Are you a psychology student considering an ABA graduate program? Or an undergraduate student looking at the pathway toward becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)? The U.S. autism services market is estimated to grow by 11%, and there’s never been a better time to consider getting into Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA therapy!
ABA is an expanding and promising industry that involves working with neurodivergent individuals in a way that transforms communities and improves lives. BCBAs use evidence-based practices to help promote positive behaviors and develop skills that improve the quality of life for clients.
Graduating from an ABA graduate program has many benefits, including valuable instruction from experienced practitioners and resources to support clients better. Selecting where you want to invest your time, money, and energy involves careful consideration of many variables.
In this blog post by ABA Centers of America, we’ll provide critical tips on selecting an ABA graduate program that best fits your needs and offers the highest quality of education to enhance the lives of those you will serve.
By reading through these points and understanding what factors contribute to choosing a great ABA graduate program, you will have all the information you need to make an epic choice for your future. Consider these tips as you apply and discuss ABA graduate programs with your chosen schools!
8 Tips for Selecting An ABA Graduate Program!
ABA services help many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that too often fall through the cracks accessing the services they need to live more vibrant lives. As the ASD diagnostic framework evolves and more children receive an autism diagnosis, BCBAs and RBTs will only continue to grow in demand. As a BCBA, you will have many career opportunities available, always serving a vital need in our society.
The following tips will help you navigate the ABA graduate program process to ensure you pick the best program and achieve all your goals!
1) Research the Faculty and Staff
Reviewing the graduate school’s faculty and staff is essential when pursuing an ABA graduate program. You can better understand your faculty’s expertise and teaching style with careful review. Delve into professor bios and research their published works. Additionally, speak with current students to understand the personalities and approachability of the school’s staff.
Each ABA graduate program will be unique and have a signature style. Before beginning your search, consider your preferred learning approach. Consider if you are attracted to facilitators and professors that offer more play-based or structured approaches. By researching and connecting with the ABA graduate program’s existing faculty and staff, you can make a more informed decision and ensure you receive a fulfilling educational experience.
2) Understand the Program’s Structure
Enrolling in an ABA graduate program can be exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming. Understanding how the program is structured can help ease some of the stress in advance. Learn if the program is online, in person, or both. Also, consider how you will submit your work and what technological instruments will help you through it.
By taking a closer look at course descriptions, clinical practicums, and other program components, you can better understand what to expect from each ABA program you are considering. Additionally, ask questions about how your supervision will coincide with the school.
3) Consider Cost and Program Duration
Pursuing an ABA graduate program can be an exciting opportunity to advance your career in ABA. However, before diving in, it’s essential to consider the cost and duration of such a comprehensive program. Tuition and other expenses can add up quickly, so it’s vital to ensure you can afford the costs of your studies to stay caught up.
Planning and budgeting accordingly can help you avoid financial stress during what is sure to be a demanding yet enriching academic experience. By weighing the costs and benefits, you can confidently embark on your journey toward achieving your ABA graduate degree with less stress.
Many students find it helpful to budget and discuss financial aid and work-study options with helpful mentors or school counselors before admission. Before making any final decisions, ensure your student life and future expenses will be viable long term.
4) Research Job Placement after Graduation
Graduating from an ABA graduate program is a huge accomplishment. Still, feeling a little nervous about what comes next is understandable. Fortunately, many universities offer support and resources to help students secure employment post-graduation. Looking into what kind of job placement support is available can be invaluable in jumpstarting your career, often leading to better outcomes.
Some ABA companies offer incentives and even hire BCBAs direct from graduate school. Many ABA graduate students experience little to no gaps in employment upon graduation. From resume and interview preparation to networking opportunities and job fairs, these resources can make all the difference in finding your dream job. So don’t hesitate to seek out these offerings and maximize your ABA graduate degree while you earn it!
5) Analyze the Curriculum
Earning an ABA graduate program degree can be a challenging feat. However, analyzing the curriculum can help potential students understand what to expect regarding course content, assignments, and exams. This evaluation allows future BCBAs to determine if the program matches their interests and career goals.
Evaluating each course, such as the topics covered and assignments given, will give you a glimpse into the depth and expectations of the program. Additionally, understanding the types of exams taken and the supervision required will prepare you for the rigor of the coursework.
6) Evaluate Potential Mentors
Finding the right mentor in an ABA graduate program can be challenging. Still, many graduate ABA programs and former students encourage it. For many, mentorship can come from your supervising BCBA or supportive professor. When evaluating potential mentors, it’s essential to consider their experience, area of specialization, and approach to learning. Also, consider their communication style and ability to offer constructive feedback.
A good mentor should challenge you to grow while providing guidance and support. By carefully evaluating potential mentors, you can choose one who will positively influence your education and career development! Best of all, in some cases, mentors are relationships that last longer than your ABA graduate program and can lead to better opportunities in the future.
7) Ensure Your ABA Graduate Program Is Certifiable
It’s critical to ensure that the ABA graduate program you choose is certifiable in the area where you hope to work as a BCBA. Different states have different certification requirements, so researching and finding a program that meets the requirements of your desired work location is crucial. Some students miss this step and are gravely disappointed years into their program!
By obtaining your degree from a certifiable program, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and expediting your path toward obtaining your BCBA certification. So, while the process may seem exhausting, rest assured that taking the time to research and ensure your program aligns with your career goals will be well worth the effort now and later!
8) Schedule an Admissions Call to Discuss Your Future Goals
It’s essential to schedule an admissions call to discuss your future goals with the ABA graduate program you are considering. This call is a crucial opportunity to ask questions and understand what you’re getting into. After all, investing in a degree requires significant time, money, and energy, and ensuring it aligns with your career vision is crucial.
Not only will your consultation give you a better understanding of what to expect from the school, but it also allows you to connect with staff and acquire the information you need to improve your decision-making process. Remember, preparation is crucial to success! Scheduling an admissions call can lead to an incredibly fulfilling career in ABA therapy.
Your Next Steps!
Pursuing an ABA graduate program can unlock endless possibilities for students seeking incredible jobs in a rewarding field. The training and hands-on experience gained in a comprehensive ABA program can prepare you for a rewarding career in autism science, where you can make a real difference in the lives of individuals with developmental uniqueness.
In an ABA graduate program, you’ll have the opportunity to network with industry leaders, learn from experienced educators, and build your reputation as an ABA expert. Ultimately the benefits of an ABA graduate program go beyond a great job. It’s about making a significant difference in society. So, whether you’re just starting or looking to advance in your psychology or human development career, an ABA graduate program might be worth considering!
Work with ABA Centers of America
If you’re considering a career in Applied Behavior Analysis and want to join a company committed to supporting your growth as a qualified BCBA, look no further than ABA Centers of America. With your passion and expertise, you can significantly impact countless lives. Call us at 844-923-4222 for more information now!