Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Online Degrees

Earning a master’s in behavioral psychology online is one way to enter the field. There are many different programs in behavioral psychology and a variety of focuses to specialize in. For more information on finding a behavioral psychology master’s program online, explore this page.

Sponsored Online ABA Programs

Department of Behavior Analysis

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Master of Science in Behavior Analysis

Earn your master’s degree in behavior analysis online in 23 months through Simmons’ highly respected program, BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons.

  • Complete Your Master in 23 Months
  •  BACB- Required Mentoring Incorporated into Program
  •  No GRE Required 

School of Education and Health Sciences

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Master of Applied Behavior Analysis

Complete the University of Dayton’s online Master of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program in as few as 21 months and prepare to pursue a career as a behavior analyst. GRE scores are not needed to apply. Bachelor’s required. 

  • Curriculum includes a Verified Course Sequence 
  • Complete in as few as 21 months  
  • No GRE required to apply

Graduate School of Education and Psychology

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Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Earn your master’s in applied behavior analysis in less than 2 years online at Pepperdine. Experience clinical training and prepare to sit for the board certified behavior analyst exam. GRE not required.

  • GRE not required
  • Complete online in as few as 15 months
  • Prepare to sit for the board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) exam

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What Is Behavioral Psychology?

Behavioral psychology examines how people think, learn and develop in order to change their thinking, behavior and communication. By measuring how different clients process emotions, behavioral psychologists create individualized solutions to help people address mental health concerns—from depression to trauma to stress management.

Many behavioral psychologists use applied behavior analysis (ABA), a type of therapy rooted in behavioral psychology research and taught in many psychology programs. ABA puts behavioral psychology analysis into practice through careful monitoring and continuous evaluation to help modify clients’ learned behaviors.
Psychology professionals interested in providing ABA services may earn the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst certification. Those interested in ABA may also pursue bachelor’s and doctoral programs in this area.

What Is ABA?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioral psychology practices based on the science of learning and behavior. Studying and utilizing ABA can be beneficial in a number of ways. It helps people navigate and understand how behavior works, how a person’s environment affects their behavior and how people learn behaviors. ABA therapy may help improve behavior, communication skills, focus, social skills, memory and attention skills over time. It may also shape how people respond to stressful triggers, create better thinking habits and find healthier coping skills. 

ABA therapy may be applied in a variety of settings, such as schools and hospitals. ABA helps create problem-solving strategies that are tailored individually to the client, adapting to their needs, interests, skills, preferences and family situations. Driven by positive reinforcement, ABA helps behavioral analysts identify and modify behavioral responses while decreasing problematic behaviors. This type of therapy can be used to treat clients of all ages.

Compare ABAI-Accredited Online Master’s Degrees in Applied Behavioral Psychology, Analysis & Science

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) accreditation board determines and implements standards for educational programs in behavioral analysis at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Insights Into Online Master’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology Programs

Considering any of the programs listed above? We’ve gathered admissions information for your review below, but is it always best to check the university’s website for the most up-to-date information. 

The data collected below was last updated November 2021.

Arcadia University

School of Education

Master of Education in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Glenside, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Education in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • A graduate application
  • Including personal statement
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Assessment Tests in Reading, Writing, and Math can be submitted when the GPA is below 3.0
  • Baccalaureate students must submit passing scores from: PAPA, CORE, SAT or ACT
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Proof of any Pennsylvania teaching certificates
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Current clearances for Child Abuse, Criminal Background Check and FBI Fingerprinting
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores for international applicants
Learn more about the Master of Education in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Arcadia University

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

School of Education

Master of Arts in Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Chicago, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing
  • Personal statement
  • 2.3 GPA
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
Learn more about the Master of Arts in Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis) from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Drexel University

School of Education

Master's of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master’s of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 46-47

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing
  • Personal statement
  • 2.3 GPA
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
Learn more about the Master's of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Drexel University

Florida Institute of Technology

Department of Psychology

Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis

Melbourne, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 33

Concentrations:

Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • 1+ letters of recommendation
  • GMAT Recommended 
  • Interview
  • TOEFL Scores for International Applicants
Learn more about the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology

McNeese State University

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 24

Concentrations:

Behavior Analysis, Ethical Conduct

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Interview
  • TOEFL Scores for International Applicants
Learn more about the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese State University

Montana State University of Billings

Department of Psychology

Master of Science, Special Education, with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Billings, Montana

Name of Degree: Master of Science, Special Education, with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate Application
  • Transcripts (graduate and undergraduate)
  • Personal Essay
  • Resume
  • Letters of Reference 
  • Background Check
Learn more about the Master of Science, Special Education, with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from Montana State University of Billings

National University

Sanford College of Education

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

San Diego, California

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 45

Concentrations:

Mental Health, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • 1+ letters of recommendation
  • GMAT Recommended 
  • Interview
  • TOEFL Scores for International Applicants
Learn more about the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from National University

Pennsylvania State University

Department of Psychology

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

University Park, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 33

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from Pennsylvania State University

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Department of Psychology

Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 11+ months

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
Learn more about the Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Portland State University

College of Education

Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Portland, Oregon

Name of Degree: Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 45

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Human Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application 
  • Application Fee 
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution 
  • Personal Essay 
  • 3.0 GPA 
  • Official transcripts 
  • 2 letters of recommendation  
  • TOEFL Scores  
Learn more about the Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from Portland State University

Purdue University

Department of Psychology

Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

West LaFayette, Indiana

Name of Degree: Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
  • Interview
Learn more about the Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from Purdue University

Saint Joseph's University

Department of Psychology

Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 24

Concentrations:

School Psychology, Mental Health, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
Learn more about the Master of Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from Saint Joseph's University

Southeast Missouri State University

Department of Psychology

Master of Art, Applied Behavior Analysis

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Name of Degree: Master of Art, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 42

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale
  • OR
  • Completion of two 3-credit hour graduate-level courses with a B
  • or higher
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent and a maximum of 750 words in length.
Learn more about the Master of Art, Applied Behavior Analysis from Southeast Missouri State University

St. Cloud University

Department of Psychology

Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Name of Degree: Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 45-46

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
Learn more about the Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud University

St. Joseph's College

Department of Psychology

Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Brooklyn, New York

Name of Degree: Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 29

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis from St. Joseph's College

Texas A&M University

School of Educational Psychology

Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

College Station, Texas

Name of Degree: Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 21

Concentrations: N/A

The University of Arizona

Department of Psychology

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Tucson, Arizona

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from The University of Arizona

University of Arkansas

College of Education and Health Professions

Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Name of Degree: Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 21

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from University of Arkansas

University of Cincinnati

Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis

Cincinnati, Ohio

Name of Degree: Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 21

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Cincinnati

University of Kansas

Department of Psychology

Master of Arts, Applied Behavioral Science

Lawrence, Kansas

Name of Degree: Master of Arts, Applied Behavioral Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Child and Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL Scores
  • IELTS Scores
Learn more about the Master of Arts, Applied Behavioral Science from University of Kansas

University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Department of Psychology

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Lowell, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Massachusetts at Lowell

University of Nevada, Reno

Department of Psychology

Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis

Reno, Nevada

Name of Degree: Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Human Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
  • IELTS Scores
Learn more about the Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Nevada, Reno

University of North Dakota

Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Name of Degree: Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 12

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Human Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL Scores 
  • IELTS Scores
Learn more about the Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from University of North Dakota

University of North Texas at Dallas

College of Health and Public Service

Master of Arts with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Denton, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Arts with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: +30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Human Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • Official transcripts
Learn more about the Master of Arts with an Applied Behavior Analysis Certification from University of North Texas at Dallas

University of North Colorado

Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis

Loveland, Colorado

Name of Degree: Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 21

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Human Services

Admission Requirements:

  •  Graduate application 
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution 
  • Personal Essay 
  • Official transcripts
Learn more about the Master of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of North Colorado

University of South Florida

Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

Tampa, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 44

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
Learn more about the Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of South Florida

