We recognized Cairn University as one of The 62 Best Schools with Online ABA Master’s and Certificate Programs, and for offering one of The 32 Best Master’s in Education Programs with an ABA Emphasis, adding them to our list of top recommendations for ABA grad students.
We were excited to hear from Dr. Stephanie Chung EdD, BCBA, LBS; Associate Professor and Chair of the Special Education Department at Cairn University, who took the time to answer a few questions about how the school works to create a great student experience that helps prepare graduates for a career in applied behavior analysis.
Cairn University Programs:
- Master of Arts Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Dual-Level BS in Education/MA Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis
Professor/Faculty Name: Dr. Stephanie Chung, EdD, BCBA, LBS; Associate Professor and Chair of the Special Education Department.
Tell us about the types of students you see come through your program. Are you seeing more non-traditional students and career changers coming from other fields?
Stephanie: Cairn’s online ABA graduate programs mostly attract non-traditional students who are employed full-time. Some of our students already work in the field of ABA, but we also have many students who are seeking to change their career. Other students, such as teachers, enroll in our programs to expand their skills or advance their career in their current field.
Individuals who enroll in our graduate ABA programs range from recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree to those who graduated many years ago. Students who already hold a master’s degree may enroll in our master’s program or our Graduate Certificate in ABA program. Our dual-level students are undergraduates who are concurrently working on their BS in Education and MA degree in ABA.
What areas of practice are you seeing graduates going into? Do they tend to find jobs in the local school districts or more often join private practices?
Stephanie: Because of the high demand for behavior analysts in both school districts and private practices, our graduates tend to work in either one of those settings.
What are some of the things you love most about the ABA program at your university – the kind of things you’d like future students to know about as they consider their options?
Stephanie: Cairn was the first Christian university globally to offer a verified Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) program with extensive training in autism. Our Christ-centered, efficient, and high-quality programs are designed for students seeking to become well-trained BCBAs or other professionals who serve Christ in the church, society, and the world.
What do you feel are the most pressing issues in ABA today, and how does the program at your school prepare graduates to address these issues?
Stephanie: There are many pressing issues but among them is the demand for behavior analytic services in schools to serve not only students with autism but also students with other disabilities such as multiple disabilities, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), intellectual disabilities, and others. In Christian schools, such services are rare, and therefore the need is magnified. Our programs prepare our students to work with these populations.
Are all your programs online or do you offer face-to-face programs?
Stephanie: Cairn’s graduate ABA programs are completely online. Our programs are intentionally created for working professionals to facilitate their success as they balance work, studies, family, and other commitments. Crafted using best practices in online education, our programs provide both the flexibility that allows students to study at any time as well as high-quality content that enables them to meet course competencies.
Our dual-level BS in Education/MA degree in ABA program consists primarily of face-to-face undergraduate courses and online graduate courses. While enjoying the advantages of online classes, dual-level students also experience the benefits of face-to-face classes. These benefits are especially important to students who value in-class lectures and activities, direct interaction with faculty and peers, and being physically present in the classroom.
Can you tell us more about the Dual-level BS in Education/MA degree in ABA program for undergraduates?
Stephanie: Our ABA programs are housed in the School of Education. Undergraduate students earning their teaching certificate and Bachelor of Science in Education have the option to concurrently work on their MA degree in ABA. The program is time-efficient as dual-level students typically are able to graduate with both degrees in 4.5 years, adding only one more semester and several summer courses to their undergraduate load. Otherwise, pursuing both degrees separately will require 5.5 to 6.0 years minimum.
Additionally, these students benefit from cost savings. Compared to graduate students, dual-level students have a greater opportunity for academic scholarships and other types of financial aid. Along with that, they pay a flat undergraduate tuition rate for 12-18 credits per Fall or Spring semester, whether for undergraduate or graduate courses. For Summer courses, they pay dual-level tuition which is lower than graduate tuition.
Please feel free to add anything else you would like potential students to know about your program; anything that would be good for them to consider before choosing a program.
Graduate students have the convenience to enroll in the programs in any semester. The MA degree in ABA may be completed in as few as five semesters, and the Graduate Certificate in ABA in four semesters. In addition, Cairn offers 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.