Behavioral science relates to social science, but the two have distinct focuses. Behavioral scientists study communication strategies and decision processes between people or even animals in social situations, encompassing fields like psychology and social neuroscience. Social science also looks at decision-making, but it encompasses a wider range of areas looking at all aspects of society, including careers in history, economics, and political science.
Online Behavioral Science Degrees
An online college degree program in social science in behavioral science can teach about you the finer points of human behavior and relationships. Popular jobs for behavioral science grads include:
- Social worker: from child welfare cases to spousal abuse prevention, behavioral scientists draw on their knowledge of human behavior to help heal broken relationships
- Economic analyst: behavioral scientists can show corporations the emotional reasons behind customers' financial decisions
- Criminologist: criminologists use their advanced career training both to identify crime patterns and assist with crime prevention
- Social or human service assistant: degrees in behavioral science lend themselves to the multiple careers that fall under this job title including community support workers, mental health aides, community outreach workers, life skills counselors, and case management aides.
- Occupational therapist: while an advanced degree is required for this field, a bachelor's degree in behavioral science can provide an excellent foundation
- Market research: The Bureau of Labor Statistics names behavioral science within marketing as a new and emerging occupation, leading to greater opportunities and cutting edge research on customers' behaviors
Behavioral Science Degree Options
You can find associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in behavioral science, both online and in traditional campus settings. Different degrees are typically needed for different career paths. For example, if you want to be a college professor, you should earn your doctoral degree. On the other hand, if you haven't decided on a specific career path, earning your bachelor's degree could open up numerous job possibilities while providing a strong base of career training.
Behavioral Science Career Prospects
Social science jobs in general should increase about 10 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is about the average for all occupations. But job prospects for post-secondary teachers is expected to increase by 23 percent, meaning those who wish to teach rather than only work in an applied science job should have far more opportunities. Behavioral science, however, can provide an excellent background for so many different fields that it leaves your career options wide open, and some, like occupational therapy, are also growing rapidly. As you can tell from the list above, with just a bit of specialized training a person with a behavioral science degree can go on to a jobs ranging from criminology to marketing to social work.
Your income, of course, typically depends on the career you choose. For example, full-time professors earned a median annual salary of $98,974 in 2007 and associate professors earned $69,911. Public health social workers earned a paycheck of $47,170, and occupational therapists made $65,540.