We recognized Central Michigan University as one of the Top 57 Best Schools Offering ABA Bachelor’s and BCaBA Courses, adding them to our list of top recommendations for ABA undergrads.
We were excited to hear from Dr. Seth Whiting, a faculty member at Central Michigan 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.
Central Michigan University Programs:
- BCBA and BCaBA Verified Course Sequences
Professor/Faculty Name: Dr. Seth Whiting
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?
Seth: I would estimate that most of our students tend to take our first class on behavioral principles as undergrads and decide that this is the career path they want. We also have a sizable proportion of parents looking to learn skills for their own use and individuals in related fields who see a need for more behavior analysts in the area and want to contribute.
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?
Seth: Our recent BCBA graduates have found jobs in school, university, laboratory, community, clinic, and consultation settings. Our BCBA course sequence fits nicely within our School Psychology or Experimental Psychology graduate programs, so we can work with a wide variety of student interests and help them to get where they want to go. For the BCaBA, our graduates primarily find jobs in local treatment clinics or head off to grad school. We have had quite a few students who were already working in the field come back to CMU for the BCaBA and BCBA sequences to expand their opportunities at their sites.
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?
Seth: I think the best aspects of our course sequences are the breadth and depth of student experiences available. All of the classes remain in face-to-face format which opens a lot of opportunities to be involved. Students engage in an animal lab as part of their training, which sharpens their skills as scientist-practitioners. Many of our students elect to train at our campus autism center which is run by several of our BCBA faculty, so they can use those classroom concepts and build a clinical repertoire. A lot of our students assist faculty with research, attend and present at conferences, and have chances to get involved in the professional behavior analysis community and contribute to the field.
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?
Seth: The ABA field is still relatively young, and there is still a need for a lot of development. By emphasizing the scientist-practitioner model and providing experiential training across basic and applied domains, we hope to train future behavior analysts with the clinical skills to solve socially important problems, and also the scientific skills to extend those solutions and our technologies to new areas.
What inspired the university to offer the BACB Verified Course Sequences? Is the Department of Psychology experiencing a greater demand for ABA specialization opportunities?
Seth: In our state, ABA practice opportunities have expanded and thus the need for training has increased to fulfill those opportunities. With both student interest and community demand, the seats in classes started to fill and we continued to build from that foundation.
Approximately how long do these course sequences take to complete?
Seth: The BCaBA course sequence integrates well with the requirements of our undergraduate psychology major. Similarly, the BCBA sequence fits with the requirements for School and Experimental Psychology graduate programs. If students are enrolled in any of those, no additional time is required. If the course sequences are taken alone, the time generally is dependent on a lot of individual factors but can generally be completed in 2-4 semesters.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.