We recognized University of Oklahoma for offering one of the 62 Best Schools with Online ABA Master’s and Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.
We were excited to hear from Dr. R. Nicolle Carr, BCBA-D, LBA-OK, a faculty member at University of Oklahoma 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.
University of Oklahoma Programs:
- Certification program in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Oklahoma
Professor/Faculty Name: Dr. R. Nicolle Carr, BCBA-D, LBA-OK
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?
Nicolle: Yes – we have many students come through the program who have been teaching in SPED classrooms for 5 – 20 years who want to learn a more effective way to teach their students. We have an online synchronous program bc we are one of three programs in the whole state and need to reach many students who are not centrally located. This allows more diversity in students. Most of our students are female.
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?
Nicolle: Most of our students are currently part of a school district and plan to stay within a school district. As more and more autism clinics pop up in the state, this m ay change but right now most are SPED teachers who want to be their district ‘behavior person’ or rise up through the administrative ranks at their current school.
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?
Nicolle: Our program is one of three in the state. We work with students who are use to being in rural areas with few resources (staff, money, other trained board certified behavior analysts, etc) and want to make a difference in those areas. Our program is currently using Zoom to hold SYNCHRONOUS online courses so students log in on a certain day of the week at a specific time and get a live lecture from a faculty member on campus. This allows for real interaction, partner work and everything you would get from being in an actual classroom outside of driving to campus.
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?
Nicolle: With the inundation of all the cures / therapies out there vying for time and money from our clients and those who need our help, it is important that our students know how to search out evidence based intervention, write effective behavior plans, train staff to implement those plans and defend our field. It is also important that our students know how to implement our principles with more than the autism population as there is great need for those with mental health / behavior problems in the school systems who do not have a diagnosis of autism. My main background is with kids with mental health diagnosis (rather than autism) and it brings a unique perspective to our faculty / program.
Based on what you’ve seen with past graduates, are you finding that the Master’s in Special Education—ABA Concentration program creates opportunities for professional advancement?
Nicolle: It depends. It depends on what the students want to do with it and what they have when they walk in the door. If they already have a MA, then adding the certification doesn’t always add money or allow for advancement within the school as a whole though it may help them to move into administration within a SPED realm (Director of SPED). However, if they come to us with a BA and work toward their MA in SPED + certification, yes – more doors are opened both there at the school as well as within clinics, etc. More doors / options for future employment are opened.
Does University of Oklahoma offer any other master-level degree options in ABA?
Nicolle: We are hoping to start that process in the Fall.
The ABA Certificate program is available in a blended format. What kind of hybrid methods are used to present curriculum, and what components take place in person on campus?
Nicolle: Currently, we have moved our classes to Zoom in a synchronous online format through Canvas. Professors lecture at a given time / day and all students log in from their computer at that time. Group / partner work, calling on students, answering live questions is all able to occur through this format. Students
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.
Currently, we have 4 full time faculty that teach courses within the ABA program. Two currently are BCBAs and two others are working hard to obtain their certification.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.