In order to become a behavioral therapist, an individual usually has to earn a college degree. Often, individuals seeking this job work toward master’s and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in psychology-related fields. Some candidates may find entry-level potions with bachelor’s degrees, however. The exact requirements for becoming a behavioral therapist may vary from country to country and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but most places require these types of therapists to obtain licensing as well.
There are certain skills a person needs in order to become a behavioral therapist. An individual in this position has to be personable and have good communication skills. He’ll also need leadership ability, listening skills, and the ability to be discreet. Behavioral therapists also need writing skills, as they may have to write reports on a regular basis and keep written records of their therapy sessions. Since some behavioral therapists choose to run independent practices, the development of business skills may be helpful as well.
Often, a person who wishes to become a behavioral therapist enrolls in college and strives to earn a Ph.D. in a subject such as psychology, psychiatry, social work, or counseling. Earning advanced degrees often provides prospective therapists with the most job opportunities. With a Ph.D., an individual may choose to work for a company or organization, for example, or run an independent practice. In most cases, earning these advanced degrees requires several years of study beyond the first four years of college.
Some people choose to earn master’s degrees in preparation to become a behavioral therapist. Often, these individuals have numerous job opportunities available to them after graduate school and find work opportunities in varied settings. In some jurisdictions, they may be able to enter private practice as well. Though master’s degrees may be acceptable for many jobs in this field, some employers look more favorably upon job candidates with Ph.D. degrees.
Individuals with bachelor’s degrees are not excluded from the behavioral therapy job market. They may find fewer job opportunities available to them, however, or find it difficult to progress to positions that entail higher levels of responsibility. In many jurisdictions, an individual with a bachelor’s degree cannot begin his own behavioral therapy practice.
Licensing is typically required to become a behavioral therapist in many places. Requirements for licensing and the licensing processes may vary, depending on where an individual would like to practice. Normally, an individual has to take a written examination in order to be licensed. Satisfactory results on a background check may be required as well.