Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, therapists are experts in a field that used to be known as behavior modification for patients with learning and social problems. Certified ABA therapists must undergo accredited ABA therapist courses at any level from undergraduate to doctoral level, but those seeking accreditation with a bachelor’s degree from ABA therapist schools have more limited options for their future employment.
ABA therapist training cannot begin until a candidate reaches a specific level of education, which for most programs is at least a bachelor’s degree. There is not a specific ABA therapist degree, which can be taken, but a therapist trained in psychology can seek entry to ABA therapist classes. Upon being trained a course of continuing education must be completed to maintain a state license, which is a required part of practicing lawfully in any area of the US.
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A strong education in psychology is required to become an ABA therapist, with the majority of those conducting research and practicing this form of therapy reaching a doctoral level of education. Many ABA therapist courses will accept candidates from undergraduate programs, but the chances of gaining employment in a recognized medical environment will be limited by this. After an undergraduate program the best option is to seek a master’s degree in psychology, which can open up a large amount of research opportunities and bring the future ABA therapist into contact with teaching professionals that can possibly further their career in the future. ABA therapist training can then be undertaken to allow a state license to be obtained in this rewarding field of behavioral therapy.
The work completed by an ABA therapist can be rewarding and stimulating, the financial rewards are not great for those working each day in a medical or educational environment. But, the majority of candidates are more interested in the job satisfaction and ability to help young people achieve their potential than in financial gain. The path to an ABA therapist exam brings most candidates through a research and theoretical psychology pathway, which are fields that can be expanded on as the career of the individual continues after they become licensed and enter the workplace.