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How is the Job Outlook for Autism Master’s Graduates?

The job outlook for autism master’s graduates can be very good in terms of both wages and job growth. In the past 40 years, the number of people diagnosed with psychological and related problems has increased ten times. This is especially true with Autism or Autism-related disorders, a condition that affects more than three million people in the United States today. Graduates of master’s degree autism programs have many career opportunities, although, the career outlook can vary from job to job. Here are possible occupations for autism master’s graduates.

 Related resource: Top 25 Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder Online

 Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) work with autistic patients as well as patients with other developmental or behavioral issues. Their work involves assessing the patient and monitoring the patient’s strengths, weaknesses and behavior. The BCBA then helps the patient to replace bad behavior with positive behavior. BCBAs must be both bachelor’s and autism master’s graduates. They must also meet work experience requirements and pass a certification exam. BCBAs work in schools, clinical settings, and some work settings. They may also work as special education teachers. The demand for BCBAs has doubled from 2012 to 2014 and continues to grow with the highest demand in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

 Art Therapist

 Art therapy is a popular treatment for patients with autism because it not only allows them to be more aware of their surroundings but also helps them to express their feelings through art media. Completing an art project also gives them a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Art therapists are not teachers, so they are not required to be licensed, but they may be required to be certified by the Art Therapy Credentials Board. They must also have a master’s degree in art therapy from a school accredited by the American Art Therapy Association. Although the job outlook for art therapists was declining a decade ago, they are expected to be more in demand to assist with autism patients.

 Special Education Teacher

 Working as a special education teacher is one of the most well-known choices by individuals interested in working not just with autistic children but also children with learning disabilities. Although someone may be a special education teacher with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is usually required to work with autistic children. This is especially true in states where teachers are required to be licensed. Special education teachers work with the student throughout their school years and assist in preparing them for adulthood. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that special education teachers should see job growth of 8% during the 2016-2026 decade.

 Social Worker

 Social workers play an important role in the treatment of children with autism. They help autistic children improve their social and psychological functioning. Social workers spend a lot of time talking with the patient and assessing his or her behavior and mannerisms. They also offer support to the patient’s family members to help improve personal interactions and success at school, home or work. Some social workers may only have a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is more common and preferred by employers. Autism master’s degree programs also offer more training for social workers interested in working with autistic patients. Job growth of 16% is expected for social workers.

Medical Personnel

 Employees in medical settings are often woefully equipped to deal with the autistic population. People on the autism spectrum need medical care like anyone else—sometimes more— and it helps to have people that have sufficient knowledge in working with patients with autism. Although people with a master’s in autism are not medical doctors, they can be part of an interdisciplinary team that works with autistic clients. For example, social workers frequently work with patients in hospitals to ensure they are receiving proper services and aftercare.

 Home health aides are also frequently needed for people who have more serious forms of autism. These jobs are challenging but also highly rewarding. A health aide may be asked to assist clients with rudimentary skills and provide daily medical care. A master’s degree in autism equips home aides with the expertise necessary to deal effectively with a client’s individual needs. Also, a master’s degree opens the door to be a supervisor in agencies that provide home health care, since many aides do not have that level of education. Due to its intensive nature, there is a high demand for people with master’s degrees to provide medical care to the autistic population.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist 

An autism spectrum disorder specialist usually works directly with children and adults on the autistic spectrum. They often use behavior modification techniques, such as applied behavioral analysis, that have proven effective in the development of everyday living skills. Besides direct behavioral work, they may also create treatment plans and support clients in life goals, such as joining extracurricular activities or finding a job.

Frequently, an autism spectrum disorder specialist will act as a liaison to families, providing support and assisting them in developing effective interventions. Although they are commonly found in schools, they can also be employed by social service agencies in office and residential settings. It is a highly flexible position that is commonly found working alongside other professionals, such as occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and psychologists. While some specialists may only have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is usually preferred.

Autism Non-Profits

There are numerous non-profit organizations that work in helping the autistic population obtain needed services. These include Autism Speaks and the Organization for Autism Research. Knowledge of autism is crucial in organizing, fundraising, and implementing relevant services. Many employees in autism non-profits have good hearts but lack the knowledge necessary to create effective programs. People with a master’s in autism spectrum disorder can train and supervise other employees that do not have the appropriate education to help them better understand the people they are trying to help.

 With the number of Autism-related disorders diagnosed increasing every year, professionals interested in working in this area are constantly in demand. With sufficient training and earning an autism master’s degree, a candidate is in a position to have an excellent career in helping others and earning a good wage.

ABA Programs Guide

March 2020

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