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Should I Study Applied Behavior Analysis?

If you are a compassionate person who loves working with other people to help them overcome obstacles in their lives, you may want to study applied behavioral analysis in college. With a bachelor’s degree in ABA, you can work as a social worker, counselor, caseworker or psychological assistant. With advanced education in this field, you can improve your chances of finding meaningful, high-paying employment.

Related resource: 10 Best Online ABA Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)

Emphasis on Psychology

About half of all ABA jobs require some knowledge or expertise in psychology. Studying psychology in college can be a smart investment of your time if you are planning to pursue a career in ABA. It’s not necessary to major in psychology unless you specifically plan to work in a psychological profession within the ABA field. General psychological courses in college can provide the educational foundation for a career in behavior analysis as a counselor or certified analyst.

Planning Your Career

Employment for ABA professionals is expected to grow at a much faster rate than average, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projection includes all careers within the domain of behavior analysis. Whether you obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you’ll have a wide range of options of employment to choose from. The professions related to ABA are diverse and demanding, and professionals in this field are responsible for ensuring that vulnerable people receive the counseling, care or treatment they need to live happy, productive lives.

Serving the Community

People of all ages need behavior analysts to help them find the resources they need to overcome the challenges they face. From children to senior citizens, every age group has its own unique set of challenges and circumstances. The discipline of applied behavior analysis will prepare you to identify the personal struggles that make life difficult for these people and to point them in the right direction through dialogue and analysis.

Advanced Education

With more advanced levels of education, behavior analysts can take on positions of greater responsibility and professional autonomy. Whether you want to work in special education or psychological counseling, you can become qualified for more lucrative ABA jobs by specializing in the field of your choice. A master’s degree typically takes one to two years to complete and may require students to have work experience before enrollment.

Graduates can also obtain a certificate in behavior analysis. The Board Certified Behavior Analyst certificate is a professional credential that qualifies graduates to supervise other behavior analysts. The certificate must be re-registered every two years, and the initial registration requires several years of work experience in behavior analysis.

As a supervisor, your responsibilities and salary will increase when you obtain a BCBA certificate. The median annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is about $43,000, according to the BLS. Employment opportunities are projected to increase at a rapid 23 percent over the next 10 years. For anyone concerned about the job outlook for the US economy in the future, ABA is one of the safest college majors to choose. After entering the field of behavior analysis and gaining work experience, you will have many employment opportunities available to you.

Finding the right career can be challenging, and your choice should reflect your personal preference and interests. If you love helping people get the support and attention they’re looking for, you should consider majoring in applied behavior analysis.