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Career Planning Paper
Once I graduate from IUPUI with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology I would like to enter
the career field of becoming an ABA Therapist, which stands for Applied Behavior Analysis
Therapist. I would be working with children with special needs, especially those with Autism. I
have always had a love for children and helping those who have special needs has always been
something I felt in my heart I wanted to do. After volunteering at summer camps and job
shadowing a few places, that is when I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do.
To become an ABA Therapist you must have at least a Bachelor Degree in Psychology,
Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education or Special Education (Education Portal).
There is on the job training required with this career. You work with a board certified therapist
and you would take different levels of tests as you learn and then you have to pass the Behavior
Analyst Certification Board exam to earn a certificate in ABA Therapy.
With a Bachelor Degree you can become a BCaBA, which is a Board Certified Associate
Behavior analyst. This means I would work under the supervision of a BCBA. If I choose to get
my Masters in Psychology I can become BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst). A BCBA
has the job of developing the treatment plan for patients and supervises the BCaBA.
This career requires many skills to be a successful therapist. Since ABA Therapy is used
to increase positive behaviors, teach new and basic skills, reduce bad behaviors and how to
control emotions (Baer), you must also have an understanding of Autism. It also takes a lot of
patience and dedication to work with these children. You have to be dependable and organized in
your work. A lot of repetition goes into the treatment, which means you have to be positive all of
the time and never give up. You must also have good communication skills with the parents
(ABA Job Description).
I feel I am a great candidate for this job because I am very patient and I have such a
desire to help children with their special needs. I would be positive, understanding and caring. I
am very dependable and I have some experience already with autistic children. I am working
towards my Bachelor Degree for this career. I do not plan on getting my Masters Degree right
away, but it is something I may do eventually. I want to start working right away in this field
after I graduate. Psychology is an important part of becoming an ABA Therapist. Behavior and
emotions are a big part of what the autistic child needs help with. I would like to develop good
communication skills not only with my students but also with their parents. I want to provide the
best possible care and show that I can handle any situation as it arises. A Bachelor degree in
Psychology is a good fit for this type of job because it has to do with the brain and how it works.
The Psychology classes I take will help to prepare me for the understanding of this. I also have
had experience working with autistic kids at summer camps and also some job shadows in this
field, which I plan on continuing to do.
If and when I would decide to continue my education in this field, I could pursue a
MA/MS Degree in Psychology, which would allow me become a lead therapist in a center or
school. I could also assist psychologists that hold doctoral degrees. With a Ph. D I could be
involved with the theory and research of this field (ABA Therapist Degrees).
If I would apply for a job at this level, I am sure the employer would be looking for
someone who did exceptionally well in all their classes and on their state board exam, and has
completed internships and practicums.
As I said earlier in this paper, with a Bachelor Degree I can become a BCaBA, which is
an Board Certified Associate Behavior analyst but I could only work under the supervision of a
BCBA which has the job of being in charge of the treatment plan for students.
There are many qualifications employers are looking for in a job with a bachelor degree in
psychology. Experience is very important. Having volunteer time or work experience in this field
will really help your chances of getting a job. Employers are also looking for someone who is
loving, caring, patient, and has good communication skills. Being dependable and having good
organization skills is a must also. Having ideas and suggestions and works well with other staff
members. Completing detailed paperwork in a timely manner and being able to work with
multiple children when necessary (D. Gann, personal communication, April 10, 2015).
Classes that I have already taken that I feel will help me in my career field of ABA
Therapy are Life Span and Development and Sign Language 1 and 2. Other classes I know I will
be taking are Child and Adolescent Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. Sign language will
be a big benefit because many autistic children are nonverbal and only communicate with sign
language. The other classes address children and abnormal brain function. I have been
developing my personal network by reaching out to people I already know that work as special
needs teachers. They have given me advice along the way. I also have contacts through agencies
I have volunteered with the past few years. I plan on continuing my volunteer work with the
Noble Summer Camps. I just had an interview for a paid 6-week counselor job for this summer
and I hope to hear from them soon. They are also considering me for a part-time job doing
respite care for families with special needs children. These experiences will be so helpful to have
as I apply for ABA Therapy jobs in the future.
My area of weakness I think I need to work on is that I am naturally a quiet person and I
need to work on communicating better by speaking up more. I know it will be an important skill
to develop with my students and their parents. I feel like I have improved with this since
volunteering and I am sure it will get easier as have to do it.
My timeline is that I will continue working on my Bachelors Degree and do my best in
all my classes. Continuing my volunteer work and working jobs that will help in my experience
to become an ABA Therapy. Right now I am not sure what challenges I anticipate, but as they
may come up, I will do what it takes to overcome them. I really look forward to my future career
and want to be the best I can be.
(2003) . ABA Therapist: Job Description and Requirements for Becoming an ABA Therapist.
Retrieved from http://education-
ABA Therapist Degrees by Degree Program Level. Retrieved from
Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist Job Description. Retrieved from
Baer, D., Wolf. (1968) . WHAT IS ABA?. Retrieved from http://www.centerforautism.com/aba-
D. Gann, personal communication, April 10, 2015