This article offers a brief explanation of what is a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis degree, some of the subjects and courses that you will study, and why you may want to consider this degree as a good move to enhance your career. It will also provide you with an overview of an online Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis that you may want to consider.
What Is a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied behavior analysis is covered by Division 25 of the American Psychological Association (APA). This division promotes research into the analysis of behavior, through human and animal experiments, in order to stimulate improvements in overall human behavior. There is a significant overlap between applied behavior analysis and other elements of psychology, including therapy.
Behavior analysis was first recognized as a sub-discipline of psychology in 1964. This was when it was recognized that there was a need for applied and basic research into human behavior, thereby ensuring information could be shared better and that applied behavior could become an integral part of other subdivisions of psychology. These objectives, as set in 1964, still stand today, although Division 25 has also added new objectives. Mainly, behavior analysts are charged with understanding the research and philosophy of human behavior, and to apply it in practice as well. Furthermore, the division also promotes the analysis of behavior within the wider society in an effort to improve human relationships.
When completing a masters in applied behavior analysis, you will be ready to make a significant impact on the lives of children and adults, with the capability of providing solutions to any behavioral disorders or issues. Through this particular degree, you will be introduced to concepts with regards to identifying and assessing problems and disorders with behavior, after which you can develop appropriate treatments and also preventative interventions.
This master’s degree has been designed to strengthen the student’s core knowledge of the different characteristics, definitions, principles, and concepts of behavior analysis. There is a strong focus on data measurement as well, which graduates can understand, interpret, and display to further the field of behavior analysis as a whole. Additionally, students are provided with various professional theories, which they must apply in experimental settings to develop interventions and new forms of treatment. Existing treatment methods are assessed in an effort to determine whether they are effective or whether they could lead to better outcomes if there were some strategic changes.
Graduates of this degree program are ready to influence positive behavior in adults and children alike. They have extensive knowledge in techniques of analysis, and also on how to modify behavior and how to monitor whether this was effective. Essentially, they are prepared to treat behavioral disorders, most notably Pervasive Development Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and ADD/ADHD.
Some of the courses are:
- Basic Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
- Techniques in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Applied Behavior Analysis Research and Its Applications
- Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism
- Issues In Assessment, Intervention Support, and Related Systems
Why Earn a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis?
A graduate from a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis can find employment in a wide range of different organizations, including:
- Autism centers
- Mental health treatment centers
- Residential programs such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, foster homes, and group homes
- Community- and home-based services
- Family service agencies
- Rehabilitation centers
- Halfway houses
- Probation departments
- Organizational consulting firms
- P-12 public and private schools
- Private practice
According to a report by Payscale.com, those with a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis earned around $49,500 per year as of August 2017. Most, however, compete the degree not solely for the financial benefits, but rather because it greatly increases job security. Additionally, they take a sense of personal pride and satisfaction in the fact that they are experts in their field and can take on positions of leadership.
Online Option for Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis
Kaplan University offers a Master of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in applied behavior analysis that can be completed online. This degree gives people the opportunity to blend psychology with scientific applications. The focus is strongly on understanding behavior and the human experience, and also on research, theories, and core knowledge.
The program allows people to take on positions in various psychology careers, including post-secondary education. Graduates are respected for their in-depth understanding of how modern theories relate to the real world, and the issues that psychology professionals have to face. They also have extensive skills on critically evaluating and applying the concepts and theories to client-centered situations. Graduates of the program have both conceptual and theoretical foundational knowledge of psychology and how it relates to applied behavior analysis, being able to create professional practice strategies that are evidence-based. Lastly, they are able to apply the sociocultural, individual, legal, and ethical standards as determined by Division 25.
The applied behavior analysis concentration focuses strongly on individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the autistic, and the developmentally disabled. Students are immersed in the theories and concepts of behaviors, using these to develop intervention and assessment methods. The course sequence has been approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which means graduates can take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination. They do have to meet supervised field experience and practicum requirements to be qualified to take this examination, which Kaplan University assists with by encouraging students to undergo a practicum.
The degree is composed of 70 credits, and its core curriculum includes:
- Research and Design in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Advanced Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
- Behavioral Measures and Interpretation of Data
- Implementing Behavioral Change
- Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis
- Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum
Some of the professional positions graduates can take on include:
- Behavior analyst
- Parent educator
- Senior therapist
- Organizational consultant
- Educational consultant
- Behavior consultant
- ABA therapist
- Behavior coach
- Behavior specialist
Completing a Masters in Applied Behavior Analytics is a great way to accelerate your career in psychology, while focusing on human behavior. You will play a vital role in improving the quality of life of people with behavioral difficulties, which is something to be proud of. You will also have the necessary skills and knowledge to become a leader in your field.
- About Behavior Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apadivisions.org/division-25/about/index.aspx
- Master of Science (MS), Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Average Salary. (2017, Aug. 12). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Science_(MS)%2C_Applied_Behavior_Analysis/Salary
- Master of Science Degree in Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/degree-programs/social-behavioral-sciences/master-degree-psychology/
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bacb.com/bcba/