Behavioral Science Degree
A behavioral science degree can be any of a number of different degrees. Behavioral science consists of many different disciplines, all of which focus upon how organisms interact with each other and the rest of the world. Study subjects can be as complex as a human being or gorilla, or as simple as basic biological organisms.
A behavioral science degree can come from two different categories. Neural sciences, which are also known as decision sciences is the first. Social sciences, which can be labeled communication sciences is the second category. Some disciplines in behavioral science may belong to both categories.
Neural sciences can include:
- Cognitive science
- Organization theory
- Social neuroscience
Social sciences can include:
- Organizational behavior
- Social hierarchy
Most behavioral scientists should have a solid understanding of mathematics and statistics to deal with the data that comes up in the course of their research. A background in computer science can be useful, as most data breakdowns are done by computers now. Behavioral scientists should be willing to travel to uncomfortable or hostile destinations. They may have to communicate with and study animals that are reclusive or unwilling to be studied. Having excellent interpersonal communication skills can be helpful for behavioral scientists who intend to study people and not animals.
A master’s degree is required for most behavioral science job openings. Some assistant or entry-level positions may be available to those with bachelor’s degrees. These tend to be highly competitive. Teaching positions require a minimum of a master’s degree and often a doctorate for top tier university professorships. Research positions typically require at least a master’s degree.
Some behavioral sciences such as psychology may require a license after graduation. Most do not. Licenses often must be renewed on a regular basis, with continuing education requirements for renewal. Certifications for each behavioral science field are available. Such certifications can increase the possibility of a promotion or raise with sufficient experience. Certification requirements typically are set by each field’s professional association.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded widely disparate salaries for behavioral science degree holders. Anthropologists earned an average of $53,910 in yearly salary as of May 2008. Psychologists had an average salary of $64,140 in the same time period. Behavioral scientists who were working in the private sector typically earned slightly higher average salaries. However, federal government behavioral scientists had better benefits packages.
Common benefits consist of days off, health insurance, and vacation time. Some behavioral science jobs paid into retirement funds. The federal government’s benefits were usually more comprehensive and generous when compared with private sector benefits. Teaching professorships sometimes offered tuition breaks to children of employees.