5 Trending Applied Behavior Analysis Careers

Five Trending Applied Behavior Analysis Careers

The principles and techniques developed within the last few decades by behavior analysts are being more frequently relied upon by other disciplines outside of the field. The most notable careers which may integrate some behavior analytic evidenced-based practices in their job description include: special education teacher, speech pathologist, and special education coordinator. Notably the demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts has been increasing, and to cater to this increased need there are more degree programs than ever before.

University of Cincinnati faculty member, assistant professor and BACB Verified Course Sequence Coordinator , Dacia McCoy, says, “As recognition of the field increases, there are additional leadership opportunities within the field and education. The demand has also increased the need for service providers, and many have started their own businesses (e.g., consulting, clinics, in-home), but there is a unique skill set required to be a small business owner.”

Many who choose to pursue an education in behavior analysis do so to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) for clinical, in-home, or school settings, there are other career paths available that also apply behavior analysis in their daily routines. Below are five potential careers in applied behavior analysis for graduates to consider.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) divides the tasks of BCBAs into two distinct sections: Basic Behavior-Analytic Skills and Client-Centered Responsibilities. The first section relates to work involving measurement, experimental design and behavior change considerations, as well as knowledge of the fundamental elements of behavior change, specific behavior change procedures and behavior change systems. Example tasks may include designing, plotting and interpreting data, and using interventions and self-management strategies to change behavior.

The second section of tasks covers the BCBA’s Client-Centered Responsibilities. A professional BCBA must know how to identify, measure and assess a client’s problem; select intervention strategies; and implement, manage and supervise behavior skills training. Example tasks may include reviewing records and available data, selecting a measurement system to obtain data, defining environmental variables and arranging instructional procedures to promote generative learning.

BCBAs may work at home, in school and in clinical settings. PayScale salary data shows the average salary of a BCBA is $59,554 per year as of September 2019.

To excel in this position, individuals must have the following skills:

●      Data Analysis. BCBAs must be skilled in analyzing single-subject graphical data relative to the identified problem so that a proper intervention can be designed.

●      Designing Interventions. In order to select the most effective intervention, behavior analysts must align the intervention to the data.

●      Behavioral Skills Training (BST). To meet behavior change goals, BCBAs must be skilled in creating strategies and adapting techniques to teach clients new behavior skills through modeling, rehearsal, and feedback.

●      Supervision. BCBAs may be required to supervise BCBAs-in-training, so that they get high quality field experience and mentoring in various areas of competency.

●      Problem Solving. There are obstacles and challenges that may come up during behavior-change programs that BCBAs are uniquely trained to address.

To apply for certification from the BACB, individuals must meet one of three eligibility options:

1.     A graduate degree from an accredited university and supervised practical experience.

2.     A graduate degree, experience researching and teaching behavior analysis as a full-time faculty member and supervised practical experience.

3.     A doctorate degree that was conferred at least 10 years ago and a minimum of 10 years’ supervised postdoctoral practical experience.

School District Behavior Specialist

The school district behavior specialist is responsible for developing, supporting and providing training and coaching opportunities to school staff, district staff and families, as well as delivering intervention supports to students. Training involves classroom management, functional behavior assessment, behavior support plans, school wide positive behavior support, alternatives to suspension, and cultural and linguistic considerations in discipline and behavior. This position requires collaboration and the training to direct, implement and supervise change on an individual, classroom and school level.

To excel in this position, individuals must have the following skills:

●      Collaboration. This skill is critical to effectively communicating and implementing behavior support plans.

●      Systems Level Change. School district behavior specialists must be skilled in implementing change across organizational and individual levels.

●      Training. To successfully implement initiatives, school district behavior specialists must have the skills necessary to train others.

●      Supervision. School district behavior specialists will need to supervise school staff, district staff and students.

●      Problem Solving. To overcome obstacles and challenges that may come up during training and coaching initiatives, school district behavior specialists must have the skills to solve problems at both the individual and at the classroom group level.

To become a school district behavior specialist, individuals must successfully complete the BCBA exam (depending on their district), have experience teaching students with disabilities and possess a valid Special Education Teaching Credential. In addition, they must have knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as state and district special education policies and procedures. PayScale reports the average annual salary of a behavior specialist at $40,412.

Clinical Supervisor

A clinical supervisor oversees training and supervision of BCBAs, Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), and other trainees who are working within the company. Clinical supervisors can go through the supervision training program outlined by the BACB on their Supervision and Training page to supervise RBTs and other staff members who want to accrue hours for the BCBA examination. The goal of their supervision is to ensure proper and efficient delivery of client services in clinical settings. Clinical supervisors also conduct assessments, review goals and treatment plans, and submit regular feedback regarding the implementation of various treatment programs. PayScale reports the average annual salary of a clinical supervisor at $57,862 for 5-9 years of experience and at $59,387 for 10-19 years of experience.

To excel in this position, individuals must have the following skills:

●      Collaboration. This skill is critical to effectively communicate, create, and implement behavior support plans.

●      Training. To successfully implement initiatives, clinical supervisors must have the skills necessary to train others.

●      Supervision. Clinical supervisors will need to supervise clinic staff, BCBAs, and students.

●      Problem Solving. To overcome obstacles and challenges that may come up during training and coaching initiatives, clinical supervisors must have the skills to solve problems at both the individual and at the clinic group level.

Counselor

A counselor works closely with students and requires an understanding of their behavior to make decisions and recommendations for them. Counselors can work in schools, colleges, hospitals, and clinics and work with students from various backgrounds, children, adults, individuals with disabilities, etc. School counselors work closely with students who are in grades K-12. Having knowledge about behavior change interventions and making decisions to increase socially significant behaviors are useful tools for counselors who work closely with a variety of student populations. According to PayScale, the average salary is approximately $50,870 for a school counselor with 5-9 years of experience and $57,752 for a school counselors with 10-19 years of experience.

To excel in this position, individuals must have the following skills:

●      Collaboration. This skill is critical to effectively work with other professionals, create and implement treatment plans, and perform research in their field.

●      Training. To successfully implement initiatives, university professors must have the skills necessary to train their students and other professionals.

●      Supervision. University professors will need to supervise students and other professionals.

University Professor

University professors commonly teach ABA coursework in different types of universities and colleges as well as through online-programs. They can conduct their own research and collaborate with other professionals both within and outside of their field. They supervise and advise students who are attending graduate school, such as masters and doctoral programs in ABA. The average salary for a university professor is $78,470, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

To excel in this position, individuals must have the following skills:

●      Collaboration. This skill is critical to effectively work with other professionals, create and implement treatment plans, and perform research in their field.

●      Training. To successfully implement initiatives, university professors must have the skills necessary to train their students and other professionals.

●      Supervision. University professors will need to supervise students and other professionals.

Learn More:

The online behavioral analysis program at the University of Cincinnati strives to prepare students to pursue careers in behavioral analysis. Learn more about UC’s online BA curriculum.

Recommended Reading:

A Look at Special Education Law in the United States

The Importance of Early Intervention for Children with Autism

Ethical Behavior in Applied Behavior Analysis

Sources:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Fourth Edition Task List

Behavior Analyst Certification Board, BCBA Requirements

Los Angeles Unified School District, Behavior Specialist

PayScale, Average Salary for Certification: BACB Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

PayScale, Behavior Specialist

PayScale, Board Certified Behavior Analyst Salary

PayScale, Clinical Supervisor

PayScale, School Counselor

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Professor

Supervision and Training, BACB Supervision and Training Requirements

 

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.

Sign up for updates from UC Online