30 Best Accelerated Psychology Degree Online Programs [2020 Guide]
We’ve ranked the 30 best accelerated psychology degree online programs. Compare top schools and see what you can do when you graduate with a psychology degree.
Psychology is an in-demand field with a 19% growth rate and an average annual salary of $77,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can start your psychology career in two years or less by taking online accelerated classes.
Types of Accelerated Psychology Degree Online Programs
You can earn an accelerate psychology degree online at any educational level. Click on the one that fits your situation to jump to that section.
Each degree level builds on the previous one and opens new doors and higher salary opportunities for psychology professionals.
Accelerated PhD Psychology Programs
In a PhD program, psychology students delve deeper into the particular area of focus, center on ethical issues, and engage in writing at the professional level. You’ll also gain skills in analyzing data and statistics and conducting your own research. You may need to complete an internship during your doctoral program.
To be a licensed psychologist, you’ll need your doctorate. Once you’ve achieved this level of education, you can apply for certification in your state.
The average annual salary for Psychology PhD graduates is $77,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the next few years, the most in-demand jobs will be for psychologists in the clinical and counseling fields, including school psychologists. You could also teach up and coming psychologists at the university level or engage in original research.
Accelerated Psychology Masters Program
Choosing to earn your master’s degree provides the opportunity to specialize even further in a specific area of psychology. You could enroll in one of these popular options:
- Master’s in Child Development
- Master’s in Clinical Psychology
- Master’s in Experimental Psychology
- Master’s in Forensic Psychology
- Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
- Master’s in Social Psychology
Though you won’t be a licensed psychologist yet, you can begin to offer counseling services. Many non-profit and Christian organizations employ master’s of psychology graduates to serve as front-line service providers.
Businesses also value psychology master’s holders in positions in human resources, marketing, and sales. Assisting in law enforcement is another option.
Accelerated Bachelor Degree Programs Psychology Specializations
Psychology degrees, like people, have many different areas to focus on. When you get a degree in psychology to help people, you are at your best when you have a specific niche to focus on.
Some of the options and concentrations available in psychology are:
- Bachelor’s in Psychology
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Addiction & Recovery
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Clinical Counseling
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Criminal Psychology
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Crisis Counseling
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Life Coaching
- Bachelor’s in Psychology – Military Resilience
From addictions to other life crises, there are people who need your help, and your concentration will prepare you to help that specific group of people.
Even within each concentration are branches that you might explore. There are specializations in research, theories, and treatments. Once you earn your bachelor’s in psychology, you can look into getting a master’s or even online doctor of psychology (PsyD).
Accelerated Psychology Degree Programs Overview
A degree in psychology gives you insight into not only the mind of others but also into your own mind.
Your growth professionally and personally will be through classes like
- Abnormal Psychology
- Adult Development
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Psychology of Childhood
- Psychology of Learning
- Psychology of Personality
- Social Psychology
All this knowledge on how the human mind works empowers you to impact behaviors.
Careers with an Accelerated Psychology Degree
A bachelor’s degree in psychology will not make you a “Doctor” or “Psychologist.” A bachelor degree will start you on the path to being a psychologist.
Up to 40% of psych majors will go on to complete graduate studies in psychology, but you can begin a different career with a psychology degree. You could work in marketing, sales, advertising, rehabilitation, real estate, social work, child care, and parole and career counseling.
There is no shortage of jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that opportunities in psychology will continue to grow by 19% in the next 7 years. Here are a few job titles you might want to pursue, along with their average annual salaries.
|Marriage and Family Therapist||$67,460|
|Social and Community Service Manager||$64,680|
|Human Resource Specialist||$55,640|
|Mental Health Counselor||$42,840|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||$41,070|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some psychology professions will require a minimum of a master’s or doctoral degree. Salaries also vary by experience level and location, with metropolitan areas typically being more lucrative places to work than rural areas.
