We recognized University of Texas—San Antonio among the 57 Best Schools Offering ABA Bachelor’s and BCaBA Courses, and for offering one of the 32 Best Master’s in Education Programs with an ABA Emphasis.
We were excited to hear from Dr. Leslie Neely & Dr. Amarie Carnett, faculty members at University of Texas—San Antonio. They 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 Texas at San Antonio Programs:
- Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – EC-12 Special Education – Course Sequence in Applied Behavior Analysis (BCaBA VCS)
- Master’s in Educational Psychology, Behavior Analysis concentration
- MA in Special Education – ABA Concentration
- MA in School Psychology – ABA Concentration
Professor/Faculty Name: Dr. Leslie Neely & Dr. Amarie Carnett
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?
Leslie: Our institution is located in south Texas and we are proud of our student diversity. We serve undergraduate students and graduate students and both traditional and non-traditional students. For example, we often work with students of diverse ethnicities, first generation college students, military vets, and student who are changing careers. Our program is specifically set up to meet students where they are and support them as they transition to independent practice.
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?
Leslie: Our program is set up similar to the medical model. Students spend two years with us engaged in coursework and experiential internship experiences. We encourage our students to experience a variety of settings and students will work in the home, hospital, clinic, and school settings during our program. We encourage this multiple exemplar training to finesse student skills and facilitate the application of behavior analysis in different contexts. We aim for students to achieve behavioral artistry that is so essential in human health services. Since our program is clinically focused, most of our students take positions in the applied sector. Our recent graduates primarily landed at outpatient clinics and home health. Most also work in private practice or at non-profits.
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?
Leslie: Our program is a complete package. We offer the coursework, degree work, and supervision experiences. We are particularly proud of the diversity of experiences we provide for field work within the community. Each of our student’s complete field experiences in hospital, clinic, schools, adult services, in-home, and supervision training. These experiences help students develop a comprehensive skill set and vast range of understanding of the applied sector. We are lucky to have a very engaged community that supports our students in achieving their personal goals.
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?
Leslie: We have developed our program to prepare empathetic, well rounded practioners who are not only technically solid but have the professional skills to address real life issues. One of the most important issues without our field is failure to program for generalization of skills. We are trying to alleviate this issue by ensure our students complete a variety of competencies that address the dimensions of generalization.
What type of student or professional is the Graduate Certificate in ABA program designed for? ?
Leslie: Our program actually boasts multiple options for students seeking a behavior analysis program. We have a master’s program in Educational Psychology – concentration in Behavior Analysis, a master’s program in School Psychology where students can add the ABA experience, and we have a stand along Graduate Certificate program. The master’s programs are full-time comprehensive programs that embed the coursework and internship experience. Our Graduate Certificate students complete all of the required coursework but they typically have already completed a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree. These students may be part-time students and are typically just looking to complete the ABA specific coursework. Graduate certificate students may also add internship experiences to complete their required experience hours.
Other than the fact that the program includes the BACB VCS, does the ABA faculty offer additional support for students preparing for the BCBA exam?
Leslie: Yes, in addition to the varied course sequence, our master’s student take a capstone class in their last semester. The class is not only designed for our students to prepare for the BCBA exam but to prepare for interviews and work life beyond their master’s program. We provide course prep and mock exams. One hundred percent of our program graduates have passed the BCBA exam on their first try!
How do ABA students interact with the school’s San Antonio Applied Behavior Analysis Project and Research Consortium?
Leslie: The San Antonio Applied Behavior Analysis Project and Research Consortium (“SAABA”) is a collaborative effort between the Autism Treatment Center, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and the University of Texas at San Antonio – Department of Educational Psychology. Our mission is to improve outcomes from individuals with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in hospital, home, school, and community settings and to train UTSA graduate students to use behavior analytic methods with this population via research, teaching, and service. UTSA students interested in gaining experience hours towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst can earn hours at the SAABA. The SAABA Project offers a number of paid and volunteer experience opportunities for UTSA students. Our SAABA website is: https://sites.google.com/view/saaba/home
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.