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I'm confused on what to do next within my career. I hold my Bachelors in Speech Pathology and have been a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant since Aug 2013. I'm currently in school for my M.Ed in Special Education and will be done next year. The reason why I went back for a Masters in Special Education was because Autism and Behavior are very intriguing to me. The Behavior Analysts Certification Board website says that one must hold a Masters in Education, Psychology, or Behavior Analysis in order to sit for certification as a Behavior Analyst. Therefore, I figured instead of going back for a Masters in Behavior Analysis, I would go back for a Masters in Special Education since I like working in the Special Needs field and then go back for certification in Behavior Analysis; plus I didn't want to put all of my eggs in one basket. I want to be able to go into different paths in the future if I want too. I also decided to pursue a Masters in Special Education to help make up for my not so good GPA from undergrad in Speech Pathology which was embarrassingly a 2.7 when I graduated (please don't judge me). However, even though my GPA in grad school right now for isn't the best (3.32) I think it's enough to show a grad committee that I am capable of successfully completing graduate course work. I don't really want to be a teacher but I like learning about what they do; it is soooo interesting. My dilemma right now is I kind of want to go back and get my Masters in Speech Pathology after I graduate with my Masters in Special Education, then I would like to go back to get my Certification as a Behavior Analyst; Behavior Analysis paired with Speech Pathology would be beneficial when working with the pediatric and school age population. This a goal I really want to achieve. However, I feel self conscious at times because I have a few dysfluencies when speaking and I feel that doesn't look good for someone whose title is a Speech Therapist; but what most don't know is Speech Pathology has to do with a whole lot more than Speech . I absolutely love my job and love what I do, but I just feel self conscious at times which makes me feel I should choose another career path. That is where Nursing comes in, because I love helping people and the field seems fairly interesting. I've also thought about Psychology and Social Work as well because they seem interesting too. I've already started the application process for a Masters in Speech Pathology at 3 schools, however, I just feel I shouldn't be having second thoughts about it. I can honestly say the main reason I feel I shouldn't do it is because I feel self conscious about my Speech at times. Any insight you guys? Thanks for reading this long essay
Hi. So I got a really nice surprise yesterday; I mean that both literally and sarcastically. I got accepted to a very competitive Masters program, which is awesome. What isn't awesome is that I literally have a week to decide if I want to go there (because there is probably a waitlist for other applicants) or to a different program I have already been accepted to. I'm very overwhelmed right now as you can probably imagine. I have applied to four programs, and have been accepted to three of them so far. I will know this Monday if I get accepted to the fourth. One of the ones I got into was a safety that doesn't really have the resources for what I want to specialize in, so I'm not considering it any further. However, I still have three to choose from, and I thought I would have time to visit all of them once I got accepted, but that's not the case now. I know that no one on here or in my life can make this decision for me. I'm not really looking for that necessarily, but for takes on some of my personal pros and cons with each program. I'm mainly concerned about the experience of graduate school when bringing up these points, particularly in pursuing a Masters degree, so if you have one of those and can speak to the experience, I would really appreciate any input you can give me. (And, if you happened to study behavior analysis, that's what I'm planning to study.) So here are the programs: 1. UNT - This is the program I got accepted to yesterday. Very established, tight-knit department, tons of research and clinical opportunities. I can personally say after meeting the faculty in the department, they really are dedicated to the field and investing in the next generation of behavior analysts. They really encourage you "finding your fit" in the field of behavior analysis, and so many students jump around labs to see what they like and don't like. Located in a smaller college town, which I really enjoyed the vibe of when I went there for my interview. Speaking of interviews, of the applications they received, they only invited around 30 people to interview, and only accepted around 15 for the program; in other words, this program is super competitive and I got in first wave, and that probably speaks to the quality of the program. Also located in close proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth, two major cities. Denton is also near a ton of horse farms, and horseback riding is a favorite pastime for me when I can do it. Downsides: The program is three years long. Their rationale for the third year is to allow you to have that first year to adjust to grad school and figure out what area you want to concentrate in; this gives you the next two years to start working on your thesis. As I can get easily stressed and really want to do things to my fullest ability, having the extra year appeals to me; however, I am a little unsure of how I feel graduating with a Masters at 25, because I want to do a PhD as well. Another thing is that they expect you to get Texas residency by your second year in the program. They have offered me a scholarship to give me in-state tuition for the first year, but only for that year. I'm not really partial to where I have residency, but graduate assistantships do not count towards fulfilling the employment requirement (although they can act as a source of income); therefore, I would have to work an extra job, about 20 hours a week probably. I'm just not sure how I could balance that out with classes 4 days a week and a practicum. 