Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an expansive field that centers on the study of the principles of individual learning and motivation. When these principles are applied, they can help address negative behaviors by replacing them with positive ones, regardless of a person’s environment. This can help individuals with behavioral issues improve their sociability, reduce the risk of negative actions such as self-harm, and genuinely improve their well-being. While ABA techniques are commonly associated with autistic individuals, they can be applied to anyone dealing with behavioral issues.
ABA methods have a variety of applications in clinical and academic settings. Those who complete in the subject can pursue a diverse assortment of applied behavior analysis careers, from teaching opportunities to. It’s important for students entering this fast-growing field to be aware of the career opportunities that may be available to them, so they can work toward a role best suited for their skills and personalities. Below are a few common ABA roles that advanced degree holders may consider.
1. ABA Training Coordinator
ABA training coordinators typically provide instructional or consulting services on 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 client’s individual needs.
Training coordinators can either be individual contractors or work for institutions, such as outpatient care centers or schools. They may also monitor the progress and effectiveness of training strategies and provide feedback or mentorship to trainees. The compensation data source PayScale reports the median annual wage for this position was approximately $65,100 as of May 2022.
2. University/College Professor
Professors at a postsecondary institution such as a college or university commonly teach ABA courses, mentor students, and conduct research. 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.
Some professors may develop coursework for an ABA program, which involves lesson and assignment planning. To accomplish this effectively, ABA professors need to monitor innovations and developments in the educational and behavior analysis fields. They may also work with other academic professionals to develop curricula for different learning environments, such as in-person or online instruction. In some cases, they can also serve on academic or administrative committees. The median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $79,640 in 2021 , according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
3. Clinical Supervisor
Clinical supervisors chiefly oversee the training and supervision of applied behavior analysts and trainees in clinical settings to ensure the proper, efficient delivery of client services.
In addition to providing supervision, clinical supervisors may also need to conduct assessments, review goals and treatment plans, and submit regular feedback about the implementation of various treatment programs. They typically work in community mental health centers, and private clinics, or they can be self-employed as independent contractors. PayScale reports that clinical supervisors with ABA skills earned a median salary of approximately $66,300 as of May 2022.
4. Clinical Director
One of the more senior careers in applied behavior analysis, 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. In some organizations, they may also be involved in budget development, financial reporting, and overseeing a facility’s billing and collection processes.
This position requires several years of experience. Like that of a clinical supervisor, this career path can lead to working in a community mental health center, or private clinic, or it can lead to a career as a self-employed contractor. PayScale reports this position’s median salary at about $80,500 as of June 2022.
5. School Behavior Analyst
School behavior analysts provide therapeutic services to students in a school environment. They also work with parents, teachers, caregivers, and other professionals to coordinate and implement support plans that can help students cope with various behavioral challenges. The goal is to help students achieve behavioral benchmarks in a way that ultimately improves their well-being and academic performance.
School behavior analysts may work within a specific school or may be responsible for students at several schools. These professionals earned a median annual salary of about $66,300 as of June 2022, according to PayScale.
Advanced Training and Certifications
After earning an (MSABA), graduates may choose to continue working toward advanced professional certifications. Doing so may help expand their career opportunities, as many positions within the ABA field require certification. A common certification is the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (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 a career in applied behavior analysis, regardless of the specific position, 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 their hard work pays off in the form of a highly rewarding career.
The Regis College online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MSABA) program can help you embark on a fulfilling career in applied behavior analysis. The program prepares you for success by offering a blend of research and hands-on experience, with coursework in behavior assessment, treatment evaluation, ethical practices, and other related areas.
If you’re interested in developing a deeper understanding of human behavior to advance your current or future career, learn more about the Regis College MSABA degree program today.