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.





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.

Learn more about what a Behavioral Specialist does

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 58.7% of behavioral specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 24.6% 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.

Learn More About How To Become a Behavioral Specialist

Behavioral Specialist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Behavioral Specialist

Behavioral Specialists in America make an average salary of $42,029 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Behavioral Specialist Salary
$42,029 Yearly
$20.21 hourly
$28,000
10 %
$42,000
Median
$61,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

salary-calculator

Behavioral Specialist Education

Behavioral Specialist Majors

Behavioral Specialist Degrees

Bachelors

58.7 %

Masters

24.6 %

Associate

9.2 %

Top Colleges for Behavioral Specialists

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

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

2. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

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 • Private

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 • Private

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

9. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

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

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.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Behavioral Specialist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Behavioral Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Behavioral Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Behavioral Specialist Demographics

Behavioral Specialist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
67%
Male
Male
33%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among behavioral specialists, 66.7% of them are women, while 33.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among behavioral specialists is White, which makes up 64.5% of all behavioral specialists.

  • The most common foreign language among behavioral specialists is Spanish at 73.5%.

Online Courses For Behavioral Specialist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Mindfulness
udemy
4.8
(251)

Learn Skills to Live One Mindfully and Begin your DBT Journey...

Providing Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Special Education Services in School
coursera

Welcome to our the third course in the School Health specialization: Providing Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Special Education Services in School. In this course, you will learn about how social-emotional skills, mental health, and learning are related. We will focus on how schools can support social-emotional learning and promote mental health for all students. We will walk through the reasons that schools should promote student mental health. Next, we'll review school wide activities to s...

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Therapists & Coaches
udemy
4.5
(1,237)

Comprehensive CBT Therapy Training Cognitive Behavior Therapy Practitioner Level Treat Anxiety, Depression & More...

Show More Behavioral Specialist Courses
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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, Washington, Maryland, and Oregon. Behavioral specialists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $93,877. Whereas in Washington and Maryland, they would average $57,339 and $51,012, respectively. While behavioral specialists would only make an average of $49,910 in Oregon, 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:
$115,000
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. Washington

Total Behavioral Specialist Jobs:
1,078
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
1.14 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. Pennsylvania

Total Behavioral Specialist Jobs:
1,893
Highest 10% Earn:
$73,000
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
Full List Of Best States For Behavioral Specialists

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Top Behavioral Specialist Employers

Most Common Employers For Behavioral Specialist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Hillside Enterprises$61,617$29.6273
2YAI$50,914$24.4826
3Innovative Holdings LLC$47,348$22.7690
4Glade Run Lutheran Services$47,348$22.7633
5University of Nebraska Medical Center$45,829$22.0330
6TBI$44,831$21.55101
7Tucci Learning Solutions$41,797$20.0932
8The Groden Network "Your Autism Experts"$40,398$19.4294
9PERSEUS HOUSE$39,736$19.1027
10Community Care$39,454$18.9729