When you want a career that involves a combination of psychology and education, becoming an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist might be the right choice. ABA therapists work with children or adults who have been diagnosed with autism or other conditions that affect their behavior. These therapists focus on helping individuals develop strategies aimed at improving their day-to-day life, such as being able to communicate more effectively. Learning more about what a career in applied behavior analysis involves can help you determine if you might be interested in this type of work.
What Does a Behavior Analyst Do?
A behavior analyst evaluates an individual’s behavior and comes up with intervention strategies to help them handle behavioral issues and learn new skills. These analysts are experts in studying and understanding behavioral difficulties that individuals with certain conditions might face, such as those with autism, brain trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Being a therapist in applied behavior analysis provides these experts with opportunities to help improve the quality of life for those who struggle with behavioral challenges.
7 Reasons to Work in ABA Therapy
Working in ABA therapy can be a great career option for those who have a strong interest in behavioral aspects of psychology. From studying learning theory to taking courses in educational psychology and developmental psychology, these therapists provide valuable help and support to children and adults with autism or other conditions that affect their behavior. The following are some of the top reasons to consider this type of career.
1. Job Security
The increasing need for therapists who have the expertise and skills to help individuals with autism provides ABA therapists with solid job security. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 1 in 44 children in the U.S. have been identified as being on the autism spectrum. As more individuals turn to the growing field of applied behavior analysis for autism and other conditions, the demand for ABA therapists is expected to continue increasing in the coming years.
2. Rewarding Career
Working in ABA therapy offers a chance to build a rewarding career focused on positively impacting people’s lives. These therapists spend their time helping children or adults understand the behavioral challenges they are experiencing and teaching them ways to handle these difficulties. ABA therapy plays an important role in helping people with autism or other conditions make changes and learn new skills that improve their day-to-day lives in different ways, such as socially, so that they can connect with others and form friendships.
3. Numerous Specialization Opportunities
ABA offers the opportunity to specialize in a certain area of this field, depending on your interests. For example, you might start out working as a behavior technician and move on to becoming a board-certified ABA therapist. When you work in ABA, you might choose to specialize or focus on a particular area, such as clinical behavioral analysis, behavior analysis in education, behavioral sport psychology, or behavioral gerontology. With ABA including aspects of psychology, social work, and education, you can choose a specialization that aligns with your skills and career interests.
ABA therapy does not involve the use of a particular treatment plan or strategy to help those with behavioral challenges. Instead, these therapists can use a wide range of strategies or approaches to help individuals learn new skills and develop ways to handle behavioral difficulties. This provides a high degree of flexibility in terms of how you do your job, as well as when you work. Some ABA therapists work regular shifts in an office, such as 9 to 5, while others have a less traditional schedule that might include shorter shifts throughout the week or on weekends. This flexibility gives you more control over your schedule and your career.
Working in ABA therapy means putting your creative skills to use. Keep in mind there are many ways to help individuals with behavioral challenges. Some might respond better to art therapy, while others prefer to role-play in order to practice new skills. As an ABA therapist, you will have the opportunity to assess each client’s needs and come up with fun and creative ways to address them.
6. Never the Same Day Twice
The fun and flexibility of being an ABA therapist means that each workday is often different from the next. Instead of showing up for work and handling the same tasks over and over each day, you can look forward to having a different experience each workday. Using varying approaches for behavioral intervention and adapting for each client keeps this kind of work from becoming repetitive or dull.
7. Telehealth Opportunities
Being an ABA therapist does not necessarily involve working in an office. In fact, some ABA therapists provide virtual services rather than in-person services. These therapists offer telehealth services that allow them to work with clients online instead of in an office. This can provide you with a great way to work from anywhere while still being able to help your clients. With telehealth opportunities, you might also be able to work with individuals from different areas rather than only local clients.
Become an ABA Therapist
Becoming an ABA therapist starts with earning an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology. You can then earn an ABA master’s degree and become licensed and certified to work as an ABA therapist. Keep in mind that licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state, and some states do not require certification. Check the most up-to-date information on licensing and certification for your state to better understand how to become an ABA therapist.
If you would like more information on earning a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in order to get your ABA career started, please contact Post University. In addition to earning your BA, you might also consider choosing an applied behavior analysis minor. This provides you with coursework in areas you will need to study to become an ABA therapist, such as child development and learning theory.
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