Is an Associate Degree in Psychology Program for You?
An associate degree in psychology prepares students for a variety of careers. The BLS projects a 14% job growth rate for psychology positions in the coming years; much faster than the rate for all other occupations. While many jobs in psychology require a bachelor’s or graduate degree, an associate’s in psychology can lead to promising careers as psychiatric technicians and aides, and social and human services assistants, among other opportunities.
Many students use an associate’s in psychology as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree, and graduate education. Associate-level programs provide the educational foundation needed to pursue more advanced psychology careers.
Below are a few things to consider when considering an associate degree in psychology. This list is not exhaustive, and you should compare schools and programs to find an associate degree in psychology that aligns with your career goals and interests.
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Pros | Cons
It's a Shorter Degree
Most associate degree in psychology programs are completed within two years. Students with familial, professional or personal responsibilities may find this shorter timeline more appealing.
Less time in school, more time with family or building a career
Majority of associate degree in psychology credits earned are in general education courses, accounting specific training is limited
You Can Enter the Workforce Sooner
Due to the amount of time it takes to earn an associate degree in psychology, many students are able to start a job sooner than their counterparts who attend a four-year school.
Begin earning hands-on, professional experience and training that can lead to further education
Fewer employment opportunities in the psychology field with an associates degree in psychology
It's a More Flexible Degree
Working towards an associate degree in psychology allows students to earn their general education credits and gain an overview of psychology topics. Associate degree in psychology candidates can then take this knowledge and apply it to real-world situations or continue on to their bachelor's degree in psychology.
Have the foundation needed for further education
Information learned is general and often without a concentration
It's a Cheaper Degree
Attending a two-year school for an associate degree in psychology is much less expensive than attending a four-year college or university.
Spend less on tuition for general education courses that can often transfer
Lower earning power than more expensive degrees
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Psychology Program?
Minimum Education Level: High school diploma or GED
Writing Sample: Personal statement of intent
Transcripts: High School
Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT
Additional Required Materials: Immunization record
What Should I Expect in an Associates Degree in Psychology Program?
Degree Completion Specifics
- Number of Required Credits: 60–65
- Typical Length of Program: 2 Years
- Culminating Experience Project / Paper / Exam: N/A
- Practicums / Internships: N/A
Core Concepts in Psychology Associates Degrees
Associate degrees in psychology provide a general introduction to the subject. For opportunities to focus on one type of psychology, students should consider a bachelor's degree.
What Can You Do With an Associate's Degree in Psychology?
While most entry-level positions in psychology require at least a bachelor’s degree, individuals with an associate’s in psychology can still access a variety of career options. For example, an associate degree in psychology prepares students to work as psychiatric technicians and aides, particularly if they also pursue nursing coursework. These aides work in hospitals and psychiatric care facilities, providing care for patients with mental illnesses and disabilities.
A psychology associate’s degree also prepares graduates to work as social and human services assistants. These professionals work in a variety of environments, providing services and support in areas like psychology, social work, and rehabilitation. According to the BLS, jobs growth rates for both psychiatric aides and social and human services assistants are projected to grow much faster than the average for all professions in the coming years.
To pursue more advanced roles in psychology, graduates of associate psychology programs should consider earning a bachelor’s degree.
Career Options for Associate Degree in Psychology Holders
Psychiatric Technicians and Aides
Average Annual Salary: $30,860
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Average Annual Salary: $44,630
Social and Human Service Assistants
Average Annual Salary: $33,750
What Do Higher Education and Career Advancement Opportunities Look Like After an Associate Degree in Psychology?
This table demonstrates how advanced education in psychology can increase your annual income and employment opportunities. Some schools allow candidates to transfer the credits from an associate degree in psychology to their bachelor's in psychology programs, halving the time spent on a bachelor's degree. The careers listed under each degree are examples of what graduates can pursue after completing that education level.
Other Wages and Careers in Psychology by Degree Level
Typical Duration: 4-5 years
Median Annual Wage: $57,000
Sample Careers: Human Resources, Manager, Case Manager
Typical Duration: 2-3 years
Median Annual Wage: $61,000
Sample Careers: Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, School Counselors, Probation Officers/Correction Specialists, Geriatric Clinical, Psychologist, Sports Psychologist, Licensed Counselor
Typical Duration: 4-7 years
Median Annual Wage: $84,000
Sample Careers: Clinical Psychologist, Counseling Psychologist, Research Psychologist, Learning Disabilities Specialist, University Clinical Psychologist, School Psychologist, Forensic Psychologists, Human Factors/Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Criminal Psychologist