Duties and responsibilities
Applied behavioral science specialists (ABSS) are responsible for developing and implemening treatment plans for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They can work with different populations (such as school children, adults, people with disabilities or teens) or specialize in a particular area, such as autism or foetal alcohol syndrome. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Compiling and interpreting test results to diagnose certain intellectual and development conditions
- Assessing eligibility for special services where necessary
- Designing behavioral interventions
- Implementing behavior support plans
- Measuring goals and objectives of behavior support plans to ensure they are being met
- Analyzing the behavioral interventions to determine their success
- Assisting caregivers in facilitating behavioral interventions
- Maintaining records of each clients intervention, plan, progress and service provided
Typically, entry-level ABSS jobs y require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology. To have the best employment and progression opportunities, you should consider achieving a masters degree in special education or psychology.
Skills and relevant work experience
- Verbal and written communication skills as you will often need to communicate with clients and other healthcare professionals. You must also maintain files
- Teamwork skills, as it is likely that you will need to be able to work cooperatively as part of a team to provide clients with the best treatment possible and to work successfully with their families
- Problem solving skills are essential in order to provide the most effective interventions
- Technology skills, as ABSS specialists will have to analyze data to assess if interventions are working
Most applied behavioural science specialists will work full-time. They may set up their own private practice or become independent consultants and will therefore often set their own hours. They may have to work evenings or weekends to accommodate clients.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics the median annual wage for psychologists was $80,370 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $132,070. Applied behavioural science specialists can expect to earn within this region.
Overall, psychology professions are expected to have excellent employment opportunities over the coming years. Applied behaviour science specialists could invest in further education, such as in a doctorate degree, and progress to becoming a clinical psychologist. They can also progress to opening their own practice or becoming an independent consultant.