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Major Overview: Health Psychology Program

Majors Overview April 7, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in health psychology and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Health Psychology

Undergraduate health psychology programs are not available through many schools in the United States. However, wherever offered, the major is available as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Psychology. A health psychology major involves examination of the ways in which mental health, physical, emotional, and social factors affect human behaviors.

Students may learn ways of assisting others with losing weight, quit smoking, or handling stress. Foundational courses in biological and chemical sciences are taken, in addition to mathematics, including statistics, calculus, and algebra. Schools may offer concentration areas in pre-medicine or health studies and promotion. Schools usually have no specific admission criteria to be satisfied by incoming students.

Coursework

Participation in two to three semesters of practical experiences is often a requirement of health psychology majors. They may also offer assistance to professors with ongoing research projects while completing core coursework such as the following:

•Abnormal psychology
•Issues in health care
•Alternative health promotion techniques
•Medical ethics
•Health care terms
•Learning and behavior change strategies
•Developmental psychology
•Human diseases
•Patient rights
•Nutritional health

Career Choices

Those who complete a health psychology program can seek employment with universities, medical centers, nonprofit organizations, rehabilitation centers, and mental health institutions. Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program could also seek entry-level opportunities such as:

•Psychological research assistant
•Community health educator
•Health treatment coordinator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, much-faster-than-average job growth rates of 21% have been predicted for health educators (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $41,830.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who wish to pursue professional or graduate degrees in occupational, nutrition, social work, public health, medicine, or clinical/general psychology would benefit by pursuing a health psychology program. Given that schools offer most health psychology programs as master’s or doctoral degree programs, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Psychology is available to bachelor’s degree holders. A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for aspiring psychologists, although a doctoral degree is possessed by most of these professionals.

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