The goal of the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is to introduce students to the field of learning and behavior analysis, and to provide training to individuals interested in designing, delivering, and evaluating behavioral interventions. The 19-credit-unit certificate program provides high-quality training in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. The coursework, along with appropriate practicum experience, will prepare individuals to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst™ Examination.
Applied behavior analysis uses laboratory-derived principles of learning to improve observable, socially significant behavior. A behavior analyst seeks to improve behavior through empirically valid methodologies while demonstrating reliable relationships between procedures employed and the behavioral outcomes.
Many qualified behavior analysts work in clinical settings and residential and vocational programs serving persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness. To illustrate the need for trained behavior analysts, consider the treatment of autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders to be approximately 1 in 88 children. While the number of certified behavior analysts grows each year. Many children treated for autism are being treated by individuals without sufficient training. Of course, autism is only one of the diagnoses for which behavioral interventions have demonstrated their effectiveness - a fact which only serves to punctuate the need for qualified behavior analysts.
The Certificate Program provides students with an academic and professional background in Applied Behavior Analysis. Students are prepared for employment in a variety of community and private agencies/settings. In addition, persons with behavior analytic training work as behavior support specialists in educational settings or in intensive behavior therapy programs for children with autism. The Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis will be particularly attractive to students in Psychology and Education Programs of study, or it may be completed on a stand-alone basis.
According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.®, an individual gaining Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst level certification (BCaBA) typically:
"Conducts descriptive behavioral assessments and is able to interpret the results and design ethical and effective behavior analytic interventions for clients. The BCaBA designs and oversees interventions in familiar cases (e.g., similar to those encountered during their training) that are consistent with the dimensions of applied behavior analysis. The BCaBA obtains technical direction from a BCBA for unfamiliar situations. The BCaBA is able to teach others to carry out interventions and supervise behavioral technicians once the BCaBA has demonstrated competency with the procedures involved under the direct supervision of a BCBA. The BCaBA may assist a BCBA with the design and delivery of introductory-level instruction in behavior analysis. It is mandatory that each BCaBA practice under the supervision of a BCBA. Governmental entities, third-party insurance plans and others utilizing BCaBAs must require this supervision." ((www.bacb.com/index.php?page=4).
Completion of the Practicum and the Washington University Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate does not indicate that a student is certified in the field of behavior analysis and does not guarantee accruing a passing grade on the BCaBAcertification examination, nor guarantee that the student will acquire all needed supervision hours in order to sit for the BCaBA exam.
The curriculum for the 19-hour Certificate Program in Behavior Analysis includes four required core courses, Practicum, and one elective course. The four core courses are: Introduction to Behavior Analysis, Applied Behavior Analysis I, Applied Behavior Analysis II, and Applied Behavior Analysis: Research Methods and Evaluation. The Practicum consists of two semesters (or 30 weeks) of supervised field-based experience in Applied Behavior Analysis. In addition to the aforementioned training, students are required to complete one approved elective course.
Core Courses and Descriptions
U09-409 Introduction to Behavior Analysis (3 credits): This course is an introduction to principles of learning and behavior analysis and how they relate to the profession of applied behavior analysis. Topics to be covered include reinforcement, punishment, extinction, discrimination training, generalization, shaping, conditioned reinforcement, and schedules of reinforcement. The primary focus of the course will be on basic principles derived from laboratory research, but also will examine applications of these principles to areas such as developmental disabilities (e.g., mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, and autism), academic skills, and oppositional behaviors. Philosophical and historical antecedents of behaviorism also will be covered.
U09-444 Applied Behavior Analysis I (3 credits): This course is the part one of a two-part course sequence. This course focuses on complex behavioral principles and issues surrounding the application of behavioral principles in the analysis and modification of behavior. Students will learn about assessment and intervention techniques addressing behavioral deficits. Assessment topics can include: baseline skill assessments, preference/reinforcer assessments, and the analysis of verbal behavior. Intervention topics can include shaping, chaining, discrete trial therapy, pivotal response training, natural environment training, incidental teaching, direct instruction, precision teaching, verbal behavior therapy, discrimination training, social skills and play instruction, group instruction, and generalization of behavior change. Ethical considerations also will be addressed. Prerequisite: Introduction to Behavior Analysis (U09-409).
U09-445 Applied Behavior Analysis II (3 credits): This course is the second part of a two-part course sequence. This course focuses on complex behavioral principles and issues surrounding the application of behavioral principles in the analysis and modification of behavior. Students will learn about assessment and intervention techniques addressing behavioral excesses. Topics can include: functional analysis, token systems, differential reinforcement, punishment, extinction, self-management, behavioral skills training, antecedent control procedures, habit reversal, behavioral contracts, maintenance of behavior change, and staff training and management. Ethical considerations also will be addressed. Prerequisite: Introduction to Behavior Analysis (U09-409) and ABA I (U09-444).
U09-446 Applied Behavior Analysis: Research Methods and Evaluation (3 credits): This course focuses on behavioral research and the methodology to evaluate interventions based on single-subject experimental designs. Various behavior assessment and behavior intervention evaluation strategies will be examined in the context of evaluating research methodology. In addition, the course explores techniques for direct observation and measurement of behavior as well as methods of summarizing data and data analysis. Ethical considerations related to conducting research also will be addressed. Prerequisite: Introduction to Behavior Analysis (U09-409) and ABA I (U09-444).
U09-449 Applied Behavior Analysis: Practicum (4 credits): This course focuses on gaining experience in applied behavior analysis and is designed for individuals who intend to pursue certification through the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, Inc.® (BCBA) examination at the Assistant level (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst™: BACB). Students will spend two semesters designing and implementing behavioral interventions in a community-based applied setting under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In addition, practicum includes a weekly class component that is designed to walk you through the entire process from client referral to assessment to writing programs and behavior intervention plans to reviewing progress. The goal of this class is to ensure generalization and application of information learned from the previous classes to the natural working environment. Experiences should be broad and multifaceted and adhere to the dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis identified by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) in that the design of all programs is to be applied, behavior-analytic, technological, conceptually systematic, generalized, and effective. Experiences should include applying scientifically proven behavioral assessment and skill-acceleration and behavioral-deceleration intervention procedures. Ethical considerations also will be addressed. Placement in practicum depends on the availability of approved sites and cannot be guaranteed. Most placement sites are available to provide supervision hours only between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Students interested in being placed at a practicum site must have acquired a grade of B- or better in all the ABA certificate classes and must contact the Project Coordinator 2 months prior so that placements can be secured and the necessary paperwork and agency requirements can be completed in time. Prerequisite: Introduction to Behavior Analysis (U09-409), ABA I (U09-444), and ABA II (U09-445).
As part of the Certificate Program in Behavior Analysis students are required to complete one approved elective course. The elective course is intended to provide concentration on specific concepts and methods and/or a broader perspective on the issues of disability and/or psychology. These courses may include:
- Child Health Psychology
- Behavioral Medicine
- Developmental Psychology
- Neuropsychological Assessment
- Developmental Neuropsychology
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
- Human Growth and Development
In order to be considered for admission to the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis you must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 in previous college course work, including at least one college-level English composition course and at least one introduction to psychology course, each with a grade of B or better. Non-degree students as well as students already admitted to a Bachelor of Science degree program in University College may apply for admission to the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis.
To apply for admission to the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis, the following items must be submitted:
- Application for Admission to University College Undergraduate Degree or Certificate Program.
- Updated CV or resume.
- Statement of Academic and Professional Objectives: a 500-word statement summarizing how your professional and educational goals are consistent with the objectives of the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Additional Policies and Procedures
1. All courses must be completed with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
2. All required courses must be taken at Washington University. A maximum of three units of transfer credit for elective courses only may be applied to the Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis.
3. Courses taken toward a University College undergraduate certificate program may be applied to a University College bachelor of science degree, as distribution, general elective, or major elective courses. A maximum of 6 units of course work from a University College undergraduate certificate may be used as core major courses in a University College bachelor of science degree.
4. For information about program cost, length, completion rate, and employment and median debt statistics for students who completed our program,please visit the Title IV Disclosure page.
To contact University College, telephone (314) 935-6700, or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.