Why Enroll in Accelerated Psychology Degree Programs
In Psychology, you have to do a lot of reading and writing. You might also have to complete an internship. Luckily, you don’t need to spend as much time per class as the traditional schedule dictates.
Like traditional classes, accelerated classes are set with a particular start date and due dates. You study the same material and complete the same assignments. The difference is that you do it in less time. It’s not uncommon to complete a class in 5, 6, or 8 weeks.
So, if you have the time and can complete the coursework in less time, an accelerated program allows you to do so.
And because these classes are so short, many universities will offer start dates each month. There is no reason for you to wait until the beginning of the next fall or spring semester to get into your course of study.
Why Enroll in Psychology Degree Program Online
Accelerated classes give you the flexibility of time. So do online classes, and they add the flexibility of location as well.
When you enroll in an online program, you don’t need to commute or move to campus. But like a traditional college experience, you can apply to and “attend” any university in the world. You can choose a university across the county and take advantage of its unique concentration option without having to go there.
And you don’t need to change or quit your job to go to class at a set time. You can log in and watch or listen to the lectures when it’s convenient for you. It’s class on-demand. You can learn and complete your assignments on your schedule within the allotted timeframe for the course.
4 Ways to Accelerate Your Psychology Degree Even More
Taking accelerated classes is helpful, but that actually comes after three of these strategies. These four options can cut years off the time you will put into your psychology degree. That means you’ll be able to start your career helping people even faster.
1. Transfer Your Existing College Credits
This is for those people who took a previous run at college but didn’t complete a degree. Don’t forget those credits; they can still count toward your psych degree as long as:
- You attended an accredited college
- You earned at least a C in the class
Even if the class doesn’t satisfy one of the requirements for your current degree, it could still count as an elective. Any credit you can transfer in takes the place of a class you now do not need to take, saving you time.
2. Test Out of College Classes
You don’t have to go to class to get credit. Instead of registering to take Human Growth and Development, for example, you just take the exam. Even if you don’t already know the material, you can pick up the study guide and take the test. As long as you get 50%, you get credit for the class without any score being reflected in your GPA.
You can earn up to 30 credits by exam through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Those 30 credits equal a year of college. Each exam costs $87 and usually consists of 100 multiple choice questions. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam.
An hour and a half, plus some studying ahead of time, is a lot faster than taking the class, even an accelerated class. And $87 is a lot less expensive than the tuition for the class.
3. Get College Credit for Your Work experience
Have you completed any workplace certificates or training? Were you in the military? That training can count for credit. Again, credit for classes you don’t have to go to!
It’s usually referred to as Credit for Prior Learning, and most universities have a program set up to GIVE you credit for your life and work experience.
Liberty University, for example, offers credit if you have experience in:
- Border Patrol
- Early Childhood Education
- Human Resources
And these are just a few examples.
You could be eligible to submit a portfolio with your training, experiences, and credentials to your university and earn up to 15 credits for what you have already done. Those 15 credits knock out another semester of classwork.
4. Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Courseload
Now you know how to get credit without attending class. But you will have to eventually complete some courses. The trick here is to take accelerated classes, yes, but to take also take more per semester. Not everyone has the time to do this, but if you can commit to your degree program full-time, you’ll likely finish in 18-24 months.
If you follow a typical university student schedule and take 30 credits each year, you will take 4-5 years to finish your degree. But most universities will allow you to take up to 18 credit hours each semester. Including the summer. That means you have 3 semesters in a year, and if you take 18 credits during each of those semesters, you can earn you 54 credits in one year.
54 credits per year knocks your degree time down to less than 3 years.
If you also tested out of 30 credits, you knocked off another year. You are down to 2 years.
And if you submitted a portfolio for prior learning or transferred in 15 credits, you will be done in 18 months.
Financial Aid for Psychology Students
Not only do the strategies above save you time, but many of them save you money as well. Taking fewer classes means less tuition money and money for books for out of your pocket.
