Focusing on observed behaviors rather than private thoughts, behavioral psychology professionals help millions of people transform their phobias and bad habits into healthy living. Some therapists use classical conditioning, and expose the patient to the thing they fear, but in a safe environment; over time, rather than associating fear with the phobia, the patient feels safe – and the phobia disappears. Other therapists use operant conditioning, whereby the patient is punished each time she engages in the undesired behavior; the bad habit disappears as it increasingly becomes associated with negative consequences.
Focused students who seek a behavioral psychology bachelor’s degree can expect to graduate in four years. Typical behavioral psychology programs demand students complete a number of required courses in general education and psychology. The best behavioral psychology programs, however, leave students free for at least two years to pick and choose electives from the psychology program as well as the general course catalog. Graduates who obtain a behavioral psychology degree online can expect to find work as child protection and caseworkers, employment and substance abuse counselors, and even probation and parole officers.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), during the recession, people with at least a bachelor’s degree had a significantly easier time finding work compared with those with less education. In 2012, bachelor’s degree holders had an unemployment rate of only 4.5%, while those without a high school diploma suffered from an unemployment rate greater than 12%; in fact, a person with a bachelor’s degree had a 25% better chance of finding work than someone with an associate degree. Bachelor’s degree holders also had weekly earnings that were more than 35% higher than those with an associate.
Getting Into a Behavioral Psychology Bachelor’s Program
Most behavioral psychology degree online programs share similar requirements. The most common are as follows:
- Sufficiently high grade point average (GPA) – typically at least 2.0
- High School Diploma of General Educational Development (GED)
Inside a Behavioral Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Program
Bachelor’s degree students in behavioral psychology should expect to spend at least two semesters taking general education courses; typical classes include mathematics, literature, general and natural sciences, and history. Most programs encourage their students to be well-rounded, so, generally, at least one semester’s worth of credits are available for students to explore classes in other programs across the university as electives.
Within the major, students are usually required to take two semesters of mandated course work in order to develop a solid psychological foundation; human development, behavior modification, abnormal psychology and a variety of courses for counseling different populations, like families, groups, and individuals, will generally be covered. Upper level students are given more freedom, and can expect to choose from a wide range of psychology electives, such as child development and abnormal psychology. Many programs require completion of an internship before graduation.
What’s Next for Behavioral Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral psychology can usually expect to find work right away. According to the BLS, demand for people trained in psychology is high, and the number of available jobs in the field is expected to grow more than 25% through 2020. Graduates who take jobs as counselors and caseworkers, can expect to earn over $35,000 annually.
Other graduates of behavioral psychology programs choose to continue their education with a master’s degree. According to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, mental health professionals with a master’s degree can expect to earn at least $400,000 more throughout their lifetimes than counterparts with a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, those with a master’s are nearly 25% more likely to be employed than their neighbors with a bachelor’s.