M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Grads Celebrate

M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis students celebrate their graduation 1
M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis students celebrate their graduation 2

(July 14, 2017) - It’s the middle of Summer, but graduation time continues! Students in the Master of Science Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program wrapped up their last class this week. They celebrated with a hooding ceremony at the University Student Union, in a room packed with family and friends. 

Students moved through the ABA program as a unit and graduated together.  “You started as a group and will work in a field with unique links between science and behavior,” said Gary Katz, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and chair of clinical psychology graduate program. “You have power in your smaller class size.  Each of you has taken on larger shares of class activities and projects.  The spotlight shone more brightly on you.”

ABA students don’t just study textbooks. The two-year program also has them taking internships and researching the science of behavior assessment and treatment.  Many graduates already work in therapy and clinical settings. Behavior analysts often help those with autism. They work with clients to reduce destructive or inappropriate behavior and replace it with appropriate, effective behavior.  Autism Speaks notes that “ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism.”  

The program also prepares students to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Exam, to earn certification as a behavior analyst.  “Most of the students will take the BCBA Exam in November,” said Brian Rice, off-site faculty practica supervisor for the ABA program.  “Most of them will receive their certification in January.  The pass rate is very high.” In 2016 CSUN ranked seventh nationally for pass rates by first-time candidates, with 94 percent of test takers passing the Exam.

Katz urged graduates to stay in contact with CSUN alumni and faculty.  “Don’t research, study or practice alone.” And he had advice for them on their own career and life journeys.

“Be sure of where you are and where you are going.  If you stagnate, you will know where you are, but not where you are going.  If you move too fast, you won’t know where you are.  Have balance.”

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