There are simply too many potential career paths out there to list them all in one place, and it’s important for anyone to take a moment and consider their interests as well as their goals when they begin to think about a career change or when plotting their career path. One option is that of a behavioral scientist. This profession offers those who enter it an excellent salary, good job stability, and personal rewards that can often eclipse the financial ones.
Behavioral scientists frequently help others through a variety of ways, and it could be a job path that is perfect for you. If you’ve considered it but still aren’t completely sure about whether or not it’s right for you, keep reading to learn more about what it is all about.
What Is A Behavioral Scientist?
A behavioral scientist focuses their time on studying how the actions of people affect their development, their relationship with others, and their future behaviors. It’s a vast, varied, and complex field and one that can take a person into various directions.
Some of the different duties a behavioral scientist may handle on a regular basis include:
- Investigate different health issues facing a subset of the population and develop programs that combat those issues
- Assist in identifying potential signs of violence in patients or inmates and develop methods to reduce the likelihood that those people will commit crimes
- Gather and analyze data about a particular group or population segment as it applies to a specific issue
Behavioral scientists can work in numerous areas, often working as counselors, social workers, criminologists, and more. It is also possible to enter the health education field with a behavioral science background, in which case one will work on educational programs that focus on behaviors of patients or groups of people.
The work that a behavioral scientist does is very specialized, and as such there are a few qualities that can help one excel at the position. Those who are serious about the position will often find that the following strong points can help them.
- Strong Communication Abilities – Behavioral scientists need to be able to talk to patients or colleagues and explain their research or opinions clearly.
- Good Problem Solving Skills – A major part of a behavioral scientist’s job is to identify issues and work on overcoming any problems that they find with a group or a patient. As such, good problem solving skills are a must.
- Listening Skills – Depending on their position, a behavioral scientist could serve a kind of ‘counselor’ role. In these cases, being a good listener is a must.
- Ability to Relate to Others– These professionals must be able to relate to a wide range of different people so that they can better understand their situation and help them accordingly.
Nature of the Work
Those working as a behavioral scientist will have numerous duties and handle a wide range of jobs. In most cases, specialized areas of practice may exist that will further dictate what they do. In general, the job involves carefully gathering information – either about an individual or about an entire group or population – and then using that information to determine future behaviors and how that behavior could be changed for the better.
Frequent notes, reports, and other forms of paperwork are very common, especially for those who work in the public sector applying their skills towards helping develop better models and programs to help the public in general. In some instances the behavioral scientist will listen to patients or clients for extended periods of time and gather information from them in this way.
Education and Training
IN order to become a behavioral scientist a person will need at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Behavioral science itself is one degree option, but others exist as well such as social work. Earning a master’s or doctorate in the field will take longer but lead to better opportunities for employment. Additionally, certain schools offer specialized areas of study to further enhance a student’s abilities.
According to Explore Health Careers.Org, the average salaries for those in this field range from $33,000 up to more than $86,000. The exact salary largely depends on the specific job one does, with social workers earning less than a sociologist or other professional in the field.