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Become A Behavior Therapist

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Working As A Behavior Therapist

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $60,311

    Average Salary

What Does A Behavior Therapist Do

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Duties

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences
  • Help clients process their reactions and adjust to difficult changes in their life, such as divorce and layoffs
  • Guide clients through the process of making decisions about their future
  • Help clients develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and to cope with difficult situations
  • Refer clients to other resources or services in the community, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Furthermore, mental health counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach clients to eliminate unwanted and damaging behaviors and to replace them with more productive ones.

Although some disorders can be overcome, others need to be managed. With the latter, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help the client develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses.

Many mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get payment for their services.

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. 

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, they bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They evaluate family roles and development, to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists coordinate patient treatment with other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers.

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How To Become A Behavior Therapist

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Behavior Therapist Videos

A Day in the Life of NHSC Mental Health and Behavioral Health Care Providers

A day in the life of a Child/Adolescent Psychology Fellow

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Behavior Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

79.2%

Male

18.5%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

54.8%

Hispanic or Latino

22.6%

Asian

9.1%

Black or African American

9.1%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.7%

French

5.5%

Mandarin

3.3%

Vietnamese

3.0%

Hindi

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Russian

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Chinese

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Tagalog

1.5%

Italian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%

German

1.5%

Gujarati

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Armenian

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Swedish

0.4%
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Behavior Therapist Education

Schools

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

9.7%

California State University - Los Angeles

7.1%

University of Phoenix

6.9%

California State University - Northridge

6.5%

National University

6.2%

Ball State University

6.2%

Capella University

6.0%

University of Southern California

5.2%

Grand Canyon University

4.7%

California State University - Fullerton

4.5%

Arizona State University

4.3%

San Jose State University

4.1%

Florida International University

4.1%

California State University - East Bay

3.9%

Walden University

3.9%

Kaplan University

3.7%

Liberty University

3.4%

San Francisco State University

3.2%

Simmons College

3.2%

George Mason University

3.2%
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Majors

Psychology

30.4%

Counseling Psychology

12.7%

Special Education

8.6%

Social Work

6.7%

Education

3.8%

Clinical Psychology

3.7%

Human Development

3.6%

School Counseling

3.4%

Mental Health Counseling

3.3%

Sociology

3.2%

Elementary Education

2.7%

Business

2.7%

Communication Disorders Sciences

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Family Therapy

2.5%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Human Services

1.8%

Rehabilitation Science

1.4%

Speech-Language Pathology

1.3%

Public Health

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.4%

Masters

40.1%

Other

10.4%

Certificate

3.4%

Associate

3.3%

Doctorate

2.3%

License

0.1%
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Behavior Therapist Videos

A Day in the Life of NHSC Mental Health and Behavioral Health Care Providers

A day in the life of a Child/Adolescent Psychology Fellow

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Real Behavior Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Behavior Therapist Autism Spectrum Instructional Resources, LLC Austin, TX Sep 11, 2015 $61,859 -
$90,000
Behavior Therapist Aid LCE Associates, Inc. Hialeah, FL May 11, 2015 $60,694
Behavior Therapist California Institute of Behavior Analysis, Inc. CA Mar 09, 2010 $52,175
Behavior Therapist Aacres Wa LLC Seattle, WA Dec 15, 2016 $50,000
Behavior Therapist KTL Behavioral Therapy & Consultation PLLC Austin, TX May 12, 2016 $47,479
Behavior Therapist Funtastic Gymnastic Inc. Wheeling, IL Jun 26, 2016 $47,000
Behavior Therapist/Program Implementer Butterfly Effects Lighthouse Point, FL Apr 25, 2011 $46,800
Behavior Therapist/Program Implementer Butterfly Effects LLC Lighthouse Point, FL Sep 13, 2010 $45,914 -
$22
Behavior Management Therapist Northeast Behavioral Associates, Inc. Dartmouth, MA Sep 17, 2014 $45,000
Behavior Management Therapist Northeast Behavioral Associates, Inc. Dartmouth, MA Sep 05, 2014 $45,000
Behavior Management Therapist Northeast Behavioral Associates, Inc. Dartmouth, MA Sep 27, 2013 $42,000
Behavior Management Therapist Northeast Behavioral Associates Inc. Quincy, MA Sep 19, 2013 $40,000
Behavior Therapist Special Education for Exceptional Kids, Inc. San Gabriel, CA Oct 17, 2011 $39,529
Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist Confidence Connection Needham, MA Jan 09, 2016 $38,000
Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist Confidence Connection Needham, MA Aug 29, 2016 $38,000
Behavior Therapist KTL Behavioral Therapy & Consultation PLLC Austin, TX Sep 14, 2016 $35,479
Behavior Therapist Center for Autism Spectrum Treatment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2013 $33,392
Behavior Therapist Center for Autism Specrum Treatment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2013 $33,392
Behavior Therapist Inclusive Education and Community Partnership Oxnard, CA Oct 01, 2012 $33,392
Behavior Therapist Inizio Interventions Inc. CA Aug 25, 2014 $32,349
Behavior Therapist Inizio Interventions Inc. CA Sep 20, 2014 $32,349
Behavior Therapist Inizio Interventions Inc. Hillsborough, CA Oct 01, 2014 $32,349

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Top Skills for A Behavior Therapist

  1. ABA
  2. Occupational Therapists
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted behavior management and reinforcement programming using ABA therapy.
  • Collaborated and worked alongside in treatments with Occupational Therapists to manage client behaviors.
  • Managed the most difficult children having behavioral issues ranging from violence to self-injury.
  • Work with parents/ caregivers to assure carry-over of social/behavior/speech language/ oral motor programs.
  • Administered assessments and collected data to inform a systematic approach to individualized treatment plans.

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Top 10 Best States for Behavior Therapists

  1. Hawaii
  2. New Jersey
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Colorado
  5. Utah
  6. Georgia
  7. Maine
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Alaska
  10. Delaware
  • (31 jobs)
  • (158 jobs)
  • (310 jobs)
  • (108 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (110 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (26 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)

Top Behavior Therapist Employers

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Jobs From Top Behavior Therapist Employers

Behavior Therapist Videos

A Day in the Life of NHSC Mental Health and Behavioral Health Care Providers

A day in the life of a Child/Adolescent Psychology Fellow

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