The field of behavioral studies investigates the underlying causes and factors that affect human actions and responses. Read on to learn more about degree requirements, useful courses and career options for behavioral studies professionals.
The study of behavioral science examines human interaction and motivation from a variety of perspectives, taking into account a number of anthropological, educational, legal and nutritional factors. The purpose of a behavioral studies program is to teach students about the psychological, social and physical influences on people's lives, as well as to help them understand the importance of long-term treatment of maladaptive behavior. Educational requirements for behavioral studies professionals can rage from a bachelor's to a doctoral degree, with some positions requiring a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology.
As a qualified graduate of a behavioral studies program, you may pursue a career as a mental health counselor, marriage counselor or substance abuse specialist. You might also be employed as a career or school counselor, helping elementary, middle and high school students deal with a variety of issues, as well as assisting them in planning for their futures. As a counselor, your responsibilities will include listening and helping emotionally and mentally distressed clients acquire some insight about their issues.
Graduates of behavioral studies program may also hold positions as police detectives or human resource coordinators who oversee the hiring and training of company employees. You might also work as a community liaison, building and maintaining partnerships between an organization and local neighborhoods.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL), while a bachelor's degree is the usual minimum requirement for obtaining a job in the field, you'll need a master's degree in counseling psychology or a closely related area to provide services to patients. Relevant undergraduate majors can include criminal justice, psychology or public relations. Graduate behavioral studies can also be found through education or general human services programs. Aspiring counselors must also complete a supervised clinical experience; many states in the U.S. require practicing counselors to be licensed or certified.
Behavioral studies programs can include coursework in social communication and relationships, group behavior and psychology; you may also pursue topics in ethnic and minority studies. Some programs provide opportunities for internships, which can help you foster connections with potential employers, as well as providing you with valuable experience in the field.