5 Courses in an ABA Master’s Degree Program
- Basic Principles
- Behavioral Assessment and Observation
- Behavioral Interventions
- Laws and Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Internship and Research
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a renown treatment for Autism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and many other mental health struggles that previously plagued people with very little treatment options. ABA is so involved that it requires its own training. Earning a master’s degree in ABA opens up a career path with options to practice, teach, and research within the field. Here are five courses that students can expect from such a program.
Related resource: Top 15 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs
1. Basic Principles
The first step in any degree program is to learn the basics. Students in an ABA master’s program will begin by learning the basic principles of behavior analysis, which is the overarching theory guiding ABA. They will then progress into learning the basic principles of the Applied Behavioral Analysis approach. These courses include background information about the history of ABA, as well as information about how it has evolved over time to meet the dynamic needs of society.
2. Behavioral Assessment and Observation
Once students have a solid foundation of background knowledge, they will begin to learn how practitioners apply that knowledge. They will begin with learning about the various behavioral assessments that ABA therapists use to determine what treatment their clients need and measure their progress along the way. A large portion of ABA is made up of observations. These observations involve much more than just watching behaviors and taking notes. These courses will teach students how to conduct quality ABA observations.
3. Behavioral Interventions
Once students understand how to assess and observe their clients, they must learn how to treat their symptoms and help them live their best lives. This is where Behavioral Interventions courses come in. Students will learn about the development of ABA interventions and how to implement them in unique ways for each client. They will learn to distinguish when to use each intervention, and when it is not appropriate to use certain interventions. Milestones Autism Resources offers an excellent overview of some of the most scientifically sound ABA interviews used today.
4. Laws and Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
Being a therapist of any kind involves sensitive work with sensitive populations. This is especially true for ABA therapists, who work with people experiencing autism, trauma, and other difficult conditions. It is therefore crucial for students to take an entire course on the laws and ethics involved in Applied Behavior Analysis. This course will help students make difficult decisions about their work when situations are full of uncertainty.
5. Internship and Research
With all of the background courses under their belts, students are ready to begin practicing Applied Behavior Analysis. Some of the final courses in a master’s program involve internships and research. Students will begin conducting supervised ABA in an outside internship setting, and then they will review their work with professors and peers. They will conduct a graduate research project in order to learn how to contribute significantly to the growing body of knowledge of the field throughout their careers.
Through these courses, students will graduate from their master’s in ABA programs with solid foundations for successful careers. They will have the options to practice ABA, as well as teach other future AVA students and contribute new research to the field. This academic path requires hard work and dedication, and the results are rewarding.