Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Paper Session #484
CE Offered: BACB
Becoming a Behavior Analyst: Understanding Professionals’ Introduction to the Field and Why They Pursue Certification
Monday, May 31, 2021
5:30 PM–5:55 PM
Area: TBA
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: JUSTIN N COY (University of Pittsburgh)
CE Instructor: JUSTIN N COY, Ph.D.
Becoming a Behavior Analyst: Understanding Professionals’ Introduction to the Field and Why They Pursue Certification
Domain: Service Delivery
JUSTIN N COY (University of Pittsburgh), Olivia Grace Enders (University of Pittsburgh), Douglas E. Kostewicz (University of Pittsburgh)
Abstract: Understanding how certified behavior professionals learned about the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and why they pursued certification can support targeted development of ABA training programs. A mixed-methods survey distributed to over 1,200 certified behavior analysts across Pennsylvania sought to understand analysts’ decisions and experiences pursuing professional certification. Respondents (n = 96) indicated learning about ABA through their professional work, typically as direct-service or related service provider, during other coursework, or through familial connections. Analysts described pursuing certification to meet their professional career goals and better serve clients their current and future clients. Nearly all responding analysts (95.7%) reported working full- or part-time during their training program, typically as behavior professionals, special educators, or related service providers. Analysts described the importance of a work-life-school balance, including time-management and obtaining supervision within their workplace. Results from this pilot survey add important missing information regarding how analysts find our field and decide to pursue certification. In an age of unprecedented growth in analysts and demand for services, this information can help training programs recruit and graduate high-quality analysts. Understanding the personal and professional backgrounds of our professionals can also support our cross-disciplinary work to address socially significant issues.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify common reasons future analysts discover the field of ABA; (2) identify why analysts pursue certification.



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