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How Do ABA Graduate Certificates and Masters Programs Differ?

For those considering their options en route to an ABA career today, it’s important to know the differences between today’s ABA graduate certificate and the ABA master’s degree. What exactly are those differences? Follow along for a quick rundown.

Related resource: 40 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Online Programs

The ABA Graduate Certificate

First, what exactly is an ABA graduate certificate, and what does it do for the recipient? Once a college student has reached the baccalaureate level in their particular discipline of study, they can then choose to continue on for two more years of traditional schooling in order to receive their master’s, or they can often divert to a graduate certificate program instead. In many disciplines today but not all, students can elect to take the graduate certificate path as opposed to continuing on the journey toward a master’s degree.

Graduate certificate programs, such as that designed for the ABA, usually take about one year to complete. They also involve a number of college courses that assure the student’s upper-level fluency in the subject. As a certificate holder, one is able to enjoy many professional benefits such as ABA job eligibility and raises therein.

The ABA Master’s Program

As touched on above, many students decide to continue onward in the traditional degree program path to get a master’s as opposed to the more immediately available graduate certificate. To get the ABA master’s, it typically takes about two more years of schooling beyond the baccalaureate level, as is the case in most disciplines. In this path, students will likely encounter much of the same coursework encountered by certificate-pursuers but with the addition of several more courses.

Recipients of the ABA master’s degree are almost always better served than those of the ABA graduate certificate. This is because of the more extensive training provided by this option and the subsequent, additional weight given to it by employers, the greater medical profession, and other professions as well. Few real-world ABA roles are out of the reach of the ABA master’s grad.

Ideal Fields and Candidates for Certificate Pursuit

In some professions and even some personal circumstances, a graduate certificate is the most ideal option for the time being. Personal reasons that can understandably drive one to the decision to pursue a graduate certificate can involve the costly financing of additional classes, the investment of years of extra time, and other, common dilemmas. Professionally, there are also a number of industries in which there’s little if any difference in the yield of a graduate certificate versus a master’s degree. While many careers in law and medicine can be affected significantly by the holding of a certificate versus a master’s degree, workers in industries such as social media marketing, patient advocacy, global sustainability, and even homeland security often experience very little difference in the end career result.

Fortunately, there are several ways into ABA work today. The ABA graduate certificate and the ABA master’s degree represent the two, primary routes in. In conclusion, for anyone seeking even more resources on the ABA profession or the educational avenues into it or any other career path, the US Department of Education and the American Psychological Association represent some excellent points of contact with which to inquire further.