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Career Information for a Degree in Behavioral Sciences

Degree programs in behavioral science provide students with a broad-based, interdisciplinary background in anthropology, psychology and sociology, among other fields of study. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Overview of Behavioral Science Degree Programs

Degree programs specifically in behavioral science are typically found as undergraduate programs that can result in a Bachelor of Science of Bachelor of Arts degree. They are broad-based programs that include courses in a variety of human behavior fields, such as anthropology, psychology, statistics and sociology.

Depending on the curriculum, students may also pursue more specialized topics in health or social psychology, medical ethics, sociology, human development and research. Some programs may allow students to choose concentrations in areas like community health, ethnic studies, gerontology or health services management, among others. Learning outcomes include the ability to collect and analyze data, communicate with other people and solve real-world problems. Some programs also include an internship.

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in behavioral science often continue their education in a master's degree program in a more focused field of study that prepares them for careers in a specific area, such as an anthropologist or social worker. However, many career options are available to graduates of a bachelor's program too. Qualified graduates may be prepared for a variety of related careers in business, education, law enforcement, healthcare, counseling or social services. Below are descriptions of three sample career options for behavioral science majors.

Health Services Manager

Health service managers coordinate the health services and handle administrative tasks for a medical facility. While a master's degree may be needed for executive-level positions, a bachelor's degree in behavioral sciences can qualify students to enter the field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one-third of medical and health service managers worked in hospitals in 2012, with the remainder employed by ambulatory health care services, the government and nursing/residential home facilities. The BLS projected a 21%, or faster-than-average, increase in job opportunities in the field for 2012 and 2022. As of May 2013, medical and health service managers earned a median annual wage of $90,940, as reported by the BLS.

Human Resource Specialist

Human resource specialists, such as those who work for employment services companies, are responsible for recruiting, screening and hiring new employees. They may also conduct orientation or training, as well as oversee the paperwork and records associated with benefits and payroll. Areas of specialization can include labor relations and personnel recruitment.

A bachelor's degree, along with decision-making and interpersonal skills, is typically required to obtain a position as a human resource specialist. According to the BLS, an 8% increase in employment was expected from 2012 to 2022. In May 2013, the bureau also reported a median annual wage of $56,630 for those employed as human resource specialists.

Social Service Manager

Social and community service managers work for a variety of human services organizations where they identify needs for, create and oversee programs that meet the needs of the public or a specific group. They may work for the government, non-profit organizations or private social service companies. Some social service manager may work with a specific demographic group, such the elderly, youth or veterans, while others work with groups that have a specific need, such as joblessness. A bachelor's degree and some experience is typically needed to secure an entry-level career in this field; however, a graduate degree may be needed for advancement.

As reported by the BLS, a 21% increase in job opportunities was anticipated for social and community service managers from 2012 to 2022. In May 2013, these workers earned a median annual wage of $61,160, also according to the BLS.

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