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What is a Career in Behavioral Therapy Like in Alabama?

Individuals who live in Alabama and who are interested in possibly pursuing careers as behavioral therapists will be happy to know that there are lots of wonderful opportunities in the field in the state. Those who are qualified to work in behavioral therapy, meaning that they have an educational background and some level of experience, will find that they have many options for pursuing work. Qualified individuals may choose to work in clinical settings, hospitals, schools, substance abuse or rehabilitation facilities, or even their own practices. They may work with children, with families, with individuals, with special needs patients, or with some combination of these. The possibilities are truly endless.

No matter the setting in which a behavioral therapist chooses to work, the goal of a behavioral therapist will remain the same: to change "bad" behaviors and put "good" behaviors in their place. "Bad" behaviors can include problems like mental illnesses, personality disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, violence, eating disorders, trouble interacting with others, and much more. Through a series of talk therapy and instructions, therapists work for positive change in the lives of their patients. As such, a job in the field can be extremely rewarding.

In addition to being personally rewarding for most individuals, behavioral therapy is also quite lucrative. In the state of Alabama, therapists typically make around $64,000 per year. This salary can be greatly increased by pursuing a higher level of education than the average behavioral therapist, by obtaining more experience, or by simply staying put and moving up the ladder at one's current place of work. It is important to note, however, that behavioral therapy is a demanding field; professionals work hard for their money! As such, it is definitely not for everyone, and it's important to consider whether or not one's personality is right for the field before entering into it.

Generally, behavioral therapists need to be patient, good listeners, kind, interested in helping others, organized, hardworking, ethical, and, perhaps most importantly, able to leave their work at work at the end of the day. Behavioral therapists are constantly subjected to depression situations and deal with people who are going through difficult or troubling circumstances in their lives. As such, it's easy to get worn down, depressed, or to gain a negative outlook on life if one can't leave the work day behind.

With all this considered, those who are still interested in pursuing a career in behavioral therapy are encouraged to take the next step and pursue an education in the field. The lowest degree level that can be obtained in the field is a bachelor's degree, which typically takes about four years. Even then, behavioral therapists can only work as assistants to others in the field, though this can be a good stepping stone while pursuing further education. There are a few jobs available to those with Master's degrees, but therapists who want true success in Alabama will want to pursue a PhD.