Psychology is a broad field of study that prepares students to be able to work in professions dealing with human thought and relations. Many colleges offer associate degree programs, usually lasting about two years, in the field of psychology. Getting such a degree can enhance your prospects for employment and income in the future.
Many institutions offer associate degrees in psychology, from highly respected universities to community colleges and online universities. According to Online Degree Talk, as of 2010, someone with an associate degree in psychology from an online university can expect to make between $29,000 and $34,040. An associate degree from a well-respected and highly accredited university may help you to get a higher wage than that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, though, the Online Degree Talk figure puts holders of associate degrees in psychology below the average annual income level for the United States, which is $44,410.
One reason that people with associate degrees in psychology make so little is because professions directly related to psychology and mental health are not usually very lucrative. For instance, even if you get a job as a rehabilitation counselor, which is a higher-paid mental health job that often requires at least a bachelor's degree, this means that you will only be making $35,850 per year, as of 2010. However, since the core principles of psychology can be helpful in other fields, you may be able to find higher-paying jobs. For instance, studying psychology may help you to become a very effective sales professional, in which case you might earn $100,000 or more on a commission basis.
While getting an associate degree in psychology can help you to broaden your horizons, its most useful aspect can be the fact that it is a stepping stone toward even higher education. After getting an associate degree in psychology from a community college or online university, you may choose to enroll at a more prestigious university and pursue a bachelor's degree, which may or may not be in psychology. Your undergraduate studies in psychology may easily lead you into graduate study of medicine, law or business, which all use important skills learned in the study of psychology.
As an associate degree in psychology does not commit you to any one career track, projecting the job outlook for someone with an associate degree in psychology may be difficult. However, if you intend to become a psychologist, you should plan on continuing in your studies past the associate level. The average annual wages for psychologists in the United States as of 2010 was $86,510, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects growth for the job market for psychologists to track the national average of other jobs from 2008 to 2018.