Behavior Analysis, Ph.D.

Behavior Analysis, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis

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

The Association for Behavior Analysis International – the only credentialing organization for professional within this discipline -- accredits the School of Behavior Analysis program.

Requirements

Applicants to the behavior analysis graduate program at the doctoral level must have completed, or be close to completing, a master's degree in behavior analysis (or related field with an emphasis in behavior analysis), and/or be a board certified behavior analyst. 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, the student may be required to take courses in Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis. Candidates for the applied behavior analysis graduate program must present a completed dissertation manuscript and successfully defend the results to the dissertation committee.

Close-Knit Learning Environment

Students choosing to complete the behavior analysis graduate program and obtain a Ph.D. at Florida Tech are part of a program with more diversity of faculty than any other program of its kind in the world. Core professors are Board Certified Behavior Analysts, with many published authors and experts on different facets of applied behavior analysis. Professors provide a one-on-one learning environment during research and client interaction, allowing students to prove their value as a research professional and colleague.

Faculty members and Ph.D. students in the behavior analysis graduate program conduct ongoing research at The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, located on Florida Tech's campus. This world-renowned, state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to working with children who have autism and other behavioral disorders. With professor oversight, Ph.D. students provide assessment, training and behavior therapy. An applied behavior analysis graduate program at the doctoral level is not widely available and Florida Tech provides some of the best training available.

Research Opportunities

Florida Tech's dedication to  research and state-of-the-art facilities creates the perfect environment for students in a behavior analysis graduate program at the doctoral level. Not only are students provided extensive research opportunities, they are also given an opportunity to develop or expand a portfolio of published work through organizations and research centers located on and off campus. Florida Tech Ph.D. students also receive significant assistantships from The Scott Center for Autism Treatment that helps cover a majority of their academic costs.

Flexible Schedule and Campus Locations

Applicants to the applied program can choose to attend Florida Tech's main campus, or attend class at the Orlando Graduate Center, located in the Baldwin Park area of Orlando. The program offers daytime, evening and weekend class schedules with close proximity to a thriving medical community, including hospitals and clinics that provide internships and applied learning opportunities for students.

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 Ph.D. have higher salaries and employment rates than those with master or bachelor degrees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some doctoral graduates also continue into academia as professors to teach the next generation of students.

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.

Undergraduate 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 Ph.D. 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 non-for-profit organizations in business, industry, speech-language pathology, animal behavior and training and special education.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides detailed information about hundreds of occupations, including, entry-level education, overall working environment and employment prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in psychology careers such as behavior analysis is projected to grow 12 percent through 2022.

Behavior analysis jobs include:

  • Private practice as a certified Applied Behavior Analyst providing early intervention services to children with autism

  • Applied Behavior Analyst in a school district assisting teachers to manage students with problem behavior

  • Applied Behavior Analyst in a group home

  • Applied Behavior Analyst Consultant to companies focusing on improving employee performance

  • Applied Behavior Analyst Internal Consultant to improve employee performance

  • Program Manager or Director of specialized school

  • Applied Behavior Analyst for the state or federal government

Resources related to applied behavior analysis careers include:

Applied Behavior Analysis Training at the Doctoral Level

The mission of Florida Tech's applied behavior analysis training is to develop Ph.D. 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

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.

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, doctoral students seek to 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 professionals in the field perform.

  • Behavior Analysis Student Association – M.S. and Ph.D. 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.