Behavior Studies Professor: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Learn about the educational requirements to work as a postsecondary behavioral studies professor. Find out about the job duties and salary potential for this career.

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Career Definition for a Behavioral Studies Professor

Behavioral studies professors present lectures and formulate exams and assignments. They also are responsible for administrative work, such as grading students' papers. Behavioral studies professors must stay current on relevant research and support the efforts of their colleagues. Most behavioral studies professors work at colleges or universities. Positions at large institutions with bigger research and departmental budgets tend to be more competitive.

Education Doctoral degree in behavioral studies or a related field
Job Skills Strong speaking, writing and research skills
Median Salary (2015)* $72,470 (postsecondary teachers, all subjects)
$69,230 (postsecondary teachers, sociology)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% (postsecondary teachers, all subjects)
15% (postsecondary teachers, sociology)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Behavioral studies professors must have a doctorate in a field such as behavioral studies, psychology or sociology. A doctorate usually takes two to five years to complete, depending on the program and the student's ambitions. Courses in a behavioral studies doctorate program may include sociology, research methods, culture and mental health, intervention strategies and health communication.

Skills Required

Behavioral studies professors must be able to create coursework, present lectures and guide students in academic endeavors. Additionally, behavioral studies professors need to have strong research and writing skills. They must have the persistence to get their research funded and their academic papers published, as well as the confidence needed to speak in front of their peers at conferences and other events.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for postsecondary teachers of all subjects are expected to rise by 13% from 2014 to 2024. Jobs for postsecondary sociology teachers are projected to increase by 15% during this same period. The median annual salary for sociology professors teaching at postsecondary educational institutions was $69,230 in May 2015, per the BLS. The median salary for all postsecondary teachers was $72,470.

Alternative Career Options

Similar careers within the field of behavioral studies include:


Behavioral studies professors who prefer to work in the field rather than teach might want to explore a career in sociological research. Sociologists typically study a specific sub-set of people, such as a specific gender, religion or age group. Like postsecondary teachers, sociologists typically need a Ph.D. In May 2015, the BLS reported that sociologists earned a median annual salary of $73,760. The BLS projects that jobs in this field will decrease by 1% from 2014 to 2024.

Social Worker

Those interested in behavioral studies who want to provide a community service may prefer a career as a social worker. These professionals assist people in solving problems or guide them during rough times, such as divorce or unemployment. Most social workers only need a bachelor's degree, although clinical social workers, who diagnose and treat behavioral disorders, need a master's degree. Depending on the state, social workers may be required to obtain state licenses.

In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for all social workers was $45,900. The number of jobs for social workers is expected to increase by 12% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.

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