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Behavioral Specialist Careers

If you have a passion for helping others and want to make a real difference in someone's life, you may consider a career as a behavior specialist. A career as a behavior specialist is a service-oriented and rewarding position that may not only bring you profound gratification but may lead to a good deal of flexibility, job security, variation in duties, and spectacular advancement opportunities. Being a behavior specialist, you'll get a chance to positively impact the lives of hundreds of individuals of different ability levels and dozens of distinct disabilities. Generally, a behavior specialist is a psychological counselor who observes, assesses, and supports adults and children with emotional or behavioral issues that impair learning and social functions. As a behavior specialist, you won't only work with children having autism spectrum disorders and pervasive developmental disorders but will also help adults with severe behavioral problems or intellectual disabilities.

Now, how to become a behavior specialist? There are numerous overlapping education paths you may take to become a behavior specialist. You may become one by earning a bachelor's degree in social work, psychology, human services, or a related field, or just a high school diploma with experience working with individuals with special needs. Also, earning a master's degree in psychology or a certificate in applied behavioral analysis may even help boost your credentials more. To be successful as a behavior specialist, you must be patient, compassionate, and have a strong foundation in behavior analysis.

Becoming a behavior specialist, you may work in diverse workplaces, including schools, clinics, health care, government institutions, and many more. Typically, you may work regular business hours. However, you might have to work some evenings to accommodate appointments with parents and caregivers. Working as a behavior specialist, you may earn a median annual salary of $45,000 along with health and insurance benefits. In addition to higher wages, financial and emotional rewards, the role of behavior specialist may bring a broad spectrum of advancement opportunities to you in the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for all mental health counselors expect to grow by 22 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is more than four times the growth rate for the entire job market. So, if you're thinking about going into the behavioral specialist field, now is a good time.





There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a behavioral specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $23.11 an hour? That's $48,072 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 13% and produce 52,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Behavioral Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many behavioral specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed time-management skills, communication skills and organizational skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a behavioral specialist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.6% of behavioral specialists included student learning, while 11.4% of resumes included mental health, and 10.0% of resumes included crisis intervention. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the behavioral specialist job title. But what industry to start with? Most behavioral specialists actually find jobs in the non profits and health care industries.

How To Become a Behavioral Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a behavioral specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 37.5% of behavioral specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 40.9% of behavioral specialists have master's degrees. Even though most behavioral specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a behavioral specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a behavioral specialist, we found that they most commonly earn master's degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on behavioral specialist resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a behavioral specialist. In fact, many behavioral specialist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many behavioral specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as teacher or therapeutic support staff.

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Average Salary
$48,072
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
13%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
52,979
Job Openings

Behavioral Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Behavioral Specialist

Teacher
7.3 %

Top Careers After Behavioral Specialist

Therapist
10.6 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Behavioral Specialist

Behavioral Specialists in America make an average salary of $48,072 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$48,072

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Anchorage, AK
Salary Range77k - 87k$82k$82,136
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range50k - 83k$65k$65,016
Concord, NH
Salary Range43k - 71k$56k$55,991
Williamsport, PA
Salary Range43k - 72k$56k$55,862
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range42k - 71k$55k$55,269
New York, NY
Salary Range41k - 68k$53k$53,043
$27k
$87k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Therapeutic Behavioral Specialist-Spanish Speaking
Therapeutic Behavioral Specialist-Spanish Speaking
Hope Services
Hope Services
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$50,08801/30/2021
$50,088
Behavioral Specialist
Behavioral Specialist
Adecco Staffing
Adecco Staffing
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$22,95701/29/2021
$22,957
ESY-Behavior Specialist
ESY-Behavior Specialist
Marple Newtown School District
Marple Newtown School District
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$64,69701/28/2021
$64,697
Lead Behavior Specialist
Lead Behavior Specialist
University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$40,75901/27/2021
$40,759
Elementary Behavioral Specialist
Elementary Behavioral Specialist
Maricopa Unified School District
Maricopa Unified School District
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$28,21601/27/2021
$28,216
See More Recent Salaries

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Behavioral Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Behavioral Specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Behavioral Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Behavioral Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Behavioral Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

62.5 %

male

32.0 %

unknown

5.5 %

Ethnicity

White

65.9 %

Black or African American

14.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.5 %

French

6.1 %

Italian

2.6 %
See More Demographics

Behavioral Specialist Education

Majors

Degrees

Masters

40.9 %

Bachelors

37.5 %

Associate

6.9 %

Top Colleges for Behavioral Specialists

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

2. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,182
Enrollment
16,205

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434

9. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,796
Enrollment
27,125

10. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Behavioral Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.6% of behavioral specialists listed student learning on their resume, but soft skills such as time-management skills and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Behavioral Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a behavioral specialist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Rhode Island, California, and New Hampshire. Behavioral specialists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $81,702. Whereas in Rhode Island and California, they would average $58,953 and $57,696, respectively. While behavioral specialists would only make an average of $56,527 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Behavioral Specialist Jobs:
165
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
1.53
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Pennsylvania

Total Behavioral Specialist Jobs:
1,893
Highest 10% Earn:
$90,000
Location Quotient:
1.26
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Behavioral Specialist Jobs:
165
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
1.05
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Behavioral Specialist Employers

1. Family Resources Associates
2.8
Avg. Salary: 
$53,851
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
236+
2. Youth Advocate Programs
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$56,113
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
104+
3. Northwestern
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$56,562
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
92+
4. The Groden Center
3.5
Avg. Salary: 
$72,566
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
91+
5. Innovative Services
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$64,935
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
91+
6. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$56,166
Behavioral Specialists Hired: 
77+
Updated October 2, 2020