) is the same. An AA degree in psychology, theoretically speaking, would have a greater emphasis on liberal arts courses than a BS degree in psychology. For this reason, there isn’t much difference between the curricula of these two kinds of two-year programs, which are designed to serve as stepping stones to four-year college educations but instead focus on general education courses.

An applied associate’s degree in psychology is the third type of psychology associate’s degree that is available. Instead of preparing students for the general education requirements they may face at a four-year university, an applied associate’s degree aims to provide them with the practical skills they need to enter the workforce. If you’re looking for more psychology education, you’ll want to look into earning either an Associate of Arts or a Bachelor of Applied Science in applied psychology.

In order to complete an associate’s degree in psychology more quickly, students may want to take summer courses or an accelerated course schedule.

A Two-Year Psychology Degree Program’s Coursework

To earn an associate degree in psychology, you can expect to spend two-thirds of your 60 college credits on general education courses rather than on the core courses required for your major. As a result, an associate’s degree program’s psychology coursework is constrained.

The majority of programs begin with a foundational course in the fundamentals of psychology. As a student progresses through the program, he or she will have the opportunity to take foundational courses in various approaches to the study of the human condition, such as human sexuality and counseling. As few as five or six of the courses you take for an associate’s degree in psychology may actually be in psychology.

Is it possible to earn an applied associate’s degree? General education classes, such as a sequence of first-year English composition courses, may still be found in the curriculum of these degree programs.. An applied associate’s degree in psychology, on the other hand, includes much more in-depth psychology coursework. As an alternative to completing only five or six psychology courses, you may choose to complete seven to nine courses in your major field.

The American Psychological Association does not accredit associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree programs; these programs are not eligible for accreditation. Only doctoral degrees, internships, and postdoctoral programs are accredited by the APA.

Acquiring an Associate’s Degree in Psychology

Graduate school is a requirement for becoming a psychologist. You will not be able to earn a license to practice psychology with an associate’s degree. The majority of positions in psychology necessitate either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in psychology. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for certain professions like industrial-organizational psychology (BLS).

Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

To be a psychologist, you need a bachelor’s degree, but an associate’s degree won’t do the trick. A two-year degree in the social science of psychology or the field of mental health can open doors to entry-level positions in these fields. Counselors and psychologists may hire you as an assistant or aide.

Even if you have an associate’s degree in psychology, your career path may not lead you to a position as a practitioner in the field of psychological research or clinical treatment. As a result, an associate’s degree in psychology is more likely to lead to a support role for practicing psychologists.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies this position as a human and social service assistant. Addictions counselor assistant, casework aide, and clinical social work aide are some of the job titles in this field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. O*NET also lists advocate, clinical assistant, and residential care assistant as additional job titles.

A mental health case worker, for example, might use your degree to coordinate the efforts of psychologists, clinical social workers, therapists, and other mental health professionals. In these positions, you can make a difference, but in a managerial capacity rather than by providing your own mental health services.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for human and social service assistants was $35,960 in 2020. Thus, this profession’s earnings potential is significantly lower than the $46,124 median annual salary that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported for all associate’s degree holders in 2020. It isn’t necessary to have a college degree in order to work in the mental health field, which contributes to the low salary potential of this career path. According to the BLS, entry-level positions in this field typically require at least a high school diploma.

While this is certainly an uncommon qualification for a human and social services assistant, you are by no means alone in this regard. Only 18 percent of the workforce had an associate’s degree, while 39 percent had a bachelor’s degree, and 16 percent had some college education but no degree. A bachelor’s degree is more likely than not the highest education level held by the profession’s remaining assistant-level workers; however, this still leaves more than a quarter of the profession unaccounted for.

A career in psychology isn’t for everyone, even after earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the subject. Sales, marketing, and any other career that requires you to understand why people think, feel, act, and make purchasing decisions is a great fit for those who have a psychology degree. You can use your associate’s degree in psychology to get a job in any of these other fields that require an associate’s degree. Adding business courses, extracurricular activities, internships, and other work experience in related fields to your psychology degree can improve your job prospects.

An entry-level behavioral health worker, a therapeutic support staff member, or a clinical research assistant are all possible job titles for someone with an associate’s degree in psychology.

Beyond a two-year degree

Most likely, you’ll need more than a two-year degree to get the most out of your college experience. If you want to work in psychology, you’ll need at least a master’s degree to do so. Most careers in business, marketing, and education require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Investing in an associate’s degree is not a waste of time or money. After graduating from an associate’s degree program, you will be closer to earning your bachelor’s degree. A junior college can save you a significant amount of money compared to a four-year university for your first two years of study. In comparison to public universities, community colleges charge a third of the tuition and a tenth of the cost of private colleges.

If you want to go on to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree, you should research the transfer policies ahead of time. Because they tend to have the most lenient transfer policies, degree completion programs for students with significant prior learning experience are an excellent alternative.

Your college career is coming to an end. A bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or business may be appropriate for you based on your career goals. Master’s degrees in industrial-organizational psychology, counseling, and clinical social work allow you to work in these fields.

An Associate in Counseling Degree?

An associate’s degree in counseling may be an option for students interested in psychology. Although students can’t become licensed counselors, they can use this degree as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree in order to prepare for a career in the mental health field. It’s important for students to understand that psychology and counseling aren’t the same thing.

Psychology is the study of the mind, the brain, and the actions of people. Counseling is the relationship between a professional and a client in which the client gains knowledge, skills, coping strategies, resources, and support in order to deal with their own mental health issues, as well as stressful life changes. Even though counseling is generally a practice-oriented field, psychology is one in which many professionals work on research in order to expand their knowledge and advance the field.

Psychology and counseling, on the other hand, are closely related fields of study, and both are employed in the treatment and management of mental health conditions. Counseling methods and techniques are influenced by psychological principles. Professional counselors and therapists, as well as clinical psychologists, use counseling concepts and methods in their work with patients and clients.

Counseling is a difficult major to locate at the associate’s degree level, despite the fact that some programs exist. Aspiring counselors often begin their education with a psychology degree because it is the most closely related to their desired career path.

When considering an associate’s degree in counseling, you should be aware of the same drawbacks as students pursuing an associate degree in psychology. Most professional counseling positions, particularly those requiring licensure, do not require more than a two-year degree. Most licensed counseling positions require a master’s degree, but the BLS notes that a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some positions in mental health counseling, behavioral disorder counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Because of this, you can only work as an assistant or aide for a licensed counselor or for a counseling service or facility with an associate’s degree.

If you want to work as a counselor, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree.

The number of master’s degree programs in counseling is much higher than the number of associate’s degree programs.

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