Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, is a psychology approach that emphasizes the study of observable behavior in humans and animals rather than unobservable internal thoughts and beliefs. This school of thought suggests behavioral responses are the result of environmental stimuli, and new behavior is acquired through classical and operant conditioning.
To prepare for a professional career in psychology, students should first earn a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or psychology with a specialization in behavioral/cognitive neuroscience, applied behavior analysis, behavioral health counseling, or another related program. In addition to learning the general psychology theories and principles, students who are on the behavioral psychology track will also take classes in cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and laboratory procedures in behavior analysis. Specializations like behavioral neuroscience examine the unique relationship between the brain, behavior, and environment.
After completing an undergraduate psychology degree, graduates typically enter the workforce or go back to school to pursue a graduate degree in psychology or another subject. Depending on your desired field, psychologists typically need a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree to practice in most states. Bachelor’s degree holders can also work as psychiatric technicians, career counselors, rehabilitation specialists, and case managers.