Behavioral Interventionist: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Nov 20, 2019

A behavioral interventionist requires some formal education. Learn about the education needed, job duties, and necessary skills to see if this is the right career for you.

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What Is a Behavioral Interventionist?

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. 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. See the chart below for more details about this career.

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 (2018-2028)* 22% for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
Median Salary (2018)* $44,630 for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Behavior 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.

Job Duties of a Behavior Intervention Specialist

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

November 2019 data from PayScale.com showed that behavior analyst salaries ranged from $40,000 to $78,000 yearly, while most behavior therapists reported earnings from $29,000 to $60,000 per year. When comparing the salaries of behavior specialists in a variety of settings, PayScale.com also reported that most behavioral specialists earned between $31,000 and $61,000 as of November 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that the mean annual income for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $44,630 as of May 2018 (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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