Behavior therapy courses usually terminate in a master's degree or doctorate in behavior analysis or psychology. A bachelor's degree is available for those seeking entry into this field as an assistant behavior analyst or therapist. Careers in this field typically require a master's degree, and acceptance in a related academic program is usually required for enrollment in behavior therapy courses. Students seeking certification are required to enroll in an accredited program and must complete a combination of academic instruction and clinical experience.
Here are some common concepts that behavior therapy courses may cover:
- Behavioral interventions
- Cultural differences
- Analysis of published data
List of Behavior Therapy Courses
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Basics
Students in this course study theories and applications of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) practice, as well as analyze methodologies for evaluating patients for treatment. Students are provided an introduction to clinical assessments in evaluating all age spans for many disorders. Historical practices of behavior therapy may also be covered, in addition to trends in current behavior therapy practice.
Applied Behavior Analysis Fundamentals
Students are introduced to the principles of applied behavior therapy, analysis and research, including topics such as conditioned reinforcement and oppositional behaviors. Developmental disabilities, including autism, attention deficit disorder and mental retardation are also covered. Overviews may be offered in different behavior therapies, such as desensitization, assertiveness training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, operant skills training and aversion conditioning.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Clinical Practice
Topics including human processes and organizational behavior are covered in this course, in addition to theories of cognition. Coursework usually covers aspects of thinking and feeling, including memory, language, reasoning, problem solving and categorization skills. Controversies in the practice of behavioral therapy may also be examined in this course.
Students in this course gain an understanding of individual and group social behaviors, including the psychological theories surrounding different social experiences. The study of how humans understand and communicate with others, formulate opinions and perceive others is examined. Instruction may also cover social research data on social cognition, prosocial behaviors, persuasion and relationship behaviors in relation to culture, sex, race and class.
Behavior Therapy Program Information
A Master of Science in Behavior Analysis is the most commonly offered degree; a master's degree is the minimum required to become a certified behavior analyst. Currently, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) accredits master's and doctorate programs in behavior analysis. Doctorate programs in behavior analysis generally offer the same curriculum as the master's programs, though additional practical training, behavior therapy coursework and research opportunities are provided; a dissertation is also required for the Ph.D. Concentrations in areas such as special education are often available at both graduate levels. Bachelor's degrees are offered in behavior therapy, though graduates are qualified as assistant behavior analysts only.
Information on Certification
Graduates of bachelor's programs may become Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) by passing a certification exam through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB); to comply with board requirements, assistant behavior analysts must work under direct supervision of a certified behavior therapist. Certification through the organization is also available to graduates of master's programs, and successful candidates are referred to as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Graduates of doctoral programs may pursue certification leading to the Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) credential.