Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs in 2022

If you’re interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, it may be a good idea to explore the many types of programs that different schools offer. Before deciding which program to apply to, explore the requirements for earning the degree, different curriculums and what careers the degree can prepare you for.

When looking for a psychology program to attend, consider investigating whether the program allows you to specialize in a subtopic that matches your interests and career aspirations.

Many students find an online bachelor’s in psychology program to be a more convenient way to earn their degree. For example, classes are generally offered in an asynchronous format, allowing you to log on and do your classwork when you choose to. This, among other benefits of online learning, may add flexibility to your schedule.

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What Should I Expect From an Online BS in Psychology?

Psychology degree requirements may vary slightly from one college to the next, but you’ll have to complete about 120 credits overall, including general studies requirements. Classes typically cover topics such as personality and abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology and applied psychology. You’ll also learn about the theory of psychology and gain skills in research. 

BS in Psychology Degree Requirements

As a psychology major, you’ll typically complete between 30 and 40 credits in the subject—though this figure varies by institution and some may have a higher requirement. Before you begin classes in the major, you may have to complete prerequisite courses, which might include classes like Introduction to Statistics, Introduction to Psychology and Human Biology—fairly common general education requirements. 

Psychology degree requirements may include classes on topics such as human growth and development; abnormal psychology; theories of personality, cognition, social psychology; psychology and social change; and psychology research methods and analysis. Because psychology is a field that relies heavily on research, you’ll likely take courses that teach students how to analyze research data. Those courses might have names such as Statistical Methods in Psychology or simply Statistics in Psychology.  

In many programs, you select a concentration or area of specialization and take several classes related to a subarea of psychology like addictions or child and adolescent development. Some programs may allow you to take psychology electives in place of a concentration. 

BS in Psychology Degree Concentrations

Not every school offers every psychology concentration, so it may be wise to review what concentrations are available while selecting the school you’ll attend. Common concentrations include:

  • Clinical psychology: At the Bachelor of Psychology level, you may take a concentration in clinical psychology, which will introduce you to psychological theory, research design and specialties such as addiction and counseling. If you’re interested in a master’s in psychology, this concentration may help you decide on your future specialty.
  • Sports psychology: Students learn how the principles of psychology can help athletes improve their physical performance. Degrees with this concentration are sometimes offered through schools’ departments of kinesiology.
  • Educational psychology: Also called school psychology, this concentration will focus on the factors that help children learn and adjust as they grow up and attend school. Courses may include child and adolescent development, childhood disorders, and assessment and testing. 
  • Forensic psychology: Forensic psychology uses principles of psychology in criminal justice and policing. Classes might include criminal psychology and counseling. 

Online vs. On-Campus Requirements

In terms of coursework, the requirements for an online bachelor’s in psychology are the same as on-campus students. However, fully online classes may provide scheduling flexibility you don’t get when you attend in-person classes. Online courses typically have at least some asynchronous components, allowing you to view lessons on your own schedule. If you have a busy life that includes a job or family obligations, that flexibility may make it easier for you to complete the degree program.

Online psychology degrees may also use video conferencing or other technology that allows you to interact with your instructors and classmates in real time.  

Some programs, both on-campus and online, may require psychology students to complete an internship with an approved community agency, conduct a research project or write a thesis.  

Psychology Licensing Requirements

To work as a practicing psychologist, you must have at least a master’s degree and typically a doctoral degree. Additionally, you must have a license.

Every state sets its own licensing requirements, so the rules vary. States may also set different requirements depending upon the psychologist’s specialty. Generally, states require applicants for licensure to have a doctoral degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other requirements may include completion of an internship to get hands-on experience applying what they’ve learned in the classroom and having a year or two of supervised professional experience before licensure. 

To receive a license, applicants must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) after their state licensing board approves them to take the exam. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) administers the EPPP. 

Psychologists may also receive certification in their specialty, such as psychoanalysis, couple and family psychology or behavioral and cognitive psychology. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) conducts certification exams in 15 specialties.

Even after they achieve licensure, psychologists may have to take continuing education courses to maintain their license. Rules on continuing education vary by state. 

While you can’t become a licensed psychologist with just an undergraduate psychology degree, there are many jobs you may get with a bachelor’s in psychology.

What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

A BS or BA in Psychology is a versatile degree that may lead a variety of jobs after graduation. Many of these jobs are related to counseling or helping people, where your understanding of psychology may be helpful.

What you can do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology will likely vary based on your personal interests. Some options include working in fields such as human resources, counseling or training. The classes you took in psychology and research may also prepare you for a job in advertising or marketing. 

Some jobs you might get with a bachelor’s in psychology may require additional education and certification, but a BS in Psychology might be a good starting point for those jobs.

Bachelor’s in Psychology Jobs

Bachelor’s in psychology jobs to consider include:

Counselor: Individuals who want to work directly with clients may be interested in a counseling career, which may require additional education beyond the bachelor’s degree. Areas of specialization can include drug and alcohol counseling, career counseling or youth counseling.

Psychiatric technician: Psychiatric techs assist licensed psychiatrists. Their duties may include observing patients.

Psychology research assistant: Individuals who enjoy research may find a job in a lab where they help with research studies.

Human resources specialist: These individuals work for a company or organization and assist with tasks such as recruiting new hires and helping employees with workplace issues and training. 

Marketing specialist: While the world of marketing may seem like a jump from psychology, understanding how people think and especially how they can be persuaded is important knowledge for those who work in advertising and marketing.

Continued Education

If you want to become a licensed psychologist or a licensed counselor, you may decide to pursue a master’s degree in psychology. If you do decide to earn an advanced psychology degree, a bachelor’s degree in psychology may provide a good foundation for your studies.

With a master’s in psychology, you may be prepared for a job such as marriage and family therapist, school or career counselor or survey researcher. 

A bachelor’s in psychology can also be a good starting point if you’re interested in pursuing a graduate degree in a different field, such as criminal justice, social work, education, business or law. 

Bachelor’s in Psychology FAQs

If you’re looking at bachelor’s in psychology programs, you may have some questions about what to expect from a program and how the degree can prepare you for a future career. Here are some frequently asked questions about earning a bachelor’s in psychology.

What master’s degree can I get with a bachelor’s in psychology?

Once you earn a bachelor’s in psychology, you’re prepared to enter a variety of master’s programs. In addition to pursuing a master’s in psychology, your undergraduate degree could prepare you for a master’s in counseling, social work, law, criminal justice, health sciences or education.

What is the difference between a BA vs. a BS in Psychology?

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology has a liberal arts focus, so students take more humanities and social sciences courses than students who earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology. You’ll take more math and science classes for a BS in Psychology than someone who gets a BA.

What can I do with a bachelor’s in psychology?

A bachelor’s in psychology can prepare you for several entry-level jobs, such as working in a human resources office, becoming a counselor or working as an assistant in a research lab or for a licensed psychologist.  

A bachelor’s in psychology is also excellent preparation for an advanced degree. Consider your long-term career goals to decide if a bachelor’s in psychology provides a good foundation for your future plans.

How much can I earn with a bachelor’s in psychology?

Individuals with a degree in psychology earned a median wage of $50,000 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 60% of these workers employed in occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. Annual wages will vary based on specific job role and geographic location, among other factors.

The median wage for workers with a bachelor’s in psychology was less than the median wage for all fields, which was $60,000 in 2019, the BLS reported.

Last updated May 2022