How to Become a Behavior Interventionist: Training & Certification

If helping children who struggle with their behavior sounds like a rewarding career for you, consider a career path as a behavior interventionist. Learn about how to become one, the education requirements, training, the skills, and the certification for a career as behavior interventionist. Schools offering Applied Behavioral Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

Behavior interventionist is a position that is in demand. As interest in behavior intervention therapy is growing because of its applicability to treating various behavioral disorders, a career as a behavior interventionist can provide job security. The table below provides an overview of the key details you need to know about this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree required; master's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Psychology
Early childhood development
Nursing
Education
Applied behavior analysis
Certification and Licensure Certification preferred; licensure required by some states and for nurses and social workers
Key Skills Communication skills, decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, negotiation skills, judgment skills, critical thinking, persuasion skills, social perceptiveness
Median Salary (2019) $37,026 (Behavioral interventionist)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% (Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors)**

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is Behavior Intervention Therapy?

Behavior intervention therapy is founded on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which is a scientific field that focuses on providing techniques that improve an individual's social interactions. Typically a behavior interventionist will work with children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that causes difficulty focusing; obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which causes an obsession with rituals which may impact a child's learning; anger problems, which cause difficulty in making friends; and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects a child's ability to interact socially. Studies have shown that behavior intervention therapy is an effective treatment for behavioral disorders.

What Does a Behavior Interventionist Do?

Behavior interventionists are sometimes referred to as behavior therapists, and their main goal is to provide children with the tools to improve their interaction skills in their environment. A behavior interventionist does not only help to treat a child's behavior, but also works to improve the child's development, social interaction skills, and teach them self help skills. They may work in the client's home, school, or residential facility, so this role often requires frequent travel. The primary duties of a behavior interventionist include observing and evaluating the client's condition; developing and modifying treatment plans; advocating for clients who may be misunderstood; counselling clients; educating teachers, family members, and other professionals that spend time with the client on best practices; referring clients to other specialists if their condition is too advanced; and conducting outreach programs to raise awareness about behavioral and mental health disorders.

How Do you Become a Behavior Interventionist?

A behavior interventionist will typically require a bachelor's degree in early childhood development, psychology, education, nursing, or any other related program. However, a master's degree can give you an edge in your field and allow you to provide additional services independently such as counseling. Behavior interventionists seeking the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) credential must obtain a master's degree; otherwise they can apply to be Board Certified Behavioral Analyst Assistants (BCBAA). Licensure is required by some states and is necessary for applicants who are registered nurses and social workers.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Behavior Interventionist?

In order to become a good behavior interventionist you will need to have good written and verbal communication skills to communicate effectively with clients and record accurate notes when evaluating and recommending treatment. You will need to have good judgement skills and decision-making skills in order to defuse tense situations and assess the pros and cons of the different options for treatment, counselling, and evaluation. Negotiation skills will be important to help your clients make effective decisions.

What Are the Earnings and Job Outlook for Behavior Interventionists?

Payscale.com reports that as of March 2019, behavior interventionists earned a median annual salary of $37,026. In comparison, the BLS stated that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median salary of $43,300 as of May 2017. The BLS projects that jobs for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, which include behavioral interventionists, will increase by 23% nationwide between 2016 and 2026. This is far greater than the national average for all occupations within the same time period, which is 7%. As the demand for behavioral intervention is expected to increase, so will the need for behavior interventionists.

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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