Behavioral Psychology Jobs & Career Guide

By Staff Writer

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If you are interested in pursuing a career in behavioral psychology then this guide will give you everything you need to know from the training and educational process to potential career paths and earning potential.

Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, is a branch of psychology that focuses on observable behavior and the environmental factors that shape it.

It is based on the idea that behavior is learned through experience, and that by modifying the environment, one can change or modify behavior.

Behavioral psychologists study the causes of behavior, including external stimuli, and use techniques such as reinforcement, punishment, and modeling to modify behavior. This approach has been used to treat a wide range of behavioral and psychological problems, including addiction, phobias, and anxiety disorders. The principles of behavioral psychology are also used in fields such as education, business, and healthcare to improve performance, productivity, and health behaviors.

“Working in behavioral psychology can be a challenging and rewarding career. Whether you’re helping individuals overcome mental health challenges, designing programs to improve workplace performance, or conducting research to advance our understanding of human behavior, there’s never a dull moment. You get to work with a diverse range of people and organizations, and you have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Of course, like any field, there are also challenges and frustrations, but overall, working in behavioral psychology is a fulfilling and exciting career path.”

Behavioral psychology jobs

The natural assumption is that you will become a behavioral psychologist but the answer is much more nuanced. Many job roles have confusingly similar job titles and/or similar roles with completely different job titles.

Some professionals working in behavioral psychology are called behavioral psychologists and others will have titles such as behavioral health consultant yet the job requirements, qualifications and expectations of the individual are very similar.

Additionally there are a whole variety of other jobs in behavioral psychology where perhaps it would be more accurate to describe the individuals as practitioners of behavioral psychology rather than behavioral psychologists. The distinction being that they aren’t necessarily licensed psychologists.

Here are some common behavioral psychology jobs; ABA therapistaddiction counselorclinical social workerfamily therapistschool psychologistorganizational psychologistforensic psychologist and sports psychologist.

Behavioral Psychology Career Path

Bachelor’s degree

Your educational journey will begin with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is an undergraduate program that typically takes 4 years to complete. It provides students with a broad overview of the field of psychology, including its history, major theories and concepts, research methods, and applications in different settings.

Behavioral psychology is usually covered as part of the curriculum, as it is one of the major subfields within the discipline. Students will learn about the principles of behaviorism, how behavior is learned and modified through experience, and the various techniques used to change behavior, such as reinforcement, punishment, and modeling. They may also explore how behavioral psychology has been applied in different settings, such as education, healthcare, and business.

There are some entry-level psychology positions that will be available to you with a bachelor’s degree and a minor amount of additional training in a specific area. Consult our guide to entry-level psychology jobs for more details.

The majority of students go on to the next step which is to obtain a Master’s degree in behavioral psychology.

Master’s degree

See here for an overview on Master’s degrees and see this guide for the specifics of a master’s degree in behavioral psychology.

A master’s degree in behavioral psychology is a graduate-level program that provides students with advanced training in the principles of behaviorism and their applications. The program typically takes 2 years to complete and may require completion of a thesis or capstone project. Students may study topics such as advanced principles of behaviorism, research methods, data analysis, ethics, and the application of behavioral psychology in different settings.

During a master’s degree program in behavioral psychology, students may have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest, such as organizational psychology, applied behavior analysis, or health psychology. They may also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internshipspracticums, or research assistantships.


A master’s degree in behavioral psychology opens the door to the following jobs:

*It is important to note that many of the above positions require additional training and certification to become qualified. Click any of the links above to dive deeper into that role by reading one of our career guides. It’s also worth noting that some of these positions may not require a doctorate but it is preferable so to be competitive in the job hunt it may be worth pursuing a doctorate degree.

Learn more about other jobs you can do with a Master’s degree in psychology.

If you are interested in pursuing becoming a licensed psychologist then the next step is to pursue a doctorate.


See here for an overview on doctorate psychology degrees and see this guide for the specifics of a PhD in behavioral psychology.

A doctorate degree in behavioral psychology is a terminal degree that provides students with the highest level of training in the principles of behaviorism and their applications. The program typically takes 4-5 years to complete and may require completion of a dissertation or research project. Students may study advanced topics such as behavioral neuroscience, advanced research methods, advanced statistical analysis, ethics, and behavioral psychology theory and practice.


A PhD in behavioral psychology opens the door to the following jobs (in addition to improving your employability in the roles linked earlier in this guide):


After earning a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program, the next step for aspiring psychologists is to obtain a license to practice psychology in the state where they wish to work.

The licensure process varies by state but typically involves meeting a supervised clinical hours threshold and passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) as well as an required state exams e.g. CPLEE in California.

States require candidates to complete a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience, typically ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 hours. This clinical experience may be gained through internships or other supervised placements in settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, or private practices. During the supervised clinical experience, candidates work under the guidance of a licensed psychologist, gaining practical experience in assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and other key aspects of clinical psychology.

The EPPP is a comprehensive exam that assesses the knowledge and skills of individuals who are seeking licensure as psychologists in the United States and Canada. The exam is developed and administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and consists of 225 multiple-choice questions covering a wide range of topics related to psychology, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, ethics, and research methods. The exam is typically taken on a computer at a designated testing center and takes approximately four and a half hours to complete.

Consult the ASPPB website to find your state’s board and begin the licensing process.

Behavioral Psychology Salary

Here are the average annual salaries for some of the behavioral psychology jobs covered in this guide:

  • ABA therapist: $42,000
  • Clinical social worker: $58,000
  • Family therapist: $51,340.
  • School psychologist: $78,050.
  • Organizational psychologist: $112,690.
  • Forensic psychologist: $101,000.
  • Addiction counselor: $47,660.
  • Sports psychologist: $82,180.

See our behavioral psychologist salary guide for more insights.