A behavioral specialist is a psychological expert providing guidance and counseling to people who have behavioral issues affecting their abilities to learn and socialize with other people. Behavioral specialists assess the level of patients' behavior and make treatment plans to help them cope. They monitor the patient's progress and keep treatment reports, improving or adjusting treatment plans as needed. They also communicate with the patients' family and friends for treatment support, as well as coordinate with other health professionals for additional assistance.

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Behavioral Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real behavioral specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Observe patients and strategically prepare and manage clinical analysis of individuals and their progress in conjunction with formulate behavior goals.
  • Implement a CPR training program for 20 staff serving 50 clients with mental illness.
  • Guide student achievement according to district's math content standards, utilizing identify needs information.
  • Assist children with autism or other developmental disabilities with activities and therapeutic socialization to improve social skills and academic performance.
  • Attend ETR meetings and provide input on students.
  • Sanitize toys and play equipment each day to maintain safety and cleanliness.
  • Train in behavior modification, professional assault response, first aid and CPR.
  • Conduct one-on-one therapy ranging from social, language, motor, and independent skills.
  • Assist client in all areas of ADL's and in speech and occupational programs.
  • Develop and teach academic goals using DTT and natural environment teaching in small group settings.
  • Integrate RTI writing groups to bolster lower students while providing support and growth for students writing fluently for their grade level.
  • Collaborate with parents and/or caregivers on developing and implementing functional and generative goals and objectives applicable to their child's IFSP.
  • Interpret results of evaluations and assessments in conjunction with other members of the IFSP team and documents results on the IFSP.
  • Train and supervise RTI paraprofessionals.
  • Conduct evaluations of developmental and adaptive functioning.

Behavioral Specialist Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a behavioral specialist is "should I become a behavioral specialist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, behavioral specialist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 13% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a behavioral specialist by 2028 is 52,200.

A behavioral specialist annual salary averages $42,029, which breaks down to $20.21 an hour. However, behavioral specialists can earn anywhere from upwards of $28,000 to $61,000 a year. This means that the top-earning behavioral specialists make $41,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a behavioral specialist, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a youth advocate, program counselor, youth counselor, and youth worker.

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Behavioral Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10% of Behavioral Specialists are proficient in Mental Health, Autism, and Applied Behavior Analysis. They’re also known for soft skills such as Time-management skills, Communication skills, and Organizational skills.

We break down the percentage of Behavioral Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Mental Health, 10%

    Interfaced with existing county mental health/developmental service systems, assessing and evaluating behavioral, social, and emotional support plan processes.

  • Autism, 10%

    Supervised implementation of treatment plans for consumers ages 3-18 with various diagnoses, primarily consumers identified with autism spectrum disorders.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis, 7%

    Provided methods in applied behavior analysis in a forensics facility for sexually violent predators.

  • Crisis Intervention, 7%

    Provided crisis intervention and assisted families in understanding the implication and complexities of medical situation and its impact on one lifestyle.

  • Rehabilitation, 6%

    Advised and supervised members of a behavioral health rehabilitation team regarding the appropriate clinical approach for various children.

  • Social Work, 6%

    Provide detailed documentation of issues that arise during bunk life Coordinate social worker activities and establish parent contact as necessary.

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"mental health," "autism," and "applied behavior analysis" aren't the only skills we found behavioral specialists list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of behavioral specialist responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a behavioral specialist to have happens to be time-management skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "social and human service assistants often work with many clients" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that behavioral specialists can use time-management skills to "collaborate with contractors to provide technical assistance and establish deadlines to meet state medicaid and cms requirements [e.g. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling behavioral specialist duties is communication skills. According to a behavioral specialist resume, "social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help." Here's an example of how behavioral specialists are able to utilize communication skills: "love and logic training cpi pca trained in addition domestic and sexuall violence training olweus training skills used communication and diversity"
  • Behavioral specialists are also known for organizational skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a behavioral specialist resume: "social and human service assistants must often complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "attend scheduled meetings and organizational forums for staff development trainings. "
  • In order for certain behavioral specialist responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "problem-solving skills." According to a behavioral specialist resume, "social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "provided conflict resolution through group therapy and one to one counseling. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "interpersonal skills." According to behavioral specialist resumes, "social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues." This resume example highlights how behavioral specialist responsibilities rely on this skill: "utilize excellent interpersonal skills to manage student crisis situations. "
  • See the full list of behavioral specialist skills.

    Before becoming a behavioral specialist, 58.7% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 24.6% behavioral specialists went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most behavioral specialists have a college degree. But about one out of every eight behavioral specialists didn't attend college at all.

    Those behavioral specialists who do attend college, typically earn either a psychology degree or a social work degree. Less commonly earned degrees for behavioral specialists include a criminal justice degree or a counseling psychology degree.

    Once you're ready to become a behavioral specialist, you should explore the companies that typically hire behavioral specialists. According to behavioral specialist resumes that we searched through, behavioral specialists are hired the most by Easter Seals Southern California, Rogers Behavioral Health, and ProCare Therapy. Currently, Easter Seals Southern California has 82 behavioral specialist job openings, while there are 24 at Rogers Behavioral Health and 11 at ProCare Therapy.

