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How Much Training Does it Take to Become a Behavioral Therapist in Hawaii

As a Hawaii resident interested in pursuing a career as a behavioral therapist, you will be happy to know that there are ample opportunities all throughout the state for qualified professionals in the field. Of course, “qualified” is the key word. Not just anyone can step up and take on challenging behavioral therapy jobs. Instead, the proper amounts of education and experience are required. While these are somewhat extensive, those who are willing to commit themselves to learning and studying in the field will be sure to meet with success.

Ideally, every behavioral therapist will have a PhD, a doctoral level degree that can typically be obtained in about five years. Having such a degree from an accredited college or university will open you up for all of the best positions in the field and the most lucrative pay. You can also seek accreditation through several different agencies if you have a PhD, and you will be capable of opening your own practice or of working in managerial or research capacities. Of course, however, not everyone wants to commit to such a long course of study, and there are other options for people such as this.

In Hawaii, there are many practicing behavioral therapists who hold only master’s degrees. While it can be difficult for such individuals to find work in other states, the vast need for therapists in Hawaii makes it possible to get hired without a higher level of education. A master’s degree, which is obtained after a bachelor’s degree, can often be completed in as little as one to two years. Also, most master’s level programs are designed for working adults, so there’s no need to put your entire life on hold to go back to school. Furthermore, many programs are willing to accept students with unrelated educational backgrounds, so you don’t have to start from scratch if you already have an undergraduate degree in a different area of study.

There are a few people working in the behavioral therapy field who have only a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes around four years to obtain. However, with such a low level degree, you will only be able to obtain the lowest level positions in the field, such as a behavioral therapist assistant. The pay for these jobs is much less than others, and they are very difficult to come by. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that you pursue at least a master’s degree.

In addition to getting an education, you will also need to have some type of experience in order to build your resume and increase your chances of being hired. A great way to get experience while you’re in school or shortly after graduation is to take on an internship. Internships, which may be paid or unpaid, are like jobs that you do simply for the experience. However, they should be treated seriously as they can lead to job offers or to important connections in the field.