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Getting your master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis allows you to work in a variety of fields; a rise in Autism awareness and the climbing rates of this condition mean that the industry continues to experience strong growth. According to the non-profit Autism Speaks, the prevalence of autism in the US has jumped to 1 in 68 children. This is a significant increase in the rate of occurrence of this disorder.
Increased awareness and rates of Autism will continue to create opportunities in this field in a variety of areas; some typical jobs for an individual with a Masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis include:
#1 Autism Spectrum Therapist
Autism rates continue to climb in the United States. It is estimated that 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 1889 girls will have or be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2017. The increase in prevalence of this developmental condition means that the number of professionals using Masters degrees in Applied Behavioral Science for Autism related therapy will continue to grow as well.
Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy, or ABA therapy, is considered the gold standard for Autism treatment, according to Autism Speaks. Children as young as three receive up to 30 hours of ABA a week to help improve social skills, communication and other abilities. The role of an ABA therapist in this area will vary based on experience and interest.
Some ABA therapists work directly with children in the home, in clinic settings and on the go, helping them cope with the world around them and working to improve the child’s ability to interact with others. Other ABA therapists who choose the field of Autism work in supervisory roles, helping outline therapy programs and modules for children, teens and adults with ASD and supervising other therapists and students in a clinical setting.
A master’s degree is required to take a supervisory role in an ABA based clinic or Autism therapy organization. Line therapists who work directly with children and teens are often college students working towards degrees in this area under the supervision of an ABA therapist. An ABA therapist working with Autism therapy would:
Plan and coordinate care for clients aged 18 months to adult
Create plans to target specific behaviors to either increase positive behaviors or eliminate negative ones
Train and supervise line therapists as they work directly with kids and teens in clinic settings
Integrate with other therapists to incorporate a variety of therapies into a single program; kids and adults with autism often receive Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and even Feeding Therapy in addition to ABA. Since ABA is often the most structured program and the child spends the most time with the ABA team, the therapist can integrate other goals directly into the ABA therapy program.
This rewarding specialty is continuing to draw those with Master’s degrees in Applied Behavioral Analysis and is expected to continue to see growth as the number of kids diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s continues to rise.
According to Payscale.com, the median salary for an ABA therapist providing Autism Therapy is $33,000, with those with more experience in the field or in supervisory positions earning significantly more than their freshly graduated peers.
An individual with a master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis can find work as a counselor working with children, teens or adults in a variety of industries. Counselors can work in schools, clinics, residential settings and even for Human Resources departments in businesses. The role of a counselor will vary based on where they are working and who they are working with and could include any or all of the following duties.
Common duties of behavioral analysis counselor:
- Working with students of all ages to correct problem behaviors
- Working with employees to improve performance
- Counseling addicts to reduce risks and eliminate addictive and destructive behaviors
- Creating counseling plans for employees experiencing difficulties
- Meeting regularly with patients and clients to fine tune ABA programs and create coping strategies for specific problems or behaviors
This field continues to see growth as more schools, employers and businesses recognize the role that an ABA trained therapist can play in promoting healthy, positive interactions in the workplace or at school.
According to Burning Class Technologies, this field continues to see heavy growth, particularly in key states like New Jersey. The salary for an individual working as a counselor varies by field and location; the median is $54,560.
3. Psychological Assistant
Psychology careers continue to see growth; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is showing higher than average growth. In most locations, a Master’s in Behavioral Analysis degree allows an individual to assist a licensed therapist with counseling, therapy and clinical tasks. Certification is required and will depend on the area you are interested in working prediction that psychology-related careers will grow much faster than average. As an assistant to a psychologist, you would do any or all of the following:
Work with residential or outpatient individuals to attain specific behavioral goals
Collect data for research and therapeutic purposes
Meet with groups in a clinical setting to improve dynamics and overall behavior
Implement behavioral therapy plans for kids, adults and teens in a clinic or inpatient setting
As an assistant, you would provide one on one or group therapy to help people meet stated goals and to improve the school, company or medical setting they spend time in. The median salary for a psychological assistant is $31,810 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4. Special Education Assistant
In a school setting, a special education assistant can provide valuable assistance, helping kids with problem or maladaptive behaviors integrate into the classroom. Public and private schools are the most common employers for this type of ABA graduate, but some also work in hospitals or in-patient settings. Additional licensing is required to become an ABA therapist in a school or setting, but an assistant can work in the field right after graduation. The median salary for a special education assistant is $28.090, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a special education assistant, graduates may work in public schools, private schools, or even residential facilities for the disabled. Some assistants may also work in hospitals or conduct home visits. Instead of teaching the children, certain assistants are employed to help teach the parents how to most effectively help their children. Behavior analysts who obtain a teaching licensure may also become special education teachers.
5. Substance Abuse Counselor
An ABA therapist plays a key role in the recovery of those coping with addiction. By changing and eliminating the unwanted behaviors, the therapist can aid recovery. Individuals with a Master’s in Applied Behavioral Science can work with individuals or groups to facilitate recovery and provide alternative behavioral options for those struggling with addiction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is seeing much faster than average growth and has a median salary of $41,070 per year.
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- Autism rates (2017, August 19) Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/prevalence
- ABA therapy for Autism. (2017, August. 17). Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/sciencedocs/atn/atn_air-p_applied_behavior_analysis.pdf
- ABA therapist for Autism. (2017, August 17). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Applied_Behavior_Analysis_(ABA)_Therapist/Hourly_Rate
- ABA Counseling (2017, August 19) Retrieved from http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/151009-burning-glass-report.pdf
- ABA Counselor (2017, August 19) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/home.htm
- Psychological Assistant. (2017, August 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm
- Special Education Assistant. (2017, August. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_611700.htm
- Addiction or Rehabilitation Counselor. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm