Behavioral Analyst FAQ


What is an Applied Behavior Analyst?

An Applied Behavior Analyst is an expert on the science of behavior and how it is applied to problems of individual and social significance.

Applied Behavior Analysts work with people across the lifespan. Their goal is to improve the lives of individuals and those who care for them.

Behavior analysts focus on observable events within the environment. They seek to understand the interaction between the environment and the individual.  By doing so, behavior analysts seek to make the smallest changes that can have the most meaningful impact. There is a significant emphasis on the role of consequences such as through reinforcing positive behavior through rewards.

Behavior analysts practice ongoing assessment and objective evaluation to continuously alter and improve their work.  Guided by the basic principles of behavior, each individual client receives a customized plan and curriculum to suit his/her needs.


How effective is ABA therapy in treating autism?

Decades of research and applications of behavioral techniques have established ABA therapy as the treatment of choice for individuals with autism.  People with autism can make substantial gains through behavior analytic interventions.  This includes improvements in overall skills and functioning as well as in targeted areas.  Behavior analysts can address a variety of needs and areas, such as learning and academic performance, language, communication, and social skills, daily-living and self-care skills, motor skills, behavioral regulation and coping, and many more.  The director of our ABA Master's Program, Dr. Ron Lee, has addressed some of the misconceptions about integrating ABA into clinical practice.


What are the requirements for becoming an applied behavior analyst?

A student must complete course and field requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).  The William James College program is BACB verified. Upon completing a graduate degree program, graduates must take the exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Graduates can also become a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst(LABA).


What should a student look for in an ABA Master's Program?

As a prospective student, you should make sure the program can provide a solid foundation in the basic principles of behavior analysis as well as a thorough review of their applications.  One indicator of a program’s breadth is that it meets the coursework requirements for national board certification as a behavior analyst or the BCBA..

Another indicator is training and learning experiences that can be provided through fieldwork and practicum experiences.  It is important to ask about opportunities for supervised practicum and internship experiences.  Also, look to review the clinical and research experience of the instructors within a program.  Academic work combined with hands-on learning opportunities will significantly increase your knowledge and skills.

At William James College, our ABA program meets the coursework and experience requirements to qualify for the BCBA certification exam.  Our supervised practicum is a challenging but supportive learning environment for new professionals in the field of ABA. Our program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals, but this is not a requirement.


What types of jobs are available for an Applied Behavior Analyst and what are the employment trends?

An Applied Behavior Analyst can work in many settings:

  • Classrooms, Schools/School-Districts
  • Community-based agencies
  • In-home/residential treatment
  • Clinics (Private practices)
  • Hospitals
  • Other types of business

The following statistics are from the “US Behavior Analyst Workforce: Understanding the National Demand for Behavior Analysts” report by Burning Glass. The career outlook is great for BCBAs.

  • Demand for credentialed behavior analysts is increasing: Positions more than doubled between 2012 and 2014.
  • Demand is highest in 3 states: Massachusetts, California and New Jersey
  • The demand for the BCBA credential has increased and is required in a range of occupations and titles.
  • 85% of job postings fall into Health Care, Educational Services, or Social Assistance industries.

Here are some common job titles:

  • Behavior/Behavioral Analyst
  • ABA/Behavioral Assistant
  • Behavior Interventionst
  • BCBA Clinical Supervisor/Manager
  • Behavior Clinician
  • Behaviorist
  • Behavior/Behavorial Consultant
  • Behavior Specialist
  • BCBA Program Supervisor

Are there certain areas where William James College's ABA Master's Program excels?

As a school that promotes experiential education as one of its core values, our instructors prioritize the link between classroom learning and hands-on practical skills.  As a student, you will learn the principles of behavior and apply them in your supervised practicum and internship. You will bring that behavior experience back to the classroom in the practicum seminar. It is a unique learning experience for William James College ABA students.


How can I learn more about the ABA Master's program at William James College and the field of Applied Behavior Analysis?

In addition to details about our ABA Master's program, we have provided audio and video resources about the field, and what it's like to be a student at William James College. Visit our ABA audio/video resources to listen to a podcast on Increasing Awareness of ABA in the Community and a Video from our ABA graduate students.

Dr. Lee Addresses ABA Misconceptions

Kids holding Puzzle pieces with the letters ABA