Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist Degree Requirements

Explore the unique role of an autism spectrum disorder specialist. Read on and get insights on career and salary facts to determine if this is the right fit for you. Schools offering Special Education - Autism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist: Career Information at a Glance

An autism spectrum disorder specialist is a different type of applied behavioral analyst who works directly with people who have ASD to help them gain skills sets, reach educational goals and find jobs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 59 children were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2018; thus, the need for educators and professionals who work with people on the autism spectrum is increasing. In this article, you will find out what an autism spectrum disorder specialist does and the requirements needed in terms of education, licensing and certification. You will also know the key responsibilities of an autism specialist and salary information.

Education Required Bachelor's degree required; master's degree preferred (applied behavior analysts)
Licenses and Cerfications Certification required; teaching license may be required
Key Responsibilities Providing support and services to children and adults with neurobehavioral disorders in gaining life skills and becoming independent; working hand in hand with patients in overcoming social and mental disabilities
Median Salary (2019) $48,722 annual; $16.90 hourly (applied behavior analysts)*

Source: *Payscale.com

What Are the Educational Requirements and Do I Need Training?

A bachelor's degree in behavioral analysis, psychology or a related field is usually required for an autism spectrum disorder specialist. If you desire to have a more advanced career in the field as an applied behavior analyst or therapist, you need to get a master's degree and legal and professional certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. You may also need specialized training in the field.

What Licenses and Certifications Are Required?

Autism certificates granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards are required for professionals who provide support to children and adults on the autism spectrum. There is no experience needed for an autism certificate; however, a teaching license may be required for education professionals such as teachers and teaching assistants. Licensed professionals such as therapists, psychologists and social workers need a more advanced autism certification.

What Are the Key Responsibilities?

Autism spectrum disorder specialists work with autistic individuals, both children and adults, to help them in reaching their life goals. You will be coordinating with other professionals and educators in the evaluation, treatment planning and management of these individuals' challenging behaviors. You will continue to monitor their progress and review what needs to be improved for them to reach their intended goals.

What Career Options Do I Have?

There are different career opportunities available to you as a certified autism spectrum disorder specialist. Typical certified autism specialists work in schools as special education teachers, teaching assistants and school counselors. Others work in autism organizations and centers as behavioral therapists, speech-language pathologists and licensed professional counselors.

How Much Is the Salary and Where Can I Work?

Applied behavior analysts earned a median salary of $48,722 per year, or $16.90 per hour, as of April 2019, according to Payscale.com. Many specialists work in a school environment. There are also different autism centers and organization groups around the country which provide employment opportunities.

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