An Associate of Arts in Psychology is an entry-level degree studied by, well, people interested in a career in psychology. This degree is your first stepping stone towards the advanced MA, and PhD courses demanded by professional jobs for psychologists.
Or you would be eligible for some entry-level positions in the field with this degree, perhaps as an assistant in an institution or entry onto a vocational program in a specialist field such as Drug Counseling. Do not think this path is the inferior one to those who go on to do PhD’s – after all, Carl Jung started his professional life as a lowly technician in a mental hospital. Indeed, his therapeutic techniques were derided and he was given only ‘hopeless cases’ to work on. When he began to cure such cases, his fame rose.
The degree program is designed to give students a foundational knowledge of the behavioral theories that guide the practice of psychology and the beginnings of an ability to differentiate between ‘normal’ and pathological thought-processes.
Associate of Arts in Psychology
In order to take this degree you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The program of study may include behavioral analysis and an exploration of different influences that affect how different individuals respond to stress or trauma. You will also learn how thought process influence actions and relationships with others. Variables in race, gender and sexuality are introduced to help you explore how external factors influence the personality and pathological thought processes.
You will study for two years full-time and do a minimum of 60 semester hours. Topics start with the basics and slowly get more advances. Most courses touch on the following subject areas:
Emotional and social disorders
Family and marriage counseling
Methods of research
Abnormalities in psychology
Psychology in education
If you complete your 2-year degree program you could transfer into a bachelor’s degree program. Or you could find a job in an entry-level position related to human resources or social work. Other positions available could be counseling assistance or other positions where you will be supervised by a licensed psychologist. You could find yourself working as:
Social services clerk
Elderly home recreation aide
Drug counseling assistant
Patient admission record keeper
If you choose to go on and study advanced degrees in the field, you might be able to take an integrative program if your school offers that which will earn you both the associate and the bachelor’s degree. If you are interested in becoming a counselor, therapist or clinical psychologist you must hold a graduate degree in psychology and get yourself licensed by the state.