With the number of people experiencing challenges around substance use disorders and more people being diagnosed with autism than ever before, it’s no wonder that the field of psychology is in great need of behavior analysts who can help people to change behaviors and learn important behavioral skills to be the best version of themselves possible. If you’re someone who’s considered going to school for an applied behavior analysis (ABA) degree, read on for ways you can choose the right program for you.
If working as a behavioral analyst is right for you, you’ll be happy to learn that there are many fantastic applied behavior analysis programs out there to choose from. Whether you’re hoping to complete the bulk of your degree online or you want to learn in the classroom, the reality is that behavioral sciences have become integral parts of any major university’s psychology program.
When considering which program is right for you, the first thing you’ll want to think about is how you hope to learn. While the academic requirements for most behavioral degree programs are the same, learning online and in-person are entirely different. Knowing which will work best for you and your schedule is key to finding the right program for you. After you’ve considered the variety of settings you could learn in, you’ll want to ask questions about tuition, course requirements, clinical hours, internships, state licensing board requirements, and more. One great way to do this is to sit down with the psychology department chair at any college you’re considering applying to beforehand. They can go over the work involved in each program and answer any questions you have. Whether you meet with them in person or on the phone, be sure to keep a notebook handy, so you can later weigh the pros and cons of different schools.
Applying to Programs
Applying to an ABA program can feel overwhelming. Between the college essay and interview to test scores, many students have great luck by making the most of college admissions assistance locations that offer help with getting into a top college and even college interview prep. Don’t let it stop you if you have anxiety about applying to an ABA program. Instead, consider meeting with a college counselor and asking them to help find the best program for you. You’ll be glad you did and won’t feel so alone during the application process.
Setting Goals within Programs
Once you’ve determined the right program for you and how it will help you reach your full potential, it’s essential to set clear goals. Whether you hope to work with people with behavioral disorders or teach daily living skills to people on the spectrum, knowing the career options will help you through what can be a challenging program.
The truth is that any ABA program will require not only face-to-face clinical hours, but additional coursework you might not expect. This is why having tangible goals is important, as they will keep you on track when you begin to feel overwhelmed. Knowing the direction you’re heading in will help pull you through long hours of study and reading clinical case notes and will ultimately be well worth it.
At the end of the day, your decision to earn an ABA is something you’ll thank yourself for. Not only will you help make a big difference in the lives of clients you serve, but you’ll feel great pride in best practices clinical work and have the peace of mind that comes with career stability and longevity. Best of luck to you as you work to make a change in the world in taking this first step toward your career goals in behavioral sciences.