Associate of Arts (AA): Psychology Degree Overview
Research associate degree programs in psychology. Discover the typical required courses, popular career choices and continuing education options in order to make an informed decision about your education.
An Associate of Arts in Psychology is typically a foundational degree program. Students can use this degree as a stepping stone toward long-term goals in advanced education, or they can seek out entry-level employment working under the supervision of licensed psychologists. While completing the program, students can gain fundamental knowledge in behavior theories and explore the causes of abnormal and normal thought processes.
In this program, students may study behavior analysis and explore factors that affect how individuals respond to stress and unexpected circumstances. Programs often focus on how the actions of individuals are influenced by their own thought processes and by people's interactions with others. An associate degree program in psychology typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent to enroll.
An associate degree program in psychology typically involves two years of full-time study adding up to a minimum of 60 semester hours. These programs focus on introductory topics in psychology and delve into more complex theory and research in the field. Courses could include:
- Emotional and social disorders
- Adult development
- Biological psychology
- Family and marriage counseling
- Methods of research
- Abnormalities in psychology
- Personality theories
- Psychology in education
Popular Career Options
Individuals who complete 2-year degree programs in psychology often transfer into bachelor's degree programs. Graduates might also find employment in entry-level jobs related to human resources or social work. They may also qualify for select entry-level positions related to psychology, such as in counseling assistance, which usually require the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Some possible job titles include:
- Social services clerk
- Elderly home recreation aide
- Paraprofessional counselor
- Drug counseling assistant
- Patient admission record keeper
With an associate degree in psychology, one can become a human service assistant. This broad category was expected to have a 22% growth in jobs from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary was $28,850 for human service assistants in 2012.
Individuals who have earned an associate degree in psychology may pursue advanced opportunities by earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. Some schools offer an integrated program that incorporates the associate degree program into a bachelor's degree program. Those interested in becoming counselors, therapists or clinical psychologists typically must hold graduate degrees in psychology as well as state licensure.
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