What is an Autism Consultant?
Autism consultants assist students who have autism, their families and educators to determine how to best serve the students. They're often employed with school systems, where their duties include observing students and documenting their findings, coordinating with a student's IEP (individualized education program) team to establish desired goals and outcomes for both academics and behavior, and developing a plan to support those goals and outcomes. In addition to observing students in a classroom environment, autism consultants might work with them in smaller settings to administer standardized tests or conduct other specialized screenings. Additionally, they might refer students and their families to community agencies to fulfill needs that can't be met by the school.
Autism consultants also might work for local human services departments or in private practice. Their duties in these positions are similar to autism consultants employed with school systems; however, they also might work with adults who have autism. Additionally, autism consultants with human services department might have to travel across their region to meet with clients.
|Educational Requirements||Minimum of a bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Knowledge of ASD and related screening and diagnostic tools, strong written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving skills, patience, persistence|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$57,910 (for special education teachers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8% (for special education teachers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree in special education, early childhood education or a related field, like applied behavior analysis or psychology, is the minimum required to work as an autism consultant. However, some employers require a minimum of a master's degree in one of these subject areas. Autism consultants who work for school systems also might need a state teaching license.
Autism consultants must have knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related screenings and diagnostic tools to help evaluate students. These might include tests that look for language and social deficits and narrowed interests, as well as problems with overstimulation. Autism consultants also need strong written and verbal communication skills for communicating with parents and educators. Additionally, they need problem-solving skills, patience and persistance to help them determine the most effective way to meet students' individual needs.
Career Outlook and Salary
Career outlook figures for autism consultants aren't available, but for those who work in schools, the outlook may be comparable to that of special education teachers. From 2016 to 2026, these professionals should see average job growth of 8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Likewise, there are no salary figures specific to autism consultants, but again, special education teachers can be used as a reference point. As of May 2016, special education teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,910, according to the BLS.
Those people interested in working as autism consultants might also like to learn about related careers where they can help children, such as the following: