If there is one vocation in which there are more opportunities than there are qualified personnel, that career is the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist. Among the reasons for such broad opportunities for ABA Therapists is that there are so many different areas in which ABA therapy is applied. Another consideration is the current economy around the globe. Many people having financial difficulties tend to suffer bouts of depression, episodes of anger or rage, alcoholism and drug abuse, and other psychological conditions that they might not have been prone to under better economic conditions. In addition, diagnoses of children with various forms of autism are on the rise. A study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that an average of 1 in 110, or nearly 1%, of children has some form of autism. All of these people, and more, can benefit from the services of ABA therapists but there just don’t seem to be enough in the field.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy is the process of helping someone to understand and ultimately control their behavior through psychological and therapeutic analysis, treatment and education. A patient can be anybody in need of help with social or developmental skills such as autistic adults and children or those suffering from post traumatic stress, people with various forms of behavioral issues like anger management problems or oppositional defiant disorders, or those in need of social services like addiction counseling.
What kind of education is required of ABA Therapists?
ABA Therapists are not doctors, in the M.D. sense, but some employers require a doctorate degree in order to be considered for any therapist careers. Not all employers have such stringent requirements however. A Bachelor’s in Psychology, Social Services or Early Childhood Education is a good foundation, and often all that is required to land jobs in the field. Many companies and private practices want to see a Master’s in Psychology, which is a requirement for one to be a Certified Behavior Analyst, though someone with an undergraduate degree can become certified as an Assistant Behavior Analyst. This certification is beneficial for someone looking for jobs in the field of ABA Therapy while working toward their Master’s and they can always be promoted later once they have the higher credential.
What types of careers are available for ABA Therapists?
Careers in ABA Therapy span a large number of industries. Many large firms employ ABA Therapists as a means to teach stress management skills and for in-house individual therapy for top executives. Most major law enforcement departments offer jobs for ABA Therapists. Veteran’s Administration hospitals and clinics often have openings for psychology and therapy careers. Jobs are available in virtually all major cities for social workers. Most psychiatrist and psychologist practices will have one or more ABA Therapists in their ranks. Hospitals and smaller clinics, and even many urgent care facilities will employ ABA Therapists. Schools too need ABA therapists to join their special needs staffs. Bottom line is if there are people involved, there is potentially a need for ABA Therapists.
What do ABA Therapist jobs pay?
According to glassdoor.com, a website that allows users to anonymously post their own salaries, the rate of pay in mental health therapy careers ranges from $28,000 to $48,000 annually. These jobs are from small mental health clinics to large corporations. CareerBuilder.com lists the average national salary for a mental health social worker at $44,810, and the salary of a director at a mental health agency ranging from $44,908 up to $80,417 per year. ABA Therapists in private practice can essentially determine their own rate of pay but will have to be competitive to stay in business, and can expect to earn around $56,000 according to the national average posted at CareerBuilders.com.
Who are the best candidates for ABA Therapist careers?
When employers are searching for ABA Therapists to fill their job openings they are looking for more than the candidates’ degrees and certifications. People seeking careers in ABA Therapy need to be compassionate and empathetic. They should be well versed in the arts of discretion, problem solving, and time management. They should have an optimistic disposition on life and have the ability to encourage the same mindset to others. Proper and complete records of each and every session and communication with and about each patient must be kept, so good organization skills are a must. Dedication to not only the job and the clients, but also to ongoing training and education, is essential.
Opportunities for careers in the field of ABA Therapy are endless for the right prospects. Regardless of the setting, be it a billion dollar corporation, a low income clinic, or a hospital serving an entire community there are people in need of the help only ABA Therapists can provide, and jobs are available.