Post # 1
I have a dilemma/question. I thought that I wanted to go to grad school for public health, but I’ve recently been having a change of heart. In fact, I’ve been accepted to a bunch of MPH programs…but my gut tells me it might not be my calling. I’ve worked with children with autism before and have a BA in psychology. I love children. I love special needs children even more. I’d say it’s my strongest passion, for sure.
Anyways, if I wanted to pursue behavioral therapy as a career (as in…move up to clinical supervisor one day, have room for promotion and free range), what master’s degree and certification do I need? I’ve looked everywhere online and am getting conflicting answers.
Does a BCBA certification and a master’s in counseling, with a MFT certification work? I ask because there is a counseling program in my hometown that is really cheap, and teaches for the MFT exam.
Whew! I know that’s long, but hopefully someone can help! Thanks ahead of time, loves!
Post # 3
I am an SLP so I do not know from personal experience. But i googled and found this:
Behavior Therapy Program Information
A Master of Science in Behavior Analysis is the most commonly offered degree; a master’s degree is the minimum required to become a certified behavior analyst. Currently, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) accredits master’s and doctorate programs in behavior analysis. Doctorate programs in behavior analysis generally offer the same curriculum as the master’s programs, though additional practical training, behavior therapy coursework and research opportunities are provided; a dissertation is also required for the Ph.D. Concentrations in areas such as special education, organizational behavior management, developmental disabilities and behavioral medicine are often available at both graduate levels. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in behavior therapy, though graduates are qualified as assistant behavior analysts only.
Good luck! It’s an amazing field!
Post # 4
@pinkandsparkly: awwww, thanks! I’m a bit confused, because that article was talking about counseling therapy and cognitive therapy…which isn’t quite like ABA used in Autism. It’s so confusing!
Still confused! Any other bees? Puuh-lease! I know you’re out there.
Post # 5
If this is something that requires certification and/or licensure, it may differ between states (that is the case for general counseling at the master’s level). Your best bet is to seek out information from the licensing and certification board, in that case. If this is something where the rules on what you need to do aren’t clear (e.g. if it isn’t something that requires certification from a specific state agency), you may want to contact other professionals in the field or professors at the school you’re thinking of applying to. Someone there should know whether you would be able to do ABA with a degree from their program.
Post # 6
@hedgeknits: Good idea! All good ideas.
Post # 7
I work with kids and young adults with autism and am 1 year away from my Ph.D. with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis at UCSB. It really depends on where you want to work. You can start out as a clinician working for a private company doing behavioral work with kids with autism just with a B.A. However, it won’t pay much. If you are looking to work privately or as a supervisor at a private clinic, you would need a B.C.B.A. which requires an advanced degree (usually M.A. in Education, but any relevant M.A. would work). If you work privately though, you get into the whole problem of buying malpractice insurance and all.
Also, since it looks like you are in the Santa Barbara area, (like me!), the best place to start would be the Koegel Autism Center at UCSB. Then, you can see if you like the work and decide to apply to grad school after.
Post # 8
Have you worked with children with autism before? I think you should really do it for a few years before you decide to go to school for it. I have done behavioral therapy for 3 years now and I absolutely hate it but I can’t find another job. All of my coworkers are looking for other jobs too. It is VERY demanding and requires a lot of patience with little pay. You will get spit on, hair pulled, bit, scratched and so on…..daily. The kids are great and I understand they can’t control what they are doing…sometimes but no matter how much you love the kids it gets very old. Words of advice try the field out before you jump into school. You need a masters degree and need to get a BCBA, where are you located. Cal state LA has a good program it would be a masters in pschology with an emphasis in ABA, the classes you take count for the courses you need to get your BCBA, in order to get your BCBA I believe you need 1500 clinical hrs too. Good luck
Post # 9
@July29LD: I have worked with children with Autism before. And yea…I’ve been attacked a few times and definitely had my hair pulled countless times. I still love it. 🙂 I only did it for one summer though. I agree definitely, I’m going to do it for a few years before I decide.
@whitters333: I might actually know you. lol. Good advice!
Post # 10
Post # 11
- Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas
Get your BCBA for sure! The BCBA requires a masters in some sort of related field, but I think you have more options when it comes to what program you do. I’d research the schools around you and see if any of them have a masters program that fulfills the BCBA requirements – most of them will tell you on your website!
Good luck, and I’m so excited for you! I really want to get my BCBA someday!
I agree with @July29LD‘s advice to try it out for a while before you decide for sure, but at the same time, I’ve worked with children with autism for just over a year now and I have no doubt in my mind it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I get hit/kicked/bit/scratched/screamed at on a daily basis, but if you really love the work you don’t mind dealing with all of those things. 🙂