5 Minors to Complement an Applied Behavioral Analysis Degree
- American Sign Language
What is the best minor for a degree in applied behavioral analysis (ABA)? This flexible degree pairs well with minors from many fields, including business, languages, and mathematics. It’s easy to add a minor in neuroscience or statistics with just a few extra classes. Other areas, like business, will require more planning. Here’s a complete breakdown of the five best minors for an ABA degree.
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Psychology is a broad field. Even a focused degree like a bachelor’s in applied behavioral analysis cannot completely cover every nuance. A minor in neuroscience can fill in the gaps and give therapists a deeper understanding of their clients’ struggles. Neuroscience takes a hard scientific approach to understanding how the brain works; it draws on biology, anatomy and other STEM fields. This minor will help ABA students offer better services to children and patients. Plus, it will make it easier to decipher new research.
According to CNN, over 40 million Americans speak Spanish. Most of that number use Spanish at home and prefer it over English, and some portion of that 40 million can only communicate in Spanish. Because ABA therapists provide service directly to patients, often in their homes, fluency in Spanish is highly valued. Agencies often offer additional hourly compensation to Spanish speakers or prefer to hire bilingual therapists. A minor in Spanish won’t lead directly to fluency, but it will give students a strong head start in mastering the language.
3. American Sign Language
Although American Sign Language (ASL) is not as widely spoken as Spanish, it is extremely helpful for communicating with children with autism. A non-verbal child or one who struggles with clear speech might be willing to communicate in ASL. Autism is often comorbid with other developmental disabilities, meaning clients with autism are more likely to have speech impediments or hearing difficulty than neurotypical children. An ABA therapist who can communicate verbally and physically will have an extra bag of tricks for helping clients.
Any bachelor’s degree can be enhanced with a minor in business. That’s because hiring managers want to see employees who have a basic grasp of how the organization functions. This is doubly true for client-focused enterprises like home-based ABA therapy. A therapist must be professional with families while balancing the business’s need to make a profit. A minor in business communicates a certain level of groundedness and common sense, making it attractive to small business owners with their own ABA company.
Most ABA therapists start off with a bachelor’s degree in ABA, psychology or a related field. Many of these therapists fall in love with their work and want to advance their careers and client services by completing a master’s degree in ABA, special education, social work or clinical psychology. Any of these graduate programs will be easier with a strong understanding of statistics. That’s because statistics underlie every major research study, including studies examining children with autism. Plus, a firm grasp on stats will help therapists explain evidence-based strategies, new research in the field or why vaccines aren’t linked to autism. Parents sometimes need a push in the right direction, and well-prepared therapists can be that catalyst.
Colleges let students determine their own educational paths. As this article shows, the best minor for an applied behavioral analysis student depends on that student’s goals.