ABA Therapy Salary

Applied behavior analysis is one of the most effective ways to help children with autism build the social and practical skills they need to succeed in life. More and more parents are realizing this and turning to ABA therapy for their children as a result.

At the same time, an increasing number of people are interested in getting involved in ABA therapy to help children with autism achieve amazing things. There are many ABA therapy jobs available throughout the country, at a variety of different settings.

But, what does an ABA therapist do, and what is the typical ABA therapy salary? Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this topic.

What is the Typical ABA Therapy Salary?

Indeed.com reports that the national average annual salary for an ABA therapist is $53,281. That is only a starting salary number for most, though, and that salary can range considerably based on where you live, where you work and what your experience is. However, most therapists are not on salary but rather are paid hourly. A typical ABA therapist just starting off can reasonably expect to make between $20 and $30 an hour.

What is ABA Therapy All About?

ABA therapy jobs are all about observing children with autism and then creating a treatment plan that helps them to reinforce behaviors that will serve them well. This is the beauty of ABA therapy — that it is personalized to each individual child.

An ABA therapist’s job is to teach behaviors that are desirable, including certain ways of communicating, everyday life skills and healthy choices. They encourage these behaviors by rewarding children when they exhibit the behaviors they want to reinforce.

The theory behind ABA therapy is that this positive reinforcement will help children with autism develop habits that are helpful.

ABA therapy jobs require therapists to consistently observe their patients and modify treatment plans based on how they respond to the different interventions. For instance, if a child used to respond well to certain rewards but no longer does, then it’s up to the therapist to make adjustments to the treatment plan so that it’s effective.

Over time, an ABA therapist will come up with a well-tuned plan that works for each individual with whom they work.

What Do ABA Therapy Jobs Involve?

On a daily basis, ABA therapists will use the knowledge they have gained in classroom learning and on-site training to help children with autism develop communication and social skills they need to thrive.

Unlike some other forms of therapy, ABA therapists will use encouragement as the main way to improve the behaviors that their patients should be exhibiting.

This involves observing patients, identifying how they behave and analyzing what behaviors they might need to improve upon. Then, they will help to teach their patients to develop and/or improve various characteristics, including learning strategies, life skills, social skills, speech skills and overall communication.

A lot of what ABA therapists do involve working one-on-one with patients to learn what they need and create a personalized strategy to help them. And, since many of these patients are children, a big part of the job is communicating with the family members of their patients.

ABA therapists will also help families develop the skills they need to reinforce the ABA therapy in the home once the formal therapy has ended. This will help to make the therapy more successful in the long run.

What’s Needed to Be an ABA Therapist?

There’s a lot that goes into becoming an ABA therapist. Most will need to first get a bachelor’s degree. There are multiple majors that could be a fit for this field, but many will focus on psychology.

Those who major in psychology and know they want to be ABA therapists might also add courses in emotional disorders, mental health conditions and even special education.

It’s advisable for budding ABA therapists to get an internship to learn how the job works in a hands-on way. This experience in an actual facility helping children with autism will go a long way in helping you understand whether this is the field for you, and what it will take to do well in it.

Some students will continue their higher education and pursue graduate degrees. While not necessary for the job, having a master’s degree in a subject such as behavioral analysis or some other focus could certainly help.

Following formal education, you may need to get a license to work as an ABA therapist, depending on which state you intend to work. Even if your state doesn’t require it, employers tend to look more favorably on ABA therapists who are licensed.

You can also earn certain certificates that are relevant to the work through organizations such as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Where Do ABA Therapists Work?

There are many places where an ABA therapist can work. Settings might include a patient’s home and/or school, a public location, a clinical setting and a therapy setting.

In many cases, the job will include working in multiple settings with the same patients, to reinforce the skills in the various settings that the child will confront in their lives.

Why Would You Become an ABA Therapist?

One big draw to the field of ABA therapy is that the sector it’s in is expected to grow substantially in the next few years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the sector of substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors — of which ABA therapists are considered part of — is expected to grow by 18% between 2022 and 2032.

That is growth that is “much faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the BLS. This growth is expected to create an enormous demand for ABA therapists, which will only cause the average ABA therapy salary to grow.

For instance, the BLS expects there to be roughly 42,000 job openings in the sector on average for each year in that timeframe.

This is yet another reason why there’s no better time to become an ABA therapist and help make an enormous difference in children’s lives.

If you are considering becoming an ABA therapist, or looking for a job in the field, reach out to Blue Gems ABA today, and get your new career helping kids started!