University of Southern Maine

Department of Psychology

Master's in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Portland, Maine

Name of Degree: Master’s in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: +30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • Official transcripts
Learn more about the Master's in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Southern Maine

University of Washington

College of Education

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Seattle, Washington

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 47

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Washington

University of West Florida

College of Education

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Pensacola, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 47

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • GRE Scores
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from University of West Florida

Webster University

Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

St. Louis, Missouri

Name of Degree: Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 21

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Personal Essay
  • 2.5 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Education, Applied Behavior Analysis from Webster University

Western Connecticut State University

Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

Danbury, Connecticut

Name of Degree: Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Disabilities, Children and Youth, Mental Health

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate application
  • Application Fee
  • Baccalaureate standing from accredited institution
  • Essay Response: In a single, double-spaced page please tell us why you believe you are a good “fit” for Western Connecticut State University’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. To evaluate your application, it will be helpful to have the following information such as why do you wish to pursue a career in ABA, what are your goals upon earning a degree, and what are some experiences that you feel prepare you for success in our program (e.g., relevant coursework, GPA, job, etc.)? 
  • 2.8 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Connecticut State University

How to Choose a Master’s Program in Behavioral Psychology

When choosing a master’s in behavioral psychology program, it’s useful to consider accreditation. In order to obtain Board Certified Behavioral Analyst certification, an aspiring behavioral psychologist may earn their master’s from a program accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Provided that the degree program is accredited, aspiring behavioral psychologists may think about the program’s compatibility with their lifestyle. For individuals with professional or personal obligations, an online master’s in behavioral psychology may be a viable option as it allows students to pursue their education without relocating—and often on their own schedules.

Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Program Requirements

The criteria for admission to a master’s in behavioral psychology program will differ between universities, but there are some general expectations. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is typically required. Some schools may require at minimum a 3.0 GPA and previous coursework in the areas of psychology and/or education. Letters of recommendation may come from academic or professional sources. 

Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Coursework 

ABAI-accredited master’s in behavioral psychology programs should include at least 405 hours of instruction and 90 hours of supervised experience. Additionally, coursework may cover six specific subject areas—principles of behavior, research methods, conceptual analysis, applied behavior analysis, basic behavior analysis and ethics—and the curriculum should culminate in a thesis or equivalent component.

Sample ABA courses might include:

  • Conditioning and Learning: Students examine conditioning and learning from an experimental perspective of behavior analysis, with an emphasis on demonstrating basic laboratory research procedures and findings.
  • Professional and Research Ethics: Introduces students to today’s professional conduct standards and the issues they may face in living up to and solving the ethical issues impeding professional conduct.
  • Behavioral assessment: Students learn to assess and understand social behaviors relevant to behavioral interventions.

Careers in Behavioral Psychology and Salary

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data on behavioral psychologists, it does track career outlook and salary information for all psychologists. The BLS reports that the annual median pay for psychologists was $81,040 in May 2021. The BLS also reports that the number of psychologists employed will rise 8% from 2020 to 2030.

Many psychologists hold a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology. As previously mentioned, if you wish to specialize in ABA, you can obtain the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. To earn this credential, you’ll be required to earn a master’s in behavioral psychology or a similar graduate degree in psychology. How much you earn as an ABA psychologist depends on factors such as location, employer, education level and more.

The career paths listed below are examples of some of the professional opportunities individuals with an interest in behavioral psychology and human relationships may pursue—though this list is not extensive. Do keep in mind that specific education and training may be required for some of these positions in order to obtain licensure to practice. If any of these jobs interest you, be sure to research the necessary steps and requirements for practice. 

Psychologist

Psychologists improve client processes and behaviors through the interpretation and recording of how they relate to their peers and their environments. They observe and interview clients, test them for behavioral patterns, and devise and discuss treatment plans. By studying clients’ cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors, psychologists attempt to understand and explain their thoughts, emotions and feelings.

Earning a master’s degree in psychology (or a subfield like behavioral psychology) may be sufficient to practice in school and industrial organizational settings—though most psychologists need a doctoral degree. 

