Behavioral Psychologists

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Introduction to Behavioral Psychologists

Psychology is a vast area of studies and it is a highly sought after career opportunity, given the scope and prospects. It has a wide range of streams and specializations within its discipline. The Behavioral Psychology is a major part of Psychology studies. Many psychologists choose this field because of its scope and prospects.

As the name suggests, the Behavioral Psychologists deal with the behavioral changes of a person. However, along with this, the sensory abilities, perceptions, thought processes and emotions of a person are also taken into consideration. The purpose of studying this discipline of psychology is to develop methods and techniques for modifying and changing behaviors that are destructive and negative, by examining and analyzing the behavioral styles. Thus the behavioral psychologists improve, alter and change the unhealthy behaviors into healthier ones.

Steps to Become a Behavioral Psychologist

  • Complete Bachelor’s Degree:

    If you want to become a professional Behavioral Psychologist, it is a must that you earn a Bachelor’s Degree. The graduation will ensure that you can enroll into a PhD program that is the qualifying degree for becoming a psychologist. However, it is not necessary that you choose Psychology for your undergraduate program. Graduates from any stream can enroll into Psychology PhD programs. However, in order to pursue graduate study programs, the students from different undergraduate streams might have to take pre-requisites in Psychology.

    Those, who are undergraduates in Psychology, have an advantage. The general, behavioral and developmental Psychology is taught in Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Many students also choose to go for a Master’s Degree program, before enrolling to a PhD program in Behavioral Psychology. However, it is not mandatory. There are universities in USA that are open to applicants, who have completed their Bachelor’s Degree in any field. But, you have to –

    • Write personal essays
    • Take the Graduate Admission Test.

    This will ensure your admission to the PhD program, in order to be a clinical Behavioral Psychologist. The preparation for enrolling to the Doctorate Program must start from junior years. Recommendations are also a must.

  • Earn a PhD Degree:

    A licensed Behavioral Psychologist must earn a Doctoral degree in Behavioral Psychology. Either a PhD or a PsyD degree is a must. During this program, the student has to focus more on treating patients rather than on research work. During the Doctoral degree, the student has to:

    • Take coursework such as behavioral and cognitive studies, psychopathology, assessment techniques, developmental psychology and the like.
    • Complete a dissertation
    • Complete a thesis

    After completing these, the student has to complete an internship of 1 year. This is a must for the clinical psychologists. The coursework must be done under supervision, so that certification is ensured by the faculty member or the advisor.

Find Your State’s Licensing Requirements

Once you have completed your PhD or PsyD in Behavioral Psychology, if you wish to become a clinical psychologist, licensing is a must. In order to become certified and licensed as a clinical psychologist, two years of postdoctoral experience under supervision is a must. Most of the states require the individual to have a minimum of experience in any of the core cognitive and behavioral psychology. A residential or fellowship program is a possible option for gaining this experience.

  • After gaining this experience, the individual has to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This is a standard licensing test. Every state has individual licensing requirements that must be researched before proceeding.
  • The American Board of Professional Psychology will certify the Behavioral Psychologist.
  • As the individual submits the internship details, proof of coursework and the experience, the Board will provide the certification, recognizing his or her competence and specialty of expertise.

The certification and licensing, increase the career or employment opportunities. It is a must for the individuals, who wish to become professional Behavioral Psychologists.

Skills You’ll Need

  • Observational skills: The Behavioral Psychologist must have strong skills to observe body language, facial expressions and how an individual socializes with others.
  • Interpersonal skills: The Behavioral Psychologist must have the deep personal desire to help others. They might have to deal with patients with disorders and listening to them, being patient with them and guiding them willingly under every circumstance is a quality that they must have. The treatments can go on for long and they must grow a trustworthy and healthy relationship with the patients, so that they respond to the treatment well.
  • Reasoning and analytical skills: The Behavioral Psychologists must have strong analytical skills. They should be able to conduct multiple tests to come to an inference.One test might not be enough to understand a case.

Job Prospects

There has been a huge growth in the field of psychology and its importance in various fields is being realized. From supporting patients with mental disorders to helping individuals in altering their behaviors, the Behavioral Psychologists have a wide range of job prospects. The usual fields are –

  • Teaching at schools and colleges
  • Hospitals, clinics and trauma centers
  • Law enforcement departments and correctional centers
  • Social work groups that work with people suffering from drug addiction, negative behavior and mental disorders
  • Government agencies
  • Business companies.

Find Your State Licensing Requirements

Whether you need to complete an internship or a doctoral degree, licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Click name of state below to find licensing requirement for that particular state.

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