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York College to offer Master's in Education with certification in ABA beginning Fall 2020

January 29, 2020
Five years old boy drawing at the psychotherapy session.

York College will be one of the few institutions in the region to offer a Master's in Education with a certification in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) beginning in Fall 2020. York's program, which was recently accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, is unique in that is will be offered in part-time-professional, full-time-professional, graduate dual degree “4+1”, and continuing education formats concurrently.

"This program creates opportunities for first-time graduate degree seekers to earn their first degree, graduate degree holders to enhance their skills and earn a new credential in the certificate, and professionals who currently hold the ABA certification to maintain their continuing education requirements," said Molly Milam, Assistant Professor of Education.

ABA is an evidence-based therapeutic approach to assessing and shifting human behavior to help individuals develop and maintain their health, productivity, and ultimately to enhance their contribution to society. ABA encompasses a broad range of mental health services in schools, agencies, and businesses. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) are the practitioners tasked with investigating the relationships between an individual’s often maladaptive behaviors and their environment for the purpose of designing interventions grounded in behavior change theory. These interventions provide individuals with the necessary appropriate adaptive skills to successfully navigate the world.

ABA is most often associated with treatment for individuals with Autism; as it is one of the few interventions identified as an evidence-based practice for individuals with Autism. However, the field of ABA is much broader. Clinical and organizational applications of ABA include, but are not limited to, treatment of: severe behavior disorders, pediatric feeding disorders, sleep disorders, obesity, gambling addiction, and drug addiction. In addition, ABA has been used to improve sports performance, improve health and fitness, improve safety in organizations, and to conduct behavioral systems analyses to increase performance at the corporate level.

York College's program is timely, as the following statistics indicate:

  • There has been a 1,942% increase in demand for Applied Behavior Analysts (ABAs) from 2010 to 2018 (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2019)
  • There were 551 job posting in Pennsylvania that required applicants to have an ABA certification (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2019)
  • The Average Salary for an ABA is $61,000 (Payscale.com)

Candidates who complete the required coursework will earn the graduate degree; however, to complete the ABA certification requirements, candidates must complete supervised field experience. Professionals currently working in the field of ABA have the potential to obtain these supervised experience hours through their current employers. However, in addition to the ABA coursework, York College will have a curricular structure that will provide candidates who do not have external means the opportunity to complete the supervised field experience through three, two-credit internships.

"The ABA Graduate Specialization will serve the regional community of educators and mental health professionals who depend on our programs for pursuing their professional credentials, continuing their professional development and advancing in their careers," said Stacey Dammann, Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education.