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hopefulslp1

Paraprofessional vs. ABA

7 posts in this topic

Does anyone have an idea or opinion about what would be better, paraprofessional or ABA therapy? I just graduated with my CSD degree and am currently in a gap year essentially, applying for grad programs this fall. Today I found out my paraprofessional license request was approved. In the case of a resume booster or upping my chances for getting accepted to grad school, which would be the better job to apply to? I would apply for both but I don't think I'll be able to have the time for two full-time jobs essentially. I also have a lower than average gpa and am very worried about getting accepted to a program so I want to do whatever would give me the best shot. Does anyone have any advice or opinions on what would be better? Thank you in advance!

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Well, what is your back-up career if you don't get into grad school in SLP? Do you think you would want to become a BCBA or a special ed teacher?

In my area, BCBA's earn a higher salary than SPED teachers but work longer hours and year-round. BCBA's are also in more of a supervisory role since they are overseeing & coaching the entry-level behavior interventionists. A SPED teacher does some oversight of the paras but her main job is teaching.

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I currently work part time in both fields! ABA work is (at least in my area) much easier to find part time work than full time (I've worked cases that were only 6 hours per week). Either job would be great for grad school apps. I think that relating anecdotes about my work experiences helped make my personal statement a lot better.  Being a paraprofessional has given me experience working with a wide variety of clients, while ABA work has given me great practice with working on goals and taking data. I don't think you can go wrong either way. Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have! 

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I can't speak to the paraprofessional side but it seems several people I got into grad school with were ABA therapists as was I.

I feel like I have a better handle on how to handle behavior.

also I work at a clinic with speech and am involved with the speech sessions

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Posted (edited)

On 5/24/2017 at 4:03 PM, jamielee23 said:

Either job would be great for grad school apps. I think that relating anecdotes about my work experiences helped make my personal statement a lot better.  Being a paraprofessional has given me experience working with a wide variety of clients, while ABA work has given me great practice with working on goals and taking data. I don't think you can go wrong either way. Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have! 

I was going to say the same thing. But you just need to assess which you think will be the best to add right now. For me, learning strategies to deal with certain behaviors was a valuable experience to add to my resume because I already worked at several educational facilities with a range of age groups from birth to 12 yrs old. So I wanted to know more about working with children with a variety of special needs, goals & taking data, and behavior modification since it would give me exposure to an entirely new population and get me into the practice of taking data and dealing w/ behaviors which will help later as an SLP. I also got a lot of experience working in a team of teachers, therapists, psychologists, and social workers (which I am not sure if you get being a paraprofessional) - had numerous goal meetings for the students in my classroom and got to hear feedback from each professional and work together to figure out the best way to better facilitate learning and behavior mod. Also if you work in a schol doing ABA, chances are - they will have SLPs on staff who you will be able to observe (and many schools allow you to get your observation hours while on the clock so you can get paid doing it! - much better than taking off work or lessening your hours to be able to schedule your obs. hours elsewhere). Good luck to you and def feel free to ask any questions! :) 

Edited by SpeechLaedy

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Posted (edited)

Well, it depends on what your preferences are. Many ABA companies require availability during after school hours, so it could technically be possible to work both positions at once. I had a friend who worked part-time first with ABA, and then got a full-time position at a school.

It's also possible to work in schools only or at schools and/or in homes with ABA. I believe this depends on the company or what openings there are. I work in both school and home settings with my company. 

This will depend on where you work, but personally, I prefer ABA because my position is more flexible than my job was as a para. I don't have to go in at the same time every day since my schedule fluctuates in the week, working with different kids with my company. I also felt that the training and support I got (which is ongoing) with my company was much better than it was working at a school.Try to find some reviews of different companies or school districts in your area. I decided to work with a local ABA company and it's much better than the other larger ones in my area. On the other hand, there's lots of driving if you're not at the same school all day. If you don't like driving, I don't suggest working in-home. 

Good luck in your job search! Either option would be great experience for SLP grad school. 

Edited by panda1991

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Wow thank you all so much! This was extremely helpful!!

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