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Behavior Analysis, Ph.D.

Behavior Analysis, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

The behavior analysis graduate program at Florida Tech offers a PhD for students looking to pursue further study in this discipline. PhD graduates become behavior-analytic researchers, instructors, and practitioners. Florida Tech professors expect graduates of the behavior analysis doctorate program to approach the world from the perspective of a behaviorist; to continue to contribute to behavioral research; to inform their practice with current research findings; to obtain academic and professional positions; and to effectively manage other behavior analysts under their supervision.

Flexible Program—Professional Culture

Florida Tech students include a diverse mix of full-time workers in the local area to students from around the globe seeking to obtain higher-level management skills. Students who choose one of Florida Tech’s applied behavior analysis programs build the foundation necessary to become a well-respected professional.

Why Choose Florida Tech for a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis?

The Association for Behavior Analysis International accredits Florida Tech's School of Behavior Analysis. In addition, The Behavior Analyst Certification Board Inc. ® (BACB ®) has approved all of the core course sequence of the program. The BACB has also approved the Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis as meeting the intensive practicum requirements for the experiential component of the BCBA examination.

Florida Tech's applied behavior analysis programs (applied behavior analysis and the dual program with organizational behavior management) provide students with the requirements to take the BCBA examination immediately upon completion of graduate school. If a doctoral student has completed a master's degree but is not a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA ®) or does not meet the supervision requirements to sit for the BCBA examination, Florida Tech offers coursework in Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis.

Dedicated Faculty

Professors in the applied behavior analysis programs are dedicated, productive researchers and practitioners with a commitment to developing the field of behavior analysis. Training the next generation of behavior analytic researchers and practitioners, the faculty is made up of Board Certified Behavior Analysts ®. Students receive one-on-one attention from professors who work alongside them in research and through client interaction. A close student-professor culture in the applied behavior analysis programs creates a professional environment where students are viewed as research professionals and colleagues and demonstrate competency in research, teaching, supervision and consultation.

Professional Culture – Flexible Program

Florida Tech students include a diverse mix of working professionals to students from around the globe seeking to obtain higher-level consultation skills. Students who choose one of Florida Tech's applied behavior analysis programs build the foundation necessary to become a well-respected professional. They have the flexibility to choose from two different campuses as well as daytime, evening and weekend class schedules. Florida Tech is in close proximity to a thriving medical community including hospitals and clinics that provide internship and applied learning opportunities to students.

Research Opportunities

Florida Tech professors perform applied research outside of their teaching responsibilities working in settings such as clinical treatment or organizational consulting. Ph.D. students participate in this research, often publishing research articles in respected ABA journals. Leading training sessions for educators on classroom behavior problems and working with children and their families to provide assessment, training and behavior therapy at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment are examples of how Florida Tech's applied behavior analysis programs provide real-world experience.

Facilities & Resources

Florida Tech Commons houses the School of Psychology, classrooms, human research areas, observation and treatment rooms, computer facilities, two conference rooms, and a student workroom/lounge. In addition, the Scott Center for Autism Treatment is located directly on Florida Tech's campus providing real-world experience and research with children with autism and related disorders. The Society for Performance Management, Behavior Analysis Student Association and Florida Tech Continuing Education Office are also available resources for students in applied behavior analysis programs.

Careers in Behavior Analysis

Though behavior analysts are often best known for advances in autism treatment and support, the field offers a variety of options for graduates with a PhD in behavior analysis. Alumni of Florida Tech behavior analysis programs reside around the world, working in businesses, schools, clinics, residential treatment centers, group homes, and private practice.

This same success is seen by the doctoral graduates, who have successfully obtained post-doctoral fellowships at prestigious institutions (such as the University of Nebraska Medical School/Munroe Meyer Institute) or been hired as university faculty members. Other graduates have obtained behavior analysis jobs as consultants or program directors.

These applied behavior analysis jobs involve working with children, individuals with autism, people with schizophrenia or intellectual disabilities. Graduates also work with employees in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations in business, industry, speech-language pathology, animal behavior and training, and special education.

Diverse Career Options

Though applied behavior analysts are often best known for advances in autism treatment and support, graduates find work in a wide variety of fields working as consultants, independent contractors and as Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBAs) professionals. On average, graduates of a behavior analysis graduate program with a PhD have higher salaries and employment rates than those with master’s or bachelor degrees, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some doctoral graduates also continue into academia as professors to teach the next generation of students.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the BLS, provides detailed information about hundreds of occupations, including, entry-level education, overall working environment, and employment prospects. According to the Bureau, overall employment in psychology careers such as applied behavior analysis jobs are projected to grow 12% through 2022. This includes a higher demand for school psychologists to work with students, particularly those with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Jobs will also include professionals who can assess and counsel students, as well as study how in-school and out-of-school factors affect learning.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) jobs include:

  • Private practice as a certified ABA providing early intervention services to children with autism
  • ABA in a school district assisting teachers to manage students with problem behavior
  • ABA in a group home
  • ABA consultant to companies focusing on improving employee performance
  • ABA internal consultant to improve employee performance
  • Program manager or director of specialized school
  • ABA for state or federal government

Applied Behavior Analysis Training at the Doctoral Level

The mission of Florida Tech's applied behavior analysis training is to develop PhD behavior-analytic practitioners and consultants who have obtained their BCBA certification and contribute to behavioral research and practice.

Applied behavior analysis training at the doctoral level includes participation in a high-degree of behavior-based research projects under the mentorship of a faculty member. Many professors are published authors and experts on many facets of applied behavior analysis, such as:

  • Behavioral economics
  • Token economies
  • Self-management
  • Sports psychology
  • Organizational behavior management

As noted above, students participate in such research as assessing and treatment behavior problems, teaching methods for individuals with disabilities while working with faculty members in ongoing research at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment.

In addition, teams of faculty and students form to study topics in behavioral analysis, presenting their research at state and national conferences, such as the annual meeting of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (FABA) and the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Graduates of the applied behavior analysis graduate programs at the doctoral level are well prepared to pursue academic positions, to continue active research programs and to effectively manage behavior analysts under their supervision, both in research and practice.

Portfolio of Published Articles

Outside of research, ABA students often publish research in respected ABA journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and Behavioral Interventions. Organizations and research centers located both on and off campus help students delve deeper into applied behavior analysis training, such as:

  • The Society for Performance Management—Designed to facilitate up-to-date information on the newest research and practices performed by professionals in the field.
  • Behavior Analysis Student Association—MS and PhD students who meet regularly to discuss topics in behavior analysis and hold an annual conference on the field.
  • The Scott Center for Autism Treatment—Specializes in working with children with autism and related disorders.
  • Florida Tech Continuing Education Office—Professional development courses and certification programs online.
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