What Is a Behavior Interventionist?

Reviewed by:
Hannah Andreasen
M.Ed BCBA

December 2, 2022

Behavior interventionists, sometimes also referred to as behavior therapists, work with children to improve their interaction skills. Behavior interventionists commonly work with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They may help a child develop social skills, control motor movements, and develop life skills. 

Behavior interventionist is a broad term that is sometimes used to refer to different professionals and paraprofessionals with different levels of education participating in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. 

What Do Behavior Interventionists Do?

A behavior interventionist will work under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to help to develop and implement strategies to address behavior issues

Behavior interventionists commonly work in schools, treatment centers, and for independent agencies. They may work at just one facility or travel between a few different facilities. Behavior interventionists can also provide in-home services.

Every day is typically different for behavior interventionists, especially if they travel between different locations. They must work with children with a wide range of needs. They also must be able to communicate with parents, teachers, and other professionals about the child’s progress. 

Behavior Interventionists Participate in Functional Behavioral Assessments 

Behavior interventionists are often part of a team conducting functional behavioral assessments (FBAs). An FBA helps to understand the purpose of certain behaviors

Behavior Interventionists Implement Behavior Plans

After the FBA, a behavior intervention plan (BIP) or Individual Education Plan (IEP) is made to address the target behavior. The behavior interventionist is often responsible for making sure the BIP is carried out. 

Daily Duties of Behavior Interventionists

Some additional daily duties a behavior interventionist may have include:

  • One-on-one teaching and evaluations
  • Leading small group sessions
  • Conflict resolution
  • Ongoing progress assessment 
  • Communicating with other professionals (doctors, psychologists, teachers) 
  • Communicating with parents

What Are the Qualifications of a Behavior Interventionist?

Formal certification and licensure is not always required to become a behavior interventionist, although this does vary by state. 

Behavior interventionist positions usually require at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood development, psychology, education, nursing, applied behavior analysis (ABA), or a related field. Many positions do not require any formal training beyond your educational degree. 

There is no national certification program for behavior interventionists, but obtaining advanced degrees and certifications can increase your chances of getting a behavior interventionist position. 

Becoming a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) takes additional time and investment. You must complete 40 hours of supervised training and pass an exam by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

You may also wish to obtain certification to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). BCaBAs require an undergraduate degree in ABA, psychology, or education and you must pass the BACB test. 

Behavior interventionists, RBTs, and BCaBAs must work under the supervision of a BCBA. To become a BCBA, you must have a master’s degree in ABA, psychology, or education; 1,500 to 2,000 hours of supervised training; and you must pass the BACB test. BCBAs are sometimes referred to as behavior intervention specialists. 

Psychologists with a Ph.D. in psychology often hold top-level behavior interventionist jobs. 

Five Characteristics of Successful Behavior Interventionists

Behavior interventionists should have several skills and characteristics to be effective. 

  1. Communication Skills

Behavior interventionists must be able to communicate effectively with many different groups. They may have to report on a child’s progress to other members of the care team, including medical professionals, other behavior interventionists, teachers, and parents. They also must be able to communicate in writing to complete written reports. 

  1. Adaptability

No two days are the same as a behavior interventionist. You will be working in different locations with different children with different needs. Additionally, things rarely go exactly as you planned with children. You must be able to adapt quickly to new situations. 

  1. Critical Thinking

Since no two children are the same, you must be able to come up with creative solutions to any problems that arise. 

  1. Enthusiasm 

Most people become behavior interventionists because they love what they do! However, there can be some tough days, but your enthusiasm can help you push through. 

  1. People skills 

As a behavior interventionist, you will be interacting with many different people all day. It is important to have good people skills to build and maintain relationships with children, parents, and other professionals you come into contact with. 

Conclusion

Behavior interventionists help to improve behavior and interaction skills. They are an important part of a team providing ABA services. Entry-level behavior interventionist positions usually only require an undergraduate degree, but advanced education and licenses can increase your chance of getting a position. 

If you are a behavior interventionist interested in providing high-quality children’s autism care, contact us to learn how to join the team. 

‍Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them.

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