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists assist those dealing with problems with family and any other relationships. They use linguistic techniques to motivate clients to discuss their emotions and experiences in order to help them process these emotions, which may be spurred by reactions and adjustments to difficult life changes. Marriage and family therapists then guide their clients through their future decision-making processes. These professionals may also refer clients to other community resources and services, such as support groups, as necessary.

Practicing as a marriage and family therapist requires a master’s degree, as well as a license. Master’s programs for marriage and family therapists may include psychology courses that show students how marriages, families and relationships function, as well as how these sorts of relationships tend to affect mental and emotional disorders. 

Social Worker

Social workers assist clients with solving and managing the problems afflicting their daily lives. Individuals on the path to becoming licensed social workers are taught to assess a client’s needs, strengths and available support networks in order to understand their goals and to then address any issues impeding those goals. They are also trained to research and advocate for community resources for the client and respond to crisis situations that may exacerbate the client’s problems.

While some social workers need only a bachelor’s degree, clinical social workers must possess a master’s degree, as well as a license to practice. Master’s in social work programs may touch on human psychology and prepare learners to practice their chosen specialty.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors discuss treatment and support options with clients suffering from substance abuse—such as alcoholism, drug addiction or eating disorders—so they may modify their behaviors and recover from their addiction. They may also teach the clients’ family members about the disorder to help them develop coping strategies and potentially refer clients to other resources and services—such as job placement services—as necessary.

If you plan on working as a substance abuse counselor in private practice, you will need a master’s degree in addition to having 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Then, you will need to pass a state-issued exam. Master’s degree programs for substance abuse counselors may delve into topics like psychology, behavioral disorders or mental health.

Behavioral Psychology Degree & Career Comparison

Behavioral psychology may lead to a variety of career outcomes depending on which degree you decide to pursue. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a bachelor’s degree in psychology prepares graduates to work in public affairs, education and health. They may work as counselors, probation officers and writers. 

Earning a master’s in behavioral psychology online—which typically requires an additional two years of coursework plus a thesis—can prepare students for roles in consulting, market research, government, counseling or academia. Pursuing a PhD also prepares graduates to do research and requires, on average, five to seven years to complete.

Behavioral Psychology vs. Cognitive Psychology

Those who earn a master’s in behavioral psychology online focus on the relationship between environmental factors and behavior. Conversely, cognitive psychology focuses on the relationship between internal mental processes and behavior. In other words, behavioral psychology focuses on the patient’s external world while cognitive psychology focuses on their internal world. Within the APA, cognitive psychology is grouped with experimental psychology, indicating the field’s focus on research (rather than practice).

Behavioral Psychology vs. Clinical Psychology

Those who earn a master’s in behavioral psychology online focus on external influences affecting behavior. Clinical psychology focuses on individual differences, normal and abnormal behavior, mental health and psychopathology. You can earn an online master’s in clinical psychology to start on that career path. Health psychologists, for example, work in clinical settings to help patients overcome mental disorders such as depression.

FAQs

Interested in a career in behavioral psychology? The following questions and answers describe what behavioral psychologists do and what kind of training is needed to become one.

What does a behavioral psychologist do?

Behavioral psychologists use a variety of techniques, including education, monitoring and therapy, to minimize negative behavior in clients—thereby promoting appropriate behavior. These psychologists focus on patients’ behavior, rather than other aspects of their psychology, such as the unconscious (which psychoanalysts would focus on).

How long does it take to earn a Master of Behavioral Psychology?

Earning a master’s in behavioral psychology will typically take two to three years. The ABA accredits behavioral psychology and related educational programs. Accredited master’s programs typically include 405 hours of instruction and 90 hours of supervised experience. Check the specifics of your desired program to help you determine how long it will take you to become a board certified behavioral psychologist.

What can you do with a degree in behavioral psychology?

Having a behavioral psychology degree may help you gain relevant skills to work in a variety of settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists are generally employed in their own practices or by schools, healthcare services, government agencies or hospitals. Behavioral psychologists work in areas such as autism, sports, child maltreatment prevention/intervention and education.

Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW)

Last updated: January 2022.