Behavioral Psychologist


What Are Behavioral Psychologists?

behavioral psychologistAs the name suggests, the Behavioral Psychologist, also refers as Behavioral Disorder Counselor, deals 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.

Quick Facts
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
2016 Median Annual Sallary0
Typical Entry-Level Education
Typical On-The-Job Training
Work Experience In A Related Occupation
Projected Job Openings 2014 - 20240
Employment Change 2014 - 20240
Projected Growth 2014 - 2024%

Steps to Become a Behavioral Psychologist

  • Education:

    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.

    • Master's Degree: 30%
    • Bachelor's Degree: 19%
    • Professional Degree: 16%
  • Licenses & Accreditations:

    Behavioral Psychologist must be licensed to practice in private. In order to become certified and licensed as a behavioral psychologist, it is required by all states to have a master's degree. Also they must have 2 thousands to 4 thousands of clinical experience under a licensed supervisor. It is also a pre-requisite to pass state-issued exam every year. But in case of outside of private practice, the licensure requirements vary from state to state.

  • Other Experience:

    Behavioral Psychologists with personal experience overcoming liquor or medicine addictions are occasionally considered especially helpful and insightful to prospects seeking treatment. Someone, with own personal experience, could be helpful and insightful to those seeking treatment.

Job Outlook


Below are national percentile wage estimates for this occupation in United States.
PERCENTILE 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Hourly Wage $12.60 $15.61 $19.75 $25.33 $31.29
Annual Wage $26,210 $32,470 $41,070 $52,690 $65,080

Industries with Highest Levels of Employment in This Occupation:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Outpatient Care Centers 22,250 2.67 $20.64 $42,930
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities 18,240 2.98 $19.08 $39,690
Individual and Family Services 12,560 0.74 $20.10 $41,800
Local Government (OES Designation) 6,620 0.12 $23.30 $48,470
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 5,050 0.09 $25.31 $52,640

Top Paying Industries for This Occupation:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Junior Colleges 30 0.00 $35.12 $73,050
Scientific Research and Development Services 260 0.04 $32.33 $67,240
Insurance Carriers N/A N/A $27.17 $56,520
Elementary and Secondary Schools 3,660 0.04 $27.05 $56,260
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 770 0.03 $26.81 $55,760

States with Highest Employment Level in This Occupation:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
California 9,050 0.87 $21.37 $44,450
New York 7,600 1.29 $24.21 $50,350
Pennsylvania 6,730 1.81 $20.62 $42,890
Massachusetts 5,010 2.23 $21.89 $45,520
Florida 4,440 0.83 $22.12 $46,010

Top Paying States for This Occupation:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
New Mexico 710 1.36 $28.41 $59,090
Alaska 290 1.40 $26.10 $54,280
North Dakota 300 1.10 $25.81 $53,680
New Jersey 2,840 1.11 $25.72 $53,490
New York 7,600 1.29 $24.21 $50,350

Key Attributes

Every field has basic requirements for people having different skills, abilities and knowledge. Understanding these requirements will help you find right career path for you. Below are few such key attributes that a Behavioral Psychologist should have.


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  • Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion: Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.
  • Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management: Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


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  • Psychology: Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sociology and Anthropology: Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Clerical: Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Education and Training: Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Philosophy and Theology: Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • Law and Government: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Administration and Management: Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Public Safety and Security: Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.


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  • Oral Comprehension: The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension: The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression: The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression: The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Fluency of Ideas: The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality: The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity: The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning: The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning: The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering: The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility: The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure: The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Selective Attention: The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Time Sharing: The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Near Vision: The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition: The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity: The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What They Do?


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  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
  • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
  • Intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
  • Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in client status.
  • Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.
  • Attend training sessions to increase knowledge and skills.
  • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
  • Conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions.
  • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
  • Participate in case conferences or staff meetings.
  • Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
  • Coordinate activities with courts, probation officers, community services, or other post-treatment agencies.
  • Confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.
  • Instruct others in program methods, procedures, or functions.
  • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.
  • Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
  • Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.

Work Activities

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  • Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People: Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards: Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies: Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities: Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Interacting With Computers: Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Documenting/Recording Information: Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization: Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Selling or Influencing Others: Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others: Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others: Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Developing and Building Teams: Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Training and Teaching Others: Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others: Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Performing Administrative Activities: Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Work Context

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  • Public Speaking: 25% responded "Every day"
  • Telephone: 71% responded "Every day"
  • Electronic Mail: 74% responded "Every day"
  • Letters and Memos: 35% responded "Every day"
  • Face-to-Face Discussions: 91% responded "Every day"
  • Contact With Others: 78% responded "Constant contact with others"
  • Work With Work Group or Team: 63% responded "Extremely important"
  • Deal With External Customers: 58% responded "Extremely important"
  • Coordinate or Lead Others: 37% responded "Extremely important"
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety: 28% responded "Very high responsibility"
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results: 24% responded "Very high responsibility"
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations: 33% responded "Every day"
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People: 36% responded "Every day"
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People: 16% responded "Every day"
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled: 92% responded "Every day"
  • Physical Proximity: 29% responded "Very close (near touching)"
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable: 15% responded "Every day"
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting: 10% responded "Every day"
  • Exposed to Contaminants: 19% responded "Every day"
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions: 10% responded "Every day"
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections: 38% responded "Every day"
  • Spend Time Sitting: 41% responded "Continually or almost continually"
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls: 17% responded "Continually or almost continually"
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions: 13% responded "Continually or almost continually"
  • Consequence of Error: 15% responded "Extremely serious"
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results: 43% responded "Very important results"
  • Frequency of Decision Making: 64% responded "Every day"
  • Freedom to Make Decisions: 59% responded "A lot of freedom"
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate: 39% responded "Extremely important"
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks: 23% responded "Extremely important"
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work: 42% responded "A lot of freedom"
  • Level of Competition: 10% responded "Extremely competitive"
  • Time Pressure: 56% responded "Every day"

Job Zone

  • Title: Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
  • Education: Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Related Experience: Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
  • Job Training: Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
  • Job Zone Examples: These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, surgeons, and veterinarians.
  • SVP Range: (8.0 and above)

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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