What Is the Average Salary for Entry-Level Behavioral Science Jobs?

Behavioral science mainly studies human behavior through anthropology, psychology and sociology. With an associate's or bachelor's degree in behavioral science, you can find entry-level employment in numerous professions, including social work and other community services. Schools offering Applied Behavioral Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Possibilities

Behavioral science study can prepare you for a wide spectrum of occupations. Through interdisciplinary study of human behavior, you can learn effective communication skills that can be useful in a number of professions, such as marketing, sales, human resources, education, advertising, conflict mediation, community services and counseling. Average salaries for entry-level jobs depend on several factors, including the specific field, location and level of education attained.

Important Facts About Behavioral Science Jobs

Career Mental Health Counselor Social Worker Social & Human Service Assistant
Required Education Master's degree Bachelor's degree High school diploma or equivalent
Work Environment Office setting Office setting Office setting
Key Skills Interpersonal communication, organization Compassion, problem-solving Time management, communication
Job Growth (2014-2024) 19% 12% 11%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Data

The following list details salary expectations for the various professions in the behavioral science field:

Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants work in a variety of professional fields, such as psychology, nursing and social work, and perform a variety of interactive client assistance tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and human service assistants earned a May 2014 mean annual wage of $31,860 (www.bls.gov). The most common industries of employment included individual and family services and residential facilities, which offered these professionals respective average wages of $30,580 and $27,020. Those working for the federal government earned the highest average wage of $44,850.

Behavioral and Mental Health Technician

Behavioral and mental health technicians assist physicians and substance abuse counselors with patient assistance and support, which can include tasks such as giving patients their medication and monitoring their treatment program progress. The mean annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $35,160 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, as well as state governments, employed most of these professionals. These employers offered respective average wages of $37,130 and $36,520. Specialty hospitals offered the highest average wage of $47,740.

Social Worker

Social work involves a variety of public assistance jobs, such as helping people with family, school and relationship problems. According to the BLS, the mean annual wages in May 2014 for various industries employing social workers were as follows:

  • Elementary & Secondary Schools: $60,700
  • Other Schools: $55,480
  • Educational Support Services: $53,800
  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals: $52,070

According to the BLS, outpatient care centers employed the highest number of mental health and substance abuse social workers in May 2014 and offered an average wage of $42,380. Local government employed the most social workers in the category for all others and offered them an average wage of $60,310. General medical and surgical hospitals employed the highest number of healthcare social workers and offered them an average wage of $59,440. Top employers of child, family and school social workers included individual and family services; these employers offered an average wage of $39,680.

Counselor

Another career option in the field of behavioral science is to become a counselor. You could specialize in mental health, rehabilitation, substance abuse or behavioral disorders. As of May 2014, the BLS reported the following average wages for types of counselors:

  • Mental health counselors: $43,990
  • Rehabilitation counselors: $37,890
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors: $41,870

The BLS reported that top employers of mental health counselors included outpatient care centers and individual and family services, which offered respective, average wages of $43,920 and $41,820 in May 2014. Vocational rehabilitation services employed the most rehabilitation counselors and offered them an average wage of $34,230. Outpatient care centers and residential facilities employed the most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors; these employers offered average wages of $40,800 and $37,730, respectively.

Additional Careers

Additional occupations associated with behavioral science include human resource assistants and health educators. The respective average salaries of these occupations were $38,980 and $55,260 in May 2014, according to the BLS. Federal government was the top employer of human resources assistants and offered them an average wage of $43,620. General medical and surgical hospitals employed the highest number of health educators and paid them an average wage of $61,390.

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