Our goal is to simplify the information gathering and evaluating process. Our approach is to provide multiple perspectives from leading authorities and varies websites on autism related topics. This will provide our readers the opportunity to gather multiple viewpoints from a single location and form the best-educated decisions for their family’s needs.
Disclaimer: The Autism Resource Foundation provides general information to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources, and the Autism Resource Foundation does not independently verify any of it, nor does it necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of the Autism Resource Foundation. Nothing on this website should be construed as medical advice. Always consult your doctor regarding the needs of your family.
Becoming a therapist who works with autistic children can be a very satisfying and rewarding career choice. Often referred to as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapists, these professionals obtain specific training to prepare them for working with autistic children. ABA therapists often work in educational institutions, but some work in other settings like health care facilities. ABA therapists can expect to earn an annual salary up to $40,056, as of January 2011, according to PayScale, Inc.
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology, child development or some other area of behavioral science. ABA therapists need to have a strong foundation in the behavioral sciences due to the research-oriented nature of their job. This is especially true of therapists in health care facilities where ongoing research and clinical studies are a regular part of the job. In any case, ABA therapists need to have a wide range of understanding of children’s behavioral patterns and the ways in which they are typically handled.
- Complete a master’s degree in applied behavioral analysis. These programs typically emphasize research-based analysis and treatment. Schools offering ABA master’s degree programs include the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the University of South Florida, Auburn University, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, California State University, Penn State University, Georgia State University and the University of North Texas. The typical ABA master’s program will require 30 to 40 credit hours and require one to two years.
- Pursue a post-master’s degree certificate in autism spectrum disorders. You need specialized training and education in working with autistic children. A post-master’s certificate will generally take about one extra semester to complete, provided you can take all the classes you need at the same time. Most schools will allow you to pursue the certificate program concurrently with your master’s studies.
- Obtain certification through the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The board offers two different levels of certification — one for assistants and one for behavioral analysts. To become certified, you must pass a certification exam and meet the minimum education requirements. You must complete at least 225 classroom hours of graduate level instruction. Of these, 15 hours must be in ethics, 45 hours in principles and concepts, 35 hours in behavioral assessment, 20 hours of intervention and treatment, 20 hours in measuring and interpreting data and 45 hours in systems support and procedures.