10 Feb ABA Insights: Why I Love Being a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst
When I went off to college, like most recent high school grads, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All that I knew was that I wanted to study psychology and learn how I could make an impact on children. However, I had no idea how to get there. In my first year of college, I took my first course in behavior analysis. I was immediately drawn to the principles of behavior analysis and the impact this science could have. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in a behavior analysis lab as well as go through the roles of RBT, Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
What sparked my interest in transitioning into the role of a BCBA was two-fold: 1. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the science that I could. 2. I wanted to help make a larger impact in the lives of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the last 11 years, the job demand for BCBAs has increased by 4,209%. From 2019 to 2020 alone, a 17% increase in BCBA job posting was observed (BACB, 2020). In North Carolina alone, there is 1 BCBA per 120 children with autism. This means that many children are going without access to high-quality, evidence-based practice. As I learned more about the job demand for BCBAs, I knew I had to grow in my role in the field to be able to help this population more
Now that I am in the role of a BCBA, I am able to be part of something that may seem small to some people, when in reality, I get to take part in something life-changing. I get the chance to see a child who was once non-vocal speak their first word. I can help design a treatment plan that aids in reducing a challenging behavior that prevented a family from going on a vacation or going out to eat as a family. I can watch a child smile and get excited about accomplishing a task that took them so long to learn, that many may have thought they would have never been able to do. There are not enough words that can explain the joy and excitement I get to experience when I see the power that my science has to offer as a BCBA.
Now that I am a BCBA, I get to train those seeking certification as a BCBA. To best serve individuals with autism, it is pertinent that the field of behavior analysis grows. Without BCBAs providing supervision to students, the field would not be able to continue to grow access to care. As a BCBA who supervises students, I get to experience the excitement a student has in developing a program that was effective for their client, after the time I have spent working with the student shaping their skillset as a future BCBA. From there, my students are going to be able to impact the life of a child diagnosed with autism who may not have received services otherwise.
Though there is a lot of joy in my line of work, just like any other job, there can be challenging days. I often experience days where my clients are not making progress with a goal or have a session with high rates of challenging behavior. But for me, the number and the impact of my joyful days have always outweighed the challenging days. I truly have the best job in the world and have been able to do what I set off to do in my first year of college: make an impact in the lives of children.
By: Lauren Broadwell, M.S., BCBA