Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an expansive field that centers on the study of the principles of individual learning and motivation. ABA methods have a variety of applications in clinical and academic settings, and those who complete an advanced degree in the subject can pursue a diverse assortment of job opportunities. It’s important for students entering this fast-growing field to be aware of the careers in applied behavior analysis that may be available to them so they can work toward a role best suited for their skills and personalities.
1. ABA Training Coordinator
ABA training coordinators typically provide instructional or consulting services regarding the fundamentals of applied behavior analysis. They can also work with other professionals, such as teachers or early intervention specialists, to create and develop behavior intervention plans tailored to their clients’ individual needs. Training coordinators can either be individual contractors or work for institutions, such as outpatient care centers or schools. According to PayScale, the median wage for the position is approximately $59,000.
2. University/College Professor
Professors at a postsecondary institution such as a college or university commonly teach ABA courses, mentor students, and conduct researchs. They can also teach within a community college or via an online educational institution. In some cases, they may also be involved with providing clinical services or holding an administrative position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for postsecondary professors is about $76,000.
3. Clinical Supervisor
Clinical supervisors chiefly oversee the training and supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)® and trainees in clinical settings to ensure the proper, efficient delivery of client services. Because these professionals are working with BCBA’s in a supervisory capacity, this role is open only to those who hold a BCBA certification. In addition to providing supervision, clinical supervisors may also need to conduct assessments, review goals and treatment plans, and submit regular feedback regarding the implementation of various treatment programs. They typically work in community mental health centers, private clinics, or they can be self-employed as independent contractors. PayScale lists the position’s median wage at roughly $61,000.
4. Clinical Director
In addition to overseeing a team of BCBA’s and supervisors, clinical directors oversee all levels of clinical operations as they pertain to client treatment. This means they may be charged with overseeing a facility’s administrative operations, developing and implementing policies and procedures, and managing clinical supervisors. This position requires several years of experience. Like a clinical supervisor, this career path can lead to working in a community mental health center, private clinic, or it can lead to a career as a self-employed contractor. PayScale lists this position’s median salary at around $74,000.
5. School Behavior Analyst
School behavior analysts provide therapeutic services to students in a school environment. They also work with parents, teachers, and other professionals to coordinate and implement support plans that can help students cope with various behavioral challenges. School behavior analysts may work within a specific school or may be responsible for students at several schools. Behavior analysts working within the school system earn a median salary of around $56,000, according to PayScale.
Advanced Training and Certifications
After earning a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis, graduates may choose to continue working toward advanced professional certifications. Doing so may help to expand their career opportunities, as many positions within the ABA field require certification as a prerequisite. A common certification that is obtained is the BCBA credential, a graduate-level behavior analyst certification that enables professionals to provide services independently. Those pursuing a supervisory role in the ABA field may also need to complete additional training and education after they earn the title of BCBA.
Careers That Make a Difference
Students who wish to pursue applied behavior analysis careers, regardless of the specific profession, can enter an important field equipped with the ability to help others. While senior-level positions may require candidates to possess advanced degrees, certifications, and several years of relevant experience, ABA professionals who are motivated to provide care to those in need often find that their hard work pays off in the form of a rewarding career.
Designed for students from a wide variety of health science backgrounds, the online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Regis College prepares graduates for success in a variety of career fields. The program blends research and hands-on experience, offering coursework in behavior assessment, treatment evaluation, ethical practices, and other related areas.
If you are interested in developing a deeper understanding of human behavior to prepare for your current or future career, you are encouraged to learn more about the MS in ABA degree program today.