An associate degree in psychology is a two-year academic program opted after secondary school and at undergraduate level. The focus of this program is to give students the basic academic and technical knowledge they will require to pursue their career or further studies in their chosen field.

associate degree

Associate’s degree is less expensive and quicker route to professional career than the traditional four-year bachelor degree. Also entry requirement for associate’s degree is less competitive than bachelor’s degree. In US, many community colleges and other institutes like junior colleges, affiliated colleges of universities, technical schools and universities, offer associate degree programs at low cost.

Types of Associate Degree

There are three types of associate degrees in psychology.

  • Associate of Arts (AA): Main focus of AA degree is liberal art. It prepares students for four-year bachelor degree program. The Associate of Arts degree is best option if student plans continuing education and wants to transfer credits to upcoming bachelor of arts degree program in psychology.
  • Associate of Science (AS): Unlike AA degree program, main focus of AS degree coursework is science. However like AA degree, it is also helpful when student plans to transfer credits to bachelor of science degree program in psychology.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Unlike AA or AS degree, the AAS degree is considered as professional degree program and is designed for students who intend to enter professional career after completing their associate degree program. It is fastest track to enter workforce.

Requirements for Associate Degree in Psychology

As an Associate degree program is considered a primary milestone to any career path. Hence there are very few requirements to enroll in this degree program. Students who have obtained one of the following diplomas can get admission easily.

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • GED or equivalent

Career Opportunities with an Associate Degree in Psychology

Graduates in associate’s degree in psychology typically get an entry-level job related to social work or human services. However, there is possibility that they may find employment related to psychology, but people employed in these settings with associate degree are supervised by a teacher or psychologist. Some possible careers are listed below:

  • Teacher assistant or a child care assistant at preschool
  • Counseling aide or paraprofessional counselor
  • Occupational, physical therapy assistant
  • Social services clerk
  • Elderly home recreation aide
  • Dental Hygienist
Associate's Degree0.8
Bachelor's Degree5.6
Master's Degree44.3
Doctoral Degree49.3
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Psychologists.

Continuing Education

After completing associate’s degree, students often pursue advanced career opportunities by continuing their education and earning bachelor degree in psychology. If you have plans to go for this option, then make sure you choose your institution very carefully and you are well aware of program requirements.

Many universities offer articulation agreements to community college and other institutes offering associates degree programs. The articulation agreement is a guarantee that a student will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree (at a later time) at a larger college or university, if they meet certain requirements and rules of the agreement.