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Behavioral Interventionist: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Behavioral interventionists require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and necessary skills to see if this is the right career for you.

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A behavioral interventionist works with individuals, groups or communities in order to facilitate positive and healthy behavior by eliminating negative or destructive conduct. Although a high school diploma is often sufficient education to work as a behavioral interventionist, individuals in this position need to have a solid grasp of behavioral and psychological issues in order to understand a client's condition.

Essential Information

A behavioral interventionist assists individuals to eliminate or replace disruptive, harmful or negative behaviors with positive actions. Behavioral intervention draws on multiple disciplines, including community health, social work, psychology, counseling and education, which means practitioners work in a wide variety of occupational settings and with varied client populations. A high school diploma is generally the minimum educational requirement for this position.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements Must have firm understanding of psychology and behavioral issues, as well as an ability to develop plans for improving clients' conditions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 22% for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
Median Salary (2015)* $39,980 for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Behavioral Interventionist Job Description

Behavioral interventionists observe and interact with individuals, groups and communities to assist with the healthy functioning of the people in that setting. These professionals focus on specific behaviors that disrupt, exclude or otherwise negatively impact the person or group. Schools, public and private health agencies, workplaces and counseling centers employ practitioners who engage in behavioral interventions. Because behavior intervention is aimed at modifying negative behaviors through treatment plans, such interventions often rely on families, schools or other support systems to assist with monitoring, implementation and adjustment.

Behaviors requiring intervention vary by client population. For example, a behavior interventionist working in a classroom setting may seek to modify challenging or disruptive behaviors caused by emotional stress, learning disabilities or medical conditions. In adult populations, issues such as substance abuse, emotional or mental disorders, physical disabilities or other impairments may require the help of a behavior interventionist to encourage successful and productive societal integration.

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  • Behavioral Sciences, General
  • Biopsychology
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  • Community Psychology
  • Comparitive Psychology
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  • Environmental Psychology
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  • Forensic Psychology, General
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Job Duties of a Behavioral Interventionist

Using his or her primary expertise in education, social work, psychology, counseling or other related field, a behavioral interventionist assesses the challenges an individual faces when functioning in daily life. Assessment through psychological tests, observation and interviews with clients and their support systems help behavioral interventionists gather information to develop an appropriate intervention plan. They set goals for behavioral changes, monitor the client, assess progress and modify behavioral plans if necessary. In crisis situations, a behavioral interventionist designs a plan to address any immediate dangers or threats and also determines the necessity of long-term treatment. They may also provide referral to another expert if the case requires it.

Behavioral Interventionist Salary

January 2016 data from PayScale.com showed that behavior analyst salaries ranged from $38,620 to $76,316 yearly, while most behavior therapists reported earnings from $24,814 to $52,681 per year. When comparing the salaries of behavior specialists in a variety of settings, PayScale.com also reported that most behavioral specialists earned between $29,336 and $56,955 as of January 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that the median annual income for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $39,980 as of May 2015 (bls.gov). Variances in salary can be partially attributed to the array of occupations that include behavior intervention as well as to the varying education levels of practitioners, which can range from the bachelor's through to the doctoral degree.

A behavioral interventionist might specialize in a certain discipline, such as social work, counseling, or education. In addition to recognizing the behavioral challenges a group or individual might face, behavioral interventionists help to establish goals for positive change, relying on a number of support systems for assistance, such as schools and families.

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