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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Psychology

Majors Overview March 12, 2014

Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree programs in psychology are usually entry-level. This degree will allow students to get entry-level jobs under the supervision of psychologists who are licensed, or use it as a first step towards goals in advanced education. The program features exploration of normal and abnormal thought processes and their causes, and fundamental knowledge in behavior theories.

A.A. Programs in Psychology

Students enrolled in the Associate of Arts in Psychology Degree Program are imparted knowledge about behavior analysis and exploration of factors that affect the response of individuals to stress and unexpected circumstances. Programs are often devised to teach students how individuals’ own thought processes and interactions with others can influence their actions. Students are imparted a broader understanding of mental processes through investigation on the impact of both abnormal and normal behavior by variables such as ethnicity, sexuality, race, and gender. Admission criteria within an associate degree program in psychology typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


It may take a student about two years of full-time study amounting to at least 60 semester hours to earn an associate degree in psychology. These programs introduce students to topic areas in psychology and involve delving into more complex research in the field. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Abnormalities in psychology
•Biological psychology
•Psychology in education
•Personality theories
•Adult development
•Emotional and social disorders
•Methods of research
•Family and marriage counseling

Career Choices

Many 2-year degree programs in psychology facilitate the transfer of credits earned into bachelor’s degree programs. Graduates may seek entry-level jobs related to social work or human resources. They may also seek specific entry-level occupations in the field of psychology, including in counseling assistance, which involves doing supervised work under a licensed psychologist. Graduates may choose from job titles such as:

•Paraprofessional counselor
•Patient admission record keeper
•Elderly home recreation aide
•Social services clerk
•Drug counseling assistant

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of an associate degree program in psychology may seek to advance their careers by enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program in psychology. An integrated program is offered by some schools whereby the associate degree program is integrated into a bachelor’s degree program. Recruiters for positions such as clinical psychologists, therapists or counselors prefer to hire candidates who have obtained both a graduate degree in psychology and state licensure.

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