A behavioral science degree uses a multi-faceted approach to studying and understanding human behavior. Psychology, anthropology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and sociology are all used to understand why humans do what they do. By studying their intentions, actions, and habits, it becomes easier to determine patterns and understand why people behave the way they do in certain situations. These type of degree programs also provides insight into how environment, culture, communication, and language impact human tendencies and behaviors. Degree programs in behavioral science are typically available at the associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctoral degree levels.
Career Path Options for Behavioral Science Majors
Individuals who obtain a behavioral science degree are able to better understand human behavior and patterns. They learn the skills and abilities that allow them to better understand why their peers and members of the general public act the way they do in the context of their surroundings. A behavioral science major can find work in a variety of industries and fields, including criminal justice, mental health, human resources, and behavioral psychology.
This degree is particularly appealing for those who plan on becoming a police officer, or going into social work, education, counseling, and law enforcement careers. By understanding human behavior, individuals in these career fields are better able to relate to the public at large. A behavioral science degree gives the graduate a variety of tools and resources to draw from so they can better assist the citizens they work with on a daily basis.
A criminologist's job is to find understand every aspect of a crime. This includes its cause, the effects it has as well as its impact on society and the public at large. Their responsibilities involve collecting data, analyzing it, and then using that information to understand why the crime occurred. This information is then used to predict, and hopefully prevent, similar behaviors in the future. Criminologists can work in law enforcement, laboratories, and research facilities who work to try and determine how crime affects the individuals involved, as well as the public at large.
Police officers serve the community by upholding the law and protecting both the citizens and public property. From the FBI to the local sheriff, there are several types of law enforcement officers. They include:
- FBI Agent, ATF Agent, and other federal agents
- State Trooper
- Sheriff's Deputies
- City Police
- Federal Marshall
All of these branches, work to uphold the laws of the city, county, and state in which they are sworn in as law enforcement officers. People who choose to work in any of these types of law enforcement roles must be able to think and act quickly while under intense pressure. The skills that are gained through behavioral sciences online programs or a criminal justice degree allow them to analyze a situation and take appropriate measures to secure and protect individuals who may be in harm's way.
Social workers in general, assist their clients in overcoming a variety of challenges they face in their day to day lives. Clinical social workers are trained therapists who are able to diagnose and treat clients who have known disorders involving mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. Social workers provide valuable resources to their clients that allow them to live as normal a life as possible while they are dealing with issues that may be beyond their control. Social workers continually evaluate and assess their client's needs to ensure they are getting the assistance they need. They can also assist in coordinating their client's healthcare needs.
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts study the habits of consumers in relation to purchasing products and services. They also study marketing trends to determine what type of sales and marketing strategies work best in relation to specific demographic data, such as location, age, gender, and social status. Market research analysts also study a company's growth patterns and how change is handled across the board. They can identify potential gains and losses in a company's value and predict how it will fare within the stock market as the economy changes over time.
Legal consultants or advisors are employed by businesses and individuals. They provide legal advice in terms of contracts, products, liability, and a wide range of other legal concerns. Legal consultants may have the same education and degrees as an attorney with a few key differences. Legal consultants do not handle cases in a courtroom setting and most do not “practice” since they are not required to pass the Bar exam. Legal consultants are excellent communicators and can interpret the law in almost any situation. They are able to draft legal documents and file cases, but cannot actually practice law without having taken and passed the State Bar examination.
Behavioral scientists work in a variety of industries to evaluate and study known behaviors. A behavioral scientist can work in hospitals, healthcare facilities, legal offices, and private companies. They often act as consultants, marketing agents, and data analysts to determine habits and patterns of potential and existing customers/clients. Behavioral scientists perform studies and research projects in a variety of settings. Once the information is collected and analyzed, it is shared with members of the community who strive to use it to better society and the world around us. Political science majors often work in this category.
Difference Between a Psychology Degree and a Behavioral Science Degree
While behavioral science and psychology are similar, they also have major differences that set them apart from one another. Behavioral science is a broad category with several sub-categories that are all interwoven with one another. Psychology is one of those sub-categories and because it is part of the greater collective of sciences within behavioral science, the courses, study plans, and careers often cross paths.
Similarities: Behavioral Science vs Psychology
As part of the general behavioral Science set of sub-categories, Psychology involves studying behaviors, patterns, and habits, while factoring emotional and mental processes. Critical thinking is used to evaluate these elements and then creating strategies to assist clients in overcoming obstacles and learning both about themselves as well as why they tend to follow specific behavior patterns and habits.
Differences: Behavioral Science vs Psychology
One of the biggest differences between behavioral sciences and psychology is the career paths that people follow after graduation. People who graduate with a degree in behavioral science pursue career paths that involve finding out why people do what they do and how to predict future patterns of behavior. In terms of law enforcement, this may mean understanding why certain crimes occur in certain areas and what steps can be taken to prevent those crimes from occurring. With psychology, the graduate uses their degree to understand why individuals do what they do and how to break destructive patterns and re-establish new ones in their place.
The Sciences Behind Behavioral Science
Several sciences are collectively grouped together to create the concepts of behavioral science. Many of these use similar tools and resources that cause coursework and resources to overlap. The same is true when deciding on a career path. Behavioral science is considered to be integral in many careers involving public health, law enforcement, legal and industrial or commercial fields. These sciences include:
Physiology studies how the body functions as a whole. It is the study of how each mechanism functions and how every mechanism works in conjunction with one another to maintain homeostasis within the body.
