This article describes the masters in behavior analysis degree program, some of the subjects and courses it covers, and why you may want to consider this degree to advance your career. It also presents a highly acclaimed masters in behavior analysis program that can be completed online.
What Is a Masters in Behavior Analysis?
In the masters in behavioral analysis degree program, students focus on topics, such as experimental behavior analysis, applied behavior analysis techniques, and behavior theory. It is designed for those who already have an undergraduate education in fields, such as psychology or counseling, and a research project or practicum experience or internship is usually required for completion. It also prepares students to take on a doctoral program in the research and teaching of behavioral issues. This also enables students to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts, so long as they meet the necessary requirements.
Behavior analysis is considered to be a natural science that is aimed at understanding why individuals behave the way they do. To achieve this, it focuses on a variety of factors, including experiential, pharmacological, and biological ones. Behavior analysts are expected to have an in-depth understanding of why behavior is something that most people do without thinking. Their role is to understand which factors influence such behavior. Most of the time, they do this in order to help find ways to change problematic behavior, or to teach people how to adapt their behavior in an appropriate manner. Behavior analysis is a recognized science and since its development, important discoveries have been made showing the benefits of addressing behavior that have an impact on social situations. These include pervasive development disabilities like autism and how they should be treated; education; workplace safety; healthy eating; substance abuse; alcoholism; and so on.
Some schools allow masters in behavior analysis students to choose an area of concentration, which enables them to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). To do this, they have to take part in coursework as well as a clinical internship. Additionally, they often have to complete a piece of research as well. Some of the core courses common in this degree are:
- Behavior Observation and Management
- Social Bases of Behavior
- Evaluation of Behavioral Intervention
- Behavioral and Functional Assessment
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Behavior Analysis
- Conditioning and Learning
Why Earn a Masters in Behavior Analysis?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), behavior disorder counselors can expect to see a 22% rise in demand from 2014 to 2024. This will translate into some 21,200 new jobs. This is particularly true for those who have a BCBA certification. Indeed, statistics has shown that:
- There was a 153% rise in demand for BCBA-qualified individuals between 2012 and 2014.
- Those with a BCBA can earn $65,000 or more per year.
A masters in behavior analysis degree prepares you for careers in autism services, special education, behavioral medicine, instructional design, organizational behavior management, or consulting.
According to the BLS, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors had a median salary of $41,070 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those who hold a master’s degree are more likely to be in one of the top 10% of earners, who earn $65,080 per year or more.
Online Option for Masters in Behavior Analysis
If you are interested in obtaining a masters in behavior analysis degree, you may want to consider the Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program that is offered online by Simmons College. This has been designed to prepare students for a BCBA certification, which places them in high demand in the workplace. They are trained to make a positive difference in their clients’ lives.
The program’s curriculum has been approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and includes supervision and mentoring hours required to pass the certification exam. The faculty are respected for their expertise in applied behavior analysis. Furthermore, many are currently involved in conducting field research as well. Because it has received BACB-approval, those who complete the required 750 hours of supervision and mentoring, will be allowed to take the certification exam. In fact, this is a critical component of the degree as a whole, ensuring that students learn to become truly effective practitioners.
The degree is offered online to provide an excellent interactive experience. Because of it being online, it fits around the schedule of busy professionals. At the same time, active participation is encouraged in learning through faculty guidance, collaborative projects, and face to face classes. These classes are conducted once a week and are hosted with a webcam. Around 15 students take part in these classes at a time, ensuring that each one can receive the individual attention needed.
Each week, multimedia coursework is delivered to students that is based on the live session. Additionally, this coursework prepares them for the class discussion the following week. Assignments, meanwhile, can be completed at any time in each week, so that they fit in with the students’ schedules. Uniquely, no GRE scores are required for admission to the program.
The core curriculum of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis offered by Simmons College includes:
- Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
- Introduction to Single Subject Research Designs
- Behavioral Assessment
- Methodologies for Behavior Change
- Legal and Ethical Issues
- Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis
- Theoretical and Applied Issues on Skinner’s Writings
- Mentoring and Supervision
Those who graduate from the degree have a wealth of career opportunities available to them. In fact, there is a wide variety of organizations and areas that graduates can work in, particularly if they are BCBA certified. Industries in which they can find employment include educational institutions, service facilities, agencies, businesses, government agencies, and more. Some of the more common career options are:
- School behavior specialist
- Consultant for behavioral services
- Post-secondary teacher of behavior analysis
- Clinical behavior therapist
Clearly, completing a masters in behavior analysis degree is a great way to advance a career that has an impact on the lives of communities and societies as a whole. Whether you want to work clinically or in research, the masters degree enables you to achieve BCBA certification, enabling you to make a meaningful difference in understanding why problematic behaviors happen, and how they can be addressed. Mainly, by holding such a degree, you will set yourself apart as a leader in your field.
- Substance Abuse and Behavior Disorder Counselors (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm
- Master of Science in Behavior Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://online.simmons.edu/our-programs/behavior-analysis/
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bacb.com/bcba/
- US Behavior Analyst Workforce: Understanding the National Demand for Behavior Analysts. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/151009-burning-glass-report.pdf