In this profession, you will have the opportunity to observe human behavior, measure it and undertake interventions that would help address the problems faced by your clients. You will be working in a variety of settings such as schools, government agencies and hospitals. Applied behavior analysis is considered as the best treatment for autism so far so as a behavior analyst, you could also find yourself working with autistic children.
In this role, you will be asked to administer different kinds of assessments to evaluate the child’s verbal and language skills and behavior at play, among others. Aside from performing assessments and evaluation, you will be asked to supervise programs and activities for children with autism and work with other professionals to improve these programs and evaluate those that are already in place. You will also discuss with other autism professionals as well as the parents of the autistic children you are handling about the progress and response of their child to the given intervention.
Behavior analysts do more than just work with autistic children. They are also hired by government agencies to look at ways to prevent violence and by companies to determine the measures that can be implemented to enhance employee productivity and boost morale in the workplace.
To succeed as a behavior analyst, you need to be very observant and have the ability to pay attention to the smallest details. These qualities will help you determine the interventions that you need to undertake to address a particular problem.
You must also be comfortable with computations since you will be making measurements on such things as interresponse time, percent of occurrence, frequency, duration, latency and others in the course of your work. Since treatments normally take a long time, behavior analysts must also possess patience and the genuine desire to help.
Why Become A Behavior Analyst
One reason to become a behavior analyst is that it gives you the opportunity to help individuals suffering from mental disorders, such as those with autism. It is also for those who are truly fascinated with human behavior and find the challenge of working with individuals with complex behavioral issues exhilarating. A career as a behavior analyst also has positive growth prospects for the coming years.
Behavior Analyst Work Environment
Behavior analysts can are employed by government agencies, schools and hospitals or they may hold their own private practice. The work is often fulltime and typically done in their office or clinic. Their duties often involve collaboration with other professionals to come up with the appropriate interventions to address the problems faced by a client.
Behavior Analyst Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have salary data specifically for behavior analysts. However, the agency does have salary information for psychologists which is a category where behavior analysts can be classified in. The mean annual wage for psychologists is $74,310. However, private companies that compile pay data for various occupations have pegged the salary range of behavior analysts from $34,000 to $76,000 a year.
Behavior Analyst Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have employment rate projections for behavior analysts. For the general category of psychologists, however, the agency projects a 12 percent growth in the period covering 2012 to 2022. This rate is about the same as the national average for all job types.
The demand is due to the increased need for psychological services as well as the growing collaboration among healthcare professionals and psychologists to address various disorders and diseases. The growing number of children in the United States suffering from autism spectrum disorders will also fuel the need for behavior analysts who will help institute treatment.
Behavior Analyst Degree
The educational preparation for a career as a behavior analyst is a bachelor’s degree in behavior analysis, psychology or related field. However, this is usually not sufficient to land work as a behavior analyst. This is because most employers are looking for Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), a credential that is given by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
In addition to work experience, the minimum educational qualification to sit for the certification test is a master’s degree in behavior analysis or related fields. This is why obtaining postgraduate studies at the master’s level is essential for those who wish to attain the BCBA credential.