We recognized the Florida Institute of Technology as one of the Top 20 Best Schools Offering Applied Behavior Analyst Master’s Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.
We were excited to hear from Dr. Nic Weatherly, Head of School & Associate Professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, 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.
Program name: School of Behavior Analysis
Professor/Faculty Name: Dr. Nic Weatherly, Head of School & Associate Professor
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?
Nic: The School of Behavior Analysis at Fl Tech offers programs for students are all stages of their careers. Our Melbourne-based Master’s and Ph.D. program attract more traditional students; however, we still get a fair number of students who have been working in the field or in other fields for some time. A lot of our students in the Orlando-based M.S. program are working full time, so the program accommodates work schedules by ensuring classes take place on Fridays and Saturdays only. Our M.A. in Professional Behavior Analysis is fully online so most, if not all, of the students in that program work full time in the field.
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?
Nic: It varies but a large number of Fl Tech graduates are working in clinical practices like a lot of other new and veteran behavior analysts. However, we have graduates all over the place, in education, business consulting, hospitals, etc.
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?
Nic: We have a strong culture of collaboration within the School of Behavior Analysis and across the university and are proud to see the high level of work our students and alum engage in. Our students are very active researchers, writers, practitioners, and in their service to the field. I would like students to know that they’ll feel part of a team here at Fl Tech and will be supported in their personal and professional journeys.
Florida Tech is comprised of a number of colleges and our college, the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, contains three separate Schools. One of the things I love the most is that we have our own School of Behavior Analysis, which shows a commitment to behavior analysis from the university and allows are team to work together to provide the best possible experience for our students.
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?
Nic: Students need to be marketable for the current job market, which has a great need for qualified clinicians, primarily in intellectual disabilities. We need to be prepared to continue to meet those demands, while also offering students a path to show their value in other areas of behavior-analytic application so as to find work in other areas that interest them. We have a strong Organizational Behavior Management program at Fl Tech and community partnerships in a number of areas of clinical and non-clinical industries so we’re constantly working to ensure Fl Tech graduates have a wide array of employment options. The other pressing issue is in the regulation of behavior analysts and we ensure that, through our courses and individual labs, students are prepared for board certification by the BACB and everything needed to become and maintain board certified, as well as prepared for licensure requirements.
Are non-degree seeking students interested in taking the Verified Course Sequence required to be enrolled at the university? If not, how can they sign up?
Nic: Non-Degree seeking students who are interested in taking the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) can register online or by phone through Continuing Education. The Verified Course Sequence classes are considered Professional Development and are available to anyone, they do not require an application or admission to Florida Tech.
How many courses are in the sequence? Can students take more than one course at a time?
Nic: The current VCS, which covers the 4thEdition Task List, consists of 18 credit hours of educational content. Classes BEHP5011-BEHP5018 are offered on a quarter term system. Students beginning the VCS would take one, three credit class for each of the first two terms, after which they can request to take up to six credits per term, with approval from Continuing Education.
Does the MS in ABA program help students find supervised fieldwork so they can meet BACB certification requirements for supervised hours?
Rachel: Students are responsible for securing their own fieldwork placements for the Supervised Independent Fieldwork requirement for examination eligibility. Faculty in the program are happy to provide advice to students and offer to facilitate introductions between students (particularly those that may be in Virginia) and our network of ABA practitioner partners who may be willing to host fieldwork students. We do not, however, arrange for fieldwork placements or provide the required supervision.
Please feel free to add anything else you would like potential students to know about your program and that would be good for them to consider before choosing a program.
We’re very proud of our team of students, staff, faculty and alum so please reach out if you’d like to discuss why Fl Tech might be right for you.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.