Since a master’s degree can lead to dozens of different careers in psychology, selecting a specialization that closely fits your personal and professional goals is essential. An online master’s in psychology with a specialization in applied behavior analysis (ABA) can be a path to becoming a behavior therapist, an occupation that has been experiencing job growth since 2010.1
Behavior therapists work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual and developmental disabilities to teach positive behaviors, build social skills, and create a better quality of life. To practice behavioral therapy, students must select a program from an accredited university that offers a rigorous and relevant curriculum that can help prepare them for certification.
Walden University’s Applied Behavior Analysis specialization in the MS in Psychology program offers a course sequence verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), which meets the coursework requirements to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) exam.1 Graduates of this program who wish to pursue certification must also complete a period of supervised practical experience as defined by the BCBA®. (Walden does not offer the fieldwork component required for the BCBA® exam.)
Here are three essential online master’s in psychology courses that deliver insight and knowledge to students in the ABA specialization:
Principles of Behavioral Analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a set of skills used in the assessment and treatment of individuals with a variety of behavioral problems and developmental delays, including autism spectrum disorder. Students in this 45-hour course explore the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis and gain an understanding of its applications in the treatment of behavior problems.
Students apply these concepts and principles to understand data-based decision-making using a functional behavioral assessment approach with the ultimate goal of creating efficacious intervention procedures. Techniques in observation, use of reinforcement, and repeated measures are explored.
Introduction to Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
With a focus on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's® (BACB®) Fourth Edition Task List, this 45-instructional-hour course covers the basic principles of behavioral assessment and applied behavior analysis. Course participants explore fundamental techniques leading to the implementation of behavioral procedures and behavioral programs. More specifically, instruction focuses on conducting functional assessments and functional analyses; developing intervention procedures based on the outcome of these assessments and analyses; implementing these procedures; and data-based decision-making.
Research Methods for Behavioral Analysis
This course covers a variety of methods for data collection, measurement data collection, data analysis, and experimental designs that are common to applied behavior analysis. In addition to the theoretical background for single-subject research, this course also emphasizes practical applications of research methods from baseline measurement to treatment evaluation. Advantages and limitations of various single-subject research methods are examined.
Students also design a small research study based on a research question developed from the applied behavior analysis literature. In addition, they critically evaluate studies for the appropriate research design and methodology.
Walden’s ABAI-verified course sequence also includes classes that examine ethical, legal, and professional issues in behavior analysis, and broaden students’ knowledge through classes like Advanced Behavioral Assessment and Intervention.
Walden University’s online master’s in psychology degree program and the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) specialization can equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to provide life-changing services to individuals with ASD and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Forbes magazine has included applied behavior analysis therapist on its list of the most meaningful jobs.3 So, if you’re seeking a career with purpose, this may be just the right master’s in psychology program for you.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Psychology degree program with seven specializations to help you meet your professional goals. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
2Source: The MS in Psychology program’s Applied Behavior Analysis specialization has been designed to offer acceptable graduate coursework in behavior analysis (Verified Course Sequence as approved by ABAI and accepted by Behavior Analyst Certification Board) and prepare students to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) exam, which is administered by the BACB®. Walden University does not offer the fieldwork experience required for eligibility to sit for the BCBA® exam. Walden enrollment advisors can provide information relating to national certification exams; however, it remains the individual student’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification exams for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information on applying for certification from BACB®, visit www.bacb.com/bcba.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.