For the classes that you do need to take, don’t forget about all the sources of financial aid available to you. The first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will show you much you qualify for in government grants and loans.
- You can also apply for financial aid from:
- Your state in the form of grants
- Private organizations offering scholarships
- Universities offering scholarships
- Your employer in the form of tuition assistance or reimbursement incentives
Spend some time researching all of these options to ensure that you can put as much time into school as possible. Completing your degree fast is a lot easier if you don’t have to worry as much about money.
Psychology Degree Accreditation
But no matter how fast you plan to complete your degree, the first thing to check before you apply to a school is its accreditation. Whether your plan is to pursue graduate studies or to stop once you are done your bachelor’s degree, you need to make sure that your college is accredited.
Accreditation is an official designation that gives your school (and degree) credibility. Without accreditation, you might as well be printing a degree off your computer from “Happy Go Lucky School of Psychology” because no other reputable university or employer will take your degree seriously.
Your college or university as a whole should be accredited by one of these regional boards:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
You can also check to see if the school’s psychology programs are certified by one of these organizations:
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
- APA Commission on Accreditation
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
If the school you choose to attend is regionally accredited, that’s good enough. Programmatic accreditation simply provides that extra bit of assurance that you’ll be receiving a high-quality education in that specific area.
Questions Related to Getting a Psychology Degree Online
Here are a few more questions psychology students ask.
Can I Get My Psychology Degree Online?
Yes, you can get a psychology degree online. Though you might need to complete an internship, none of your normal classwork requires in-person labs or hands-on experience. You can listen to lectures, read the assigned texts, and complete your assignments all without having to visit campus.
Because psychology is such an in-demand field, many universities are offering online programs.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Psychology Degree Online?
Some universities follow the traditional semester schedule, even for their online programs. In that case, a bachelor’s degree will take 3-4 years, depending on whether the school will allow you to take more than the normal number of classes per semester.
A faster option is to take accelerated classes. By doing so, you could finish in half the time, even less if you have prior credits to transfer in, take advantage of CLEP tests, and submit a portfolio for prior learning. The fastest you could finish is usually 18-24 months.
What Is the Best Online School for Psychology?
The best online school for psychology is one that is regionally accredited. Beyond that, the name of the school doesn’t matter as much as the curriculum. Does the college or university offer the concentration you want to focus on?
Another consideration is how flexible the schedule is. Do they advertise having accelerated classes? Will they allow you to complete your classes faster if you want to? Or are you locked into a traditional semester format?
Finally, a school doesn’t need to be fully online, but it should have some experience delivering distance education. Many reputable universities are launching online campuses to mirror or augment their physical campus offerings.
List of Schools Offering Accelerated Psychology Degree Online Programs
Each of these colleges and universities is fully accredited and offers fast bachelor’s psychology programs online.
- Arizona State University
- Azusa Pacific University
- Bellevue University
- Biola University
- Brescia University
- Bryan College
- California Baptist University
- Colorado Christian University
- Colorado State University
- Colorado Technical University
- Concordia University – St Paul
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Fisher College
- Greenville College
- Indiana University – East
- Kings University
- Liberty University
- Loyola University Chicago
- McKendree University
- Mercer University
- Northeastern University
- Ohio Christian University
- Old Dominion University
- Park University
- Regis University
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Trevecca Nazarene University
- University of Florida
- University of Maryland University College
- Westfield State University
Put that Mind to Use!
Psychology is a field that is experiencing an increased demand for trained professionals There are a rising number of jobs in:
- Consulting firms
- Law enforcement agencies
- Mental health centers
- Non-profit organizations
- Private companies
- Social service agencies
- Substance abuse treatment clinics
If you have the time and dedication, you could complete your degree and either start your career or continue your studies at the graduate level in less than two years.
Just make sure that the school you attend is accredited and that you take advantage of transfer credits, testing out of classes, and getting credit for what you already know via work training first. And don’t forget to apply for financial aid from a variety of sources to ensure that you don’t have any problems completing your degree.