*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
While this answer used to be four years to earn a B.S. Degree in Applied Psychology, this was when most students attended their classes on-campus full time. Now, students have some additional choices, including the online option. Depending on how an individual university has this structured, an undergraduate student who takes at least 15 credit hours each semester can earn their degree in close to four years. However, most students decide to take only the minimum 12 credit hours per semester. This makes their program run close to five or even six years. Depending upon how flexible the university is with courses being offered (and how long a term or semester runs), students can anticipate graduating in five years, on average.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
As you begin exploring colleges and universities, you may already know what you want to major in. If you have a Psychology major in mind, look through the undergraduate catalog, either online or a copy of the book and browse the majors offered by that college. If you find this major, this will be one school you’ll want to consider attending; if not, then cross the school from your list and move on to the next.
If you’re uncertain what Psychology degree you’re interested in, try to find a school with a robust variety of courses, that will let you experience a few varied lower level classes and allow you to figure out what you enjoy while you work through your general education.
Before you declare a major in Applied Psychology, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you’re looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelor's (B.S. or B.A.) degree in Applied Psychology, you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master’s degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Some of the coursework you will find in a typical Applied Psychology degree are:
Only 41% of students actually manage to finish their Applied Psychology degree on time. There are a variety of factors that could potentially play a part in unexpectedly extending your college career, such as:
Work. Working over 25 hours per week can get in the way of academics.
Credit Hours. Most colleges will define a full course load as 12 credit hours per semester. If you do the math, you will see that you actually need to take 15 credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time.
Transferring. Many students end up transferring during their college career. Many times, there are hiccups with transferring credits. This can put you behind, or even cause you to end up losing your credits altogether.
Be aware of these common mistakes, so that you don't make them yourself.
The college or university itself should be accredited. Look for a regionally accredited school based on that school’s location. The six regional accreditation agencies are The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, and The Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Online-only schools should have accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, the Distance Education and Training Council, or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges but they should also hold regional accreditation.
Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a Applied Psychology Bachelor’s degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education in Applied Psychology. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today’s high-paced, technology-driven environments.
The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn’t accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a degree in Applied Psychology.
How much an Applied Psychology bachelor’s degree costs depends upon the school and the state. An associate’s degree at a community college may cost roughly $7,500, while an associate’s degree from a private college may cost $14,500 or more. A bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology may range from approximately $40,000 for four years for in-state residents at a public university, and $140,000 or more for students attending private colleges. Online school tuition also varies, but students do not have to pay for housing, meals or transportation, and costs are generally lower because online classes cost less for a college or university to operate. To determine the actual costs of your education, perform a budget analysis and investigate all the costs involved with earning a degree in Applied Psychology at a school you wish to attend.
Schools can provide valuable assistance for Psychology graduates that seek employment after graduation. The programs can be formal, such as job banks and employment centers that present graduating students and graduate credentials to prospective employers and host interviews.
Depending on the college, they may have resources that can enhance employment and career opportunities for their Applied Psychology graduates. Most schools have an extended community of alumni, donors, and corporate and business support. Alumni groups offer opportunities for networking as well as for sharing information and experiences. The corporate and business community support may include opportunities for internships or other hands-on learning experiences.