Programs for aspiring behavioral specialists can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at 4-year colleges and universities, but community colleges may offer options as well. Specifically at the master's level, behavioral specialist programs may be designed for certified teachers, and evening courses allow for students to continue their teaching career while earning their degree.
Ten Schools with Behavioral Specialist Programs
Here's a list of schools with applicable programs:
|University/College||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition 2018-2019*|
|Chicago State University||Chicago, Illinois||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $5,850
|University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago, Illinois||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate:
|California State University at Los Angeles||Los Angeles, California||4-year, Public||Master's, certificate||Undergraduate:
|Northeastern University||Boston, Massachusetts||4-year, Private||Master's, graduate certificate||$24,027|
|Central Washington University||Ellensburg, Washington||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $8,072
|California State University at Sacramento||Sacramento, California||4-year, Public||Master's, certificate||Undergraduate:
Out-of-state tuition $16,680
|Temple University||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||4-year, Public||Master's, graduate certificate||In-state $16,488
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, Florida||4-year, Private||Graduate certificate, master's, doctorate||$22,338|
|University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth||North Dartmouth, Massachusetts||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state $15,912
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette, Michigan||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, masters||Undergraduate:
Graduate: In-state $8,672
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Some things students should consider before selecting a school/program are:
- Students who wish to become behavioral specialists should select a school with small class sizes since they should experience the same individual attention that they will eventually give their future clients.
- An institution that offers flexible classes may allow for working in the daytime to gain professional experience.
- Since there is a great demand for behavioral specialists in inner-city public schools, attending a school in an urban area may offer more nearby job opportunities after graduation.
Associate of Science (A.S.) in Behavioral Science
Students who undertake this level of study must complete core requirements during the first 12-24 credits of the program. An associate's degree is the first step toward a career in this field, but it isn't sufficient to obtain a job as a behavioral specialist. Students may be required to select an area of emphasis, such as psychology, anthropology or sociology.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Behavioral Science
A bachelor's degree program in behavioral science lends a greater emphasis to psychology and sociology courses. A major in this field requires approximately 124 credits. Students may be required to take an exit exam before graduation. A bachelor's degree may prepare students for some jobs in the field and qualifies them for graduate study.
Graduate Certificate in Behavioral Science
Graduate certificate programs consist of approximately five courses and 18 credits. These programs may require a bachelor's degree, teaching certification or minimum teaching experience for admission.
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with a Behavioral Specialist Track
This degree program is geared toward students who wish to become special education teachers. Among the concentrations offered in this program is a track for behavioral specialists. This graduate program prepares students to handle problematic behavior from their future clients through practicums. A master's degree is typically required for those who wish to become behavioral specialists.
Before choosing a behavioral specialist degree program, students should research the location of the institution, class size and scheduling flexibility.