Students applying to applied behavior analysis (ABA) programs and those already enrolled in those programs often want to know what the job outlook for applied behavior analysts looks like in the future. These therapists work with those on the autism spectrum and those diagnosed with autism. They also work with individuals who struggled with attachment disorders and similar conditions. Those who look at the potential earnings and the job outlook can get a good idea whether the field has room for them and how much they can make.
Related resource: 40 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Programs
What Does an ABA Therapist Do?
ABA therapists often work with clients one at a time. When working with young children, they speak to the parents first and go over what they hope to achieve through the sessions. They offer counseling and therapy to help clients learn how to act in different situations. Analysts may focus on helping kids understand what they can and cannot do at home and when they’re in school. They are also responsible for training others who work with their clients too. College students in psychology and sociology programs often handle the counseling and work with the therapists aren’t there.
How to Become a Therapist
While students can gain experience working with clients when they’re in high school, they cannot become therapists without full certification. To become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, they need either a graduate or a doctoral degree and a transcript that shows they took advanced courses in ABA therapy. They also need several years of experience working with clients and a passing score on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam. Those who have degrees in other subject areas and more years of experience can sit for this test too. Most of the graduate programs in ABA therapy include courses that prepare students for this exam.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one out of every 59 kids in the United States is on the autism spectrum. This represents a sharp increase from the rate reported in 2000, which was roughly one out of every 160 children. The CDC also found that boys are four times more likely to get this type of diagnosis than girls are. As the number of children diagnosed with autism and related conditions increases, the need for analysts will also increase. Hospitals and other medical facilities will need professionals who can diagnose children and create treatment and therapy plans for them. Those professionals can also work with adult clients.
The job outlook for applied behavior analysts goes along with the earnings potential. While some therapists make minimum wage or less than $10 an hour, most of those earning this amount are college students and those with less experience. BACB certified therapists can make $20 to $30 an hour or more. Some of the top earners in this profession earn a salary of more than $40 an hour. Therapists have the choice of working in hospitals and treatment facilities or running their own therapy firms and offices.
As the number of people diagnosed with autism and similar conditions continues rising, the need for trained professionals will rise at the same rate. Students enrolled in these college degree and certificate programs will find that the job outlook for applied behavior analysts is quite high.