By Jane Sevier
The Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development offers a new Masters program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for certified special education teachers who wish to practice ABA in educational settings or who are particularly interested in training focused on school apps that best integrate ABA and special education practices.
Designed to prepare graduates to practice effectively in a variety of settings, the program is housed in Peabody’s top-ranked Special Education Department. Through a carefully designed sequence of courses verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, students will acquire knowledge and skills essential to the practice of behavioral analysis. They will have various opportunities to apply what they have learned. For example, master’s students collaborate and participate in research projects led by world-class faculty in special education and applied behavior analysis.
ABA teachers have years of experience in designing and evaluating function-based interventions for challenging behaviors in people with disabilities. All teachers are Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
âOur program provides high quality supervised fieldwork opportunities, including a variety of activities such as classroom consultations and intensive intervention in school, clinic and home,â said the director of the program. program Johanna Staubitz, lecturer in special education. “Our combination of rigorous coursework and real-world applications enables our graduates to have an immediate impact on the field and in the lives of the people they support.”
Students will also network with others who share the goal of improving the lives of people with disabilities and their families through research-based practice. These networking opportunities allow students to join a supportive professional community, which facilitates continuing education and development.
The ABA program offers three areas of specialization: special early childhood education, high impact disabilities (for example, learning and behavioral disabilities) or severe disabilities. Classes, fieldwork, research, and networking opportunities are tailored to the areas of interest chosen by students. Students plan their study program in consultation with their academic advisor.
“Our goal is to prepare qualified and confident behavior analysis practitioners in their areas of specialization and beyond,” said Program Co-Director Erin Barton, Associate Professor of Special Education.
There is a growing need for board certified behavior analysts. Annual demand has increased every year since 2010, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, with vacancies increasing 80% from 2018 to 2019 alone.
The program requires 30 to 31 credit hours, upon completion of which students will have obtained the Masters of Education (M.Ed.). The first cohort will enter in fall 2021. For more information or to start an application, visit vu.edu/applied-behavior-analysis.