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How to become an ABA therapist

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is a behavioural intervention used to treat Autism and help Autistic children learn how to interact properly. ABA therapists "conduct rehabilitative and educational therapy with autistic children"; this can be a difficult and challenging job so proper training and qualifications are essential. The two types of certifications that can be earned are Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst.

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  1. Earn a bachelor's degree in ABA, psychology or another related scientific field. While earning this degree you will learn the necessary techniques and behavioural modifications to use with autistic children to help modify their behaviour.

  2. Achieve an M.S.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. As this is another step up the degree ladder, this degree will be even "more focused on research-based analysis of behaviour science and its application to specific mental ailments, such as autism". This degree will also allow you to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board certification exams, which you can only sit for once you've earned a master's degree.

  3. Move up another step and earn a Post-Professional Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. This requires coursework beyond a master's "similar to graduate degrees, but with thesis and research courses left out".

  4. Tip

    Check the BACB website (Ree Resources) to learn about certification options, for bachelor's and master's degrees, and be sure to check out the list of approved ABA programs so you can be sure you're attending a program recognised by the BACB. They have programs listed around the world, so wherever you are, you can earn BACB certification.

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About the Author

Mallory Sosinski is a two time honors graduate of the University of Miami, earning a BA in Psychology in 2007 followed by an M.S.Ed. in 2009. She has enjoyed writing since an early age and had several poems published in-state and nationally as a student. Sosinski now enjoys teaching students how to write as an English/Reading teacher in Miami Dade County.

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