Applied behavior analysis (ABA) refers to the scientific approach to comprehending behavior.
ABA therapists work with individuals to develop plans to improve their daily lives, such as learning how to communicate more effectively
The goal can be to help these people play, talk, and live more efficiently with those who don’t have autism. If you think you have what it takes, you can look into a position as an ABA therapist to help people near you thrive in the world.
What is an ABA Therapist?
ABA therapists combine education with psychology. They work with children and adults who have received an autism diagnosis or another condition that impacts their behavior.
These therapists work with these individuals to develop plans to improve their daily lives, such as learning how to communicate more effectively.
It’s an incredibly rewarding career where no two days are the same.
In addition to working with people with autism, they may also have clients with post-traumatic stress disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, and brain trauma
There’s also a high level of job security as the methods for determining whether someone has autism only become more advanced and more people seek out this form of treatment. However, it can be demanding, so it’s vital to know what you’re getting into before pursuing it.
ABA Therapist Job Description
Ultimately, an ABA therapist studies a person’s behavior and develops intervention strategies to help them handle behavioral issues better and learn new life skills.
In addition to working with people with autism, they may also have clients with post-traumatic stress disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, and brain trauma.
The therapist must be an expert in understanding behavioral issues in all of these conditions. There’s also a high degree of creativity at play because even people with autism may require different strategies to combat similar problems.
What ABA Therapists Do
Every day is different as an ABA therapist. A wide range of skills must be implemented to help each client, but the basic rundown of responsibilities goes as follows.
· Assist patients with improving behavioral problems
· Customize treatments for individual patients
· Teach patients about academic learning strategies and life skills
· Provide feedback to patients and their family members so that treatments can continue at home
· Recognize improvements in patients’ behavior and build on those successes
· Maintain up-to-date methodology on new ABA techniques
· Conduct basic administrative duties, such as keeping detailed notes after therapy sessions
What Skills Do You Need to be an ABA Therapist?
While there are specific certifications one must acquire to be an ABA therapist, there are certain soft skills that are critical to develop, too.
Communication is of the utmost importance, as therapists must clearly speak with patients about what they need to do in terms they can understand.
Communication also extends to family members so that they know how their loved one is doing and what they can do to improve those life skills at home.
Adaptability is crucial because no two patients are the same. Strategies that work with one patient may not work for another. And an ABA therapist may need to work on the fly when something isn’t working.
Communication is of the utmost importance, as therapists must clearly speak with patients about what they need to do in terms they can understand
Finally, ABA therapists must have empathy. It can be tough for anyone to relate to someone with autism or another neurological condition. When you show patients empathy, they may be more willing to open up to you and work on applying what you teach.
ABA Therapist Certification
There are several steps to acquiring ABA therapist certification. For starters, therapists must have a bachelor’s degree. While various majors are on the table, many decide to go into psychology or Education. It’s valuable to take courses that focus on emotional disorders and mental health conditions to gain a better understanding of the types of clients you may work with.
During this time, it may be a good idea to pursue an internship in the desired field. It’s great experience to work alongside an ABA therapist to see their work and ask questions about the field. You may even need to pursue higher education by getting into a behavioral analysis graduate program if you want to become a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA). A master’s degree can really help widen your job search, especially if you complete a thesis that relates to ABA.
Not all states require a license to work as an ABA therapist, but it’s often a good idea to get one anyway to show your qualifications. Licensure generally necessitates finishing 1,000 to 1,500 hours of clinical work for a licensed therapist. From there, you need to pass an exam to get the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) title. You’ll need to renew this certification every so often to show you’re staying current with new knowledge and industry skills.
What is the difference between a behavior therapist and ABA therapist?
The primary difference between behavior therapists and ABA therapists is that the latter strictly follows principles of applied behavioral analysis. This generally involves the therapist helping the patient realize their own goals, while a behavior therapist makes the goals on their own. Additionally, ABA therapists typically work with patients one-on-one, and behavior therapists may work more often in groups.
How much do ABA therapists make?
An ABA therapist salary can vary depending on location, experience, and education. For example, the average ABA therapist salary in Georgia is $46,310 annually.