Behavior Specialist: Salary, Requirements and Duties

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a behavior specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about the training, job duties, and certifications to find out if this is the right career for you. View article »

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  • 00:00 Essential Information
  • 0:54 Job Duties
  • 1:12 Education Requirements
  • 1:48 Career Requirements

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Video Transcript

Essential Information

Degree Level Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree sometimes preferred
Degree Level Social work, human services, psychology, or related field
Licensure/Certification Licensure varies by state
Job Outlook (2012-2022)* 19% growth (for all mental health counselors)
Median Salary (2016)** $39,6904 (for all mental health counselors)

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

A behavior specialist is a type of psychological counselor who helps those with disabilities or problems that impair learning or social functions. Behavior analysts can find employment in diverse workplaces, including schools, clinics, or government institutions. This job typically requires a bachelor's degree in human services, psychology, or social work; however some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in social work or psychology.

According to Pay, the median salary for behavior specialists was $39,604 as of 2016. However, salaries in this field have a wide range depending on the specialist's place of employment. The projected job growth rate for all mental health counselors for the period between 2012 and 2022 is 19%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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  • Behavioral Sciences, General
  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Psychology, General
  • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
  • Cognitive Science
  • Community Psychology
  • Comparitive Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology, General
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Family Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology, General
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Medical Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychology, General
  • Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Job Duties

Behavior specialists usually work in clinical environments. They observe, assess, and provide support to adults and children who have emotional or behavior issues. For example, some specialists work with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, developmentally disabled, or simply are in need of behavioral therapy.

Education Requirements

Training requirements for behavior specialists are less stringent than they are for general psychologists who typically must earn a doctoral degree. According to job postings found in April 2015 on and, some employers consider behavior specialists who have graduated from a four-year undergraduate program and earned a bachelor's degree in human services, social work, or psychology, or who have no degree but possess experience working with individuals with special needs. Some employers, however, look for candidates with a graduate degree, typically a master's in social work or psychology.

Career Requirements

There is no required certification needed to work as a behavior specialist; however, those seeking this work in the state of Pennsylvania are required to possess a license. State requirements for obtaining licensure include earning a graduate degree and completing a clinical experience.

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