In master's degree programs in behavioral medicine, sometimes referred to as health psychology, students learn about the psychological, social and biological aspects of behavior and gain a foundational knowledge in counseling theory and strategies. They may be able to choose an area in which to specialize, such as industrial organizational psychology or counseling psychology. Research methodology is emphasized, and most programs require students to complete a thesis. Internships are usually required as well.
Most of these programs take two years to complete. In order to apply, students must have a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field. Otherwise, they need to have completed prerequisite courses in psychology.
Master of Arts in Behavioral Medicine
These programs may offer courses in some of the following areas:
- Health psychology
- Psychological pharmacology
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Advanced statistics in psychology
- Psychological disorders
- Drugs and behavior
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of these programs may consider careers as school counselors, treatment team members in healthcare establishments, or counselors in private practice.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists is predicted to increase by 15% between 2018 and 2028. Professionals working in this discipline of psychology earned a median annual wage of $79,010 as of May 2018. Job competition is expected to be intense for individuals with master's degrees (www.bls.gov')
Licensure, Certification and Continuing Education Information
Graduates may be eligible to seek state licensure as a mental health or other type of behavioral counselor. Requirements vary by state, but in most cases, candidates need to earn a master's degree and get several years of work experience. Then, they are able to take the state licensing exam.
Many graduates also go on to attain doctoral degrees, which are required if they wish to be licensed to practice independently. Students can enroll in doctoral programs in behavioral medicine, or they can choose a related psychology program, such as clinical or developmental psychology, and specialize in behavioral medicine or health psychology.
In summary, master's degree programs in behavioral medicine provide aspiring counselors with advanced training in the field of psychology.