Southeast’s Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Receives BACB Approval

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The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB) has approved Southeast Missouri State University’s practicum courses for the online Master of Arts in applied behavior analysis. The approval allows Southeast’s faculty to supervise and observe graduate students during their practicum courses, which can then be accepted towards the intensive practicum experience requirements for taking the board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) examination.

Southeast’s online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis prepares students to become practitioners of applied behavior analysis (ABA) who work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. The BACB, a nonprofit corporation to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments and consumers of behavior analysis services, reviewed Southeast’s program.

Southeast students will now be able to complete both their classroom content and fieldwork requirements through the University, said Dr. Jamie Severtson, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education.

“Students can be anywhere in Missouri or in the country and they can get their degree and fieldwork supervision from Southeast,” said Severtson. “The two-year program is now one of four nationwide to offer a full-online degree plus supervision of the fieldwork practicum courses.”

When online programs don’t offer online supervision, students have to find an independent BCBA in their local area to provide supervision in order to complete their degree. This not only can be difficult for students living in areas lacking behavior analyst resources but also the BACB requires students to complete double the total number of fieldwork hours because their supervision occurred outside of the University’s intensive practicum, said Severtson.

“By having their practicum courses supervised by Southeast faculty, students can receive a good, professional experience at any fieldwork site,” she said. “This ensures that no matter where a student is located, they’re getting consistent supervision and support.”

By using Apple’s FaceTime technology, students receive weekly observations, group observation, and one-on-one feedback sessions with a BCBA faculty supervisor. The goal is for students to accumulate at least 750 hours of fieldwork by the end of the degree program.

“That is such a great piece of our practicum courses because FaceTime is encrypted, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without that technology,” said Severtson.

Because faculty members are providing the supervision services, feedback and documentation, practicum sites and personnel can focus on supporting the students with quality time and clients to reach their fieldwork hour requirement. The technology also allows Southeast to reach more students who can bring highly needed behavior analyst services to rural and remote areas, she said.

“We’re poised to train practitioners in their own areas, and they could potentially stay and continue to offer their services when they’re done,” said Severtson.

For more information about Southeast’s Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis, visit http://www.semo.edu/online/online-degrees/MA-applied-behavior-analysis.html.

For more information about the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc., visit http://bacb.com/about-the-bacb/.