As an Arizona resident interested in becoming a behavioral therapist, you should know that you have a lot of options as to where and in what capacity you will work. Qualified behavioral therapists in the state can choose to work in private practices, in hospitals, in the school system, in the court system, in rehabilitation facilities or halfway houses, or they can even open their own psychological practices. Of course, in order to do any of these things, you have to have the right combination of education and experience. While this is difficult to come by, it is possible for anyone who is willing to work hard to reach his or her goals.
The first step in becoming a behavioral therapist is, of course, to pursue a higher education in the field. For those just getting started on their educational paths, it is important to choose an accredited college or university at which to earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Those who plan to earn an associate’s degree should do so knowing that they will need to transfer their credits to a bachelor’s degree program in order to use their education in the field. Even those with a bachelor’s degree will find that their career possibilities are severely limited and that it behooves them to earn at least a master’s degree.
While a master’s degree program might feel overwhelming and impossible to some, getting into a master’s degree program is usually not as difficult as one might think. Generally, all that is required is a passable score on the graduate record exam (GRE) and at least a 3.0 grade point average as an undergraduate. These are just average requirements; some colleges or universities may have higher or lower standards that must be met for admission. Also, be aware that master’s level programs are designed with working adults in mind and are generally not as time consuming as undergraduate programs though the work is more difficult and more focused.
Those who have earned bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields will be happy to know that many master’s level programs do not require a related undergraduate degree for admission. In fact, some colleges and universities see it as a real bonus when students come from diverse educational backgrounds and seek to admit these students to their programs whenever possible. So, be sure to check out several different schools and options before resigning yourself to starting back at square one and pursuing an entirely new undergraduate degree.
The highest level of education you can obtain as a behavioral therapist is a PhD, also known as a doctorate degree. This degree program, which is usually completed in about five years, is intense but trains you to do basically anything within the field. Those who earn the highest salaries and who hold the most prestigious positions are those who have PhDs. While this high level degree will not be for everyone, it is definitely recommended for those Arizona residents who are serious about success.