    Since salary is important to some behavioral specialists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Barbarian, Boston Public Schools, and Children's National Medical Center. If you were to take a closer look at Barbarian, you'd find that the average behavioral specialist salary is $70,059. Then at Boston Public Schools, behavioral specialists receive an average salary of $66,801, while the salary at Children's National Medical Center is $61,869.

    View more details on behavioral specialist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Flyaces.com, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, and Family Behavioral Resources. These three companies have hired a significant number of behavioral specialists from these institutions.

    The industries that behavioral specialists fulfill the most roles in are the non profits and education industries. But the highest behavioral specialist annual salary is in the professional industry, averaging $45,864. In the education industry they make $39,231 and average about $38,755 in the health care industry. In conclusion, behavioral specialists who work in the professional industry earn a 15.3% higher salary than behavioral specialists in the non profits industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious behavioral specialists are:

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    What Youth Advocates Do

    Youth advocates are individuals who responsible for maintaining the human rights of youth while assisting them in developing their skills in all areas of life, such as education, health, employment, and relationships. These advocates are required to discuss youth development and involvement with various leaders in the community. They must provide crisis interventions by performing one-on-one and group meetings with young adults. Youth advocates must also work with mental health professionals within the community so that they can guide teenagers with drug or alcohol problems and mental health issues.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take youth advocate for example. On average, the youth advocates annual salary is $8,105 lower than what behavioral specialists make on average every year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both behavioral specialists and youth advocates positions are skilled in mental health, crisis intervention, and social work.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a behavioral specialist responsibilities require skills like "autism," "applied behavior analysis," "rehabilitation," and "aba." Meanwhile a typical youth advocate has skills in areas such as "youth development," "social services," "life training," and "community outreach." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Youth advocates receive the highest salaries in the automotive industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $31,171. But behavioral specialists are paid more in the professional industry with an average salary of $45,864.

    The education levels that youth advocates earn is a bit different than that of behavioral specialists. In particular, youth advocates are 13.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a behavioral specialist. Additionally, they're 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Program Counselor?

    A Program Counselor is an essential part of a school's faculty. It's the counselor's responsibility to ensure that students are benefiting from the school's educational curriculum. This person is also tasked to help students resolve issues and problems that may hinder any educational progress. They are also part of the disciplinary team intended to instill good morals, ethics, and decency in students. The Program Counselor is one of the teacher or professor who has expertise or has a high educational degree in a particular subject or field.

    Now we're going to look at the program counselor profession. On average, program counselors earn a $1,791 higher salary than behavioral specialists a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Behavioral specialists and program counselors both include similar skills like "crisis intervention," "social work," and "patients" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, behavioral specialist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "mental health," "autism," "applied behavior analysis," and "rehabilitation." Meanwhile, a program counselor might be skilled in areas such as "community integration," "medication administration," "behavioral interventions," and "behavioral issues." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    On average, program counselors earn a higher salary than behavioral specialists. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, program counselors earn the most pay in the health care industry with an average salary of $41,845. Whereas, behavioral specialists have higher paychecks in the professional industry where they earn an average of $45,864.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, program counselors tend to reach lower levels of education than behavioral specialists. In fact, they're 9.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Youth Counselor Compares

    A Youth Counselor's role is to provide guidance and interact with children or teenagers in need of care and counseling. The duty of a Youth Counselor is diverse, and it highly depends on the organization or employer. However, the responsibilities mostly revolve around establishing rapport with the youngster while trying to work on their issues, ensuring their welfare by monitoring their emotional and physical state, coordinating with families or other facilities, suggesting treatments, and performing crisis intervention if necessary.

    Let's now take a look at the youth counselor profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than behavioral specialists with a $5,275 difference per year.

    Using behavioral specialists and youth counselors resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "mental health," "crisis intervention," and "social work," but the other skills required are very different.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from behavioral specialist resumes include skills like "autism," "applied behavior analysis," "rehabilitation," and "aba," whereas a youth counselor might be skilled in "direct care," "necessary paperwork," "behavioral issues," and "emergency first aid. "

    Youth counselors make a very good living in the professional industry with an average annual salary of $38,048. Whereas behavioral specialists are paid the highest salary in the professional industry with the average being $45,864.

    Youth counselors typically study at lower levels compared with behavioral specialists. For example, they're 16.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Youth Worker

    Youth workers specialize in handling and providing support to young individuals with behavioral difficulties. They are primarily responsible for devising recreational projects, handling the budget, producing progress reports, managing intervention programs, and counseling troubled youth while keeping their information confidential. There may be instances where one must also search for opportunities and apply for funding or sponsorship. Furthermore, as a youth worker, it is vital to assess an individual's condition to determine their needs and ensure that they will receive the proper treatment.

    Youth workers tend to earn a lower pay than behavioral specialists by about $9,787 per year.

    According to resumes from both behavioral specialists and youth workers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "mental health," "crisis intervention," and "community resources. "

    Each job requires different skills like "autism," "applied behavior analysis," "rehabilitation," and "social work," which might show up on a behavioral specialist resume. Whereas youth worker might include skills like "at-risk youth," "youth development," "role model," and "child care."

    Youth workers earn a higher salary in the education industry with an average of $32,651. Whereas, behavioral specialists earn the highest salary in the professional industry.

    In general, youth workers reach lower levels of education when compared to behavioral specialists resumes. Youth workers are 18.7% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 1.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.