New Certificate Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis

This fall the School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute will begin offering two new certificate programs, both in Applied Behavior Analysis.

While one is geared towards current students, the other program is more flexible, allowing those working in related fields to complete the requirements needed to obtain the certificate handed down by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

The first is the Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst program (BCaBA) which is geared towards students who have a bachelors and want to work towards getting their certification. This program is slightly less comprehensive requiring less coursework and fewer supervised hours.

The other is the the Board Certified Behavior Analyst program (BCBA) which is geared towards those who have a masters or doctorate level degree in a related field. This program allows people to finish any needed educational requirements and get their supervisory hours covered.

Dr. Michele Williams, the Director of the ABA program, says "this brings a whole new student to Forest, somebody who might not be interested in practicing and being a psychologist, but might still be working in education, psychology, or some other related field."

Currently there are only seven Board Certified Behavior Analysts® in the Springfield area, and Dr. Williams says with the state of Missouri passing legislation that requires insurance companies to cover this type of therapy, there's going to be an influx of clients.

"We need to get people trained to meet that need," she said.

One of the ways the new programs will help in the process is by adding an optional practicum. That practicum is geared towards students meeting the required hours of supervision needed to sit the certification exam.

"This is really going to help people complete their certification, and especially those people who have completed their education but haven't been able to get their supervision hours," said Williams.

She says this is the first time this part of getting certified has been so easily accessible, and the needs for certified behavior analysts is increasing by the day.

"The ABA is a methodology that crosses a lot of different types of clients, situations, and age ranges," said Williams. "It's not only for treating kids with autism, but it can be incorporated into marriage therapy, marriage and family therapy, and people with development disabilities other than autism."