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Online Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science

An online masters degree in behavioral science is a great option for an individual hoping to gain a career in psychology or counseling. In most cases, the degree is intended for those who already possess a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, psychology, or a related field. Graduates holding the degree can enter a number of different positions within the field, like school counseling, addiction and substance abuse counseling, or as a family or marriage counselor. The degree can also be an excellent option for individuals hoping to earn their doctoral degree to become a practicing clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Behavioral Science

In most cases, students enrolled in an online behavioral science masters degree program must virtually attend lectures, and complete a significant amount of reading, in specific areas of human and animal behavior. Students not only study the science behind human behavior, but behavioral problems and abnormalities. Students often examine these issues through case studies. Some courses students can expect to see include:

  • Social and Behavioral Research Methods
  • Assessment and Surveillance in Public Health
  • Health Disparities in the United States
  • Psychological, Behavioral, and Social Issues
  • Principles of Epidemiology

Students are typically required to write papers showing what they have learned regarding the diagnosis and treatment involved in the specific case study. Most students are usually required to complete a capstone or thesis involving their own original research regarding human behavior and its impacts.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Behavioral Science

One of the most common careers for graduates of an online masters degree program in behavioral science is a counselor. There are a number of different fields that a counselor can work in, including marriage, family therapy, rehabilitation, addiction, or school and career counseling. Counselors must recognize behavioral problems in their clients, help individuals understand them, and develop strategies to help clients improve their personal lives, family, or work life.

The field is expected to show excellent growth through the year 2020, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be a 37% increase in professional positions for counselors. The BLS also reports that current positions for counselors are evenly spread throughout mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, and colleges. Private individual or family services offices lead the way by employing 18% of the counseling workforce.

In addition to holding a masters degree in behavioral science or a related field, counselors must also be licensed in the state where they hope to work. Requirements vary by state, but most require a criminal background check, a masters degree, a minimum amount of supervised work experience, and the completion of a state-recognized exam. The amount of work experience is usually between 2,000-4,000 hours of actual supervised clinical experience. More information on actual state-by-state regulation boards can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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