2. UMBC - Got accepted off application alone. Located in Baltimore, and the practicum is through the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), which is arguably the best place in the country for neurodevelopmental disability research and treatment. In particular, KKI acts as a very strong practicum for severe problem behavior, which is what I'm interested in. Very close proximity to DC. Option to get tuition reimbursement through full-time employment with KKI, but that isn't a concern for me. My mentor raves about this program being one of the best. Downsides: The two biggest ones for me are that it is an MA program (clinical degree, no thesis) and what is involved in working full-time for KKI (8:30-5pm five days a week, and although they are understanding of classes, any time you miss working there has to be made up. Also, would only be partial tuition reimbursement.). Even though it's an MA, I could do a thesis, but it doesn't seem like something there is already an infrastructure for. I also have the option of not working at KKI and just doing my practicum there. KKI is also located in a dangerous part of the city. (I don't know much about the culture or rigor of the program outside of what I've been told, but I will be visiting this week.) Another downside is that classes are held mostly at KKI, so while it's a UMBC program, I get the impression that it's a UMBC program at KKI. Not sure how I feel about being at the same building all the time for two years. Maybe that's a little stuck-up of me to think, but I know myself well enough that I would probably get sick of it really quick. Also, I hate Maryland. I have been there several times and my sister goes to school there. It's really not my kind of place. Some love it, some hate it, and I fall in the latter category. 3. USC - Have not been accepted there yet, but I will know on Monday, so I want to prepare for the possibility. The SoCal area has perhaps the largest concentration of behavior analysis services in the entire country. USC is a great school from what I'm told. The program is 2 years and there is an option to do a thesis or a capstone project at the end; I was told in my first interview that they encourage students to do the latter. The capstone project is an "independent project, consisting of practical treatment, evaluation, program development, or literature review." The thesis is there if you are interested in a PhD later down the road, so I would probably go for that. Practicum is considered a paid job with wherever I work, but must be pre-approved by the department. I interviewed with the director of the program over Skype and he seemed very knowledgeable and interested in my goals for myself in a Masters program. Also, although I'm not a city person, I do like the beach. Downsides: USC is the only program I applied to that is not ABAI accredited. What that is for those who don't know, is an accreditation that basically says that your program is stellar and exceeds the expectations of the certification board (BACB). Knowing that the thesis isn't something that many of the students there do is a little concerning to me. Also, I've never been to California, but friends who grew up in SoCal tell me that the area around USC is not very safe, which means I would have to live a little ways away and drive there. I hear the traffic is super congested, and public transit is unreliable...that might pose a problem. Not really looking to live in a big city again (did my undergrad in one), but I will if I have to. So, that's all folks. I will be meeting with my mentor next week (hopefully) to also discuss how these programs are received in the professional community, but I know he can only give me one perspective. I would really appreciate any feedback on my concerns, if they're reasonable or not considering the culture or structure of grad school, or if there are other things I should look into thinking about for myself moving forward. Thanks everyone in advance!
Hello! This is my first post here and I'm looking for some feedback, advice, and your experience in the fields of behavior analysis and psychotherapy. I have a career dilemma. Long time ago I got a BS in Animal Bio, then became interested in Psych and behavior. Now I have been working as an RBT (registered behavior technician) for 4 years with children on autism spectrum, and provide in-home services related to problem behaviors, and debating whether I should get a masters in applied behavior analysis (ABA) or get a masters/PsyD and practice as a therapist. ABA is a fast growing and changing field right now, and supposed to pay better than an MFT/MSW for example. I am extremely conflict avoidant, and don't enjoy crisis situations, although I have become more or less accustomed to them, working with kids with autism and at a group home with troubled youth. While I understand all jobs have ups and downs, to be blunt, I want an "easy" job. I like the job of the LPC I see at the daycare who walks around and establishes rapport with kids, and counsels them on as needed basis. She does not do crisis intervention, or discipline them in anyway. I also LOVE the idea of working as a therapist and doing play therapy with kids, who come to my office, so I don't have to make house calls (and deal with the sometimes unstable home environment). The downside of that is that I won't know if the job of a therapist is really for me until I have the actual degree. The therapists that I've interviewed or have seen sometimes seem really burnt out. I don't want an MFT because the couples fighting can get pretty intense. I want to get an MA in Mental Health, but worried about state-to-state licensure, since I do not know where I will live yet (I currently live in Hawaii, but my husband is applying to jobs out of state, so we're not planning to stay here forever). I have a love-hate relationship with the ABA field (applied behavior analysis) because it is akin to animal training, and while effective, I feel it lacks emphasis on empathy and making a connection with the child (sort of what Dr. Laura Markham's blog ahaparenting.com talks about), but I feel it would be unethical for me to suggest this to clients, because it's not really ABA. To me ABA seems that it's lacking depth and is too robotic with it's reinforcement principles and constricted with its application in autism (supposedly it has other applications, but it's really rare to find a job outside of the autism diagnosis). I also don't like the possibility of injury - kids have hit, bit, spat, and swore at me, they may be teenagers and bigger than me - I am a 5'2 female with history of domestic violence, so this scares me. I can't tell you how many times I've come home crying because of these aggressive behaviors I've had to deal with, and I'd blame myself, there's little support within the profession, and it's just a very difficult job. I've had a PsyD therapist tell me my job is so much harder than hers. What I love about ABA is the one-on-one relationship I get to build with my client. I also love working with kids, especially younger ones, making that connection with them, being their coach, seeing them grow and overcome challenges with my help is SO rewarding. I'm also good at this job, I feel like I have a knack for it (I've had supervisors tell me this), and it is an in-demand field. SO I've been sitting on this dilemma for a year or two now, and feel a lot of pressure to make a decision already, I am 29 years old, and desperately wanting to to be financially independent and get on with my life with a permanent job, that I only see for myself after grad school. I know this was long, sorry about that. Really appreciate any help you may have, and feel free to ask questions.