Special Education Career Profile: Behavior Specialist
There are many options in the field of special education. Often, it is thought that being in the education field means you are in a classroom. But what if you don’t want to be in a classroom setting, but still want to be a powerful influence in the lives of students who may struggle? If you enjoy analyzing behaviors and creating interventions to effect a positive change, a Behavior Specialist may be the job for you.
Where Do Behavior Specialists Work?
Behavioral Specialists can work in a client’s home. He or she can also work in a clinical setting like a hospital, or be in private practice or a part of a group practice. A Behavioral Specialist can also work for a school or a school district visiting a different school each day.
Who Do Behavior Specialists Work With?
They work with individuals who have disabilities, such as Autism, emotional disorders, or ADHD, that can affect learning or social skills. They can work with a wide range of ages from early childhood to elderly, depending on the setting.
What Do They Do?
In the educational field, a Behavior Specialist usually has multiple schools they oversee, ranging from Pre-K to 12th grade. They are deemed with the task of observing a child with behavior problems in a classroom. They are looking for antecedent behaviors, patterns of behaviors, and the “problem” behaviors.
The Behavior Specialist may conduct behavioral evaluations, and then will write up a plan and offer suggestions to the classroom teacher on he or she can do differently to help the child. The Behavior Specialist will also collect data and monitor the student over a period of time.
Since the Behavior Specialist is not in the classroom each and every school day, one of their jobs includes offering support to the classroom teacher. The Behavior Specialist can provide training in behavioral techniques and strategies to the classroom teacher to implement the behavior plan.
What Type of Education Does Someone Need to Become a Behavior Specialist?
A degree is required to become a Behavior Specialist. An undergraduate degree may be obtained in psychology, sociology, human services, special education, or behavioral science. Some employers may prefer a master’s degree.
Depending on the state and your position, a license may be required as well.
There is an additional certification for the Behavior Specialists, which is called Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). To obtain this certification, you must have a master’s degree, several hundred hours of practicum, and pass an exam. While this is an intense and time-consuming certification, BCBA is a growing field with many job opportunities.
Behavior Specialist Salary Info
The national average salary of a Behavior Specialist is $39,604. However, this can vary greatly depending on the setting and location.
If you have BCBA certification the average salary is $58,615-a remarkable increase.
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