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When choosing among applied behavior analysis programs, be sure to get detailed information from each program, determine whether its program is accredited, and ensure that completion of the program will entitle you to the certification or license that you wish to receive. Any legitimate school will be glad to answer any questions that you have and to disclose all of its affiliations, approvals, and accreditations. You should also look into practical matters such as the cost of the program, available financial aid, and whether its courses are conveniently scheduled and located.
Applied behavior analysis is one of the more common treatments for autism. It is a form of behavior modification that involves extensive observation of behavior of autistic children and then training children to engage in appropriate behaviors through a system of rewards. Applied behavior analysis programs may be part of an early intervention set of therapies for autism. Although many different types of mental health workers may incorporate applied behavior analysis into their practice, there are professional bodies that certify practitioners of applied behavior analysis. If you are considering applied behavior analysis programs, it is important to find out whether the program is approved by the professional association that certifies applied behavior analysis practitioners in the jurisdiction where you wish to find employment.
Another factor to consider is whether the program will qualify you for licensure to work as a teacher or mental health professional in your jurisdiction. Professional licensure is different from certification in that government agencies license individuals to practice, while certification boards offer a form of professional credentialing. Even if you are certified in applied behavior analysis, you may need to be licensed in another profession such as teaching or counseling in order to actually practice applied behavior analysis therapy. You should also find out if the school where you are considering receiving your education provides financial assistance and whether its applied behavior analysis programs are scheduled such that you will be able to participate while also meeting your family and work commitments.
After you complete your initial applied behavior analysis training, you may be expected to complete regular continuing education courses in order to maintain your license or certification. Some applied behavior analysis programs are connected to schools that also offer continuing education training. You should check to see if these continuing education programs will meet the requirements of your licensing or certification board before enrolling. Continuing education courses that are not approved by the appropriate professional boards may be helpful in your professional development but will not help you maintain your credentials.
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