ABA therapy, also known as applied behavioral analysis therapy is a popular form of therapy commonly used with children with behavioral issues. ABA therapy is a fairly common form of therapy, and it has many applications in day-to-day life. If you are interested in learning more about ABA therapy jobs and what a career in ABA therapy looks like, please read on!
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that uses observations of a patient’s day-to-day behaviors to create a scientific treatment plan. ABA therapists spend lots of time one-on-one with their patients to deeply understand and learn all about their learning and behavioral processes.
ABA therapy is also a way to help ingrain new behaviors in a patient. The majority of patients in ABA therapy are children because it is easier to change the behaviors of younger people.
Because this kind of therapy is based on observations and practical applications of psychology, it is deeply rooted in science and the science of learning and behavior. ABA therapists are experts in knowing how people learn and behave in certain situations and how to change those behaviors.
Why People Become ABA Therapists
Many people become ABA therapists because of the opportunity it provides to work one-on-one with patients to help them achieve a more positive life. It is also a very hands-on job and allows therapists to use lots of different skill sets.
ABA therapy combines various aspects from different fields of the social sciences. The most prominent social sciences involved in ABA therapy are psychology, education, counseling, and social work. ABA therapy allows therapists to work in a variety of different fields all at once.
This form of therapy is great for people who are passionate about helping others and interested in studying human behavior in its rawest form. People often become ABA therapists because it allows them to interact with other people and helps them discover new patterns of behavior and new methods of learning so that they can create a better life for themself.
What Training Do You Need to be an ABA Therapist?
With all types of therapy, to become a therapist, there are certain things that you need to accomplish and achieve before you can open a practice. The following training and certifications are needed.
Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Certification
The first certification that you need is a Registered Behavior Technician certification. This includes the following criteria:
- No college degree requirement
- The certificate holder must have a high school diploma
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must complete 40 hours of ABA training
- Must take and pass the RBT exam
This type of certification is for paraprofessionals, and this requires that the holder of the certificate review their certification every year. The certificate holder must also follow very specific ethical codes and work under the supervision of a professional in the therapeutic field.
Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) Certification
Another certification in the ABA therapy world is the board-certified assistant behavior analyst, which has the following criteria.
- A bachelor-level college degree in education
- Certification level for an ABA therapist
- Must have a bachelor’s degree
- Must take ABA coursework
- Must undergo a supervised experience
- Must pass the certification exam to receive certification
In addition to the requirements above, the certification holder must complete 20 CEUs every two years. The certificate holder also must maintain supervision and follow highly specific ethical and moral codes.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Certification
To become a board-certified behavior analyst, you must complete the following requirements.
- You must have a master’s degree
- You must complete 32 CEUs every two years
- You must follow specific ethical and moral codes
- You must meet the requirements for supervision
With this level of certification, you are allowed to work independently as an ABA therapist.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) Certification
The requirements to become a board-certified analyst doctoral certified therapists are as follows. You must have completed the requirements for the BCBA listed above, be actively certified as a BCBA, and have a doctoral degree.
You do not get any additional privileges as a BCBA-D over a BCBA, but you will get a separate distinction from the group of BCBA because you have a doctoral degree.
Training for ABA Certification
If you believe that becoming an ABA therapist may be a career path you would like to follow, you are probably interested in knowing what training to become ABA certified entails. Here, we will discuss what students looking to become trained in ABA therapy will learn.
Students will learn how to write and create behavior support plans based on a patient’s behaviors. This will include being able to view a patient objectively and subjectively and design a treatment plan for them and their life. These behavior plans are incredibly unique and designed for each patient an ABA therapist sees. No two plans are alike because no two patients are alike.
Students will learn how to implement these behavior plans in a patient’s day-to-day life. This part often means communicating with teachers, parents, family, and other figures in the patient’s life. The behavior plans must be conducive to the patient’s lifestyle and must not be overwhelming, otherwise, the patient may not flourish.
Implementing behavior plans also means working closely with those who are in the patient’s life. This means making sure parents and family are on board with the behavior plan and are willing to work with you.
Students learn how to analyze data as well. This data can come in many forms and from many situations. Most of the data will come from analyzing a patient while they are in therapy, but you must also be able to communicate effectively with parents and other family members about their patient’s behavior at home, at school, and in public.
Lastly, and most importantly, students will learn how to conduct functional behavioral assessments and therapy sessions. This means students will learn how to meet with a patient for the first time and begin to observe how the patient behaves and learns. This also includes learning about observation and picking up on small details of a patient’s behavior.
Is ABA a Growing Field?
As with most therapeutic fields, the field of ABA therapy is expected to grow over the next two years. There is a continued need for behavioral analysis and therapy in the world, and there will likely be plenty of jobs within the ABA therapy industry.
Jobs for Trained ABA Professionals
- Behavior analysts
- ABA consultants
- Clinical directors in schools