Online Psychology Degree Programs | Top Psychology Colleges

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Online Psychology Degree Programs provide students with a solid educational background, effectively preparing them to enter any number of entry-level career options in the psychology, mental health and related fields. Those who wish to gain understanding in human behavior and enjoy helping others will find a career in psychology a rewarding choice. With options ranging from one-on-one counseling to undertaking global research, psychology is a varied discipline with a wide range of career opportunities.

Psychology Degrees

Undergraduate psychology degrees provide students with a basic understanding of psychological and developmental concepts, such as identity development, cognitive-behavioral theory, conditioning and learning, and relationship development. Psychology degrees also prepare students for advancement into graduate programs in specialized areas, which include advanced psychological theories, clinical practice and diagnosis.

Students enrolled in undergraduate psychology degree programs will receive a broad education including English, math and sciences, as well as psychology courses focused on behaviorism, cognitive psychology, theories of psychology and other core courses related to the field of psychology and mental health. Undergraduate psychology courses may also include introductory courses for statistics and research methods.

Some specialties available to students with an undergraduate degree in psychology include research, social, clinical, and counseling psychology. Psychologists wanting to work with children in particular can decide whether to earn an advanced degree and specialize specifically in Child Psychology or to become a School Psychologist.

Although some classes may be available in these subjects, most students who enter these specialties with an undergraduate degree do so by obtaining separate certification or through on the job experience or internships. An undergraduate degree in psychology can also be used as a starting point for advanced, graduate-level education in psychology and related fields. Due to the breadth of psychological studies, students with an undergraduate degree are often eligible for graduate programs in psychology that focus other fields, such as social work, education, medicine and law.

Students who choose to complete a graduate degree in psychology will have the opportunity to obtain advanced education with a solid emphasis in the specialty of their choice. Students who complete doctorate programs in psychology may also enter research or academia.

Students pursuing graduate degrees in psychology can expect to complete courses focused on particular specializations within the field and will likely complete a thesis, clinical practice or dissertation.

Psychology Jobs

Prospects for psychologist jobs vary widely, depending on degree level and area of specialization, but most are increasing at above-average rates. Demand for psychologists in general is expected to increase by 15% through 2016, while positions for certain types of counselors, such as those who specialize in substance abuse or behavioral disorders, are projected to increase by 34%, which is significantly higher than the average for all industries. (2)

An undergraduate psychology degree prepares students for a number of careers in psychology and mental health or related fields. Students who choose to continue their education to obtain a master or doctorate degree will be prepared to transition into higher paying psychologist careers in this rewarding field. Possible career options for students who obtain a degree in psychology include Developmental Psychologist and Family Therapist.


Counseling is a large field that includes a variety of specialties. A counseling career will be rewarding for individuals who are good listeners and enjoy helping others. Counseling professionals use their knowledge and expertise and apply counseling concepts to a variety of career fields. Majority of states require counseling professionals to be licensed so it is important for prospective counseling students to research their states’ requirements.

Most counselors are typically required to have graduate degrees. Online counseling degree programs prepare students to apply psychological, mental health, and developmental principles to produce positive change. Counseling principles can be applied to many different career paths and online counseling degrees aim to foster success in all career fields. Read more about online counseling degree programs.

Counseling Degrees

Counseling is a broad discipline that encompasses many different specialties. Students can choose from a variety of specialties such as marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse and behavioral disorders counseling, genetic counseling, guidance and career counseling, debt counseling, grief counseling, child development counseling, eating disorder counseling, weight management counseling, musical therapy, art therapy, school counseling, multicultural counseling, and gerontological counseling. There are many possibilities and students interested in a specific specialty should select a school that offers a strong program in that area.

There are a variety of degree programs in counseling. Most states and employers require counselors to have a graduate degree in a specialized area. A Bachelor degree in counseling can prepare students with a solid counseling foundation to pursue other counseling positions. Bachelor degrees in counseling or related field typically require courses in biology, psychology, sociology, human development, and statistics. Master degrees in counseling are the most common and are very specialized so it is important for students to choose their specialty before starting the program. A written thesis is often required. Doctorate degrees in counseling are very specialized and prepare students for research and post secondary teaching positions.

Counseling Jobs

The employment outlook for jobs in counseling varies greatly by field, degree, and position. Overall employment of counselors is projects to grow much faster than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 21% and adding 136,000 new jobs. Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder is expected to increase 34%, adding 29,000 new jobs. Employment of educational, vocational, and school counselors is projected to increase 13%, adding 33,000 new jobs. Mental health counselors are expected to grow by 30%, adding 30,000 new jobs. Marriage and family therapists are expected to grow by 30%, adding 7,400 new jobs (2).

Counseling degrees provide graduates with an abundance of career options in many different fields such as schools, healthcare facilities, social services agencies, and rehabilitation centers. One of many possible careers for aspiring counselors is Career Counselor.

Now what? The next step is easy!

Do you know what the difference is between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? Do you know what the best psychology programs are? Find out more about the career field of your choice today and browse our large database of free information about the best Online Psychology Degree programs.


Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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