What Is a Behavioral Specialist and How to Become One
A behavioral specialist is a social work professional that works with adults and children who have developmental, mental health, and behavioral challenges. The practice of behavior therapy aims to eliminate negative behaviors and replace them with healthy ones. As a behavioral specialist, you often work with patients that have autism spectrum disorders or other health challenges that manifest in their behavior. Your responsibilities include observing and assessing problem behaviors and then finding ways to connect with patients. The end goal is to provide a therapeutic strategy that will assist them in their everyday life.
To become a behavioral specialist, you need a master’s degree in learning and behavior analysis, psychology, social work, or a related field. Requirements for working with certain demographics of patients may include specialized training and education, or even a specific license, although this varies by state. You should also have strong observational skills, documentation skills, and patience. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth for all mental health counselors to grow 19% between 2012 and 2022, so now is a good time to get into the behavioral specialist career field.