Applied Behavioral Science
Individuals who specialize in applied behavioral science are able to counsel clients and provide guidance to people of all age groups based on observing how they behave in a variety of situations.
Cultural anthropology focuses primarily on studying specific cultures and how the people behaved within those environments and societies. This type of anthropology also studies the development of societies over a period of time.
Psychology and behavioral psychology studies both the mind and its behaviors. As a discipline, the field involves many different sub-fields that include social behavior, human development, mental health, and cognitive responses and processes.
Sociology focuses on how humans interact in society through the use of culture, patterns, and relationships. As a social science, it is basically the study of human behavior as it relates to situations individuals experience in their daily lives.
Cognitive studies involve examining the mind and the processes that are used as a person functions. This involves how the mind evaluates and reasons to find solutions to specific tasks and how a person responds/reacts to a variety of stimuli. This includes abnormal psychology and other concerns.
How to Choose Between an Online or Classroom Behavioral Science Degree Program
Making the choice between an online or classroom behavioral science degree program will depend on what your needs are. Some people learn better in a classroom setting, while others are better able to learn using an online format. Many people base their choice on whether or not they can continue to work while attending class. Others have families to care for that limit the amount of time they can devote to continuing their education. Online programs allow for practical use of a student's time, making it easier for them to reach their goals.
Online Learning Programs
Online learning programs offer a level of convenience that a traditional classroom setting does not. By choosing an online learning program, you have the ability to complete your coursework from almost any location. You can attend the university you want to earn your degree even if it is located hundreds of miles away. Online programs are also more convenient for students who are employed full time.
Already Working in the Field
Choosing an online learning program is ideal if you are already working in your chosen career field. People who are already working in their chosen industry are able to gain valuable hands-on experience that will be beneficial if they plan on advancing through the ranks. Taking online courses adds to their skill sets and will give them the credentials they need to earn a promotion or at least earn more money.
Many people who have spent years taking care of the family, take online classes so that they will be better able to re-enter the job market. Online degree programs allow parents to study when they have time instead of forcing them to give up time with their children. Online learning classes can be taken when it's convenient for the individual. While it may take longer to earn their degree, it provides them an opportunity to move forward, albeit at a much slower pace.
Complete Your Program at Your Own Pace
Whether you are working a full-time job or raising a family, online degree programs will allow you to earn your degree at your own pace. Instead of taking a full course load, you can take one or two courses a semester. You can even skip a semester if you need to. This ensures that you will be able to focus your full attention on your studies and get the most out of the online program.
Benefits of Being in a Classroom on Campus
Attending classes on campus also has benefits. Full-time students who are enrolling in college immediately after graduating from high school may do better in a classroom setting simply because it is what they are used to. The structure of a classroom setting is more beneficial than learning to maintain a strict class and study schedule on their own while they are trying to work a full- or part-time job.
Many college professors offer mentorships to students who attend their classes. In a classroom setting, a mentor can assist the student as they need it instead of trying to exchange information online through emails or private messages. Having a mentor means that the student has the benefit of learning directly from someone who has many years of experience and can share new ways of doing things. While some of the information may be outdated, it is still valuable and can be adapted to current circumstances. The more you can learn from someone who has many years of experience, the better off you will be if you are ever in a situation where you don't have access to all of your modern tools and gadgets. Knowing how to go "old school" can actually help you in a pinch.
Internships are designed to help students gain hands-on experience in their chosen career field. Students who attend campus classrooms are often offered internships on campus or in nearby communities. The hands-on training the student receives can be exchanged for class credit once the internship has been completed and the person evaluating the student's work has turned in the completed evaluation report. Being able to list an internship with a well-known company on your resume will go a long way when applying for top job openings.
Ability to Interact With Faculty and Other Students
Attending a class on campus allows the student to interact with both the faculty and other students. This creates opportunities to study with other students who are taking the same classes. Faculty members often make themselves available for students who need additional help with their studies. Students who attend classes on campus can also become involved with other on-campus groups and organizations that will allow them to pursue other interests while they are at school.
Top Behavioral Science Degree Programs
Behavioral science degree programs are offered by many colleges and universities across the country with many accepting various types of financial aid. Choosing the right program means finding one that will help you get the job you want. Having the right classes a must, but it's also important to be able to learn outside the box through internships, classroom mentors, and exploring other aspects of the field. Because behavioral science online programs can be used in such a wide range of occupations, you need to research which programs will allow you to best follow your chosen career path.
The best online behavioral science degree programs will accomplish several things. First and foremost, they will provide you with the information and skills you need to do your job well and with a high level of professionalism. Secondly, as an online program, you will be able to work while you are in school. You will be able to continue to earn money and care for your family. If you are lucky enough to get an entry-level position within your chosen career path, you will also be able to gain hands-on experience. Hands-on experience through an internship or simply as a way to earn money will provide you with additional knowledge to support what you are learning in class.
Know what your goals are before you make your final decision. If you really want to find the best online behavioral science degree program, you need to know exactly what your goals are, especially if you plan on working while going to school. Being able to juggle college, work, and taking care of your family can be overwhelming. Stay organized and keep your focus! With the right online behavioral science degree program, everything will fall into place. Be selective when it comes to choosing your school. It will be one of the most influential decisions you will ever make when it comes to your career.