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Autism MA

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Autism Education Certificate

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ABA and BCBA Certification
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BACB Course Requirements (pdf)
Behavior Analyst Career (pdf)
Types of Autism Professionals


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Autism Spectrum Disorders
Certificates and Courses
Liberty University Online

Autism Education
Graduate Certificate

CTC Approved for
Education Specialist Credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities

The Master’s of Education in Advanced Instruction is geared towards current K-12 teachers ready to develop communities of practice amongst fellow educators and acquire the advanced research and effective teaching methods needed to help transform the lives of all students. You will be challenged to address problems of practice in new and dynamic ways as you explore leadership opportunities in your own school and communities.

In addition to earning a Master’s of Education in Advanced Instruction degree in a core content area, candidates have the opportunity to earn an Education Specialist Credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities. The credential program is designed to prepare you to develop or improve the specialized knowledge and skills needed to recognize and respond to the individual differences among students with special education needs.

Grand Canyon University Online

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Master of Arts

Ideal for Special Education Teachers

GCU's Autism Spectrum Disorder MA Degree program provides licensed special education teachers a deep understanding of an educator's responsibility to special needs students. The 32-credit online College of Education degree features eight heavily targeted courses on special education services for ASD students. It offers an orientation into the theoretical foundations of ASD's and the implications of an ASD student's exceptional needs in a school environment.

Through evidence-based practices and professional learning dispositions, the program focuses intensively on learner growth. It explores assistive technologies that enhance communication with ASD students. As the scope of the curriculum expands, it provides an in-depth study of legal policy and advocacy for ASD students within an ethical framework of their rights and responsibilities.

The program dissects a growing body of knowledge on the application of brain research in classroom practice that impacts curricular, instructional and assessment decisions of teachers each day. From neuroscience to the behavioral and cognitive sciences, it examines the intricacies of the mind as it relates to teaching and learning.

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

A Career Working with Autism

Autistics may receive services from multi-disciplinary teams consisting of behavior analysts (BCBAs), counselors/psychologists, early intervention providers, teachers, occupational therapists, paraprofessionals, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, and more. None of them will be effective unless they are properly educated, trained, and certified in proper assessment and treatments for Autism. States may have their own Autism endorsement or Autism certification programs, but an internationally recognized and highly respected certification for Autism Specialists is from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). BACB's two most common certifications are Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). The discipline of behavior analysis is broad and varied, so BCBA candidates who want to specialize in Autism must have education and training that focus on Autism.

Disciplines that Work with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Art Therapy Audiology Behavior Management
Education Mental Health Music Therapy
Occupational Therapy Physical Therapy Psychology
Social Work Speech-Language Pathology  

Demand for Autism Professionals

The demand for qualified Autism professionals is very strong , as diagnoses of ASD have increased significantly in recent years and there is still a lack of trained ASD-specific professionals. More than 500,000 individuals under the age of 21 are currently diagnosed with autism. According to the U.S. Department of Education, autism is expected to have a continued growth rate of 10 percent to 17 percent annually. In its 2012 report, the Centers for Disease Control estimated an increase from 1 in 110 to 1 in 88 children have an autism spectrum disorder. Such dramatic numbers and a shortage of qualified autism specialists create a strong demand for trained professionals. In fact, according to the Florida Association of Behavior Analysts, there are 4 job openings for every BCBA.

Autism and Behavior Analysts

Certified Behavior Analysts who are trained specifically in Autism have many career options. They can work in many settings (homes, schools, hospitals, residential facilities, rehabilitation centers, and more). They can work with both children and adults. Despite the age of client, setting, and/or scope, the typical work of a Certified Behavior Analyst includes: 1) Interview and learn more about target behaviors of client(s); 2) Conduct direct and indirect assessments of behavior(s); 3) Propose strategies for behavior change based on assessment results and knowledge of effective treatment plans for similar issues;
4) Implement the intervention; 5) Collect data before and during the intervention;
6) Evaluate effectiveness of behavioral intervention; 7) Make modifications if necessary and plan for maintenance and generalization.

Autism and Teachers

Autism or ABA focused training and education has become increasingly important for teachers. With rising ASD diagnoses, it is highly likely that a teacher will encounter an autistic student in the classroom. To prepare for ASD students, teachers can pursue degree and certificate programs that specialize in Autism or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Even if the coursework is in ABA without a focus on Autism, the teacher will have many of the tools needed to effectively assess and work with an Autistic student. In fact, applied behavior analysis has been the treatment of choice for autistic behavior for the past 30 years.

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CDC Announced
Autism Is Still on the Rise

Since its first studies in 2000, the CDC has seen a steady and strong rise in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In 2012, the CDC reported that (based on 2008 findings) 1 in 88 children have been diagnosed with Autism. That is a 23% increase from the previous 2006 data.

In the same report, the CDC noted that:
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).

  • About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.
Update on BCBA Course Requirement

The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) has made changes to their requirements for candidates looking to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). The 4th Edition Task List will affect students taking the BACB exams starting in 2015.

  • Beginning January 2015, the coursework eligibility requirements will increase 45 hours, from 225 hours to 270 hours, and there is now a requirement for a freestanding ethics course for BCBA.
  • Beginning January 2015, a new exam will be administered to applicants that apply after September 2014.
  • Students that qualify and apply for the BCBA exam under the 3rd Edition Task List can take the old exam through September 2014.
  • Students that qualify and apply for the exam by September 2014 under the old requirements, but do not take or fail the old exam, can take the new exam in January 2015.

>> BACB Update: Course Requirements (pdf)
Degrees Accepted by BACB
for BCBA and BCaBA Candidates

Aside from Applied Behavior Analysis degree holders, candidates with other degrees are also eligible for certification.

Effective January 2011, the following degrees were deemed acceptable by the BACB for BCBA and BCaBA candidates who wish to pursue certification.

  • Education
  • Clinical, counseling, or school psychology
  • Clinical social work
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech/language therapy
  • Engineering
  • Medicine

Candidates with degrees in other fields must contact BACB to request consideration for eligibility.