If you have that passion to help people, especially those with disabilities and challenging behavior, you may want to consider becoming a behavior specialist.
What is a behavior specialist?
Behavior specialist specialized in providing health care services for people with learning and educational problems. Often times, they work with children who have disabilities and developmental disorders, such as those with autism. They also help teens and older people who have impaired learning and mental retardation.
Behavior specialists also assist families and other people working around the patient on how to manage the problem situation more effectively. They provide educational training, parent coaching, and emotional support for families to understand and accept the circumstances easily.
- Observe and assess patients diagnosed with emotional or behavioral problems.
- Provide specific behavioral evaluation and treatment, such as behavioral therapy, to help patients cope up with the situation.
- Support and educate families to help them accept the situation easily and manage the behavior challenges they may encounter.
- Attend trainings, workshops, and further education to increase knowledge and improve skills.
- Advanced behavioral specialists may also provide training and supervision of other behavioral specialists.
Similar to other health care providers, behavioral specialists can also work in different settings, which include the following:
- Local Hospitals
- Pediatric and Autism Clinics
- Medical Centers
- Private Practice Settings
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Community Clinics
- Government Institutions
- Schools and Universities
Before you can become a behavior specialist, you need to complete a course related to the field and attend additional training. In many states, they also require you to have a license first before you can perform your duties.
The minimum education requirement for behavior specialists is a four-year bachelor’s degree in human services, social work, or psychology. However in some states, they require you to have at least a master’s degree or training certificate in behavior analysis or similar courses before you will be employed.
Training and Certification
Working as a behavior specialist in some population is less stringent. Other employers may hire you as long as you have a bachelor’s degree related to behavior analysis and certain hands-on experience in the field. However, some employers are strict and require you to have additional training and a license before you can work as a behavior specialist. Training may vary, but usually it includes professional ethics, family collaboration, and crisis intervention.
Many states require behavioral specialists to be licensed or certified before they can treat patients. Since you’re dealing with serious clinical issues, employers want to make sure that you can perform your job well. However, getting a certification in behavior specialist is not that easy. Similar to other certification programs, there are certain requirements you need to complete before you can take the licensure exam. Requirements may vary, but in some states, a bachelor’s degree and 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience are required. Check your state’s licensing board for more details.
Skills and Abilities
In order to perform your job effectively, you must possess the following skills:
- Writing and communication skills
- Problem solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Ability to work independently
- Have a compassionate personality
- Patience and strength
- Excellent time management skills
According to payscale.com, the average salary rate for behavior specialists is $36,900 to $99,773, as of December 2013. This amount varied on where the specialists practiced their profession, as well as their skills and expertise.
Sometimes, life throws a curve ball leaving us helpless and overwhelmed. But fortunately, there are trained individuals like the behavior specialists who are willing to help us in times of need.