Students looking for a bachelor's degree that offers versatility when choosing a career should consider behavioral psychology. Students learn skills and knowledge they can use in healthcare, business settings, nonprofit organizations, or educational institutions. With so many options to choose from, students may find it difficult to pick a potential career. This page offers information about the behavioral psychology field itself and about how a degree can help you reach your career goals.

What Is Behavioral Psychology?

The psychology field consists of several different schools of thought on how to understand and learn about the human brain. One of those schools of thought is behavioral psychology. As its name suggests, this approach focuses on human behavior. Psychologists study why humans act the way they do. These scientists look at how humans learn and unlearn certain habits and behaviors.

Essentially, behavioral psychologists operate on the theory that humans acquire behavior through two types of conditioning: classical and operant. Classical conditioning occurs when someone associates one stimulus with another, and that association creates an involuntary response. Operant conditioning, on the other, happens when people learn behavior through rewards and punishments.

Students who pursue an online behavioral psychology degree will study these theories, which can help them in pursuing even higher levels of education. Many psychology majors go on to receive their master's or doctorate degrees in the field, preparing them to work as licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers, or professors. On top of that, behavioral psychology majors will also pick up other useful skills they can apply to different professions and fields. Graduates can use their knowledge in law school or business school, for instance. Others may choose to dive straight into their careers after graduating. Marketing and advertising professionals utilize behavior psychology theories constantly when trying to persuade customers; behavioral specialists and psychiatric technicians work with patients in hospitals. And high school psychology teachers need only a bachelor's degree and a teaching license.

What Can I Do with an Online Behavioral Psychology Bachelor's Degree?

An online behavioral psychology degree will equip you with knowledge you can use in your career. You will learn all about behavioral theory, plus you'll learn how to utilize research, scientific inquiry, and data analysis. This section takes a look at what students learn and how they can apply that to future occupations. It also outlines potential fields and jobs for behavioral psychology majors.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

First, behavioral psychology students learn how humans develop their behaviors. They study the theories behind this psychological approach, and they also examine how those behaviors affect humans' relationships with others. Students conduct research on what circumstances cause people to make certain decisions. They analyze behavioral and other psychological disorders, and they learn about various treatments for people who suffer from these disorders. By the time they graduate, behavioral psychology students gain skills in research methods, data collection, problem solving, critical evaluation, and applied behavioral analysis.

Students can transfer all these skills to their chosen profession. For instance, advertising agencies need professionals who can conduct research on consumer behavior. As a behavioral psychology student, you learn how humans make decisions. You also possess plenty of research experience. Therefore, you can apply your behavioral psychology degree directly to your job as an advertising consultant, marketing analyst, or communications specialist.

You may find that your degree and your skills may seem almost too broad. If you think about the job you want to pursue early on, you can hone your studies to match your career. If you want to work as a psychiatric technician at a hospital, volunteer or intern at a hospital before you graduate. If you want to work as a teacher, start preparing for your teaching license while you take your psychology courses. If you would like to continue to graduate studies, try to engage in as many research opportunities as you can.

Careers and Salary Potential

Behavioral psychology lends itself to a range of different careers. Below, you will find examples of the various fields you can go into with an online behavioral psychology degree. You can also read about specific jobs and their average salaries. These lists may help you identify your general career direction. They can also work as a starting point for you to do research on other occupations.

  • Business: Many aspects of business involve human relations and people operations. Professionals trained in behavioral psychology know how to handle work conflicts between employees and how to recruit talented new hires.
  • Education: If graduates of behavioral psychology earn their teaching licenses as well, they can find jobs as educators. They might work as high school psychology teachers, apply their psychological background as special education teachers, or work with young children as early childhood education teachers.
  • Health/Community Services: Behavioral psychology graduates can work in hospitals, community clinics, or other health organizations. They can work in roles assisting psychiatrists and helping people with behavioral, mental, or emotional problems.
  • Marketing/Communications: In marketing and communications, professionals need to understand human behavior. Individuals who studied behavioral psychology possess this expertise, which can help companies achieve marketing, advertising, and communication goals.
  • NonProfit: Oftentimes nonprofit organizations work with people struggling with addiction, mental difficulties, and other hardships. People with a background in educational psychology can help organizations gain insight into the people they want to help.
Case manager

Annual Median Salary: $39,159

Case managers work with some of society's most vulnerable people -- former convicts and those living in poverty, for instance -- to help them turn their lives around. They often create treatment plans and work alongside psychologists or other healthcare providers.

Behavior specialist

Annual Median Salary: $40,374

Typically working for hospitals or assisted living facilities, behavioral specialists work with patients who possess behavioral disorders, like obsessive compulsive disorder. These professionals do not work as psychiatrists or doctors, but they do create behavioral plans and work individually with patients.

Market research analyst

Annual Median Salary: $63,230

Market research analysts study consumer behavior. They often work for consulting services, advertising agencies, or similar companies. These professionals research a company's products or services and then figure out what will motivate people to buy them.

Psychometrist

Annual Median Salary: $42,520

Psychometrists administer, measure, and score psychological tests. They typically work in labs under the supervision of clinical psychologists. These professionals work with humans as their test subjects, and they sometimes need to build rapport with their subjects to successfully complete experiments.

Psychiatric technician

Annual Median Salary: $33,000

Generally working as assistants to psychiatrists at hospitals or other healthcare facilities, psychiatric technicians help patients who suffer from behavioral or mental problems. These technicians monitor patients and keep them safe.