Lehigh will offer an approved course sequence in Behavior Analysis


Courtesy of Lehigh University College of Education

Lehigh’s College of Education has received approval to offer a six-course, 18-credit sequence to the Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, or BACB, has approved the course sequence, which will provide a course focus in behavior analysis.

Course sequence coordinator Brenna Wood said the College of Education focuses on behavioral support and it made sense to seek BACB approval for the courses. Classes are offered to graduate students and returning alumni.

Wood said that if students are interested in pursuing a BCBA, in addition to the approved course sequence, additional eligibility requirements are required to take the board-certified behavior analyst exam. Those interested in taking the BCBA exam should also have at least an acceptable master’s degree from an accredited university and a defined period of supervised practical experience. Ongoing ethical compliance is also required for eligibility for BACB certification.

Wood said school psychologists, special educators, and those interested in providing behavioral support for people with disabilities such as autism are just a few who can benefit from the approved course sequence. She said those who wish to work with people with behavioral support needs should consider taking the new courses because tthere is a growing demand among employers for behavior analysts who can deal with difficult behaviors.

Beth Pelton, academic coordinator for undergraduate programs, said the process of implementing a new program can be long. There are six different exam stages to formulate a new diploma which takes place from October to May. Two separate committees and the board of directors make the final decision.

Pelton said she was delighted to know the approved course sequence, as new programs are not often implemented into the curriculum. She said that once a program has been implemented, it is rarely removed due to the amount of research conducted before it starts.

Kim McCombs, 14, said she has completed her master’s degree and returned to complete the approved course sequence.

“I was delighted to have completed the Applied Behavior Analysis program at a nationally recognized educational institution,” said McCombs. “I knew I could go online, but having the opportunity to learn from leading researchers and practitioners in the field, in my mind, strengthens the program.”

McCombs said she initially saw the program and a way to properly address the behaviors of her autistic students. She said the more she worked at her school, the more she realized how behavior analysts can help other students as well.

“In my mind, finding a way to help others lead happy, healthy and productive lives is part of our responsibility as teachers and as human beings,” said McCombs.

Behavior analyst courses can be integrated with a master’s degree in special education. The College of Education is also planning to implement a supervised internship over the next year to further support students pursuing careers in behavior analysis. Class hours from the new sequence may be applied to meet certain conditions for obtaining a license as a behavioral specialist in Pennsylvania.


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