what is a behaviour support practitioner?

As a behaviour support practitioner, you assist adults and children with additional emotional and behavioural needs. You rely on your knowledge of mental health, social development and occupational therapy to improve the well-being of your patients. You work with adults or patients who show notable changes in their behaviours. You also support people with autism in managing their interactions with others.

Behaviour support involves creating positive, personalised treatment plans and strategies for people with challenging behaviours. Challenging behaviour is any behavioural characteristic that puts someone at risk or leads to poor quality of life. Such behaviour affects the people around them and curtails their ability to engage in daily activities. For instance, you assist people with a history of self-harm, aggression or non-compliance with instructions.

Most behaviour support practitioners use preventive and reactive strategies to help people develop the necessary skills for dealing with negative behaviour habits. You help patients manage their emotions and communicate better with others.

As a behaviour support practitioner, you work in a hospital setting, assisting patients with disabilities or autism to improve their quality of life. You also work in schools or make home visits to help children with behavioural problems.

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average behaviour support practitioner salary

Behaviour support practitioners earn an average salary of $90,000 per year. The remuneration package usually fluctuates based on skills and experience level. That's why entry-level workers take home $80,000 while experienced behavioural support practitioners earn over $100,000 annually. Some employers pay hourly, with earnings ranging from $35 to $45 per hour. When you work overtime, you are likely to earn more since the hourly rates for overtime are higher than regular business hours.

what factors affect the salary of a behaviour support practitioner?

The remuneration package of a behaviour support practitioner depends on their experience, area of specialisation and hours worked. When you join the profession, you have limited experience, reducing your salary prospects. As you gain experience or learn new skills, your remuneration package gradually improves, and you can negotiate a higher salary.

Some behaviour support practitioners work in schools, while others support older people or those with a disability. The complex responsibilities involved in working with people with a disability or autism attract a higher remuneration compared to other specialisms. Working overtime also increases your salary prospects compared to working full time.

Want to know what you will earn as a behaviour support practitioner? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

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types of behaviour support practitioners


The types of behaviour support practitioners depend on the patients they work with. Some of the behaviour support practitioners include:

  • autism behaviour support practitioner: you assist people with autism to lead better lives. You help them interrelate with others and reduce the occurrence of negative responses. You also help them to develop coping and social skills and find ways to manage sensory challenges.
  • age and disability support practitioner: you work with older people and those with disabilities to develop and implement individualised care plans. You assess patients' behaviour and provide counselling and emotional support.
  • school behaviour support practitioner: you work closely with teachers and parents to create plans and personalised strategies to improve children's behaviour. You support students with aggressive and suicidal tendencies.
types of behaviour support practitioners
types of behaviour support practitioners

working as a behaviour support practitioner

As a behaviour support practitioner, you help people develop strategies that reduce the occurrence of negative behaviours. Let's explore the specific duties, work environments and job outlook of behaviour support practitioners.


education and skills


Some of the steps for joining the behaviour support practitioner profession include:

  • completing a bachelor's degree: pursuing a degree in a relevant field is the first step into the role. Some degree courses to kick-start your career include social science, social work, behavioural science and psychological science. The courses equip you with the necessary skills to support people with behavioural problems. For opportunities to further your career and skills, complete a postgraduate degree like a graduate diploma in psychology.
  • gaining experience and a licence: when you graduate, work in entry-level roles to gain experience in the field. You can shadow a behaviour support practitioner or work in counselling and disability support roles. It is also important to complete the assessments for registering with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to become a registered practitioner. Other licences required in the role include worker screenings and a Working with Children Check (WWCC).

behaviour support practitioner skills and competencies

Some of the skills required in the role include:

  • communication skills: as a behaviour support practitioner, you rely on your communication skills to conduct behavioural assessments and develop the best care plans. Communication skills help you relay complex behavioural concepts in simple terms that your clients can understand.
  • active listening skills: as a behaviour support practitioner, you should engage with your patients when they are speaking. Active listening skills include maintaining eye contact, smiling and nodding to show your interest. Active listening skills make assisting a person and understanding their perspective easier.
  • empathy: you should put yourself in your patient's shoes and understand their feelings. As a behaviour support practitioner, you work with students and people with disabilities, so empathy can help you understand their behaviours and find ways to change them.
  • critical thinking skills: as a behaviour support practitioner, you require good critical thinking skills to support your decision-making. Critical thinking helps you consider alternative treatment strategies and creative care plans to assist clients.

FAQs about working as a behaviour support practitioner

Here are the most asked questions about working as a behaviour support practitioner:

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