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How to Become a Behavior Intervention Specialist

Behavior Intervention Specialist

Going to school is a joyful experience for many children. They get to make friends, develop bonds with their teachers, and learn exciting new concepts in science, math, and history. However, that is not the case for children with special needs. These children have a different impression of the school, where they find themselves frustrated by schoolwork.

Each child is unique. Special needs children can have disorders like ADHD or OCD. These disorders lead to behavior that keeps them from learning and can potentially bother other students, ultimately disrupting the whole class.

Classroom teachers are skilled at appropriately responding to a student's needs and accompanying behavior. Even though many teachers can identify a broad range of childhood disorders, many are not formally trained in child psychology or are qualified enough to deal with behavioral issues.

Traditional class teachers need support to deal with such cases. That's where behavior interventionists come in. Special needs children can have a normal, enriching school experience with the help of behavior specialists. It allows them to learn and grow like other children their age. Behavior intervention specialists (BIS) help the teachers and students by designing and implementing behavior intervention plans. If helping children with special needs sounds like an appealing career option to you, then consider becoming a behavior interventionist.

This article will guide you on the required qualifications, certifications, and skill set necessary for becoming a BIS.

Steps to Become a Behavior Intervention Specialist

Qualification
You should at least have a bachelor's degree to become a behavior intervention specialist. However, a master's in nursing, behavioral health, applied behavior analysis, MAT In Special Education, or advanced degree in early childhood developmentis preferred and can set you on track to become a behavior interventionist.

A master's degree gives you an edge in your field and qualifies you to provide additional independent services like counseling. After your master's degree, you can continue your education by taking board exams to become board certified behavior analyst, also called BCBA. Many behavior specialists further pursue a Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis. With every level of education, you become more marketable, and your chances of getting a job increase.

Certifications
Several certifications are also offered in this field, which can boost your resume. Some of these certifications require several hours of practical training as well. So, most behavior specialists already have work experience in their field by the time they graduate. Different states have different numbers of supervised hours to complete. So, make sure to search for details specific to your state for obtaining certifications as a behavior intervention specialist.

Required Skills

A good behavior interventionist should have the following skillset:

  • Communication skills
    They should have strong verbal and written communication skills to effectively communicate with clients and write clear notes when evaluating treatment plans.
  • Decision-making skills
    Good judgment skills are a must to defuse tense situations. Critical-decision making skills help assess underlying conditions and the pros and cons of different treatment options.
  • Negotiation skills
    This soft skill helps you convince your client to agree to follow an effective treatment plan.

Training

The various training programs for behavior intervention specialists are structured to increase your skillset and make you more qualified for job vacancies. These training sessions allow you to apply for jobs in special education, special needs communities and specialized learning disabilities schools.

  • ABA
    As a behavior intervention specialist, you will be trained with strategies of applied behavioral analysis, also known as ABA. This training will use reinforcements to alter negative behaviors and encourage positive behavior. An ABA-certified individual supervises behavioral technicians.
  • RBT
    RBT or registered behavioral technician training program requires a training course of 40-hours and passing the RBT certification exam. A registered behavior technician works under the supervision of a specialist with a master's degree in applied behavior analysis.
  • LBA
    A college master's degree in applied behavioral analysis is a pre-requisite for undertaking licensed behavior analyst training. Alternatively, you can apply to become Board Certified Behavioral Analyst Assistants (BCBAA) and then work your way up from there. 

What Do Behavior Intervention Specialists Do?

You may work with children who have disorders that hinder their learning and need behavioral support. You can promote inclusion to improve the quality of the educational experience for your clients. You will help treat children's misbehavior, improve their life skills, and optimize their social interaction. Typically, you work to improve the problematic behavior exhibited by your client.

Behavior intervention specialists should have plenty of patience and should be devoted to helping children with disabilities. Otherwise, the daily challenges in this field can lead to a burn-out. Your job involves mainly three duties;

  • A psychology background equips you to carry out a psychological analysis.
  • Figure out and provide an appropriate treatment plan customized for each individual.
  • Communicate the plan with clients effectively. Additionally, educating teachers and parents about the treatment techniques to improve child behavior outside of the classroom as well.

It can be rewarding to see the fruits of your effort and watch children you helped thrive in their educational journey. You can work with one school or more at a time. You can also get involved with the parents at home as part of the school district's home support intervention resource team. You may have to work at a school, client's home, or any other residential property, which means this role will require frequent travel from you.

Job and Salary Outlook

Behavior intervention specialists are in demand as a large number of people now seek counseling for mental health. According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), children with autism spectrum disorder are also increasing in the US irrespective of their racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups. Behavior intervention therapy has proven its efficacy in treating various behavioral disorders and autism spectrum disorders, thus making it a popular career option.

According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, the job growth outlook for this field is 23% over the next decade, which is much faster than the average. At the same time, the median salary for this position is $47,660 per year. The salary range can vary depending upon the job setting, your level of education, and previous experience. The job market for this field is growing with decent salary packages. So, a career as a behavior interventionist does have job security.

Wrapping Up

A behavior intervention specialist is qualified to observe behavior, identify the problem and design a treatment plan to address that problem. This career path can be taxing, but it is also rewarding, both personally and financially. If you have the skill and qualifications to pursue this pathway, go for it because the job outlook in this field is promising.

We need more qualified behavior interventionists to better cater to children with special needs. When properly understood and educated, special needs children can play a vital role in their communities.


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