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Salary and Career Information for a Behavioral Psychologist

Behavioral psychologists need significant formal education. Learn about degree programs, job duties, salary projections and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Behavioral psychologists work one-on-one with patients to treat mental and behavioral disorders. Most are self-employed and work in private practitioners' offices, but these psychologists can also work in schools, businesses, and consulting facilities. They need a specialist, master's, or doctoral degree in psychology, depending on the job they perform. Most states require licensing or certification to use the term 'psychologist,' but requirements vary.

Required Education Graduate degree in a relevant field
Other RequirementsLicensing or certification in most states
Projected Job Growth (Clinical, Counseling or School Psychologists)11% (2012-22)*
Median Wage (Clinical, Counseling or School Psychologists) $67,760 (2013)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Behavioral Psychologist Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical psychologists, such as behavioral psychologists, earned a median annual salary of $67,760 in May 2013. The same month, the BLS reported that behavioral disorder counselors earned a median wage of $38,630 a year.

Behavioral Psychologist Career Information

A behavioral psychologist's general career focus is to observe and interpret an individual's behavior to postulate theories and establish solutions to psychological disorders. Psychologists work closely with patients on a daily basis, providing them with therapy to control and resolve issues such as anxiety disorder, addiction, and phobia. Along with using interview and observation to gather information about a patient, psychologists also might use laboratory testing, such as psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, hypnosis, or biofeedback. They also attempt to obtain a greater understanding of human behavior by applying individual findings to broader cause-and-effect theories in the scientific field.

Behavioral psychologists typically work in elementary and secondary schools, businesses, clinics and physicians' offices. According to the BLS, approximately one-third of all psychologists were self-employed in 2012, and of those, most were private practitioners. The bureau has projected that employment for all types of psychologists will grow by about 12% from 2012 to 2022, noting specifically that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists could see job opportunities increase by about 11%.

Comparatively, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors' employment could increase by about 31% during the same time frame, per the BLS. This growth will be driven by an increased attention to students' mental health and drug usage, a growing elderly population coping with the stresses of aging and consumers suffering from the bleak economic climate. In all industries, behavioral scientists with a doctoral degree should enjoy the best job prospects, and those experienced in computer science and quantitative research might qualify for a wider variety of job opportunities.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics