Many people today are caught in the question of whether or not it is possible to earn a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) online. The short answer is yes, it is entirely possible! Here are some guidelines for choosing the right online ABA certificate program and achieving success in the online learning environment.
Related resource: 40 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Online Programs
Conducting successful ABA requires establishing connections with people whose mental, cognitive, and emotional patterns and challenges make it difficult for them to connect. This makes distance learning both a challenge and an advantage when completing an ABA certificate program. The challenge is having to try extra hard to connect with professors and peers. Some ideas for doing this include scheduling Skype calls instead of communicating solely via email and finding a group of students in your area completing similar programs and holding regular in-person study sessions.
The advantage that comes from this challenge is that you will emerge naturally more tenacious and creative about connecting with others when it is most difficult. This is a trait that is necessary for work in ABA. That said, it is important to do your research and choose an ABA certificate program that acknowledges the need for enhanced networking initiatives and builds them into their curriculum. It especially important- and challenging- to build connections with faculty. Fortunately, US News has published these helpful tips for doing just that.
One of the biggest advantages of online learning is the flexibility that it affords students. For the most part, they can complete coursework whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them. This allows students to complete their certificate without sacrificing other desires and obligations, such as jobs to financially support their endeavors, family commitments, and extracurricular interests.
The advantage born of this challenge is that flexibility is also a skill necessary for successful careers in ABA. Most analysts work with many clients and travel to their schools and homes in order to help them learn how to function in their natural environments. Clients have to be in the right behavioral and mental states for ABA to have the desired impact, so this leads to frequent rescheduling and last-minute scheduling of sessions. Completing an online certificate program takes self-discipline that will pay off exponentially in the long run.
Working in ABA can be highly stressful and emotionally draining. You come to care for your clients, whose behaviors can be difficult to work with. It is therefore crucial that you learn during your certification process to make time for self-care. Without a campus gym and support groups built-in as they are for many traditional certificate programs, you must get creative and seek them out on your own. Find what relaxes you and replenishes your energy, and work it into your study schedule. Getting in the habit now will help you naturally work it into your appointment schedule when you start practicing.
Distance learning is growing in popularity. Aside from the more obvious draws of reduced cost and flexibility, online learning comes with challenges that will make you stronger at ABA when you complete your certificate and enter the field. If you highlight your success with these challenges in your job applications and interviews, your online certificate will read as an asset rather than a drawback.