Associate Degree in Psychology – Everything You Need to Know in 2024

What is an associate degree?

An associate degree is a post-secondary undergraduate degree that typically takes about two years to complete.

Generally offered by community colleges and vocational schools but some universities offer them also.

Associate degrees focus on providing students with practical skills and knowledge compared to the broader education offered by bachelor’s degrees.

By Staff Writer

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Associate degree or bachelor’s degree?

An associate degree is more limiting in terms of employment options when compared with a bachelor’s degree but there are some key reasons you might still consider an associate degree.

An associate degree in psychology can be completed in two years or less so compare this with the typical 4 years for a bachelor’s degree and you can see why a student looking to enter the job market sooner might opt for an associate degree in the first instance.

The shorter duration also means an associate degree is more affordable. Tuition fees for an associate degree can be as little as $6,000.

Many use associate degrees as a way to transition into the psychology field from some other form of employment. An associate degree minimizes time out of the job market and gets you back earning quicker than a bachelor’s degree would even if the the longer term earning potential is lower.

This brings us nicely on to another key advantage of an associate degree over a bachelor’s degree which is the flexibility with many associate degree programs offering flexible scheduling options including part-time, evening classes and online learning. This makes it easier to balance work or family commitments alongside obtaining an associate degree.

In reality, it doesn’t have to be a question of associate degree OR bachelor’s degree. 33% of students who initially enrolled in an associate degree program transfer to a bachelor’s degree program within 6 years so an associate degree provides the foundational knowledge and can act as a stepping stone into higher education.

What are the admission requirements for an associate degree program?

Admission requirements will vary by institution but in addition to the application form which providers personal information, academic history and details of the intended program of study, here are some general requirements:

  • High school diploma or GED: Most associate degree programs require you to have completed high school or obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Some institutions may accept students who are currently in high school through dual enrollment programs.
  • Transcripts: Applicants may need to provide their official high school transcripts (or GED scores) to demonstrate their completion of high school and the courses they have taken.
  • Placement tests: Some institutions require applicants to take placement tests in subjects like math, reading, and writing to assess their academic readiness for college-level courses. These tests may include the ACCUPLACER, SAT, or ACT. Based on the test scores, students may be placed in appropriate courses or may need to take remedial courses before starting their associate degree program.
  • English language proficiency: If the applicant is a non-native English speaker, they may need to provide proof of English language proficiency through tests like TOEFL or IELTS.

Jobs you can do with an Associate degree in Psychology

An Associate’s degree in Psychology can provide a foundation for a variety of entry-level careers in fields related to mental health and human services. Some potential jobs for individuals with an Associate’s degree in Psychology include psychiatric technician, case manager, social services assistant, research assistant, or human resources assistant. These professionals work in a variety of settings, such as mental health clinics, hospitals, community centers, social service agencies, and research labs. While an Associate’s degree in Psychology may limit career advancement opportunities, it can provide valuable experience and skills that can be applied in a range of fields. Many individuals with an Associate’s degree in Psychology use it as a stepping stone to pursue higher education or specialized training in a related field.

Learn more about some of these roles:

Learn more about various other entry level mental health and human services jobs

Find Psychology Associate Degree Programs