Looking for an entry-level yet meaningful and growth-oriented job? Like many, you may not know about the growing field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), a therapy based on science—and used to help people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn and grow. The entry-level position for ABA is called a behavior technician, and most jobs require no prior experience.
What does a behavior tech do? As a behavior tech, you would work one-on-one with children and young adults with autism to help them build skills and become more independent. You would also be part of a team of clinicians and caregivers working to help individuals achieve unique goals and reach their potential.
Are you a good fit for a job in ABA? Read on to see if you recognize yourself in any of these nine descriptions:
1. You want to make a difference.
New behavior technicians are often blown away by the progress their clients make. Nothing is more gratifying than knowing that your work leads to positive change in the lives of kids and families.
2. You love children.
Many ABA jobs involve working with children. If you love children and enjoy making them smile and seeing their progress, this might be the job for you. In most ABA jobs, your training is provided at no cost, so loving children is the only requirement.
3. You like variety at work.
Work as a behavior technician is never boring. ABA positions may be located in any of number of environments, whether in an individual’s home, workplace, school, or community—or in one of our Learning Centers. For instance, you might work with a child at home to build turn-taking skills by playing a game or practice making requests through imaginary or pretend play. Likewise, you might venture to the grocery store with an older child or young adult to practice selecting food and going through the check-out line. Whatever the case, there is no end to the types of skills you may teach, from imitating words to ordering a meal and making change in a restaurant!
4. You’re interested in special education, psychology, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.
You don’t want to start a degree program until you’re positive it’s the field for you. Working as a behavior tech gives you excellent experience working directly with a population of children you might encounter in any of the above fields. As a bonus, hiring managers in education and other specialty services love to see an ABA background on an applicant’s resume.
5. You want to change your field or career.
ABA training is provided on-the-job. In most cases, you don’t need to come in with any special knowledge or training—only a great attitude and a willingness to learn.
6. You’re a current or former paraprofessional or instructional aide in a school.
Some people gravitate to education but realize that working in a classroom is not for them. ABA allows you to work with fewer children more closely in a variety of settings, not just a single classroom or school. For this reason, you have more flexibility over your schedule and can often work part-time or full-time.
7. You’re independent and enjoy a supportive work environment.
As a behavior technician in an ABA setting, you typically receive written instructions on what to do, plus regular support from your supervisor, a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Most days, however, you also lead teaching sessions on your own, giving you an ideal mix of support and independence.
8. You want to find meaning in your work.
There is nothing more fulfilling than supporting a person in gaining independence or helping children find their voice. Behavior technicians do important, meaningful work each and every day, and often experience a strong sense of fulfillment.
9. You’re curious and enjoy learning—and want a career with growth potential.
Ongoing learning and problem-solving are essential parts of any ABA career, including a position as a behavior technician. As a behavior tech, you can continue in that capacity or take your career to any number of next levels, starting with a position as a managing behavior technician. From there, with a bachelor’s degree, you could become an assistant behavior analyst—and then work toward your master’s degree, while serving as a clinical fellow. Once you earned a master’s degree, you could become a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), and work your way to a managing BCBA or even a clinical director. The sky is the limit.
As more people enter the fast-growing field of ABA, either as a behavior technician for the long-run or as a stepping stone to another professional career, ask yourself whether you fit the bill—and, if so, visit our careers page and search “behavior technician” to apply for a job today.