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How to Become a Behavioral Therapist in Vermont

As a Vermont resident interested in becoming a behavioral therapist, you’ll be happy to know that you have all kinds of opportunities available to you that can set you on the right path and get you started toward the career you’ve always dreamed of having. Not only are there a wide array of accredited community colleges, traditional colleges, and universities scattered all throughout Vermont, but there are also ample opportunities for internships and other experiential learning programs that can help to ensure you meet with success as a behavioral therapist. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, the opportunities will rise up to meet you!.

If you are coming into behavioral therapy completely untrained, that is to say without any kind of formal education, then your first step should be to obtain an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Associate’s degrees can be earned at community colleges in the state, which are much less expensive than traditional four year colleges or universities. While an associate’s degree alone won’t do you much good, you can easily transfer the credits that you earn to a bachelor’s degree program when you’re ready to take the next step in your education.

If you instead choose to earn your undergraduate degree all at once, you’ll likely find that your learning goes more quickly and that you feel better prepared for actual work in the field or for continued education after you graduate. Keep in mind though that a bachelor’s degree alone is not enough to actually land you that dream job. Bachelor’s degrees can be useful for very entry level positions in the field, such as becoming a behavioral therapy assistant, but they do not open you up to the more lucrative positions in behavioral therapy.

Those who really want to earn a lot of money and enjoy all of the prestige of being a behavioral therapist will need to pursue at least a master’s degree. While bachelor’s degrees take, on average, a whopping four years to complete, master’s degrees, though more intensive, can be earned in as little as one to two years, depending upon your exact area of study and the program you attend. Master’s degree programs are designed for professionals, so you won’t have to give up your family or your current job in order to further your education. Also, if your job is related, you may be able to have your employer finance all or at least part of your education for you!

After earning a master’s degree, many people decide to continue their educations. While this is not necessary to work in the field successfully, having a doctoral degree can make it much easier to find work and can earn you a much higher pay per year in addition to presenting you with more and better opportunities in the field. PhD programs, however, are not something that should be entered into lightly. They are expensive and also require you to give up approximately five years of your life to study and research.

Once you’ve gotten your education, the hard work is really just beginning! Your next step will likely be to try and find a job, but you’re probably going to have a hard time of this if you don’t have any actual experience. Luckily for you, Vermont is full of internship opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of by people such as yourself. Internships are experiential learning opportunities which can be paid or unpaid and which make it possible for you to build up your resume and to increase your chances of being hired to work in the field.

Sometimes, internships themselves lead directly to jobs in behavioral therapy. This can happen by you performing so well at your internship that your supervisor offers you a position. Or, it can also happen by way of important connections you make in the field while completing your internship. You can meet people who can offer you jobs or alert you to other jobs or who, perhaps even years down the line, may hire you when they open their own practices. As such, it is important to treat internships as seriously as you would a job.