Applied Psychology, Associate in Applied Science


Program Information

Applied Psychology Handbook (PDF)

Essential Functions (PDF)

Code of Conduct (PDF)

Program Narrative


To meet the need for graduates who are able to function independently in a behavioral health, health care, education, or human service environment, the Applied Psychology program offers an education focused on understanding human development, developmental psychopathology and neurodevelopmental disorders, and responding appropriately to people’s resulting needs in these settings. Contextual courses will help students begin to build competency in positive behavior support and counseling skills that can be applied across professional settings, while students’ elective and program choices will allow them to develop broader knowledge of life issues that impact people’s functioning. Students in the program will be prepared to work with diverse populations, build critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and cultivate knowledge of skills, values and ethics in the counseling profession.

The Applied Psychology program requires a minimum of four academic semesters to complete. The program is offered on the Bethlehem and Monroe campuses. All courses in the program can also be completed online or from a distance with some synchronous class time using videoconferencing technology. As students progress through the program, they participate in skill-building exercises and assignments to develop the knowledge, skills and professional attributes required in behavioral health, health care, education, and human service settings. In their final semester, students participate in a structured internship at an approved internship site, in which they strengthen and specialize their counseling and positive behavior support skills for their site’s client population. This experience at the internship site synergizes with concurrent class meetings that enhance professional identity, consolidation of skills, and clarification of professional goals.


Career Pathways

The program will serve students who either wish to transfer to a four-year institution, or students who seek immediate professional employment. For those who wish to work for professional entities with this A.A.S. degree, the Applied Psychology program offers a direct path to employment in behavioral health, health care, education, or human services upon graduation. Positions include: mental health technician, therapeutic staff support (TSS) professional, direct care worker for people with special needs or mental illness, job coach or employment specialist for people with special needs, and EEG technician.

For those who wish to continue their education, the Applied Psychology A.A.S. degree serves as the first two years of a Bachelor’s degree, typically in Psychology/Applied Psychology, Rehabilitation & Human Services, Family Studies, or Biobehavioral Health. The Applied Psychology A.A.S. is an appropriate choice for those seeking to work in a clinical capacity with attainment of a Bachelor’s degree or beyond, including careers as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Behavioral Specialist, Art/Music/Dance Therapist, Family Therapist, Drug & Alcohol Counselor, Counseling/Clinical Psychologist, School Counselor, School Psychologist, Human Services Caseworker, Rehabilitation Counselor, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, Health Care Technician, and Physician Assistant.

Transfer Potential

Seamless transition to a B.A./B.S. program is possible at 4-year institutions included but not limited to the following:


  • Penn State University – Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, Rehabilitation and Human Services, Biobehavioral Health, or Applied Psychology
  • Lehigh University – Psychology Program
  • Kutztown University – Psychology Program
  • East Stroudsburg University – Psychology Program, Clinical Track, or Rehabilitation and Human Services
  • Cedar Crest College – Psychology Program
  • Marywood University – Psychology, Clinical Track
  • University of Scranton – Counseling and Human Services Program





Students who complete this program will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between normal and abnormal developmental processes and behaviors, and correctly identify these processes and behaviors when observing clients.
  2. Demonstrate basic counseling skills (active listening, processing, responding, and expressing empathy) effectively with a client with a neurodevelopmental disorder.
  3. Discuss and apply ACA ethical standards and values in a counseling/support staff relationship.
  4. Recognize the characteristics of a racially and/or culturally diverse individual (demographic characteristics including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status) and identify the potential impact of diversity on client functioning.
  5. Gather information to explain the client's current functioning from a developmental perspective and identify the client's strengths, needs, and challenges.
  6. Discuss the basic principles of the family systems approach, and evaluate these principles in the context of a client's family situation.
  7. Write effective, high-quality progress notes, treatment summaries, and other clinical reports to document treatment.

Program Requirements

Student requirements for the Applied Psychology program are determined collaboratively by the College and approved internship sites. Students are responsible for maintaining compliance with these requirements annually as outlined below.

Students submit the required documents at these junctures:

1)  Prior to the third semester (or enrolling in PSAP 250/260:

  • Copy of photo I.D.
  • Minimum Age Requirement form
  • fingerprint-based FBI Background Clearance
  • Pennsylvania State Criminal Background Check (or student’s state background check, if not a PA resident)
  • Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Acknowledgement of Requirements and Expectations form

2)   Prior to October 15th while enrolled in PSAP 250/260:

  • Arrest or conviction disclosure form
  • Internship Agreement form
  • Release of Information for Internship Sites Form

3)  Prior to November 20th while enrolled in PSAP 250/260:

  • Completed physical examination
  • Two step Tuberculin Skin Test
  • Records of up to date immunizations or blood titers reflecting immunity against:
    • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) – 2 doses are required if born after 1957
    • Td (Tetanus and Diphtheria) – last dose must be within 10 years
    • Hepatitis B – series of 3 immunizations and titers
    • Varicella – 2 doses are needed (if received after age 13) or history of Chicken Pox disease
    • Seasonal flu
    • Urine drug screening test (scheduled and administered by a service provider determined by the College)*

4)   Prior to January 10th while enrolled in PSAP 280:

  • Documentation of health insurance

*The Applied Psychology program utilizes internships in a variety of clinical and educational settings. These internship sites require evidence of a negative urine drug screen before permitting a student to participate in internship experiences at their facility. Therefore, any student with a positive urine drug screen cannot remain in the program.

The Applied Psychology program reserves the right to withdraw the student from the program if at any time after the required due dates, the student’s requirements are out of compliance.

Essential Functions

Students admitted to the Applied Psychology program are expected to perform the same essential functions of an employment position as a Therapeutic Staff Support worker.  The essential functions are the basic cognitive, psychomotor, and affective activities that are essential to successful completion of the NCC Associate Degree Applied Psychology curriculum. Essential functions are categorized as: Sensory (tactile, visual, hearing and smell) communication, psychomotor (gross motor skills, fine motor skills, physical endurance, physical strength, mobility), intellectual and cognitive abilities (reading, arithmetic competence, analytic thinking, and critical thinking), professional and social attributes (interpersonal skills, and communication) and application of legal/ethical principles and professional standards. All students are required to meet these essential functions. Allowing for individual differences, and encouraging program completion for students with a documented disability, the Applied Psychology Program will work with the student and Disability Services to provide any reasonable accommodation to meet these essential functions. Contact the Applied Psychology Coordinator if you have questions regarding these requirements. A detailed description of these Essential Functions (PDF) is found in the online college catalog here (PDF).

Background Checks

All convictions and pending or new charges known to the program applicant must be reported to the Applied Psychology Coordinator immediately upon declaring the Applied Psychology major. These include all felony and misdemeanor convictions.

Before the start of the 3rd semester or enrollment in PSAP 250/260, whichever comes first, students are required to submit results of Pennsylvania State Police, FBI criminal background checks and Pennsylvania Child and Elder Abuse History Clearances to the Applied Psychology Program  for review.

Registration in PSAP 250/260 is considered conditional pending receipt and evaluation of the background checks. Students with a positive Child Abuse History are not eligible for enrolling in PSAP 280. State Police and FBI Criminal History Check results are reviewed on a case by case basis.

An Applied Psychology student must inform their Program Coordinator  immediately if there is a change in the criminal background or child abuse clearance while enrolled in the program. In these circumstances, the student's eligibility to continue in the program will be re-evaluated.

Please be advised that individual internship sites may apply their own standards to determine what convictions would disqualify a candidate for eligibility for that internship site. The Applied Psychology program will conform to the requirements of the internship site in this regard.  Also, a student with a positive background check who completes the program is not guaranteed employment.

Professional Conduct

Applied Psychology  students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner in accordance with the Policy on Professional Student Conduct found in the NCC student handbook, and the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and Classroom and Clinical Behavioral Expectations for Applied Psychology Students  documents found in the Applied Psychology program student handbook.

Progress in the Program

A student must maintain a grade of "B" or better in PSYC 235 and PSAP 260. Students must be 18 years of age by the first day of class in PSAP 280.


First Semester

COLS101College Success

1 credits

COMM101Introduction to Communication

3 credits

ENGL101English I

3 credits

MATH150Introductory Statistics

3 credits

PHIL202Ethics & Moral Problems

3 credits

PSYC103Introduction to Psychology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:16

Second Semester

BIOS105Contemporary Biology

4 credits

CISC101Introduction to Information Technology

3 credits

ENGL151LEnglish II

3 credits

PSYC235Developmental Child Psychopathology

3 credits

PSYC258Developmental Psychology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:16

Third Semester

PSAP250Positive Behavior Support for Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

3 credits

PSAP260Counseling Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

3 credits

SOCA103Principles of Sociology

3 credits


3 credits


3 credits

Total Credit Hours:15

Fourth Semester

COMM215Intercultural Communication

3 credits

PSAP280Applied Psychology Experiential Learning

3 credits

SOCA125Sociology of Families

3 credits


3 credits


3 credits

Total Credit Hours:15

Total Credit Hours: 62

  • SPEC160 and SPEC210G are suggested electives for students planning to work in the school setting
  • An Elective must be completed in a Writing Intensive (WI) section