If you’re looking to impact people’s lives by helping them understand and change behaviors they are unable to change themselves, then an online doctorate in behavioral psychology may be right for you.
If you watch the news at all, you know that destructive behaviors such as using drugs and overeating are problems that have reached epidemic proportions. Understanding why certain behaviors are problematic—and how to help others change the troublesome behaviors—is what you will be taught in an online doctorate in behavioral psychology.
Whether working in a university, research laboratory, or clinical setting, people with doctorates in behavioral psychology can use their knowledge and expertise to change the world, one behavior at a time! So go ahead and take the leap into one of these programs.
What Are Online Doctorates in Behavioral Psychology?
With an online doctorate in behavioral psychology, you are going to learn about behavior, the process of studying it in various settings, and methods for changing undesirable behaviors. Even more, you are going to learn how to become a researcher, which involves developing skills such as analytical thinking, attention to detail, and the interpretation of meaning from complex data.
Two primary skill sets are going to be honed through various classes during this program. The first skill set you will learn will be in behavioral analysis, and the other focus will be on teaching you to conduct and write research trials and papers.
Some classes commonly taught in an online doctorate in behavioral psychology include:
- Experimental Analysis of Behavior
- Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis
- Functional Analysis
To be eligible for most of the online doctorates in behavioral psychology, you must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology or biology. Additionally, your curriculum vitae and personal statement of goals are typically requested with your application to these programs. Some programs require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and letters of recommendation, while others do not.
Careers for Online Doctorate in Behavioral Psychology Majors
The good news is that after you earn an online doctorate in behavioral psychology, you will not find yourself locked into a job that you discover makes you miserable. There are many career options for those who choose a behavioral psychology major—researcher, behavioral analyst, counselor, higher education teacher, and more. Individuals who pursue an online degree in behavioral psychology typically go on to teach or practice as a behavioral analyst.
If you decide to pursue a career as a behavioral researcher, you can expect to spend your time conducting research on animals or humans, either in a laboratory or their natural environment. The beauty of this kind of research is that you can get out of the lab and pursue naturalist research where you study subjects in their natural environment.
Behavior analysts spend their days working with clients to identify and change undesirable behaviors using rewards and conditioning methods. You’ll apply the knowledge you learned while pursuing your degree to make a real-world change in people’s lives, which is similar to what counselors do with their clients.
Most behavior analysts and counselors have at least a bachelor’s degree, so pursuing an online doctorate in behavioral psychology will likely give you a leg up on gaining employment after school.
Salary Potential of Online Doctorates in Behavioral Psychology
If you’re worried about living like a pauper after completing your online doctorate in behavioral psychology, we are here to alleviate your worries. You can make a good living depending on the career you decide to pursue upon graduation.
When pursuing a career as a social scientist who conducts research, you can expect to earn an average annual income of $81,000. According to payscale.com, behavior analysts can expect to make around $59,000 per year, while substance abuse and behavior disorder counselors bring home a respectable $47,000 per year.
If you’re looking to bump your income above and beyond the average salary for the career you decide to pursue, you may want to consider becoming certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as a certified behavior analyst. If you choose to become a substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor, you may be required to take a national test before you are eligible for licensure.
What are the Best Online Doctorates in Behavioral Psychology?
We know you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of College Rank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and national accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
At College Rank, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Tech University
Average Net Price
If you’re looking to attend a university with a long tradition of providing high-quality education, you need to look no further than Texas Tech University. The university opened its doors in 1925 under the name of Texas Technological College and changed its name to Texas Tech in 1969. Texas Tech is a major research university, which means you are going to receive an education from instructors who are making groundbreaking discoveries on the cutting edge of science.
Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), so your degree will be recognized wherever you go. The specific degree you will be pursuing if you decide to choose this school is a Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology, which is accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
This program is 75 credit hours in duration and is composed of 45 credit hours of core coursework, 18 credit hours of research, and 12 credit hours of dissertation. All these courses must be completed with a B- or higher. The program is worth the effort it takes to complete, as 100% of their graduates have obtained employment.
