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.