Behavioral psychology is a field that attempts to interpret those actions that are a result of sensory abilities, thought processes, emotions and perception. Many of the professionals within this field have been able to come up with techniques that can modify human behavior, although in order to do this, a lot of time and attention needs to go into studying why humans behave in the way that they do.
What is more, this field also allows professionals to be able to understand how the same set of stimuli could end up triggering different reactions when they are set off in different scenarios. Studies such as these allow professionals to be able to manipulate or modify human behavior more effectively.
A Career in Behavioral Psychology
Prospective master's and doctoral students who are considering a career in behavioral psychology should take some time to get to know the career options that will be made available to them once they graduate. This will give prospective students the opportunity to determine in which field they would like to specialize, as well as the preparations that will need to be made as they go about entering into this field.
When it comes to employment, these professionals are able to take up posts within the health care industry. Some professionals prefer to work in research, while others want to work directly with their clients. Many of these professionals choose to work with children as educational counselors, or alternatively, as those who help them deal with traumatic experiences. Social work is an appealing field for professionals with this qualification, but there are a wide range of behavioral psychologists who opt to work in the field of substance abuse rehabilitation.
One of the newer career options that has arisen from the field of behavioral psychology is that of consumer researcher. These professionals aid marketing companies in figuring out how consumers are going to react to certain products and campaigns. Still others choose to work in rehabilitating law enforcement professionals.
At this point in time, behavioral psychologists earn a median annual salary of about $75,000. This happens to be one of the highest paying professions within the field. The job prospects are expected to rise by about 27% within the next eight years. Those working within rehabilitation facilities can expect an increase of about 44% in the job prospects within this field.
Students who want to go on to apply for a master's or doctorate in behavioral psychology will need to have an undergraduate degree in this field. Once they have fulfilled this requirements, they will then want to opt for a master's degree in applied behavioral analysis. This qualification will allow them to familiarize themselves with the methods used by professionals to study human behavior within a clinical setting.
As a student goes about completing their master's, they will very likely be expected to produce a thesis, as well as develop behavioral models by the end of their course. This will depend, however, on the course in which the student is enrolled.
Once a student has completed their master's in behavioral psychology, they will then have the choice to go on to completing a doctorate. Students will usually be able to pick from a PhD and a PsyD. The PhD is very research-oriented, so students who apply for this sort of qualification will need to make sure that they have some experience under their belts. This is usually something that is obtained during their undergraduate, and even their master's year, although if this is not the case, the student will need to go out of their way to obtain some experience.
In order to obtain additional research experience, students can contact researchers within their university and ask to assist them with their lab work. This will allow students to obtain some real world experience with research and provide them with a better chance of being selected for a position as a doctoral candidate.
The PsyD is a much more experience-oriented qualification and will require that a student work within a clinical setting. It is quite common for these individuals to oversee behavioral psychologists as they work within a clinical setting, as well as to conduct work under the supervision of an experienced professional within the field.
Duration of Study
A master's degree will usually take a minimum of two years to complete full time, although some students prefer to complete it over three or even four years on a part time basis. The doctorate will usually take a minimum of three years to complete, although in some cases it could end up taking 7 years to complete.
Due to the length of time that it will take to obtain this sort of qualification, individuals will need to make sure that they are able to support themselves, otherwise they will need to apply for funding. Luckily, there are a variety of financial aid options available to students, including government grants and funding from private institutions.
The Traits of a Good Psychologist
A great psychologist is not just someone who graduates with good grades. There are a variety of traits that make up a great psychologist. These individuals will often be working directly with people and so they will need to have the appropriate skills to deal with individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. Communication and time management skills will come in handy for anyone looking to enter into this field. Having the traits that make up a great psychologist will ensure that individuals are not only good at what they do, but that they enjoy it so much more.
Behavioral psychology is a challenging and rewarding field that is helping to improve the way that people interact with other people, as well as their environment. This is an ever changing field that is as stimulating as it is challenging, and those who are interested in joining its ranks should look forward to tackling the many tests that they will have to confront along the way.