Utah State University
Average Net Price
Located in Logan, UT, Utah State University is an educational institute that prides itself on making new scientific discoveries and having a psychology department culture that fosters hard work and success. The Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis is offered through Utah State University’s Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.
If you’re not entirely sure you want to concentrate in behavior analysis, or if you decide at some point in the program that your interests lay outside this subject matter, the university offers other specializations, such as:
- Brain and Cognition
- Combined Clinical/Counseling
- Professional School Counselor
- Quantitative Psychology
- School Psychology
When pursuing the behavioral analysis concentration, you will take four core courses, which include:
- Theories of Learning
- Behavioral Economics
- Behavior Theory & Philosophy
- Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior
If you want a reasonable chance of acceptance into this program, you should have at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework, as well as a GRE score for the verbal and quantitative areas at the 40th percentile or above. Additionally, you will have to provide your curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose/intent.
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
Average Net Price
Located in a region of the United States that houses politicians, government agencies, and the FBI, West Virginia University (WVU) produces intelligent psychology graduates who can hold their own in this fast-moving environment. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked WVU as the 57th best clinical psychology program, so it’s easy to see that this university produces knowledgable students of behavioral analysis.
West Virginia University offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a Behavior Analysis concentration. If accepted into this program, you will be required to complete a minimum of 42 graduate credit hours in psychology, pass a comprehensive examination, and a dissertation to earn their doctoral degree. Be aware that the psychology department at West Virginia University requires that you maintain at least a 2.75 GPA throughout their degree program to avoid dismissal.
The application deadline for admission into this program is December 1 of each calendar year. You will need to have submitted GRE scores and undergraduate transcripts with at least a 3.0 GPA. The University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Old Dominion University
Average Net Price
Old Dominion University (ODU) was first founded as an extension of the second oldest university in the United States, the College of William and Mary. Since opening its doors to students in 1930, ODU has become known in its own right for providing top-notch education. The school is located in Norfolk, VA, where Big Blue (the university’s lion mascot) guards its students.
If you choose this university, you will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology, where you can gain expertise in military and medical simulation, error analysis, team processes, and surface and air transportation. You may be on the fence about this program—until you learn that 95% of the graduates who pursue this degree have employment upon graduation, and 95% of Human Factors Psychology students conduct funded research. Those are pretty impressive figures!
You have to apply for admission before January 5 of each year with your GRE scores, official transcripts, three reference letters, and a personal goals statement. The Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology is accredited both regionally and by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Average Net Price
Located in Bowling Green, KY, and with three other regional locations, Western Kentucky University offers a Doctorate of Psychology in Applied Psychology. Unlike many of the other degrees reviewed thus far, the emphasis on this degree is toward applying knowledge, as opposed to research. So if the thought of going through a program designed to teach you research (rather than applicable knowledge) seems miserable, then you should consider Western Kentucky University’s program.
The program is composed of 48 graduate credit hours, which can be completed in as little as three years. After these three years, you will have to complete a one-year doctoral internship to receive your degree. While the program is designed to produce psychologists, the program is currently not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), but the school says they are going to be applying for this accreditation as soon as possible.
When pursuing a Psychology Ph.D. through Western Kentucky University, you can choose between two specializations—Clinical Psychology and School Psychology. The program was designed specifically so that students can maintain their current employment while pursuing their degree—this means that classes are offered on the weekends and in the evenings.
Arizona State University
Average Net Price
Arizona State University (ASU) is located in sunny Tempe, AZ. Becoming an ASU Sundevil is more than enrolling in this program; it’s engaging with other students who are passionate about psychology. ASU has some of the most advanced research centers in the nation, with a focus on translational research that aims at uncovering new discoveries by integrating seemingly different fields and areas of expertise.
This is an excellent degree that will prepare you for anything you end up facing in the real world. The program is 84 credit hours in length and is designed to be completed in five years. You are required to complete a written and oral comprehensive examination along with a dissertation to receive ASU’s Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis on behavioral neuroscience.
