There are many job settings with a master’s in applied behavior analysis. According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, applied behavior analysts often work in healthcare, education or social setting. Other analysts work for insurance agencies and local government entities.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied behavior analysis is a systematic and scientific method of evaluating, understanding and changing behaviors. Graduates with a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis seek to help their clients overcome problems, reduce stress, achieve personal goals and improve their quality of life. Applied behavior analysis has been proven an effective way of dealing with lack of social, language and life functioning skills. It also helps with reducing aggression, self-harming habits and anti-social behaviors.
Mental Health Clinics
Behavioral analysts who have the Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification work in clinical mental health settings. They work with clients of all ages to help them overcome social, personal and academic problems. For those working with children and adolescents, they conduct intake assessments with parents so they can develop appropriate behavioral plans that are based on standard practices. They work collaboratively with families, teachers and other service providers to assist families in implementing behavioral plans and strategies. For those working with adults, they focus more on behavioral challenges that impede career and personal goals. Some belong to teams of licensed mental health care providers. Clinical behavioral analysts identify undesirable conditions that sustain and contribute to undesired behavior so they can formulate helpful management techniques and interventions.
Mental Health Centers
Some behavior analysts work for centers or programs that target specific conditions. For example, some behavior analysts work with individuals with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other related disorders. While they are based out of center, they are trained to implement one-on-one intervention programs with children in their homes, schools and community settings. They target maladaptive behaviors so they can increase the proper development of social and academic skills. This may take the form of training their patients about conflict resolution, anger management and pro-social communication techniques. They also collect and analyze patient data during their work to increase understanding of certain conditions and behaviors. At school, they act as background support through providing coaching and management strategies for teachers and parents.
Some behavior analysts work in public school as ABA specialists. They work with students who struggle with behavior challenges. They implement programs designed for target client groups, such as those with behavioral problems and learning or developmental disabilities. They meet with a few student clients every day for one to two hours. During this time, they coach and teach children proper play, social, academic and communication skills. They also run after school programs for certain groups of students. Behavior analysts in public schools record client data and carefully document how each student is progressing and responding to their specific program. They share their conclusions, recommendations and narrative reports with educators, parents and case managers.
Other job settings with a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis include non-profit centers, health care organizations and human service departments.