What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

 

Applied behavior analysis, often abbreviated ABA, is the implementation of behavioral science into real-world, real-life situations. Settings ABA is commonly used in include: schools, clinics, and various industries. It is used to work towards improvement in socially important problem-areas including behavioral health and learning disabilities.

Types of ABA Interventions

When working with individuals with certain learning, behavioral, and developmental disabilities, there are two core types of ABA interventions professionals will use, comprehensive and focused. Though some cases only require one type of intervention, many professionals will use both to meet individual goals, according to the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Comprehensive: Long-term interventions that work towards specific goals and improvements such as educational goals, adaptive skills, social functioning, advanced skills, and other areas that are not time-sensitive.

Focused: Time-limited interventions that focus on specific behaviors that require more immediate results including but not limited to aggression, pica, and disruptive behavior.

Who Uses ABA?

Licensed Behavior Analysts are certified mental health professionals. They work in a variety of settings including:

  • Schools and Learning Centers
  • Government Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Community Centers

As mental health professionals, behavior analysts clientele is as varied as the environments they can be found in. Behavior analysts work with people affected by:

  • Autism
  • Brain Injuries
  • Mental Illness
  • Developmental Disabilities

These professionals get to know their clients, establish what their needs are, and formulate plans to help them meet their goals and manage the behaviors that cause them to struggle. Monitoring the progress of clients and their goal-meeting is another important aspect of the job. Behavior analysts work closely with the families, caregivers, and other health professionals the individuals in their care work with to ensure everyone is on the same page while clients undergo ABA interventions.

Becoming a Licensed Behavior Analyst

Not just anyone can practice Applied Behavior Analysis. Candidates for these positions typically have an undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology, mental health and human services, or a similar field, and have completed at least a master’s degree in a related area. They then must be certified and licensed according to national and state guidelines for professionals in their field.

The path to becoming a Licensed Behavior Analyst is long involves a lot of education and certification; but it’s well worth it. According to PayScale, the average United States-based Behavior Analyst can expect to bring home a salary of approximately $54,000 per year with the dollar amount fluctuating depending on where the professional lives and how long they have been working in the field. Payscale also reports that job satisfaction and enjoyment for Licensed Behavior Analysts is high. This is a career path that will not only pay the bills, it is also a worthwhile career that most likely won’t drag you down.

Related Resource: What is Educational Leadership?

Take The Next Step Toward A Rewarding Career

If you’re interested in helping people overcome problems within their every day life, want to make a difference, and are ready and able to embark on a long journey through multiple levels of higher education, this could be the path for you. Becoming a Behavior Analyst and practicing the rewarding skillset that is Applied Behavior Analysis is a good career move.