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Online Psychology Certificate Programs

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, so it should come as no surprise that the subject has a broad reach and many applications. Anywhere there are humans, the study of psychology can be used to help explain how they’re acting or what they’re thinking. Because of this, students who have earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology may be looking to deepen their knowledge of the subject in a specific concentration .[i] Also, professionals, whether in Psychology or a number of related careers, might want to learn more about Psychology to aid with their understanding of their own field. People in both of these scenarios may want to consider investigating Online Psychology Certificate Programs.

Why Should I Pursue Online Psychology Certificate Programs?

Online Certificate Programs in Psychology can provide the means to expand and deepen knowledge of the human mind, while typically requiring less time and fewer credits than it would take to earn a Master’s or Doctorate Degree. They also tend to have a narrower focus than a degree would, and may often drill down deeply into specific subjects.

These qualities potentially make earning a Psychology Certificate online a good option for post-Bachelor’s students interested in continuing their education in Psychology, but unwilling or unable to commit to a graduate degree program. Students may even enroll in an online certificate program as a stepping stone toward pursuing a graduate degree. [ii]

The targeted focus of Psychology Certificate Programs online mean they could also be useful for students and professionals who haven’t studied the subject in the past, but feel it could be applied to their field. Depending on the focus of the program, earning a Psychology Certificate online could help enhance a career in fields as varied as nursing, criminal justice, or social work. [iii]

Am I Qualified to Enroll?

Online Psychology Certificate Programs are typically designed for those who already have a Bachelor’s degree, whether in Psychology or a related subject[iv]. Some programs may even require students to have earned a Master’s Degree before enrolling.[v] In fact, certain Online Certificate Programs in Psychology may even be perfect for people who have already begun their career and have an idea of how they might enhance it by pursuing further education in a specific field.

Of course, requirements might vary greatly between different schools and programs. To get information on specific online psychology certificate programs, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask the school for details.

Differing Disciplines – Picking the Perfect Online Psychology Certificate Program

So, now that you’ve learned the basics about earning a Psychology Certificate online, you may have some questions. You know these programs are usually graduate-level courses of study, and they may be a perfect way to pursue education in a narrowly focused subject within Online Psychology Certificate Programs. But what subjects are available? And how do you choose one for your needs?

The answer may take some research, and you can start with the listings here on Generally speaking, Psychology certificates could be earned in any subject related to the field, but a sampling of the programs you might find could include Forensic Psychology,[vi] Health Psychology,[vii] Behavior Analysis,[viii] or Industrial and Organizational Psychology.[ix]

When investigating your options, keep your personal interests in mind, as well as how each subject might relate to a career. If you’re pursuing a career in the healthcare industry, for example, the Health Psychology Certificate might help develop skills that would enhance your career[x]. If you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, you may be more interested in Forensic Psychology[xi]. A certificate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology could help you prepare to pursue a career in Human Resources Management, an occupation for which 9% of respondents polled by O*Net had Post-Bachelor’s Certificates[xii]. Be sure to contact the schools for more information on each program.

Hot Tip: Human Resources Managers earned a median income of $102,780 in 2014, according to O*Net.[xiii]

Coursework Expectations When Earning a Psychology Certificate

With so many different subjects and levels of learning available, the coursework can vary greatly between programs. You’ll first want to explore the amount of coursework necessary to earn the certificate you’re interested in, as this can affect the time you’ll need to devote, as well as the price of tuition.

You will likely find that different Psychology certificates have varying demands for graduation. Some programs may require 12 credits, while others could take 16 credits to complete. The structure of the programs can vary as well, with certain schools offering courses lasting 8 weeks or 15 weeks, while other schools may have even longer—or shorter—course lengths. Keep your schedule in mind and try to find a program that matches your needs.

Since Online Certificate in Psychology Programs tend to be more pinpointed than a Degree Program would be, you may not be expected to take broader survey or introductory courses, as you would when pursuing a Bachelors or Master’s Degree. As a result, there’s typically less overlap in the coursework between different types of Online Psychology Certificate Programs. For example, students in a Forensic Psychology Program will generally take courses just in that discipline, like “Theories of Criminal Behavior” or “Psychology and the Legal System.”[xviii] Students studying Industrial and Organizational Psychology, meanwhile, could enroll in classes such as “Organizational Behavior and Development” or “Strategies for Effective Leadership and Consultation.”[xix]

Potential Outcomes

Earning an Online Certificate in Psychology could have a number of different outcomes. For some, the knowledge earned while pursuing the certificate might help them enhance their career. For others, a certificate could be the first step in earning a Graduate Degree, or pursuing a new career within their field. Some programs may even help you fulfill certain requirements for certification from a professional board, such as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.[xxiii]

Helpful Hint: While Certificate Program coursework may help fulfill certain requirements for professional certifications, there are often additional steps necessary. Contact the school for specifics regarding the program you’re interested in.

Next Steps

With so many different options for earning an Online Certificate in Psychology, you should definitely get started on your research. Check out the listings here on and contact schools for more information on specific programs!

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] [ix] [x] [xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv] [xvi] [xvii] [xix]

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