National University Interview

We recognized National University among the 62 Best Schools with Online ABA Master’s and Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for ABA grad students.

We were excited to hear from Dr. Sharlyn Crump, BCBA (Co-Academic Program Director) and Dr. Dina Pacis (Department Chair) who both took the time to answer a few questions about how National University works to create a great student experience that helps prepare graduates for a career in applied behavior analysis.

National University Programs:

  • MS Applied Behavior Analysis


Professor/Faculty Name: 
     Dr. Sharlyn Crump, BCBA (Co-Academic Program Director), and Dr. Dina Pacis, Department Chair

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?

National University provides accelerated coursework for the non-traditional learner. Non-traditional students come to NU with different needs, skill sets and a variety of life situations. NU opens the door of opportunity to ensure that adult learners receive a quality education that is innovative and on the cutting-edge of industries to create quality leaders.

The MS Applied Behavior Analysis is offered as one of these dynamic degrees. There are a variety of students that are in the MSABA Program. We have a continuum of students ranging from professionals, such as educators, healthcare practitioners, administrators, behavior change agents, and parents. The majority of our students are currently working in the fields of education and/or ABA to some compacity. Students come to the MSABA program in the pursuit of the highly desirable Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential.

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?

The ABA field is seeking qualified practitioners to meet the needs of an on-going demand of behavior change systems. Graduates are working in private practice, mental health field, school districts, business/industrial organizations, own their own behavior agency, behavior consultant for health insurance companies, directors of large organizations, professors at universities, sports athletic trainers/coaches, special education, school psychology and even weight loss clinics.  As the world learns about the science of behavior change, the demand increases for certified practitioners to assist in all areas of life where behavior change is needed.

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?

Some of the most wonderful aspects of the ABA program at National University is the culture of self-determination and support that our students provide to their colleagues, families, faculty, and the system. Our students have passion, strive to be the best they can be, and love to make changes in the lives of their students/clients. This is not an easy field. At times it can be it can be emotionally challenging yet amazing. This isn’t just an academic program. Our students come to this program to learn the content and have the determination of self-improvement and improving the lives of others.

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?

Right now, the most pressing issue in the field is the lack of qualified practitioners. This ABA program is very large, and we are growing monthly. NU is working with our ABA Program to assist with meeting the demand of hiring Adjunct Instructors and opening enough course sections to keep up with the growing demand in the field and listening to our new students and partnerships.

What kind of flexibility can prospective students expect from the MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis program?

National University’s course traditionally run one course per month. For the ABA program, the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) courses, they run one course every 2 months. The average student gets through the MSABA Program in 16 months.  This is very fast and requires lots of effort, studying and dedication. The program moves quickly. The ABA program is intense, time consuming, and challenges our students. This is to be expected to prepare students to pass the BCBA Exam.  Students have the flexibility of attending class Onsite or Online. Either option will provide the same courses as learners advance through the program.

Does the MS program promote collaborative efforts between students and faculty? If so, in what ways?

Whether the students decide to attend class onsite or online, each student must engage and interact with their colleagues and the Instructor. The platform’s system is organized, planned, and are consistent across all courses in the program. Collaboration is embedded within the structure of each course.

Please feel free to add anything else you would like potential students to know about your program; things that would be good for them to consider before choosing a program.

We are focused on maintaining high academic rigor, ethical and practical decision making and research in the field of ABA. We are quickly growing.  We continually update and structure our courses to ensure that we are aligned and are in compliance with the BACB and ABAI current Tasklist/Standards.


Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.