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What is Behavioral Science?
Behavioral science is the area of study and practice that deals with human interaction and how such interactions can affect various forms of development. Individuals pursuing a career in this field will have an understanding of basic and complex human behavior, and how to utilize such information in order to assist others. Individuals who pursue a graduate or post graduate education will seek enter into experimental areas of the field, utilizing studies in order to further the understanding of such behaviors.
Behavioral Science Specialties
There are two primary specialties within behavioral science: neural and social. A neural decision specialist will look at the ways decisions are made from a scientific and pragmatic standpoint. Blending disciplines such as neuroscience with sociology takes a substantive amount of training but the applications are amazingly diverse. On the other hand, the specialty of social communication science delves into the methods and processes involved with human communication. Communication can be non-verbal, verbal, or written and can be an important tool for any research facility or organization to understand human communication and human motivation. The fascinating world of a behavioral scientist provides the opportunity to affect positive change, intimately understand human interactions, educate others, revel in the opportunity to help others, and extend our collective understanding of human beings.
Behavioral Science Education Requirements
An education in behavioral science requires at minimum a bachelor's degree in order to be able to seek employment. Bachelor degree holders typically seek employment in the related counseling and social work fields. This is due to the similar education received, and the benefit of understanding human interaction on order to communicate and assist others. As mentioned above, higher levels of education allow for clinical studies and teaching positions, which are similar options for the sciences in general.
A curriculum may include:
- Human World Views
- Abnormal Psychology
- Theories of Personality
- Cultural Anthropology
- Social Change
How Do I Become a Behavioral Scientist?
In order to become a behavioral scientist, you will need to earn a degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university. These programs can be found on this resource page or by using our proprietary matching system. Once you have collected admissions and degree-specific information from a number of colleges, you will winnow the list down to a handful of viable programs and submit an application for admissions. After making a decision on the best college for you, you will go through orientation and register for classes in a behavioral science program.
Whether you registered for a behavioral science degree online or in-class, you will be exposed to general education courses such as English, psychology, and math along with core courses. Your core curricula in behavioral science will typically include classes such as: business, communication theory, applied behavioral science, psychological assessments, social psychology, lifespan development, statistics, research methods, public policy, social problems, and social services. The overarching goals of an online degree in behavioral science includes the ability for students to:
- Analyze core concepts using theoretical knowledge and empirical data to solve problems
- Effectively assess, evaluate, and intervene
- Harness the power of the scientific method to evaluate interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions
- Respect diversity and leverage empirical evidence to draw relevant conclusions
- Address problems relating to behavior, cognition, and intent of other social beings
During your coursework, you will be required to engage in an internship or research assistantship to link academics to real-world issues. Students will learn to design studies, leverage data analytics, utilize research methodologies, collect information, and provide solution-oriented counsel. After completing your online degree in behavioral science, you will be equipped to launch your career in the field. At this juncture, certification nor licensure are required to perform the job duties of a behavioral scientist as a consultant or as part of a larger organization.
Licensure is required for customer-facing behavioral scientists working directly with clients. The NBCC provides a certified counselor’s state board directory for those needing to determine requirements by certain states. State requirements must be followed to sit for the board certified examination for behavioral scientists along with requisite work experience in the field. In most states, behavioral scientists are required to complete a defined number of continuing education credits to keep their licensure active and in good standing.
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Employment Information for Behavioral Scientists
Most behavior science majors will seek employment in the related fields of counseling and social work. As a result their primary employers will be government jobs, private organizations, hospitals, or other similar positions where the need for such a figure is in place. Individuals seeking out positions in the field of behavioral science will seek employment with organizations or institutions that conduct research and experiments in the field, many of which receive federal funding. Teaching positions are also available for those with a graduate level degree or higher, allowing for additional or full time employment, though such positions may be limited due to experience.
Top Careers in Behavioral Science
A trained behavioral scientist who leverages psychometric methodologies to effectively work with individuals, small groups, and communities to closely examine human behavior, intentions, decisions, and outcomes. Behavioral scientists blend expertise from fields such as cultural anthropology, psychology, environmental science, and sociology to examine human behavior. A behavioral science major will have a robust set of verbal, written, and non-verbal communication skills along with an attention to detail and organization skills. Given the broad nature of the field, behavioral science can extend into a number of fields such as:
- Human Resource Management
- Social Work
- Developmental Psychology
- Business Management
- Customer Service
- Public Policy
- Criminal Justice
- Organizational Behavior
As such, graduates with a behavioral science degree can launch a career in a number of industries from a non-profit organization helping underserved communities provide interventions to publicly traded companies specializing in marketing. Your choice of industries and jobs will depend on your training, personal proclivities, job opportunities, and timing.
Job Outlook Behavioral Science
The areas of employment that are affected by or can utilize the skills learned through behavioral science, such as counseling or social work, are expected to grow over the next decade due to an increase in the importance placed on such services in order to strengthen societal bonds and assist in overall development. Given the natural attrition of those fields, combined with the expansion of services, employment should not be difficult to find. This is also true for those seeking careers in behavioral science, which is primarily limited by education rather than job openings or opportunities. Salaries will vary based on location, type of employment, experience and education, and given the variety of jobs available it is difficult to provide a median wage.
Individuals interested in behavioral science may also be interested in psychology, biology, evolutionary biology. Students seeking regional or national associations in the field of behavioral science will have ample opportunities. In fact, organizations such as BSPA, AABSS, FABBS, and ACBS provide great resources and professional support for specialists in the field.