UTSA’s new behavior analysis program trains students to work with


The demand for board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) is growing exponentially — 4,209% to be exact, over the past 11 years, according to a report.

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA is offering a new master’s degree program – in hopes of addressing a critical community need. The new degree is in Applied Behavior Analysis.

“It prepares students to work with autistic children and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Dr. Leslie Neely, associate professor of educational psychology at UTSA’s downtown campus. .

Dr. Neely is coordinator of the Applied Behavior Analysis program at UTSA. She said the need is extremely high for more professionals in this field, which means the salaries are really competitive.

“They learn to be clinicians and educators and really apply the science of behavior analysis to clinical and educational practice,” Dr. Neely said.

According to the US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts, the demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) is growing with an estimated 4,209% increase over the past 11 years and a 17% increase from 2019- 2020. To learn more about this report, Click here.

Currently, Dr. Neely said, there are not enough people in this field to meet the needs of the community. And this shortage is critical since it helps to support people with disabilities.

“There is a statistic that for every five vacancies there is one qualified candidate,” she said. “And a lot of that has to do with this growing prevalence of autism.”

The UTSA program is flexible and takes a few years. Locally, the average starting salary for a certified therapist with a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis can be as high as $70,000 per year. Another advantage is that no GRE is required to enter the program. There are also paid internships available and many other unique options that are not always offered.

“We designed the program with the needs of the ‘modern’ student in mind – three different options, flexibility in how to complete the program, integration of the hy-flex teaching model (depending on which options students students choose, they can choose to join online some weeks or face-to-face other weeks),” Hannah MacNaul, assistant professor of educational psychology at UTSA, told KENS 5.

To learn more about UTSA’s ABA program, Click here.



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