Behavioral Science is a psychology subspecialty that addresses the activities of humans and animals and how those actions affect others. Marriage and family counselors and the criminal justice system are two very different examples of behavioral science. Their duties vary greatly, but contain a common thread.
Behavioral science professionals who work in criminal justice can help families cope after the loss of a loved one, assist abused and neglected children, or provide insight to law enforcement regarding criminal behaviors. Behavioral scientists working in family counseling might help married couples and families to resolve issues affecting their lives together.
What Does a Behavioral Scientist Do?
Psychologists who pursue a behavioral science degree often find themselves working in marriage and family counseling or criminal justice. By observing and assessing married couples and children, these individuals can pinpoint areas for improvement in the lives of their subjects and aid them in getting there.
Likewise, behavioral science psychologists can aid law enforcement in profiling of criminal perpetrators to help prevent crime or to assist victims or their family members. Some behavioral scientists also work as animal behaviorists. These individuals may be called upon to help with conservation plans or work with zoos and animal shelters.
Behavioral Science Careers
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is known for its work in behavioral science with criminal profiler positions, which were largely romanticized through popular Hollywood films such as “Red Dragon” and “Silence of the Lambs.” The reality is more observational, but equally as compelling.
Clinics and private practices offer good opportunities for marriage and family counselors to earn a living with a behavioral science degree. Whether working in family counseling or criminal law, a professional with this degree can carve a lucrative niche for himself through consultancy work. Many can earn six figures, while most average around $80,000 per year.
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Obtaining a Behavioral Science Degree
Working in behavioral science will require a doctorate degree and often time spent in a supervised service role. The passage of a written exam is also frequently required. Organizations such as the FBI submit candidates to a battery of testing that may go beyond standard licensing procedures. Whichever path you choose, prepare for around 10 years of solid classroom and study time, so be sure you’re motivated ahead of time.