ASU indicates that they are looking for prospective students with a passion for behavioral neuroscience who have previous research experience in their undergraduate senior dissertation. They are also looking for candidates who maintained at least a 3.0 GPA during their undergraduate education. This program is chock full of professors to mentor you through the research process and impart their experience so you don’t make some of the same mistakes they may have made.
University of Texas at Austin
Average Net Price
The University of Texas at Austin is a public university that has been educating the masses since 1883. The mascot for this university is the infamous Longhorn—throw up this sign almost anywhere you go, and you’re likely to find alumni or someone who knows a Longhorn alumnus. Use this vast alumni network to gain employment after graduating with your Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
When you decide to work toward a Ph.D. in Psychology at this university, you can choose from multiple concentrations, including:
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cognitive Science
- Developmental Psychology
- Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology
- Perception, Brain, and Behavior
- Social & Personality
With a specialization in Behavioral Neuroscience, you will have the opportunity to work with more than 13 faculty members with expertise in the field. If you’re considering this program, you need to have all your application materials submitted by December 1. Applicants need to send a CV, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, undergraduate transcripts, and the application fee of $65 to be considered for admission.
This is a challenging program to gain admission to, as only 20 applicants are accepted each year out of a pool of about 600. That’s only about 3% of applicants—but if you are one of the lucky ones to be chosen for this program, you are guaranteed a top-rated education.
University of Florida
Average Net Price
As an NCAA Division 1 school, the University of Florida offers more than an excellent behavioral psychology education. You can always take a break from your studies and cheer along with your fellow Gators while watching your teams score touchdowns or make free throws. This university has been around more than 111 years, which means you would be joining an extensive alumni network with longstanding traditions that make for a unique culture and atmosphere.
The University of Florida offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical and Health Psychology or Clinical and Translational Science. These are APA accredited programs that emphasize a scientist-practitioner model of education. During this degree, you will take classes teaching theories of behavior and psychology, as well as research classes. The degree incorporates real-world teaching to give you the experience needed to land a job after graduation.
After graduating from this program, you will be qualified to practice as a psychologist, meaning you can diagnose and treat various forms of mental illness. Students applying for admission to this program are required to submit GRE scores, transcripts, and other admission materials through an online application process you can access through the university website.
Average Net Price
Capella University is an online school that makes the process of getting a recognized degree easier. Some may dismiss Capella University as lacking the rigor of a brick-and-mortar school, but the fact is that this university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is the same regional accrediting body that certifies major universities.
Upon completion of Capella’s program, you will receive a Ph.D. in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior. Capella also offers Ph.D.s in subjects like:
- Social and Community Services
- General Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
While working toward your degree, you will take one to three courses per 10-week quarter. The total program length is 104 total quarter credits, and the university accepts a maximum of 28 transfer credits, which means you may only have to complete and pay for 76 total credits. Best of all, the university frequently offers its students the ability to apply for scholarships that significantly reduce tuition costs.
University of South Florida
Average Net Price
This is another research university, and they state that one of their primary missions is the development of life-long success in their students. It may be hard to find a better school to invest your money into—based on their mission. The University of South Florida is located in Tampa, FL and has additional locations in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee.
The program offered through this university is a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis that is regionally accredited and ABAI accreditated. The University of South Florida created this program because they recognized a need in Florida (and nationally) for individuals with applied behavioral analysis skills. Whether you decide to work with developmental disabilities, child behavior disorders, rehabilitation, or other populations, you know you will be making a difference in the world through your work.
This doctoral program consists of 54 credit hours composed of seven didactic courses, a dissertation, and independent research. The program can be completed in as little as three years. The application deadline for this program is December 5, and admission requirements include:
- At least a 3.5 GPA in a master’s program
- Greater than 40th percentile on the quantitative, verbal, and analytic subtests of the GRE
- Past research experience
- Three letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Curriculum Vitae
- Campus visit and interview with ABA faculty members