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Online Master’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology

An online masters degree in behavioral psychology is a great fit for any individual already possessing a bachelor’s degree in a related field, wanting to pursue a career in psychology or counseling. The degree can help prepare students for earning state licensure as a counselor, or can also help prepare students for a doctoral or medical school program to become a practicing psychologist or psychiatrist. Online masters programs in behavioral psychology do so by helping students better understand the inner workings of the mind, and its impact on human behavior, both socially and individually.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Applied Behavioral Psychology

Online masters programs in behavioral psychology require students to complete an exceptional amount of reading, and original research and writing based off their research. In addition to readings that help students gain a mastery of behavioral psychology, they also examine case studies involving actual patients or clinical studies. Students typically participate in courses that help them gain a better understanding of diagnosing, evaluating, and treating mental disorders. The also study how human interaction can affect an individuals’ well-being. Some classes you can expect to see include:

  • Psychopathology
  • Human Sexuality
  • Alcoholism & Chemical Dependency
  • Psychology of Violence
  • Psychology of Trauma

Any online behavioral analysis master’s degree program will require students to complete supervised or clinical practicums. Most programs require students to complete multiple practicums that involve working under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. The practicum, or work experience programs, are designed to allow students to apply what they have learned through supervised counseling of individuals or clients. Students can usually earn practicum experience in a school, college, counseling office of a large business or corporation, or at a private mental health facility or office.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Behavioral Psychology

The most common career field for an individual with an online masters degree in behavioral psychology is in counseling. Counselors can work in a variety of different fields, including school counseling, marriage and family therapy, and rehabilitation or addiction counseling. Counselors typically work one-on-one with individuals to help them overcome emotional disorders and other problems affecting their family, work, or overall mental well-being. They must be superb listeners and problem solvers who help clients better understand their situations through questions about the issues causing problems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most counselors work in either mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, or colleges, with positions in the field being divided evenly throughout. The BLS reports that 18% of those working in the field are employed through private individual and family services offices. Additionally, the BLS also reports that the field is expected to grow by 37% through the year 2020, which is much faster than average for all occupations in the U.S.

Before a graduate is able to work independently as a counselor, they must first earn either a state issued license or certification. The actual requirements usually vary slightly from state to state, but individuals can find the specific requirements and information on each state’s regulating board through the National Board for Certified Counselor’s website. In most cases, earning a state license requires the successful completion of a master’s degree program, 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and the successful completion of a state-recognized exam. Additionally, once an individual has gained their license, they must maintain it by completing annual requirements in continuing education. Individuals hoping to work specifically as a marriage or family therapist must also earn their license. The requirements are very similar, but typically require two years of supervised experience instead. The number can vary by state, so students interested in the field can find specific requirements through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

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