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How do I get an Associate's Degree in Psychology?

By Lily Ruha
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Obtaining an associate’s degree in psychology requires completion of a two-year program offered by an accredited institution. This degree typically requires completion of general education courses, specific psychology topics, and elective courses. An associate’s degree in psychology prepares students for a bachelor’s degree program in psychology. Undergraduate degrees in psychology, in general, assist students in professions such as education, business, marketing, health care, and other service-oriented positions. To work as a psychologist, professional counselor, or psychology researcher, students need a graduate degree in psychology.

The coursework for the associate’s degree in psychology generally introduces the student to foundational content for the world of work and, specifically, for the field of psychology. General education requirements usually include courses in mathematics, English composition, science, history, and sociology. Core courses relevant to the degree typically include an introduction to psychology, counseling psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and marriage and family. Students are generally required to take a specific number of elective courses in a topic of choice. Some programs offer elective courses that introduce students to other aspects of psychology, such as an introduction to organizational psychology or health psychology.

An associate’s degree in psychology can generally be completed within two years with full-time attendance. Many colleges also offer part-time attendance, but degree completion can take much longer. Students who are short on time due to working full-time or other personal obligations can earn this degree online, which is also a way to save on commuting time and costs. Online degree programs in psychology generally require that students buy books, download the class syllabus, engage in class discussions via designated forums, and submit homework assignments on schedule. Instructors and administrative staff are usually available in online programs to guide students through using e-mail, Web conferencing, and other online tools for educational purposes.

Possessing an associate’s degree in psychology is typically considered a basic foundation for many fields of work. The program creates a greater understanding of the human mind, human behavior, and relationship dynamics, offering critical information applicable to a wide variety of professions that demand interpersonal skills. Many students who complete the associate’s degree move on to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology. A four-year degree in psychology is useful as a foundation for careers in education, business management, health care, social work, marketing and service-oriented positions. To work in the field of psychology as a psychologist or psychology researcher, a graduate degree in psychology is required.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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