How to Become a Behavioral Psychologist

Out of the various field of psychology, behavioral psychology is definitely the most interesting one. How can it not be? It’s about studying human behavior. Just think about it, knowing and understanding why do certain people react the way they do? Behavior is very volatile and unpredictable and understanding something like that will really require a sharp mind and a very patient personality.

A behavioral psychologist is a mental health professional who studies and specializes in understanding human behavior and habits. Behavioral psychologists believe that since all behavior is already learned, they can be studied and observed. Learning behavioral psychology also helps psychologists learn how human actions affect their decision-making process. The job of a behavioral psychologist can be really tough since he/she has to find the root cause of the unnatural behavior the patient is presenting.

Becoming a Behavioral Psychologist

Individuals who have a deep interest in studying human behavior and are very patient in life are ideal candidates for this job. There may be times when behavioral psychologists may encounter people who are suffering from severe mental health issues which makes them verbally and physically abusive. During such times the psychologist has to stay calm and try to take advantage of the years of training and implement different methods to calm the situation.

Educational Requirements
People who want to be a licensed behavioral psychologist have to start by completing various programs and degrees related to this field. The most important thing to do is to complete a psychology degree which normally takes 4 years of study. It also includes some projects and course work in various psychology subjects. Psychology graduates then move on to the Master’s Degree level which is an in depth study of behavior analysis. This curriculum consists of classroom lectures with intensive study of the human mind and practicals which sometimes go on for the entire week. To become a practicing behavioral psychologist, a license is required and for getting a valid license students have to complete a Doctoral Degree.

Behavioral Psychologist Career
A licensed behavioral psychologist may work in hospitals, mental clinics or a private clinic and treat patients. These psychologists also work for research purposes conducting various types of experiments to understand the human mind in a much better way. Some behavioral psychologists are also hired by substance abuse clinics to help patients in kicking off their addictions. If a behavioral psychologist has gained a good experience in this field, he/she may also be invited to teach in universities and also give lectures in internship seminars. Behavioral psychologists are also hired by children hospitals to help children who have suffered from emotional or sexual abuse. They can also work for multinational companies teaching their staff how to understand the customer’s behavior and complete their desired targets successfully. In rare cases, behavioral psychologists have also helped law enforcement agencies understand the mind frame of dangerous criminals

Behavioral Psychologist Salary
The salary of a behavioral psychologist usually depends on the place and the location where he/she works. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, practicing behavioral psychologists earn at least $80,000 annually. Psychologists who turn into professors and teach at various universities have a pay scale of $55,000 to $60,000. The salary will also depend on the geographical location. For instance; a behavioral psychologist practicing in New York will definitely earn more than a behavioral psychologist practicing in North Carolina.

To become a successful and qualified behavioral psychologist one must practice under a qualified mental health expert for at least 2 years. In the US, candidates also have to pass a written state license examination to get a valid license for practicing in a state.