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Many professionals in the field of psychology specialize in behavior analysis. Most commonly, behavior analysts work with children, studying their behavior and applying findings to help them achieve success in schools and social settings. They also frequently work with children as well as adults who possess learning or mental disabilities such as autism. Others, especially those holding Ph.D.s, have the opportunity to teach at the college level. Salaries for a behavior analyst with graduate-level credentials vary based on different working situations.
General Salary Ranges
According to Spalding University, the average salary range for behavior analysts as of 2011 is between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, depending on experience and credentials. However, analysts with Ph.D.s are likely to earn higher wages as they are often centered on research. Social science college professors, who often focus on behavior analysis, earned an average of $85,400 per year based on a 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Salaries by Location
A 2011 survey by Salary Expert revealed some significant differences in wages for behavior analysts across different areas of the country. In the survey, Charlotte, North Carolina, reported the lowest average salary at $55,466 per year. Dallas, Texas, was slightly higher with an average of $56,637 per year. However, in Los Angeles, analysts made $68,176 on average, and those in Manhattan earned $71,3345 each year. The highest paying city was Chicago, boasting an average of $72,491 per year. Cost of living and other economic conditions are likely the cause of these discrepancies.
Many behavior analysts with Ph.D.s work as clinical psychologists, specifically those focused on applied analysis. They provide direct therapy to children and families with behavioral and mental disabilities. In 2010, these psychologists earned an average of $72,540 per year according to the BLS. The highest paid clinical psychologists were found in New Jersey, making $91,910 per year on average; those in private practice made $86,700 per year compared to $71,070 per year in schools.
Most positions for behavior analysts come with standard benefits such as paid vacation, health insurance and a retirement plan. Salary Expert estimates that these benefits can be worth anywhere from an $6,558 to $16,342 per year, as of 2011. Bonuses are also a possible benefit and can average from $2,804 to $6,988 per year.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010,Social Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary, All Other
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010,Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
- Salary Expert: Behavioral Analyst Bonus Data, May 2011
- Salary Expert: Behavioral Analyst Benefits Data, May 2011
- Salary Expert: Behavioral Analyst Salaries, May 2011
- Spalding University: Applied Behavior Analysis, 2011
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.