Master's Degree Programs for Aspiring Behavioral Specialists

A master's degree program in psychology, education or human services could lead you to a job as a behavioral specialist, helping adults and children identify the reason for their actions. Through these programs, you'll learn techniques for treating and modifying behaviors. Keep reading to learn about degree programs, areas of study and typical job responsibilities. Schools offering Applied Behavioral Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Master's Degree Programs Can Lead to a Career as a Behavioral Specialist?

Finding a career as a behavior specialist requires a master's degree in a field such as psychology or human services. If you want to work with children, you could also earn a master's degree in special education with a concentration in behavioral disorders or learning and behaviors. Some schools offer a learning and behavior specialist master's degree. However, behavior specialist degree programs aren't available online.

Each school and program has different entrance requirements, but standard requirements include a bachelor's degree in a field such as psychology, social work or education. Some programs also require practical field experience. Many education programs require that you have a teaching license or experience working with children.

Master's DegreesPsychology, human services, special education with a behavioral disorders concentration, or learning and behavior specialist
Course TopicsVaries by program but may include human development, intervention, behavioral modification and treatments
Job DutiesAssess patients' behavior, developing behavioral programs, implementing behavior modification plans and recording progress

What Topics Will I Study?

Due to the varied master's degree programs that aspiring behavior specialists can choose from, you could study a wide range of topics. Through education-based programs, you'll learn to recognize children who have behavioral disorders by studying the characteristics of these disorders. You'll also study methods for creating interventions in a school environment and ways to create positive experiences. Other courses teach you to interact with students' family members to create effective behavioral modification programs.

In human services programs, you'll study the influences of society and how it can affect relationships and behaviors. You'll also study behavioral disorders that are common in elderly individuals. Both psychology and human services master's degree programs cover human development from infancy through adulthood. In psychology programs, you'll learn to assess patients' behaviors to discover their underlying causes. Other topics of study in psychology include:

  • Effects of drugs and alcohol on behavior
  • Treatments and therapies for behavior disorders
  • Identifying violent and sex-related behaviors
  • Behavior-modification techniques

What Are the Job Responsibilities?

Behavioral specialists can find positions working at schools, hospitals, nursing homes or mental health offices. According to a search of job postings for behavioral specialists conducted on in December 2010, you'll be responsible for developing and implementing individual plans to modify behavior. You'll regularly monitor and assess patients' behavior. When working with children, you might enlist the family's help to encourage appropriate behaviors. Your other responsibilities may include creating behavioral programs, analyzing their effectiveness and recording patient progress.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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