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Behavioral Consultant: Education and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a behavioral consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and employment statistics to find out if this is the career for you.

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Behavioral consultants guide individuals with behavioral problems to help resolve those issues. A doctoral degree is required and coursework will often include psychological assessments, personality theory, and psychopathology. Behavioral consultants work in both private practice and public institutions.

Essential Information

Behavioral consultants work with patients who have developmental disabilities, mental retardation or behavioral problems. The consultant analyzes the patient's home, school and work environments and the behavior of the individual in these settings to develop a plan that addresses behavior issues. The plan helps clients function in their everyday life. In addition, consultants train caregivers to implement the behavior intervention plan. Behavioral consultants typically need a graduate degree and voluntary certification is available.

Required Education A doctoral degree in psychology, special education, human development or a related discipline
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 19%* for all psychologists
Median Annual Salary (May 2015) $94,590* for all psychologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education

A doctoral degree is required to practice psychology in private practice. Behavioral consultants may complete a graduate degree program in psychology, human development, special education or similar field to qualify as a behavioral consultant. Certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in an approved field, which includes school psychology, education, behavior analysis or a natural science.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some schools require students complete an undergraduate program in psychology to qualify for a graduate degree program (www.bls.gov). Some schools only require the student complete basic psychology courses to meet the entry requirements for graduate level study.

A master's degree program includes supervised experience, research work and a minimum of two years of study in an area of specialization. Students pursuing a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree complete five years of study and a minimum of one year of supervised experience in the field. The courses in a doctorate program include personality theory, psychopathology, history of psychology and psychological assessments. Students pursuing careers as behavioral consultants specialize in behavior analysis in their graduate studies.

Master's degree programs in behavior analysis include coursework in research methods, behavior analysis theory and designing behavioral intervention plans. The master's degree program prepares students to pursue a doctorate degree after completion.

Career Information

Behavioral analysts can work in private consulting firms, schools or in private practice. The BLS reports employment growth for psychologists between 2014 and 2024, at a rate of 19%. Schools, mental health facilities, hospitals and government agencies need psychology professionals, which fuels the growth in the field. As of 2015, the median salary among all types of psychologists was $94,590.

Behavioral consultants can work in a variety of settings, such as mental health facilities, hospitals, and schools to provide patient care. They must have a doctoral degree in a related field such as psychology or human development. Job growth in this field is significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

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