Virginia Master's in Applied Behavioral Psychology Graduate Programs
A masters in applied behavior analysis could provide you with the proper training, knowledge and hands-on experience to work with individuals with disabilities in a wide range of fields and settings. For more knowledge, doctorate programs may be available.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the scientific approach to modifying human behavior as part of a learning or treatment process. ABA investigates the rules by which humans adapt their behavior and directs change in the relationship of a particular behavior to the environment. Applied Behavior Analysis is most often used to treat children with autism spectrum disorder but has been notable for use in many other areas of human behavior.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy involves a certified behavior analyst working with a client on interventions geared toward achieving improved social skills. The end goal being the client demonstrates more successful and socially acceptable behavior at home, school and in their communities. In addition, applied behavior analysis therapy includes collecting data that enables the behavior analyst to determine if a particular behavior is being modified in the appropriate manner and the desired goals are being met. A board certified behavior analyst is a mental health professional with an advanced behavioral analysis degree, either a master’s degree or doctorate that has also met all of the qualifications of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The BACB offers certification at two levels as a master’s prepared board certified behavior analyst or bachelor’s prepared board certified assistant behavior analyst.
Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Programs
Depending on the applied behavior analysis graduate program you enroll in, you might be able to earn an ABA degree in as little as a year and a half as a full-time student. Typical programs consist of two years of coursework. If you plan to earn on your applied behavior analysis graduate degree on a part time basis, it may take longer than 3 years to earn a master’s degree. Classes vary depending on the institution but will most likely require the student to develop a thorough understanding of behavior analysis principles, pharmacology and ethical issues, the student may also be required to take courses about working with individuals with autism and reduced intellectual abilities. Most programs complete with a final research project.
Upon completion of the program you will earn a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degree in applied behavior analysis. Both degrees should qualify the practitioner for licensure, but you should check that the Behavior Analyst Certification Board has approved your program of choice. You can research ABA training online and on campus programs depending on your preference and availability. Several of the on campus programs enable you to put your skills to work in the community as part of your final project. Working with individuals with disabilities and other certified ABA therapists may enable you to gain hands on experience in a structured relationship through your learning institution.